This Week’s Skin Diary: Gentle yet effective skincare steps of a K-Beauty Minimalist

Sonagi’s Skin Diaries series asks anonymous city dwellers to record a week in their skin lives.


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Jules is a marketing manager at SONAGI, born and raised in Korea. Growing up, she was surrounded by friends who were obsessed with skincare from a young age. Her key to skincare is to keep the steps as simple and minimalistic since she has sensitive dry skin with atopy.

MONDAY

8am My Monday mornings are rough, as I’m not really a morning-person. So as I usually do, I let my eyes stay closed and blindly stumble off to the bathroom to get that last ounce of sleep. When the cold water hits my face, that’s when I actually wake up. As I shower, I try not to spray hot water directly onto my face, since it can widen my pores and create more wrinkles.

9am One of the important things I do for facial skincare is to avoid too much contact or pressure as much as possible. This applies to water intensity and when drying off my face with a towel. I try to do everything gently, so it doesn’t affect my skin adversely (the small things matter!). Then I put on my skincare essence and cream since I’m in a hurry. Only after that do I blow-dry my hair, as blow-drying makes my skin super dry.

12am I usually skip breakfast, so lunch is usually my first meal of the day. I try to avoid eating too much greasy or spicy food as this affects my skin a lot. Especially when I’m stressed, the first two pimples come up right under my chin, which hurts like crazy. I’m into eating poke bowls these days, which is a tasty option for those who are looking for a yummy yet healthy meal.

11pm Late night is my favourite time of the day, as I’m most relaxed and can take time to take care of my skin. Here are my special four steps I try to keep:

  1. Clean off makeup with an Innisfree olive cleansing tissue. (Again very gently! I only rub off my eyeliner, lashes and lips with this.
  2. Cleanse face with a light foam cleanser. (My face skin is super sensitive with rough or harsh cleansing, so I use a super light cleanser or oil.) Product name: Round lab Dokdo cleansing foam
  3. Apply INNISFREE Essence serum to provide that full hydration for the night
  4. Finally, I use my favourite Madeca cream to seal that hydration and prevent it from drying off too fast.

TUESDAY

8am Same routine as yesterday. I try to keep everything minimal and quick since I’m always rushing to leave the house. Lol. Just a side tip — in emergencies when I wake up too late and don’t have time to wash my hair, I lightly use my No-sebum powder on my hair, as this works like dry shampoo, getting rid of the oily look. No-sebum powder is made to cover any oily complexion on the skin, so it’s totally okay. Just a light swish and a few puffs, and you won’t have that excessively shiny complexion. You may be shocked, but this is a key secret every Korean girl knows and has been using. 😉

1pm Korea’s summers are getting hotter each year, and the air is becoming more and more dry. I always take my hand cream with me and constantly remind myself to apply it.

12pm Today was a long day, and my purple eye bags have gone all the way down to my cheeks. What do I do? I put on the SONAGI hydrogel eye patches! My eyes feel super relaxed when I have them on, with the coolness soaking into my eyes. I take them off after 15 minutes and put my eye cream on to seal in that moisture on my skin.

WEDNESDAY

8am I left the fan on last night, and my skin feels especially dry this morning. After taking a shower, I double up on hydration steps. When I have my first round of toner and serum, I dry it off by fanning it with my hands. Then I apply another round, finally sealing it off with my cream. This is what I usually do on my extremely dry-skin days. Then I go eat breakfast. Today, I’m having ‘Omurice,’ which is basically an omelette with fried rice.

12pm I had dinner with my friends, and unfortunately, we had K-BBQ. Although the dinner was amazing, regrets start to kick in when I’m getting ready for bed. I feel too bloated, and my gut tells me that my face will be swollen the next day. I do my usual night skincare steps and have my eye patches on to at least prevent myself from having puffy eyes the following day.

THURSDAY

9am ... As I dreaded, the K-BBQ from last night did me dirty. I see my face all puffed up like a blowfish. Sigh* Thankfully, I’m working from home today, so I popped one of my SONAGI sheet masks on (one of the greatest benefits when you work at a skincare company). This time, I’m using one of SONAGI’s May collection, the JNN-II CICA calming mask, to calm down all that K-BBQ swell!

9:30am After 20 minutes of masking, I apply the leftover serum from the sheet mask packet and gently massage my face with it. My face feels so much lighter and refreshed, which is the perfect time to apply my makeup as well. My foundation gets applied so much more smoothly after a sheet mask session.

10pm No eating heavily today, and I’m sleeping early with my aloe gel and night cream. I keep a huge box of aloe gel, and I put it on everywhere that feels dry. It’s my key source for hydration.

FRIDAY

12pm Vitamin C pills! I try to take them weekly, but I can never swallow them without liquid. They’re too sour for me.

1am It’s Friday night, and me and my friends are having a girls’ night out. I’m staying at my best friend’s place tonight, so tonight, I’m using her skincare products. My friend has a 10-step skincare routine, with exfoliating, gua sha, and multiple this-and-that creams. Her skin looks amazing, but I’m too lazy to take all those steps. So I’m only trying five of her steps :

  1. Double cleansing with cleansing oil & cleansing foam.
  2. Spraying face mist all over my face.
  3. Drowning my face with (unknown) serum.
  4. Applying Goodal’s dark circle Vita C eye-cream and lip-balm.
  5. Last splash of hydration with dalba’s white truffle moisturising cream.

SATURDAY

10am It’s Saturday morning, and my face seems to be swollen again due to last night. I use my friend’s Mist (Goodal) and spray it on my face before applying serum. There’s something so refreshing and soothing when using face mists.

12am Feeling lazy, I skipped all my night skincare steps and just used Madeca cream after washing my face.

SUNDAY

8pm Sunday night is my sacred skincare/self-care time. I usually take a bath, pop on a sheet mask, and relax for about an hour. Today, I’m trying the Lush Intergalactic bath bomb and had my favourite JM solution Heartleaf sheet mask on. While pampering myself, I plan what I need to do for next week. Although it may seem like not much, I found these short sessions of self-care time extremely important, as they give me a sense of relief and peace of mind. It also motivates me to start my next week feeling fresh!

BONUS QUESTIONS

What is your holy grail product?
My holy grail product would be the big jar of natural Aloe-gel. For a person who has sensitive dry skin with atopy, I’ve used aloe-gel my whole life, as it calms down itchiness and soothes my skin perfectly.

What is your favourite sheet mask?
I’ve mentioned this above, but my top 1 favourite sheet mask would be JM solution Hearleaf sheet mask. I always fall asleep when I have this mask on, cause it’s so soothing.

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