• Elysse Gracie

My Korean Skincare Routine & Pics!

If you are here, you've probably asked me about my skincare routine, and because I love to talk about it, I'm sure I gave you the low-down over brunch or at a party or via text or in the back of an Uber. But you're not gonna remember everything I told you because, let's face it, it's a lot! Not to worry, you're in the right place.

I won't bore you with the details of how I got into my skincare life like an endlessly long recipe article. I'll just say this: I've been doing this routine for 2 years now, and it's helped fight off the cystic acne that tried to make its comeback after 6 years off Accutane. Taking Accutane again seemed like I would be poisoning my body, so I decided to try this, and it works for me!

*=most used products


At the risk of sounding like your mom, heed this advice. STICK WITH IT! You need at least 3 months doing this routine everyday, morning and night, before you can say you've given it your best shot. Yes, I do it everyday, twice a day.

-Do the routine twice daily

-Wear sunscreen

-Use a sheet mask at least 2 times a week (forego your coffee if you must)

-Don't use chemical exfoliants daily if you are new to them

-Wash your face EVERY NIGHT before bed. I do not care how tired you are, it must be done.

-Read the ingredients on everything you put on your face. Learn what doesn't work for you.

-Just because you bought it at ULTA, doesn't mean it's good for you

-Make sure you're drinking your water (as many liters as half your body weight), not picking your face, and changing out your pillowcases! Skincare will only do so much against oils and dehydration.

-For the love of all things holy, talk to your dermatologist if you are on any oral or topical medications or if you notice a prolonged rash. I'm just a novice with opinions!

I'll do another post on sheet masks, eye masks, treatments, and extras in the future!


OIL CLEANSE: Use a cleansing balm or oil to take off your make-up at the end of the day and to clean off the dirt, grime, facial oils in the morning. Don't just do this at night.

-*THE FACE SHOP Rice Water Bright Rich Cleansing Light Oil $10.89: Daily Use

-CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil- $29 or $15 (mini): Travel Use, I usually pick up the mini size at a Sephora before going on a trip

-BANILA CO. Clean It Zero Purifying Balm for sensitive skin (purple one) $18.60


CLEANSE: Wash your face normally with any of these products. Don't worry about these lathering or not lathering, they'll do the trick all the same.

-*ETUDE HOUSE Wonder Pore Deep Cleansing Foam $13.90- I buy this over and over.

-*DERMALOGY by NEOGENLAB Real Fresh Foam $19- has real tea leaves at the bottom!

-COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser $9.45- this one smells like cigarettes?? but is great for extremely sensitive skin

>>Between Step 2 and Step 3, do not dry your face with anything<<


TONER: This will keep the moisture from the water locked into your skin. You don't want your skin to dry out, so this is the first immediate layer of moisture to be sure your skin doesn't get tight and dry. (If your skin feels tight after you've washed your face and you don't moisturize it, that's a recipe for your oils to overproduce to compensate.) Apply it with clean hands and pat it on. You can use a cotton pad, but it feels wasteful.

Tip: If you run out of essence, just add 5 layers of your fav toner!

-*ETUDE HOUSE Soonjung pH5.5 Relief Toner $13.50 (mini) or $19.90- has few ingredients, best for extremely sensitive skin

-*COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner $11.75- your beginner/light chemical exfoliant

-THEFACESHOP Rice & Ceramide Moisturizing Facial Toner- very moisturizing $15.53


ESSENCE: This step adds an extra layer of moisture AND treats a specific issue. You can buy an essence to help control white heads, black heads, acne, or to brighten your complexion.

-*Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence $25 - Hyaluronic Acid, Moisturizing, Glowing, Soft & Fragrance-Free

-*Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence- the gooey snail slime helps with acne–who knew!

-Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence- this one is for brightening your overall complexion. Takes about a month!

STEP 4 Alternative

SHEET MASK! On nights (or mornings, afternoons) when your face needs a little TLC, some extra moisture, or you just feel like treatin' yourself, do a sheet mask. There are SO MANY options to choose from that I'm going to make a whole post about this. Stay tuned for that. For now, here are some trusted brands to use (and what not to use):









-pretty much anything at Target, CVS (don't buy YES TO)

-most American Made masks (aim for Korean, Japanese, European brands)

-if it has alcohol in the ingredients list and your skin is sensitive, maybe do a patch test first

If you can't afford to sheet mask twice a week (or you like low maintenance), then after you wash your face, do a honey mask instead! Buy raw, organic honey or Manuka honey. Leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour twice a week. This reduces inflammation and has really helped with my cystic acne. On a bad week or before an event, I'll do this 5 days in a row. Proceed with normal skincare after!


SERUM: Here's where you get fancy. Got a specific issue? Your serum is gonna be your concentrated formula that helps you with your specific concern. Acne scarring, acne, hydration, etc. You'll have to figure out what's best for you through months of trial and error more than likely, but once you find something GOOD, it's worth it. Here are my favs and why:

-**Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum $25 (mini) or $72- BEST for fading acne scars. Expensive af, but worth every penny. Wait until there's a sale on the Murad website or use your member points at Sephora for a discount! I never purchase this full price.

-*The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil $15.90- this will fade acne scars at a fraction of the price, but it will take 3 times as long. It's a dry oil, so you don't feel oily afterwards. Inexpensive, but sells out all the time.

-Revolution Beauty Blemish and Pore Refining Serum - 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc $7- cheap, oil-free, hydrating. Can't go wrong there! (This is also my secret make-up brand, affordable, fast-shipping, great quality, made by make-up artists)


EYE CREAM: Your eyes are delicate lil beauties. You need a cream just for them! Lightly rub around your orbital bone and eyelid.

-*Murad Hydration Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for Eyes $70 - Eye Lift Firming Treatment with Advanced Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid - Hydrating Anti-Aging Eye Moisture Treatment- I know, I know. It's expensive, but my eye bags literally do not exist anymore, so you can't tell me a thing.

-Bliss Eye Do All Things Eye Gel $16.50- morning de-puffing anyone? It lightly moisturizes and does the trick, but don't get it in your eyes. It STINGS!


MOISTURIZER: You should have a daytime moisturizer and a nighttime moisturizer if you can help it. But if you're ballin' on a budget, just pick one!


-CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM $11.89- yes it has SPF, yes you still need to wear sunscreen

-Beauty Filter Cream Glow $32- a little thicker but has a white cast under make up if you don't let it fully absorb.


-CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM Ultra Lightweight $15.99- I put on a couple layers of this for oily skin.

-Apothecary Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening 24h Moisturizer $36- THICK for dry skin, but it's scented so not great for sensitive skin. I use this in the dead of TX winter or after a pool day.

DAY/NIGHT compatible

-Revolution Skincare Cica Cream $9.80- good for both DAY/NIGHT wear and cheap!


SUNSCREEN: During the day, you should apply a layer of sunscreen to your face to protect it from the sun. Don't burn? Do it anyway! The sun ages our skin PLUS SPF will reduce your chances of skin cancer because you're being protective. Cool.

And for later in the day, when you need to reapply, but you're wearing make-up, use a sunscreen powder brush! It will apply a powder sunscreen all over your face, mattify your face, and provide a new layer of protection.

-*Blue Lizard Sunscreen Sensitive Gel, Spf 30+ for Skin $12- good for sports/hiking, sensitive skin. Blocks UVA and UVB for full protection.

-COOLA Organic Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50 $32- also comes unscented!

-Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Sunscreen $30- powder brush

IF YOU MADE IT THROUGH THIS MARATHON, GOD BLESS YOUR SKIN. Let me know if you want me to talk about a different specific skin concern. And remember, I'm just a girl with opinions. Here's my BEFORE & AFTER. Worth nothing that I still gets cysts from time to time because of hormonal changes, but this routine really regulated my skin overall :)