Asian Skincare Routines Skincare

A Night-Time Routine for Oily, Middle Aged Skin

My morning routine is very simple. My oily/combination skin doesn’t need much in the Texas humidity to get it prepped for makeup. But evening is a whole different ballgame. Evening is where I get serious. Evening skincare don’t play.

If my morning routine is all about quickly getting clean and supplying a plump, hydrated canvas for my makeup, my evening routine is about hydration, healing, and prevention.

While my evening routine is pretty consistent, I do change things up as new needs arise. I evaluate my skin and its needs constantly, ensuring that I’m not just in a rut and doing the same-old-same-old, but that I’m actively giving my skin what it’s telling me it needs.

In general, my routine aims to accomplish the following:

  • Remove makeup
  • Clean the skin
  • Optimize hydration
  • Hydrate
  • Fix problems
  • Heal
  • Seal in moisture

Okay, so let’s talk about these steps in detail.

Take the Day Off (AKA, get this shit off my face)

People sometimes ask me what my skincare secret is. I have two, and the first one is: Don’t sleep in your makeup. I don’t care how tired or drunk you are. At the very least, drag some makeup remover over your skin before hitting the hay. Your pores will thank you. And probably also your pillowcases.

I take removing makeup very seriously,  even when I don’t wear a lot of foundation. If you’re more of a cake-up kinda girl (or guy), it’ll be even more important. For me, taking off makeup involves two steps: using a makeup remover and doing an oil cleanse.

Makeup Remover

These days, my makeup-remover of choice is the Son & Park Beauty Water. I soak a cotton pad and go to town.

Oil Cleanser

I follow up my micellar water with Banila Co’s Clean It Zero. I love the texture. It does a very good job removing makeup on its own, too.

Foaming Cleanser

Cleansers are probably the least exciting thing in the universe. I use CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser and I buy it from the grocery store.  It’s cheap, it’s gentle, it gets the job done. Who cares.


The easiest way to describe the point of a “first essence” is this: it makes your skin thirsty. It allows the products that follow to absorb better into the skin.

I have two that I really like: Missha Time Revolution First Essence and Primera Miracle Seed Essence. Right now I’m really digging the Primera because I feel it makes my skin even softer and more silky.


I prefer a hydrating toner to an acid toner, mainly because my skin needs moisture more than it needs exfoliation. I really like the Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich toner. I do not apply this with a cotton pad, as I think that just wastes product. I just use my hands.

Brush Teeth

Before I go to the next step, I like to waste a few minutes, because I want my skin to be damp but not wet when I apply my medicine. Some people waste 30 minutes at the step: I don’t. The idea is that if you apply tretinoin to damp skin, it can actually cause irritation, because damp skin absorbs more product than dry skin. If you’re sensitive, wait up to 30 minutes for your skin to dry before moving on to the next step. My skin is not sensitive and not prone to drying, so I like to apply my tretinoin to damp skin and that works really well for me.

Tretinoin: My Acne-Fighting, Wrinkle-Destroying Secret Ingredient Delivered Straight from God

You probably are already familiar with tretinoin. It’s the active ingredient in acne medicines like Retin-A. It’s a powerful retinoid, I use it to combat blackheads and wrinkles.

I use different medicines on alternating nights. M,W, F I use Curology. T, TH, Sat I use a low dose of Ziana. Sundays I skip medicine.

Watch YouTube/Bake Cookies/Do A Thing for 30 Minutes

I like to let the tretinoin do its thing for about 30 minutes, undisturbed.

Treatments and Gentle Healing: Essences, Serums, and Ampoules

Right now, my routine has no essences or ampoules in it. The two serums I use are the Primera Super Sprout serum, and the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid. The Ceramidin Liquid is really important because the tretinoin can be drying (especially when you first start using it) and the Ceramidin Liquid contains ceramides that help repair my skin’s moisture barrier.

Honestly, I’m not in love with the Primera serum, and I’ll be looking for a replacement.

Lotions and Oils : My Favorite Part of My Routine!

I love oils. I love them so much. Lotions I also really like, but I’m more picky about them. Oils I will relish in: perfume oils, bath oils, face oils, hair oils–I’m all about them. And when it comes to my face, the fancier the better.

I have three oils in my rotation right now, and they’re all unnecessarily expensive (sorry about that): Flora by Sunday Riley, The Youth Dew by May Lindstrom, and Vintner’s Daughter.

As for lotions, my favorite is Su:m37 Waterfull Moisurizing Cream. It’s also expensive and not super easy to acquire. What can I say; I like what I like.

Sleeping Masks: Eh, Not So Much

The only time I use a sleeping mask is in the winter, when I like to slather my face in Vaseline. (True story!) Otherwise, I skip them, as they just tend to end up all over my fake-satin pillowcases.

I have lots of skin treats that I use once in a while: sheet masks, lip scrubs, eye creams, clay masks, mists, etc. But these are the steps and products that constitute my daily routine: this is def going on my face.

How about you? What does your routine look like?


Shop this Post

Son & Park Beauty WaterBanila Clean It ZeroMissha Time Revolution First EssencePrimera Miracle Seed EssenceWhamisa Deep Rich Organic Flowers toner

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