Morning Cleanse – Good for All

by Vivian Lee

Korean skin care is here to stay

Korean skin care exploded onto the scene, vastly superseding Psy’s Gangnam Style. That was so 2013. But fast forward to present day, and no matter where I turn, I see various brands and lines of K-Beauty products with its own dedicated aisle at CVS, Target and Ulta. K-Beauty skin care products have a cult following for good reason. Just sample the Korean TV dramas, K-Pop acts and all manner of celebrities out there, and you’ll see that both Korean women and men have gorgeous (glowing) skin. They invest more in skin care than they do in cosmetics. And yes, Korea is known to be a plastic surgery mecca.

Good for Dudes too

Great skin care is a reflection of what we put in our bodies as well as what we slather on in the mornings and evenings. As someone who reads and researches products, I’ve tried and tested various skin care products over the years, religiously poring over Amazon Bestseller reviews and reading through articles on different skin care products that are considered best-in-class for specific skin conditions – i.e. occasional acne breakouts, hyperpigmentation (dark patchy skin), and hormonal-linked skin care conditions influenced by diet and stress.

My issues are only skin deep

As a Korean-American, I’ve grown to care more about my skin care routine. I am not one who spends a long time getting ready. I’d rather get ready quickly and go about my day with glowy, dewy skin (of course!). After having kids, I’ve noticed an increase of hyperpigmentation (those annoying dark patches) that crop up due to hormonal factors (hello melasma), years of sun exposure, and the general aging process.

K-Beauty recommendations

A couple of sites I recommend are Charlotte Cho’s Soko Glam and Jude Chao’s Over the last couple of years, I’ve slathered my way through various products and have landed on my current routine. Now, everyone’s routine is different because everyone’s skin is different. I don’t have the patience to stick with a 10-step skin care regimen, but I care enough about my skin to do a fair bit when I get ready in the morning and in the evening, right before I hit the sack. I’d like to think I’m of the au natural set, a trait handed down by my down-to-earth mom.  Also, my kids keep me in check and grounded, so vanity goes out the door.

Morning Routine

Lately, I’ve been vacillating between Glossier’s lightweight Milky Jelly Cleanser (not Korean, but definitely inspired by K-Beauty products) and COSRX Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.  I mean how can you go wrong with a name like that for an AM cleanser. Since your skin naturally gets used to certain products, it’s good to change it up and alternate every other day. Also it gets boring using the same products day in and day out.  What I like about the COSRX morning gel cleanser is the low PH formulation that is gentle on your just slept-in skin and doesn’t strip away your skin’s natural oils. COSRX products use high quality ingredients, so I would recommend their general line of products to incorporate into your regular (or not so-regular routine). You can get COSRX products on Amazon (enjoy the Prime shipping), or head over to

When I think my skin needs a little exfoliation, I add in an extra step with the Dr. G Brighting Peel Gel. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Think of it as a lightweight facial scrub that has a fresh scent and certainly not as harsh as those days of yore when we all used St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub. I was a child of the 80s, and I remember it well. That and my mom’s handy Pond’s cold cream.

Now my morning routine is often harried with the traffic jam in the bathroom and the scurrying of feet (dog paws included). If you’re like me and wake up with an insane pouf ball of hair, you can invest a small chunk of change in an adorable cat-inspired hair band. Etude has a bestselling hair band that is just too cute.

COSRX Recommended

If you’re looking for recommendations on a general line of skin care products that will help get you to that fresh, dewy skin, then look no further than COSRX. Also, drink lots of water, stay hydrated and eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Products I like from COSRX include the Acne Pimple Master Patch. These small, discreet round adhesives are perfect when you get an angry flare up and need an overnight fixer. Good for whiteheads, blackheads and even the ones you’ve sadly picked over.

My other COSRX go-tos include the AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid.  This gives you the power of alpha hydroxy acid with more intensive exfoliation. If you’re challenged with visible pores and blackheads, consider COSRX BHA products. Head on over to to check out your options there. You can also check out Fifty Shades of Snail to read more on the power of AHA and BHA and COSRX. If you have sensitive skin, then test on a small area first and definitely don’t use it every day. As with many stronger exfoliants, consider using AHA products as part of your evening routine.

Treat your skin right with a good skin care routine.