skincare routine - morning

morning skincare routine products

I've spent a lot of time looking into K-beauty and skincare products over the last few months, and I've really honed in on my skincare routine - in fact, it's changed completely, for both AM and PM. I have a whole new selection of incredible, budget-friendly products adorning my bathroom! 

From a young age my mum taught me to just use hot water and a gentle bar of soap, then close my pores with cold water, dry my face, and carry on with my day. My dad on the other hand demanded that I use an out of date, ancient, bottle of a bright blue Clearasil cleanser and some cotton wool. My dad's method destroyed my teenage skin, and I of course had reactions to the out of date cleanser. My skin became so sensitive thanks to the irritation, so I threw that in the bin and took my mum's advice - and that's genuinely the skincare routine I've kept up for years and years and years. 

As I got older I started trying moisturisers and foundations, but kept my 'cleansing' routine the same. forward to the present day.

My face is oily. It always has been. My pores are visible, and often seeping with sebum (naturally produced oils). Mmm, lovely. It means that when I wear makeup, I get super shiny all day every day. Over the last 10 or so years I've thought it was my makeup letting my oily skin down, and whilst I finally found the perfect foundation and powders to wear, my face still got oily. I'd constantly have to pat off the excess shine, or top up the translucent powder. I'm all for a matte look. 

This year I turned 31, and I thought 'hmm, maybe I should look more closely at my skin'. I have no idea what prompted this. I genuinely think that coming across more and more beautiful female faces on social media really swayed me to look at K-beauty, especially as these perfect-skinned beauties were recommending an array of products. I didn't jump straight into buying every product that anybody recommended, but decided to take my time to watch and read endless reviews for products that targeted my skin type. I also watched endless videos from gurus who included the science factor in their reviews, and then again I took the time to research the products they featured. I was also gifted an hyaluronic acid with vitamin c serum to share on @perfectlyclaudia, and I was so impressed after just one use that I looked into all of its properties. Honestly, the science of skincare immediately intrigued me! 

So, after much much research, I revamped my entire skincare routine. We are in the middle of a pandemic, and I am self-employed, so these products had to be great but also budget friendly. Here are the daytime products I've settled on...

C L E A N S E R 
I now start my morning routine with a cleanser, and I use CeraVe's gel foaming cleanser for normal to oily skin. 

I used to think that my good ol' trusty bar of soap was keeping the oils at bay because every time I used it my face would feel tight and super clean... but it turns out that this 'tight' and overly-clean feeling was probably playing a part in causing excess sebum, so I knew it was time to try something new. 

I'll be honest - after the initial wash with CeraVe's gel cleanser I didn't think much of it, I didn't feel super clean like my trusty bar of soap made me feel, but I persevered and a couple of days later I noticed a difference. My pores were clearing up every morning, with the night's sebum production being removed. My face didn't come away with that 'tight' feeling, but was still deeply cleansed. I haven't touched that bar of soap since.

[ how I do it ]
...after brushing my teeth I rinse my face with warm-hot water (no heavy rubbing), then use a pea-sized amount of the CeraVe gel cleanser (a little goes a long way!). I gently rub it into/around my face for at least 60-70 seconds, then wash it off (again, no heavy rubbing) with warm-hot water. I pat my face dry, and move onto the next step.

H Y A L U R O N I C  A C I D 
In February I was gifted a Hyaluronic Acid with Vitamin C serum from Mila Simone and immediately fell in love. Before this product touched my skin I'd never thought about real skincare, and this product changed things. It gave my skin that hit of hydration that it needed after many years of soap abuse, and left my skin feeling plumper and looking brighter. After a few weeks of use I noticed that it was helping to shrink my pores - truth! My pores have always been fairly large and sebum-filled, now they're tiny pin-pricks (though still visible thanks to the sebum production), but they are genuinely so much better. I was so amazed that I bothered my friends with this miraculous revelation almost every day (sorry!). I do feel the reduction in pore size is down the combination of products that I now use, but this serum was the only skincare product (other than moisturiser) I was using for a few weeks, and I could absolutely see a change.

[ what does it do ]
Hyaluronic Acid naturally attracts moisture from the air to your skin, which helps to keep your skin hydrated and plump. Because of this, it's also said to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing your skin with that extra hydration. This is great for dry skin, for combo skin, and for dehydrated skin. 

Vitamin C is a bit more of a genius product, and therefore it can be a lot more costly. It can help to resolve discoloration and hyper-pigmentation, reduce acne and inflammation, improve collagen production, protect from uv damage and environmental stresses (free radicals)... it's said to do so much good for your skin! 

[ how I do it ]
...after cleansing and rinsing off with warm water, I pat my face with a towel to remove most of the water, then lightly apply the hyaluronic acid serum onto slightly damp skin. I gently rub it around my face, then pat the excess into my skin. I leave it to soak in for a few moments before moving onto my next step - but this serum soaks in very quickly.

mila simone hyaluronic acid and vitamin c serum

M O I S T U R I S E R 

I used to only ever wear moisturiser under my makeup, or on colder non-makeup days in winter when my forehead would be drier - I was clearly clueless, I know! I can feel your eyes rolling. For a long long time I felt that moisturiser was adding to my shine and was unnecessary for oily skin, so I used it sparingly.

Until very recently I was using Nivea Soft as my daily moisturiser. Changing my moisturiser was the final alteration in my skincare revamp. As I'd completely overhauled both my morning and evening routine, and was seeing great results, I felt like the Nivea moisturiser was too heavy for daytime use. After a few weeks of research I decided to try Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator (not to be confused with their toner). Ole Henriksen has a whole product range for oil control, but it's also fairly pricey, and so I'll only be using this moisturiser and only during the day. 

I wanted to be sure that my hunch about my Nivea moisturiser not being right for daytime wear was right, and so I did a half and half face test, with my original Nivea moisturiser on one half of my face, and the new Ole Henriksen moisturiser on the other half. By the end of the day there wasn't any difference in oil production/shine, but on initial use I could definitely see that the Ole Henriksen was far more matte. It also felt far lighter ALL day long, and had an amazing peppermint scent. 

After using the Ole Henriksen moisturiser for a couple of weeks now, I can confirm that it does matify the skin! Whilst there is a very slight product shine in the light, it doesn't look oily or super shiny around the face, forehead, cheeks, chin like my face used to with the Nivea Soft. My nose however is still pretty oily. I'm hoping this will eventually regulate over time, especially with the products I'm using in my evening skincare routine

[ what does it do ]
The Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator is said to hydrate, control oil, mattify, and reduce the appearance of pores. It's also noncomedogenic (unlikely to block pores and cause acne). It's created with a fusion of green botanicals, giving the moisturiser antiseptic properties. It also contains natural AHA's and BHA's, to help lift dead skin and keep the pores clear. It also contains Niacinamide, which helps to control sebum production.

[ how I do it ]
...after letting my hyaluronic acid soak in, I pat the Ole Henriksen moisturiser into my face, and finish up with my Nivea moisturiser on my neck. Easy!

ole henriksen counter balance oil control hydrator nivea soft moisturising cream

S U N C R E A M 
I've rarely used sunscream over the years, bad bad bad bad! I use a tan enhancing sunscreen oil that protects from UVA and UVB rays when I'm sunbathing, but never thought to wear a suncream on my face every day, especially not indoors. Whilst doing all of my skincare research I realised how important a good suncream is to a skincare routine, and that you absolutely need to protect from both UVA and UVB rays. 

UVA rays have a longer wave length, and penetrate deep into the skin - which causes ageing. 
UVB rays have a shorter wave length, and causes burning on the top of the skin.

K-beauty is so innovative, and it's all about the suncream. If you're not wearing it, then all your other skincare steps can be rendered useless. This panicked me a little, not because I needed to be using it, but because suncream is oily, right?! Even the creams feel oily, and are totally white. Not what you want with oily, olive skin. Clearly clueless again. I found a couple of options that would work well with my skin, and opted for Make P:rem's UV DefenceMake P:rem is a Korean brand, and this suncream is supposedly quite a milky texture, with no white cast, and works well for oily skin. There are ample reviews on the product from women with oily skin who swear by this suncream. 

I ordered the largest bottle from YesStyle in late May, and it's just arrived from Korea. Yay! I'm quite excited to start adding it to my morning routine. There are smaller bottles available, but price wise the larger bottle made sense. If you also want to buy from YesStyle, grab a discount with my discount code ' PERFECTLYC '.

[ what does it do ]
It's SPF 50+ PA++++ - which means it's the highest form of UV protection, and protects your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. It also protects from infra red and heat. The natural botanical ingredients in this suncream also soothe and moisturise the skin, as well as helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Bonus!

make p:rem uv defense suncream spf
...and that's my morning routine! 
What does your morning routine look like?! Let me know which products you're using, I'd love to check them out.
Claudia xo

.  .  . one of the pins below
pinterest pin for morning skincare routine   pinterest pin for morning skincare routine

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  1. I'm a huge fan of K-beauty, their products are so lightweight but so effective. And most are very reasonably priced too. I was sent the Mila Simone serum as well and OMG, what a game changer, I had no idea how effective Vitamin C was until then! I'm intrigued by the Ole Henrikson Oil Balancer though. I have combination skin so this might work for me too. Thank you for sharing all your skincare recommendations! x

    Lisa |

    1. K-beauty really is on a whole other level, it's incredible! I've been trying the Make P:rem suncream for a week now and it's actually helped to balance the oils! I'll have to write a review on it soon.

      Ahh isn't the Mila Simone serum amazing?! Bit pricey for its size, but such a great serum.

      Claudia x

  2. I love how you essentially went from using nothing to the depths of k-beauty and their 25 product routines 😂. My skin is ridiculously dry so basically everything I use is oily, greasy, leaves residue and I have to go to bed looking like pure slime if I want to wake up with anything close to normal skin so my routine is very different to yours. But I love hyaluronic acid in just about everything, such a great ingredient for every skin type. x


    1. I like to live a 'go hard or go home' life hahaha!

      Ooh my forehead gets super dry in winter if I don't wear moisturiser, so I'll have to see how all of these products fare when the weather gets colder. I might be joining you with the pure slime look!

      Hyaluronic acid for the win!!

      Claudia x

  3. I've heard lots of good things about all of Cerave's products! I think I need to check some out.

    1. I'm honestly really impressed! I was seeing it all over social media and thought I'd give it a go, and it's turned out to be a real winner!

      Claudia x