I started following a skincare routine when I was about 23 and after I developed adult cystic acne on my cheeks. This left a lot of red purple blemishes on my face. Following a skincare routine allowed me to alleviate some of bulging cysts and fade the blemishes on my face. I was also interested in anti-aging so I could slow the damage I am/was causing my body from smoking (daily chain smoker).

I believe Korean/Japanese beauty products provide the best value and so I almost exclusively buy Asian beauty products. Korean chemical sunscreens are very pleaseant to wear and re-apply throughout the day.

Some brands I've been enjoying lately are:

The first products I started with were:

My skin type is normal to very dry depending on the weather. I use sunscreen every day (~50ml per month), 0.05% tretinoin almost nightly and seek moisturizing products that layer well. My skin tone is light so there are mineral sunscreens that may not leave a white cast on me but can leave a white cast on darker skin tones.

Note: Below are a list of my recommendations based on my personal experience! Everyone has different skin so a product I really disliked may be great for different skin types! Lastly, skincare is no replacement for taking care of your body with nutritious food, water and good sleep. Not smoking for a month made a larger difference for my skin than any product could ever do.


Type Name Size Notes
Sunscreen - Chemical MISSHA All-Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++ 50ml ~$8 USD (Personal favorite)
Sunscreen - Chemical Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics SPF50+ PA++++ 50ml ~$10 USD (Personal favorite)
Sunscreen - Chemical B_LAB Matcha Hydrating Real Sun Screen SPF50+ PA++++ 50ml ~$7 USD (Personal favorite)
Sunscreen - Mineral Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++ 50ml I would not recommended for very dry skin.
Sunscreen - Mixed MISSHA All-Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++ 70ml I would not recommended for very dry skin. "Tone up" sunscreen.
Serum - Vitamin C TIAM My Signature C Source 30ml 20% Ascorbic Acid vitamin C, sticky, burns but effective. Give it about ~2 months. Will turn fabrics orange.
Cream TONYMOLY THE Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream 60ml Moisturizing, absorbs quickly.
Oil PURITO Plainet Squalane Oil 100 30ml Absorbs quickly, moisturizing. (Personal favorite)
Cream COSRX Pure Fit Cica Cream Intense 50ml ~$20 USD Moisturizing (Current favorite)
Cream Huxley CREAM MORE THAN MOIST 50ml ~$30 USD Moisturizing but higher price tag.
Serum SANA Soy Milk Whitening Serum 100ml Arbutin in this is great but I read it's effects are only visible while actively using.
Essence COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 100ml Moisturizing (Personal favorite but feels cruel)
Cleanser B_LAB Matcha Hydrating Foam Cleanser 120ml (Personal favorite)
Cleanser fresh Soy Face Cleanser 150ml ~$38 USD A treat.
Cleanser - Oil ROHTO Hadalabo Gokujun Cleansing Oil 200ml 200ml
Cleanser - Oil B_LAB PHA Perfect Pore Cleansing Oil 200ml
Moisturizer Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ 125/200ml This has been my morning moisturizer for half a year now but feel it lacking in winter months.
Serum - Vitamin C PURITO Pure Vitamin C Serum 60ml Smells like rotten citrus, oxidized but gentle L-AA (5%). Some say this is too low a concentration to be effective but I feel this evened out my skin tone. Warning: Still caused peeling (probably from nightly tretinoin)
Serum SOME BY MI Propolis B5 Glow Barrier Calming Serum 50ml Absorbs quickly, non-sticky, honey like fragrance, soothing. Great morning serum.
Cleanser innisfree Blueberry Rebalancing 5.5 Cleanser 100ml Affordable, non-stripping


Type Name Size Notes
Sunscreen MISSHA All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++ 70ml Really wanted to like this but it fucking burns your eyes!
Sunscreen - Mineral innisfree Intensive Anti Pollution Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ 50ml 50ml Mixed feelings. Starts off with a white cast that fades but I found this greasy.
Sunscreen - Mineral innisfree Intensive Triple-shield Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ 50ml Greasy + white cast
Sunscreen - Mineral Etude House Sunprise Mild Watery Light SPF50+ PA+++ 50ml Greasy
Sunscreen - Mineral SOME BY MI Trucica Mineral Calming Tone Up Sunscreen 50ml White cast, greasy, strong herbal medicine smell
Sunscreen Kose - Suncut UV Perfect Gel Super Water Proof SPF 50+ PA++++ Sakura Edition 100g Unusable, gross, greasy, pills like crazy.
Sunscreen - Mineral Biore UV kids Pure Milk Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++ 70ml Greasy
Sunscreen COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++ 50ml Pills, a bit greasy, effectiveness has come into question.
Cleanser Dr.Jart+ DERMACLEAR Micro pH Foam 120ml Drying as hell
Cream TONYMOLY Tear Drop Super Aqua Watery Cream 100ml Useless. Weird cooling effect. Need to apply another cream over every time I use it.
Cream Origins GinZing Oil-Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer 50ml Got a few samples of this but terrible pilling and greasiness.


Type Name Size Notes
Sunscreen PURITO Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+ PA++++ 60ml
Sunscreen VILLAGE 11 FACTORY Hydra Sun Fluid SPF50 PA++++ 50ml
Cream Logically, Skin Multi-Lifting Cream 50ml 50ml
Cream BLITHE Pressed Serum Tundra Chaga 50ml May need to try again because that price tag wants to convince me it's worth it.
Cream MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule Cream 5X 50ml Didn't notice anything but has a decent thicker texture.
Toner TIAM Vita Refre-C Toner 100ml Awesome concept but not sure there is enough vitamin C.
Sleeping Mask Dr.Jart+ Intra Jet Firming Sleeping Mask 120ml
Cream Huxley CREAM ANTI-GRAVITY 50ml Not anti-gravity.
Cream ETUDE HOUSE Soon Jung 2X Barrier Intensive Cream 60ml Forgettable but a favorite for others...been meaning to try it again.
Serum WellDerma G Plus Silver Peptide Ampoule 30ml 30ml Mixed between recommending. Really like the idea of peptides and the beautiful color of the serum. But I noticed no difference in my skin after I ran out.
Moisturizer COSRX Oil Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion 100ml If you have dry skin, stay away, almost want to say it's terrible but can see how it might work for oily skin.
Oil The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane 30ml
Moisturizer The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA 50ml Pilled terribly when layering. Depends on what else you're using.
Cream COSRX Balancium B5 D-Panthenol Cream 50ml Pricey for not doing much.
Cream MISSHA Time Revolution Red Algae Revitalizing Cream 50ml Strong fragrance and not effective. Light gel texture that may work best for oily/combo skin types.
Cream COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream 80g Ingredients seem great but it did not do enough for my dry skin. Might revisit this one as a day cream.
Cleansing Oil ROUND LAB 1025 Dokdo Cleansing Oil 200ml Nice herbal scent, effective but nothing special.
Cleanser ROUND LAB 1025 Dokdo Cleanser 150ml Foaming ph-balanced cleanser, could be more gentle. A favorite for many but not for me.