New Year, New You! This Is My Skincare Routine

Hello Everyone!!

Have you had that ghastly cold/flu that has been everywhere this winter? I have. Twice. How does that even happen? Anyway, if you have been wondering where the blog posts have been the past couple of weeks, they’ve been sidelined while I have been trying to get better!

I’m nearly back to 100%, so better late than never!

Friends and clients and readers are always asking me about which skincare products I use. I am obsessed with skin care, I believe that to look our most gorgeous, whether we have a full face of makeup on or none at all, our skin must be in its optimum condition, so I really put a lot of effort into my complexion.

skin care essentials

I have products that I use daily, products that I use weekly and products that I just use as needed. (Not shown here are all the sheet masks I use and the Reves de Sabine Rose Clay mask that I got from a photo shoot, and my eye cream, the tube of which is too beat up to photograph!)

I am a huge proponent of Korean skin care products and the multiple step Korean skin regimen, but it often confuses people when I try to explain the steps I do and how it all works. Invariably I get asked which specific products and brands I am using. I decided while I was cleaning out my skincare cabinet this weekend and getting everything ready for 2018 that I should photograph the skin care products I am using and put them in a step by step order so that you can see what has been working for me.

I buy my Korean Beauty products through Memebox. They now use Amazon as their fulfillment center, so I am putting Amazon links where I can .

I also get products sent to me by companies for my magazine work, and get others from my Zoe Report Box of Style and FabFitFun subscriptions. Some of those products make it in to the skincare favorites, others not so much! I don’t like to speak badly about anyone’s products, so if I don’t like something I just don’t talk about it.

I am a huge Tatcha fan and love love love their entire product line, but as a single mom they don’t always fit my budget.

skin care essentials

My Daily Skincare Routine

I think one of the most important components of your skincare wardrobe is your cleanser. If you are using the wrong cleanser for your skin type it sets off a chain reaction of everything going wrong. If your cleanser is too drying (think foaming cleansers and bar soaps) it strips your skin, leaving it looking parched. For oily girls a cleanser that is too drying actually makes your skin create more oil. If your cleanser is too heavy or greasy for your skin type it can make your skin feel slimy and slick.

Cleansing Oil

I'm Cleansing Oil

A cleanser should dissolve away your makeup and cleanse your skin without leaving a film on it. I have been using Memebox I’m Cleansing Oil  for several years now. I use the formulation for normal to dry skin, but they also make I’m Cleansing Oil for Oily Skin. You can find it online here at

I only cleanse my skin at night and just rinse it in the mornings, but in the official K Beauty system you double cleanse both morning and night.

All of these Korean products are super concentrated, so you only use a tiny amount of any of them.

CosRX Snail Mucin Essence

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

The next step is to apply an Essence. I use CosRx Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence. It took me a long time to get on board with using products containing something called snail mucin, but am so glad I finally did! I had been reading about it but wasn’t game to try it, and then I saw one of my girlfriends skin looking sensational, and when I asked her what she had changed she told me she was using products with snail mucin. You should have seen how fast I got online and started ordering!

This is the most amazing ingredient and my skin has never looked so good since adding products containing it into my skincare plan. Now I buy everything I can that contains snail mucin.

This essence from CosRx is nutrient dense and makes your skin glow. It boosts your skin’s brightness, hydration and overall tone. I buy it online here at

Scinic All In One Snail Ampoule

 Scinic Snail All in One Ampoule Serum

Morning and night after cleansing (or rinsing) I apply the essence followed by this next product, The Scinic Snail All In One Ampoule Serum. Don’t be put off by the name! My skin loves this product more than anything, and I always re-order it once I am half way through a bottle so that I am never without it! Again just a tiny amount goes a long way.

You probably don’t need to use both products, but I do and I like to layer them. This ampoule further boosts the skin’s hydration and its glow. It helps your skin to repair itself, diminishes redness and uneven color. When you have something working on hydration that goes this deep, your skin looks amazing all day. It also prevents and minimizes the fine lines and wrinkles that either show up or get worse because of skin becoming dehydrated. I find that makeup looks so much better when I have this on under my moisturizer, foundation looks super smooth.

Oolu Orchid Emulsion

During the day my next step is emulsion. This is a lighter texture of moisturizer that still is nutrient rich but doesn’t have a heavy finish to it. The essence and the ampoule are busy working away underneath, super boosting the skin’s hydration, so during the day I just use the emulsion. At the moment I have the Oolu Orchid Emulsion but you can find a similar product

I follow this with my Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100 It is important that you use a broad spectrum SPF product every single day. Broad spectrum SPF’s block both the UVA aging rays and the UVB burning rays and keep you looking youthful and pretty for longer!

MIZON Snail Repair Cream

At night instead of emulsion, after essence and ampoule I use MIZON All In One Snail Repair Cream. This is a lightweight but powerful ultra-nourishing gel-cream moisturizer. Your skin does all of its repair work while you sleep, so it is important to use products that help improve cell regeneration and recovery. This one also helps reduce pores, acne scars and blemishes. It is wonderful. And it is ridiculously inexpensive.

Osea Essential Facial Oil

Osea Essential Hydrating Oil

Osea Facial Oil. I got this in my Zoe Report Box Of Style. I love facial oils, especially in the winter months, or if I’m somewhere hot and dry in the summer. Of course I live in Phoenix, so my summers are both hot and dry, so I use facial oils during those months, but if I’m going to be somewhere more humid I don’t bother.

I don’t know a lot about this company (Osea) but their facial oil is wonderful. I use it after the moisturizing step.

Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack

SKIN CERAMIC Donkey Milk Celluminator Mask Pack (Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack)

The final skin care step at night is a sleeping pack. This has the texture of a gel-cream, so is quite lightweight. Its job is to hold all the skin care products you just applied against your skin. It’s like the sealing product, holding everything where it is supposed to be, and keeping them all working. It also gives your skin some more moisture, and moisture is the key to youthful looking skin!

As for the Donkey Milk part? I have no idea what it does – I just bought it because the name sounded so funny! I have never bought a Korean skincare product that has been less than amazing, and this one did not disappoint!

The Add Ons

I have several products for exfoliating. I rotate them and only use them once every week or two. Exfoliation should be based on your skin’s needs.

SNP Peeling Gel

SNP Advanced Peeling Gel.

Once every week (or sometimes every other week) I will exfoliate my skin to keep the surface clear of dead skin cells and debris and to keep it nice and smooth. I don’t believe in using scrubs on your face. I think they scratch off the dead cells on the surface of the skin but then also scratch the baby skin underneath, keeping your skin in a perpetual state of roughness and grittiness. So instead I prefer to use enzyme treatments like this peeling gel. You pop it on after cleansing and let it set for 15 minutes, then rinse it off and you have gorgeous, smooth skin!

ORG Mineral Peel

O.R.G. Skincare Mineral Peel

This one is a Korean product that came in my FabFitFun box last spring. You can use it daily before makeup to keep your skin smooth, or less if you don’t need daily exfoliating. You spray it on and then using circular massaging motions with your fingers lift away the top layer of your skin. It’s pretty cool! I often use this on shoots when I need to smooth out a model’s skin.

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder.

I have used this one for ages. Right when my previous jar was running out this full sized jar arrived in my Zoe Report Box Of Style, the timing could not have been more perfect! This is a water activated enzyme cleanser and exfoliant that gently clears away any dead skin cells and debris from the surface of the skin, leaving you with a lovely, glowing complexion. You only use a small amount, so a jar lasts a really long time.


ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville.

This exfoliating mask has been around for years and is a celebrity favorite. It just arrived in the winter FabFitFun box so I have only used it a few times, but it is really lovely and very quick. You only put it on for 2 minutes then rinse it off, and you are left with beautiful glowing skin. You can find ExfoliKate at Sephora.

I have actually had several really amazing products from FabFitFun. The box is only $50 per quarter and they give you some really outstanding full sized skin and makeup products. You can read about their subscriptions here

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

I bought this one at Sephora a few months ago after hearing a lot about it from other people in the beauty industry so decided to give it a try. This is a nighttime retinol oil designed to work on fine lines and wrinkles, rough patches and dryness. I quite like it but it is expensive. Sunday Riley products are available at

Sunday Riley Tidal

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.

This one was also in a Zoe Report Box of Style. It is a really lovely, intense water drench for the skin. It is quite lightweight so is a great option if you don’t like the feel of heavy moisturizers. I often use it before makeup to make foundation look extra gorgeous. The trick is rather than rubbing it in like a lotion, lightly drum your fingers across your skin. You will almost feel water beads on the surface of the skin. I will do this about 5 minutes before I want to put makeup on. It’s fabulous! I also really like to travel with this product when I’m going somewhere humid. You still need to hydrate the skin in humidity, but most moisturizers just feel slimy. This one is magic.

You can find Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream online at Sephora  and you can read about the Box of Style subscriptions here

Sonia Roselli Water Balm

Sonia Roselli Beauty Water Balm Skin Prep

Sonia Roselli Water Balm. This one is a makeup artist secret and as far as I know is only available on Sonia’s website and Amazon. Developed for makeup artists, it is the ultimate pre-makeup treatment. It plumps up the skin, softening fine lines and wrinkles and giving it the most amazing hydration so that makeup looks gorgeous. You apply this one with a drumming of the fingers too and almost get a wet finish to the skin. You let it sit and soak in for a few minutes and then start the makeup application. Foundation looks absolutely beautiful when you use this product first. You can find it on and also here on Amazon.comhere at

Tatcha Indigo

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment.

A few years ago I did a shoot in Colorado and somewhere between the altitude and the cold dry air my skin took a beating! I even had windburn on the tops of my cheeks. I bought the Tatcha Indigo Renewal Treatment because it literally heals damaged skin. Indigo has fantastic healing properties. I have kept this product on hand ever since and use it as a rescue product.

Inside each Tatcha product there is a story written on a vellum scroll. I learned with this one that the ancient Samurai would wear cotton soaked in indigo next to their skin so that if they were cut with a sword the healing process would begin immediately as the indigo went to work. Tatcha has an entire line of indigo products, perfect for winter skin that needs healing. The indigo products from Tatcha are endorsed by the National Eczema Association. They are just that good!

This product isn’t available at Sephora, you need to get it directly from

I think it’s a good idea to have a core group of products that you use every day and then have others that you rotate through, depending on your skin’s needs. When you find the products and the system that makes your skin look amazing, use just those until your skin stops looking amazing. I am super loyal to my skincare products and hardly ever try new things because I my skin looks incredible, it took a while to find the perfect regimen, and why would I change a thing?

I think Korean women demand an enormous amount from their skin care products. If a product isn’t performing extremely well and giving amazing results, the Korean woman will replace it with something that does. As such their products are extremely high performance.

American women tend to make their purchasing decisions based upon whichever celebrity is endorsing a product line, and don’t have such high expectations for their skin care products. If your skin isn’t looking amazing then you need to make some changes in the products you are using. You work far too hard to be wasting your hard earned money on products that don’t perform for you!

I hope you found this post helpful, and will try out some of these items next time you feel your skin needs some extra lovin!

If you have skincare products that you absolutely love, please tell us about them in the comment section below.


This post contains affiliate links. See Disclosure Page to learn how this blog uses affiliate marketing.

The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine

10 step korean skin care

If you have been following this blog for a while then you probably already know that I have been using Korean skin care (also referred to as K-Beauty)  for a few years now.

South Korea is the mecca of skin care. The Koreans are the world leaders in skin care research and development as well as scientific advances in skin care. They have technologies we can only dream of!

As a general rule I couldn’t care less about what claims a skin care company makes about their products. All I care about are results that I can see in my skin, quickly. Since changing over to Korean skin care my skin has never, ever looked so good in my entire life, even in my wild youth! My skin actually looks younger now than it did 15 years ago.

Recently I have had a few friends and acquaintances ask me if I could slip them the name of my doctor, so they could go for a tune up too. The hilarious thing is that there is no doctor! My skin is firm and radiant and glowing because I changed over to the Korean system of skin care, and to Korean skin care products. The exceptions are when I add in or use Tatcha products or SK-II, both of which are Japanese luxury skin care lines, and to a degree share similar philosophies and some product categories, such as oil cleansers and essence treatments.

For many girls and ladies, especially here in America, the thought of doing 10 steps skin care at night is just too overwhelming. Personally I love skin care regimens that involve lots of steps, so this is right up my alley, but if 10 steps are too many for you, don’t do them all. Or don’t do each step every night.

I am attaching affiliate links to some of the products that I use myself, mostly to help out my friends who keep asking me. Memebox now routes their shipping through Amazon, you can also buy Korean skin care at Sephora, and through websites such as SokoGlam and Peach and Lilly. K-Beauty is generally very inexpensive, so you win every which way!

So let’s look at the steps:

Step One: The Oil Cleanser

Oil cleansers have been a game changer for me. Using a cleansing oil is the most fabulous way to dislodge and then dissolve even the most stubborn makeup. What I love is that you can clean away every last trace of makeup while softening your skin. Your skin feels so lovely after cleansing and doesn’t feel tight or stripped or dried out.

You can find K-Beauty Cleansers at

Step Two: The Water Based Cleanser

This step is just being added to my routine. The theory is that an oil cleanser removes makeup, but you follow it with a water cleanser to remove any traces of debris, residue or impurities. I had been beyond happy with just the oil cleanser, but one of my Korean Skin Care loving friends added in this step a couple of months ago and cannot stop raving about it! Throughout her conversion to Korean Skin Care her once problematic skin has turned into one of the most beautiful, clear, radiant complexions I have ever seen. So if she says I need to add in the water based cleanser step then I am all in!

Step Three: The Exfoliator

I don’t exfoliate every day, and I refuse to use exfoliating scrubs. I am 100% all about enzyme exfoliators. Here is my personal theory which has zero basis in science but is 100% based on my experience. I believe that exfoliating scrubs scratch away the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, but also scratch the baby skin underneath, perpetuating a cycle of rough skin. When I converted to enzyme exfoliators I found that I got absolutely glowing skin that maintains it’s glow all week. I normally exfoliate once per week with SNP Advanced Peeling Gel, (Sunday nights) and then once or twice per week as needed with Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder. I use both because I have both, but the Tatcha is fine without anything else. It is such a beautiful product and I wish everyone knew about it!

Step Four: The Toner

Forget about the old school, skin stripping toners that left you skin feeling tight and dry. The Korean toners are designed to balance the skin’s pH, dampen and soften your skin and make it ready to receive all the nutrients that are about to follow. I have been using [Ariul] SPA Water 24 Hr Moisturizing Refreshing Mist for several months now. I love the concept of using a mist toner, but there are so many to choose from. If it gets confusing you can start by looking at K-Beauty on

Step Five: The Essence

Essence is the backbone of Korean Skin care. You choose an essence that is specific to your skin care needs. Maybe your skin is congested and needs more support with blackheads and breakouts, or maybe your skin is dull and needs lightening and brightening, or maybe it is dry and needs extra hydration help. Essence is a toner and serum styled hybrid that is super powerful, penetrates deeper than your moisturizer can and yet is as lightweight as water. I use [Cosrx] Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

After using essence I cannot imagine not using it! Give it a couple of days and you too will be hooked!

Step Six: The Ampoule

Ampoules are supercharged treatments that are as concentrated as essences and directly treat the skin issues that concern you the most. They are more concentrated than anything I have ever used before. You can target hyper-pigmentation, dull skin, anti aging concerns, large pores, acne, wrinkles – they seem to have an ampoule product for everything you can think of.

I have been using Scinic Snail All in One Ampoule  for more than a year now, probably closer to two years in fact, and I would have to say it is my single favorite product. It is madly concentrated so you really use a very small amount. It is so powerful and makes such an enormous difference to my skin’s moisture balance that I really can’t do without it. A jar lasts forever too!

Step Seven: The Moisturizer

During the day I use a lightweight yet powerful moisturizer called an Emulsion. Again I’m only using a small amount, much much less than a regular moisturizer. Even though it is layered over my essence and my ampoule, my skin isn;t weighed down at all. It just looks really gorgeous.

At night I use a moisture cream instead of the emulsion. My favorite is MIZON All In One Snail Repair Cream, (linked here on Amazon). I have been using it for more than a year now too. I don’t quite understand how they are able to make something so brilliantly effective, so concentrated and yet so light weight. Korean skin care puts huge focus on keeping the skin really beautifully hydrated. It slows the aging process and keeps the skin so incredibly healthy and radiant.

Step Eight: The Eye Cream

Morning and night you need to keep the delicate skin around the eyes hydrated, but because this skin is so thin and fine it needs its own special product.

Step Nine: The Sleeping Pack

At night, once you have layered on your toner, your essence, your ampoule, your eye cream and your moisturizer you seal it all in with a sleeping pack. This has the consistency of a night cream, but isn’t thick or heavy. It’s just the final layer that holds all these products against your skin and puts them to work. As with all the other products, sleeping pack is really hydrating and nourishing. It is also a total game changer in terms of how your skin looks and feels, which is ultimately what it is all about!

I have tried several different sleeping packs and every one has been brilliant. Currently I am using SKIN CERAMIC Donkey Milk Celluminator Mask Pack (Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack)


Step Ten: The Mask

As many days per week as you want to you can use Korean masks. My personal favorites are sheet masks. I buy boxes of them at a time. I use them once or twice per week, they are both inexpensive and really effective. There are sheet masks for every skin concern under the sun, from blackheads and congestion to brightening to nourishing to soothing to hydrating.

You can use them weekly, or if you get up in the morning and your skin looks blah, or before going out at night or any time you feel like it. I do one every Sunday night after I have used my Advanced Peeling Gel.


If you are thinking about trying Korean Skin Care you don’t need to start with all 10 steps. You can add pieces in one at a time which is what I did, way back when I was first starting. It’s also a cool way to see how powerful each step is, and helps it all make sense.

Also don’t be put off by some of the very unusual names! It took me over a year to wrap my head around the concept of using something called Snail Mucin on my skin. But then one of my friends used it and her skin looked incredible, so I got some too! Now I’m also using something called Donkey Milk Yogurt. Go figure., Inc.

This post contains affiliate links.

Six Simple Steps To Sensational Skin For Fall ~ Beauty Tip Of The Week # 31

image by Kelly Cappelli, makeup by Corinna Cooke, hair by Will Zecco

I hold on to summer until the last possible minute. I live in sunshine drenched Phoenix, which definitely makes it easier, but even out here eventually fall arrives.

Wherever it is that you are living, the transition from summer to fall to winter can be really taxing on your skin.
Your skin dries out, gets sensitive (and sometimes raw and red), it loses it’s glow and become lifeless and dull as well as pale and almost grey.
Before you get crazy trying to infuse vibrancy back into your complexion with highlighters and bronzers, before you smother your skin in heavy foundation, check out these six simple steps to sensational skin for fall.

1. Change Your Cleanser.

If you use a foaming or lathering “face wash” style cleanser try changing it to a gentle cleansing milk, or even better try my personal favorite, an oil cleanser.

Try Malin and Goetz Facial Cleansing Oil from SpaceNK

Malin and Goetz Facial Cleansing Oil

2. Exfoliate

With the hot months well behind us it’s time for a gentle exfoliation to get rid of all of the debris summer left on the surface of your skin, and to clear away the lingering dead cells.
Personally I am not a fan of scrub type products. I always think they create a cycle of scratched, rough skin, so instead I use enzyme peels to exfoliate and give my skin an absolutely unbelievable glow. One of my favorites is Philosophy‘s incredibly affordable The Microdelivery one minute purifying enzyme peel.

The Microdelivery by Philosophy

3. Add A Serum

Serums are a super important step in the road to glorious, youthful, radiant skin. You apply serum after cleansing and before moisturizing. They tend to be very concentrated so you only need a very small amount.
Think of serum as being a super sonic skin booster that goes extra deep and works at the ultimate performance level. 
My favorite serum, the absolute Holy Grail of serums, is Japanese luxury brand Tatcha‘s amazing Radiant Brightening Serum. My movie star clients’ eyes light up the moment they see it on my makeup table because they know their skin is going to look like magic.

Tatcha’s magnificent Radiant Deep Brightening Serum


4. Add Daytime Protection

At night we replenish and rejuvenate the skin, but during the day we need to focus on protecting the skin both from dehydration and from the ravages of exposure to environmental pollutants. One of the ways to do this is by adding an ampoule.
Ampoules can be used at night in conjunction with your serum, and they can be used during the day underneath your moisturizer. 
The Cosrx Propolis Light Ampule contains bee propolis which super hydrates and protects your skin. It also acts like a natural antibiotic, clearing up skin irritation. 

Cosrx Propolis Light Ampule

5. Layer Your Hydration Products

I love the K Beauty concept of layering multiple skin care products, especially hydration products. If your skin is starting to feel the drying effects of winter weather try the Korean skin care routine of layering your first night time moisturizer, an emulsion, over your serum and then sealing it all in with a sleeping pack.
I have been using the Holika Holika Black Caviar Emulsion as my moisturizer and then layer over top the SNP Gold Collagen Sleeping Pack  (both available online at Memebox), which seals all the skin care products in.
Sounds like a lot? Check out my post about How To Layer Your Skin Care Korean Style. Sleeping packs don’t feel heavy. They just feel like a regular night cream.

Holika Holika Black Caviar Emulsion
SNP Gold Collagen Sleeping Pack

6. Add In A Brightening Mask

Sheet masks are a quick an effective way to brighten dull skin.
Every week or two use a sheet mask like the Elisha Coy Natural pearl Mask available online at Memebox

Elisha Coy Natural Pearl Mask