Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Late 20’s Skin Care: Budget Dr. Lancer + Korean Skin Care Methods

If you know me, or have watched any of my recent videos, you might know that I recently had eye surgery. It is amazing that I can see with my own eyes again, for the first time since I was three years old. It is absolutely incredible to me.

The downside to that? I can see my skin as it truly is for the first time. Sure, I could see with glasses before I had the surgery, but the thing they don’t tell you about eye surgery (and that I certainly didn’t think about) is that you cannot wear makeup for two weeks after it is done, and you can’t wear powder makeup for at least two months. As a huge makeup person, I was like, “Wait….WHAT?” Cue panic.

I’ve never seriously taken care of my skin until relatively recently. When I lived out on Guam, I had no idea that sun could even cause skin damage and premature aging until after it had already happened, and as a result I’ve had wrinkles and sun spots since the age of 19.  If you watch my videos, you’ve probably noticed that I am also very red of face; I’ve always been accused of wearing too much blush, but it is just my skin. I don’t have rosacea, but the capillaries in my face run very close to the surface, so I have a perpetually reddened face.

I’ve always dealt with these issues by slapping makeup on top of it all. I use a green corrector, heavy powder or full coverage foundation, and hide it. People are shocked to hear that I have skin issues because I have become very good at disguising the issues my skin has. But with eye surgery and the makeup ban I was under, I couldn’t do that, and I was forced to confront my skin problems.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I realized that I am on the dark side of 25 and that my skin is not getting any better. Anyone older than 30 at this point is going to laugh uproariously at me and say, “You’re still a baby! PLEASE!” No, you please. People, don’t judge someone else when you don’t walk in their skin and don’t know their problems or history. I can see the lines on my neck, around my eyes, and my forehead. I can see the redness flaming underneath my cheeks. I can see the sun spots continuing to darken and grow. The people that laugh don’t see any of that when I constantly hide under makeup and scarves; they don’t know that these are real issues for me, regardless of how young they say I am.

So I decided to do some research. It was high time for me to start taking my skin in hand and take care of myself, not to mention I have been mortified by having to present my actual skin to my coworkers, boyfriend, friends, and family during this time period. That begged the question: What method should I use? I have always been impressed, but daunted, by the Korean 10-step skin care regimen. I had tried a few Korean beauty products and loved them, but realistically – budget wise and time wise – I didn’t think I could commit to that. I had also heard some buzz about Dr. Lancer’s skin care method (Polish, Cleanse, Repair), which was touted by Oprah and Kim Kardashian, and was interested in that, but ran into the problem, again, of having budget issues. (Dr. Lancer’s skin care method costs upwards of $200 per month, and that is just NOT feasible for me.)

Then, bingo – I found The Go-To Gay Guy’s guide to a budget version of Dr. Lancer’s skin care (find it here: ). And I thought, why don’t I combine the best facets of Korean skin care with Dr. Lancer’s recommended method? I made the commitment and purchased the budget versions of Dr. Lancer’s skin care and some choice Korean products. A few I already owned thanks to the PopSugar Must Have box and a Meme Box I had tried, and some I had coupons for from CVS, but I will put links to all items on Amazon and other pages just for ease of locating below. Here are a few photos of my skin today as a "before" - sans makeup. Brace yourselves - it ain't pretty.

Left side of face

Front view
Forehead / Nose Close-Up

Left side close-up (worst side)
Right side of face
I’ll update once a week once everything comes in and let you all know how my Western and Eastern combo skin overhaul is working. In the meantime, here is what I will be using for the curious:



            →1-2 times per week, exfoliate with a gentle exfoliator. I chose St. Ives Green Tea Exfoliator:

            →Dr. Lancer recommends exfoliating daily, and Korean skin care recommends once per week. I decided to only do this once or twice per week, especially because I don’t want to over-exfoliate my skin (which I have done in the past).


            →Missha Super Aqua Refreshing Cleansing Foam (Korean):

                        >I’ve used this cleanser for a while and it lasts FOREVER. You don’t even need a full pea-size amount to thoroughly clean your face.

                        >Dr. Lancer does recommend using a cleanser with AHA in it, but since I am still (relatively) young, I don’t think this step is needed quite yet. Not to mention that I’m getting a lot of AHA from the serum, moisturizing, and retinol applications.


            →Simple Micellar Water:

            →OR Etude House 10-in-1 Wonder Pore Refresher (Korean):

                        >I previously used Etude House toner exclusively before giving Simple Micellar Water a try. I was convinced that micellar water was a scam, but after using it, my pores have shrunk, my skin is producing less oil, the micellar water picks up more leftover dirt/makeup, and I have had fewer monthly breakouts. I am now a believer. If you want a traditional toner, Etude House Wonder Pore is fine, but I have to honestly say that I am going to stick with the micellar water. I was very impressed with it, and using it as a toner only means that it lasts a lot longer than for people who use it exclusively for cleaning their faces.


            →Face: Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle:

                        >While technically not a serum per-se, it is recommended to use as a serum (under moisturizer and sunscreen.)
            →Eyes: Royal Apothic Tea Balm Firming Eye Treatment:

                        >This is supposed to minimize dark circles and treat puffy eyes/bags; with that being said, I received this in one of my PopSugar Must Have boxes and I'm not sure they make it anymore, so I have no link to provide for this one.



            →Alpha Hydrox Sheer Silk Moisturizer with SPF 15:


            →Korean Jelly Sunscreen with SPF 50:

                        >This promises to be very interesting; it is a clear, gel-like texture that also minimizes pores and doubles as an anti-aging primer. I look forward to trying this out.


Oil Cleanse

            →Beautycounter Cleansing Balm:

                        >Note: This is expensive cleansing oil. It came in my PopSugar Must Have box in February, which is the only reason I am lucky enough to have it to use. It is a great cleansing oil and has a wonderful scent – the pot is rather small, but you only need a small amount to cover your entire face; when you are finished rubbing in the oil, you then gently wipe off with a hot, wet washcloth (you don’t steam it off, like you would with the pure oil cleanse method). Budget alternates below.

            →OR Clean It Zero Cleansing Sherbet:

                        >I received this in a Memebox I tried; it smells delicious and works, though it was not my favorite cleansing oil. You have to be sure you really remove all residue from this one, since I did not exercise my due diligence and kept having allergic reactions to it. I eventually gave up on this product, to be totally honest, and threw it out. If you don’t have a lot of allergies like I do, this is a great option.

            > I haven’t tried this myself, but have heard great things about it. I ordered this to use after finishing my Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. It has real rose petals floating in it - how bomb is that?


            →Missha Super Aqua Refreshing Cleansing Foam (Korean)


            →Simple Micellar Water

Repair / Treat

            →Face - Alpha Hydrox Retinol Night ResQ:

                        >To intensely repair damage overnight. If you are new to skin care, I just want to add here that you should NEVER EVER EVER use Retinol during the day.
            →Eyes - 40 Carrots Retinol-Rich Eye Gel:

                        >I usually find this for around $5 at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, and it was great, though I think when I run out I need to try something a little higher strength. Any retinol rich eye gel/cream would work.

So there we have it – not 10 steps per the traditional Korean method, and not 3 steps like Dr. Lancer recommends, but right in the middle at 5 in the morning (6 on exfoliating days) and 4 at night. Time for a skin overhaul!

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