This 3-Step K-Beauty Routine Stopped My Breakouts

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In the skin department, I was dealt a doozy. Somehow the universe (and my parents, love you mom!) blessed me with a skin type that’s like a magical unicorn: Parched-to-the-bone dry, but also acne-prone. You might think that sounds impossible…like maybe I got my skin type wrong? Or maybe I’m over-exfoliating and using too many harsh products that are stripping my skin so it just feels dehydrated? Let me assure you, my glow-loving friends, all of the above Does. Not. Apply. To. Me. My skin is—and has always been—dry, flaky, and pretty much impossible to keep hydrated on a consistent basis.

And to make matters worse, the second I hit puberty—bam—hormonal acne and all the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that comes along with it joined the party. Over the last decade, I’ve struggled to find the perfect regimen (one that delivers enough moisture without clogging pores) and have tried everything from diet changes to spa treatments to countless topical products with no lasting improvements.

That is, until this January, when I finally jumped on the K-beauty bandwagon. And let me tell you: The hype is real. After researching and reading everything I could find about multi-step routines, unusual ingredients, and boundary-pushing technologies—I began experimenting in hopes of finally unearthing a holy grail regimen that could tackle both my perpetual dryness and acne at the same time. I’m happy to report I freaking found it, and even happier to share that it doesn’t take a ridiculous number of steps. It’s the 3-Step Green Tea Routine from Whamisa by Glow Recipe ($60) and it’s literally changed my skin.

Here’s a breakdown of the products—and protocols—that have worked for me:

Step 1: A Gentle Cleanser

TBH, cleansing was never a priority for me. I assumed that something that washed away and didn’t stay on my face didn’t really matter. Turns out, I was dead wrong. If you choose the right formula for your skin type, you can actually give skin an added boost of moisture or brightening, while you’re removing dirt, makeup, and oil. It’s now become my most important step. I’ve learned that cleansing sets the foundation for the rest of your skincare and if you don’t do it properly, there’s zero point in applying fancy serums and moisturizer.

Since my skin is like the Sahara Desert, and anything geared towards acne tends to strip what little oil it naturally produces, I always turned to super rich cream formulas. They handled my dryness, but never helped address my issues with acne bacteria and clogged pores. I hate wasting my money, so I searched long and hard to find a cleanser that can remove dirt and makeup and keep oil in check without turning me into a raisin. Low and behold, the Whamisa By Glow Recipe Green Tea Foaming Cleansing Gel ($20) does it all.

The Green Tea Foaming Cleansing Gel is a jelly-like formula that’s ideal for oily/combination skin, but to my relief, it didn’t strip or make my unicorn skin irritated or flaky. It’s SLS-free, which allows the foam to remove dirt and oil in a gentle way while heavy duty (but non pore-cloggy) moisturizers like hyaluronic acid, kale extract, and grape seed oil leave skin soft and supple.

On top of that, there are bits of fermented green tea leaves suspended in the gel that deliver concentrated antioxidants, which is really amazing for anyone dealing with acne because they soothe and calm irritation. I’d only ever used green tea to depuff my eyes before, but since it has natural anti-inflammatory properties it makes sense that it helps heal acne, too. As soon as I swapped my go-to acne-fighters (think salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which are both very drying) with green tea, my dry, blemish-prone skin has balanced out and been a lot less angry. Now, when I look at myself in the mirror after double cleansing, my face looks brighter, more even, and not as red.

Step 2: A Lightweight Toner-Serum Hybrid

I’ve learned over the years that my winning skin recipe involves consistency, so it was a no-brainer for me to follow up the green tea cleanser with the Whamisa By Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner ($22), which magically packs the skin-boosting concentration of a serum into the watery, whisper-light consistency of a toner. On top of saving me time and money, it’s been a total gamechanger for my skin. Unlike other toning products I’ve tried, the Green Tea Serum Toner didn’t feel harsh, stripping, or astringent-y in the least. Instead, the bouncy liquid felt like silk going on and absorbed instantly, while still giving my skin a noticeably plumper, more hydrated look. I love it so much that I actually look forward to doing my skincare routine now!

The Serum Toner has a base of steeped green tea (instead of plain water like most toners), which gives your face a turbocharged amount of antioxidants. Other key ingredients include moisture-binding hyaluronic acid, soothing bergamot oil, and brightening broccoli and licorice root extracts—all things my dull, blemished skin needs on the regular.

Since I’m on the drier side, I use it to do the 7-skin method, a technique that involves applying seven layers of toner to maximize hydration. Fellow dry skin-acne unicorns, take my word for it: 7-skin is where it’s at! It has single-handedly taken my skin to a whole other level of glow. Whenever I do it, my skin feels refreshed but not overloaded on product, which is crucial because that’s the kiss of death for breakouts and anyone who tends be reactive or sensitive. If you’re oily or combination, you probably won’t need as much; one to three layers usually gets the job done.

Step 3: A Non-Greasy Moisturizer


Wanting to stay true to my green tea experiment, I layered on the oil-free Whamisa By Glow Recipe Green Tea Moisturizer ($25) as my final step, which honestly, I was a little skeptical of. Sure, oil-free is great for acne, but would this formula be hydrating enough to tackle my dry patches?

To my surprise, this moisturizer did the job! Though, I admit the seven layers of Serum Toner may have swayed my glow factor. Regardless, I only needed a pea-sized amount of this vitamin-rich moisturizer to plump my whole face. Just like the cleanser and toner serum, the Green Tea Moisturizer is loaded with soothing green tea, rosemary leaf water, and a brightening mix of kale, broccoli, celery, and spinach to nourish and repair. Post-patting, I had this chok-chok (aka super hydrated) dewiness going on and no redness. Occasionally this winter, I’ve needed to double up to combat the super dry air and zero percent humidity, but when spring (finally!) rolls around next week, I’ll adjust the amount based on what my skin needs.

My Bottom Line


Over the last three months that I’ve been using this 3-Step K-Beauty Routine Kit, my skin genuinely looks better. I’m even getting compliments on how good my skin looks and that hardly ever happens. Within two weeks, my breakouts were no more. I still have a few dark marks left behind, but the blackheads on my cheeks have diminished and the large, red pimples are completely gone! And my pores are less noticeable, too. Even the Wayskin Skin Analyzer ($80) agrees: My skin no longer looks “middle aged”. Roger that, because what I’ve noticed is a more hydrated, clearer, glowier face over all.

This 3-piece set has taught me a lot about my skin and what it needs. I learned that sometimes less is more and that being gentle is the key to a successful skincare regimen. I’m a person that’s used to painful extractions, chemical peels, and drying ingredients to combat breakouts, but something as simple as adding a few antioxidants has been just as effective at clearing up my skin.

I’m going to continue to use this kit until each product is empty. It’s given me the confidence to up my complexion game and try to make my ultimate skin goal of #CloudlessSkin a reality. Stay tuned for updates!

What’s your miracle skin product? Let us know in the comments below!

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