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By Regine, 3 november 2023

My beginner's nighttime skincare routine: Korean skincare

I started using Korean skincare products religiously early this year 2023 and I wrote this story to share my thoughts. I listed here the 5 products that stayed in my daily nighttime routine and those are:

1. Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original

2. Purito Defence Barrier pH Cleanser

3. Holika Holika aloe soothing essence 98% Toner (Calming)

4. Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

5. Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream


With all of the products I tested on my skin, it made me realize how important patch testing is. Because you will never know if a product reacts well or not onto your skin, patch testing should be taken seriously. Also, trying one new product at a time to localize the culprit when you experience any allergic reaction, irritation or pore clog that can cause pimples should not be neglected.

Now, let's take a closer look at the products that made my skin better. When I say better, I mean bright, soft, and supple in comparison to my earlier skin state which is dull, uneven skin tone, and dry spots around the nose and mouth especially during the winter season.



1. Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm 100g

Info from the packaging:

Clean It Zero Original is an all-in-one deep cleanser designed to quickly and easily melt away even the most stubborn makeup when transforming sherbet-like texture into smooth oil on your skin.

This cleansing balm is developed to remove dirt, sunscreen, and makeup in just one step leaving your skin hydrated. Banila Co Zero Balance Technology makes your skin looks healthy. Formulated with key botanicals, hot springs water and vitamin E derivative.

How to use: Use spatula included to scoop balm. Gently massage in cicular motions onto dry skin using your fingertips to breakdown all makeup and residue. Add water to emulsify and oil and massage again. Rinse well with lukewarm water.

Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate , PEG-10 Isostearate, Synthetic Wax, Onsen-Sui , Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Lithospermum Erythrorhizon Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Ethylhexylglycerin, Water, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Angelica Archangelica Root Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Polydiethyleneglycol Adipate/IPDI Copolymer, Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Acrylates/Methoxy PEG-15 Methacrylate Copolymer

My experience using Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm:

On my first use, I said to myself, wow, why haven't I discovered this balm before? It made my skin softer and look brighter in the first wash. This cleansing balm has a fruity coconut mild scent that makes cleansing more enjoyable. It effectively removes makeup and sunscreen just as it claims to do. It makes the second step of double cleansing by using a water-based cleanser more effective.

I use this in the evening and it always gives me a clean and soft-feeling result every wash. It made my skin less dry than it used to be. It is also suitable for my dry skin in the winter and normal to combination skin during the summer. This product is a 10/10 for me and will definitely stay in my routine. I got mine from HMKT Beauty Corner for only 18,95.

Since my skin is on the dry side during the winter season, I also tried the Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Nourishing made for dry skin type but my skin broke out so I came back to the original version and it always does wonders.


2. Purito Defence Barrier pH Cleanser 150ml

Info from the packaging:

A mild gel type cleanser that effectively and gently cleanses oily impurities and pollutants without leaving dryness and irritation. As this gentle cleanser is pH balanced, which is pH5.5, it is recommended for sensitive skin as a daily cleanser. Contains Centella extract. Vegan.

How to use: After first cleansing with makeup remover, use it as second facial cleanser and a morning cleanser. Take a moderate amount with water to work into a lather. Apply the foam gently to the skin and massage in circular motions. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Ingredients: Water, Coco-Betaine (cleansing agents), Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (cleansing agents), Arginine(pH Adjusters), Sodium Chloride(Viscosity Increasing Agents), Betaine(Humectants), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer(Viscosity Increasing Agents), Hydroxyacetophenone(Antioxidants), Sodium Methyl Isethionate(cleansing agents), Lauric Acid(cleansing agents), Centella Asiatica Extract (skin-conditioning agents), Sodium Laurate(cleansing agents), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil(Skin-Conditioning Agents), Ethylhexylglycerin(skin-conditioning agents), Allantoin (skin protectants), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), 1,2-Hexanediol(Solvents)

My experience using Purito Defence Barrier pH Cleanser:

I began using this face cleanser when my face skin barrier was damaged. I had red itchy cheeks because of using a facial wash that was too drying for my skin and I was using that face wash wrong or too often. Purito Defence Barrier pH cleanser saved my skin together with the Holika Holika aloe soothing essence 98% Toner (Calming) and the Purito Centella Unscented Serum that time when my skin was suffering.

Purito Defence Barrier pH Cleanser contains centella which is a powerful antioxidant. It has a tea tree-like scent which is not appealing in the beginning but I grew to like the smell after long usage. I also noticed that it lathers a lot better when I first use a cleansing balm to remove makeup and sunscreen but it doesn't create bubbles as much as other face wash which is a good thing for sensitive skin. From that moment, I only used a low-pH face wash to clean my face. This product is highly recommended and can be found on this link.


3. Holika Holika aloe soothing essence 98% Toner (Calming) 250ml

Info from the packaging:

A soothing toner that provides deep hydration and instant calming effect for dry and sensitive skin. With organic complex and cooling soother. Dermatologist tested.

How to use: After washing the face, dispense an appopriate amount on a cotton pad. Apply to the face and gently pat to promote absorption.

Ingredients: Water, 1,2-Hexanediol, Methylpropanediol, Glycereth-26, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ectoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Allantoin, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Propanediol, Succinoglycan, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Pentylene Glycol, Xylitol, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Fragrance

My experience using Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Essence 98% Toner (Calming):

Since I moved to Belgium, I only use a face wash and a moisturizer but when I decided that I wanted to have an improved skin complexion, I started using a face toner. In opposed to what I originally did: use a toner to cleanse my face, this toner should be used after double cleansing to moisturize and prepare your skin for the next product applications like essence, serum, and moisturizer. By using a toner you can also test if you cleansed your face properly when you see no dirt on the cotton pad after toner application.

Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Essence 98% Toner (Calming) is a moisturizing toner without astringent. It has a mild fragrance (aloe vera) which I do not recommend for very sensitive skin. I use it by pouring an appropriate amount onto my palm and applying it directly to my skin so all of the liquid will go to my face and won't sit on the cotton pad. This product is a staple in my routine since it hydrates my skin and makes all the succeeding steps more effective. You can purchase it from HMKT Beauty Corner.


4. Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 100ml

Info from the packaging:

Being 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate (Mucin), this essence helps the skin to lose less moisture while keeping the skin smooth, moisturized, and looking healthy.

How to use: After cleansing and toning, apply a small amount on your entire face. Gently pat using fingertips to promote absorption, and then apply the moisturizer.

Ingredients: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Betaine, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Ethyl Hexanediol, Carbomer, Panthenol, Arginine, Aqua/Water

My experience using Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence:

This is the first essence I used because essence was not introduced to me in my younger years and since Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is trending and has good reviews, I gave it a try. I did not see any difference on my face until the second month of usage. I find my skin brighter and some blemishes that I had are less visible as a result. However, there is not a lot of improvement on the moisturizing effect of this product especially when I had a damaged barrier.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence has a slimy consistency has no scent and should be applied on a damp face. Based on my experience, applying it to dry skin, dries it out more. Because of this I did my research and found out that applying it on dry skin will keep the skin tight since it stays on top of the skin and won't be absorbed.

Essence is known to be the foundation of the Korean skincare routine. It provides an extra layer of moisture which prevents fine lines, and wrinkles and strengthens the skin barrier.

Once my bottle of Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence which I got from HMKT is consumed, I will try a vegan essence and will let you know its effect.


5. Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream 80ml

Info from the packaging:

The sap of Inje's Birch Trees, which are full of a cool and fresh energy from the refreshing breeze, and the Vita Hyaluronic Acid ingredient make the skin dewy and healthy by providing moisture to the dry skin. Noncomodogenic. 48 hours moisturization lasting human application test completed.

How to use: At the last step of skincare, apply an appropriate amount of the product onto the skin as if creating a moisturizing barrier.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isododecane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Polydecene, Birch Sap (10,000ppm), Jojoba Esters, Panthenol, Glyceryl Glucoside, Acacia Senegal Gum, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Agar, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA

My experience using Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream:

I love this moisturizing cream. It has a gel-cream-like consistency, it has no artificial scent, it is easily absorbed by the skin, moisturizes my skin the whole day, it gives a dewy-look finish, and most importantly, it does not break me out.

I started using this product when we went for a holiday to the tropical Philippines. My skin type there is normal to combination since it changes depending on the climate, and this moisturizer was perfect. When we traveled back to Belgium and the season changed to fall and the temperature lowered down, this moisturizer still hydrates my skin. For the winter season, I still need to figure out if I need to add another layer of moisturizer to prevent my skin from cracking.

Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream is not cheap but one of the best moisturizers that I used. If you want to try it, you can get it from HMKT in the Netherlands.

So there you go, these are the Korean skincare products that I currently use where my normal to dry skin type reacts well.

Thank you for reading and I hope I gave you an idea of which product you can try next.


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