Monday, May 02, 2016

The Essence of the Korean 10 Step Regime

Like everyone else, I fell down the rabbit hole of the infamous Korean 10 step skincare regime. I was already dabbling in Korean and Japanese skincare for a while as evidenced by this blog. The 10 step regime however was daunting. In reality, we’re not talking about 10 steps every time you wash your face. More on that later. There is some debate out there about what exactly is included in this legendary regime. I would posit there should also be some debate about who, at what age group, should partake in each step. That said here is a basic list:

  1.              Eye makeup remover (at night)
  2.              Oil based cleanser
  3.              Foam based cleanser
  4.              Exfoliating cleanser
  5.             Toner
  6.             Essence
  7.             Serums, also known as ampoules
  8.             Eye mask or face mask
  9.             Eye cream
  10.             Moisturizer
  11.             Sunscreen (in the morning)

As I mentioned, some things drop in and out on a daily basis or even depending on the time of day. Most do not exfoliate every day, you don’t need to apply sunscreen at night, and the masks are not necessarily a daily thing and certainly not a twice daily thing. You shouldn’t need to use eye makeup remover in the morning if you were good the night before and some would argue that the oil cleanser takes care of makeup removal (I personally did not find that to be true).

We are all different. This is important. Not everyone, at every point in their life, will flourish with this intensive regime. I gave it a good, solid try of a couple of months and the reality for me is my skin is too sensitive for all that cleansing. It didn’t respond well to all that rough housing. So I am back to my regular Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser (which by the way is pretty much a hybrid of an oil cleanser and foam cleanser anyway and removes eye makeup like a charm).

This regime did however resume my long lost interest in toner. OK, OK, so it is clear this regime seriously wants your skin to be CLEAN. You really do manage to remove more dirt with a toner no matter how many times you wash your face. The proof is in that cotton pad. It is also now possible to find a toner that isn’t terribly drying. I’m never going to absolutely LOVE a toner so I don’t expect to wax poetic about a toner on this blog any time soon. With that said, DO NOT EVER use toner that has alcohol or witch hazel in it. Try to find a toner that sounds somewhat moisturizing. For example, the toner I am using has aloe vera as a prominent ingredient.

My biggest take away from this time consuming affair and indeed the subject of this post is ESSENCE. What is essence? I honestly don’t have any idea. It has the consistency of toner but please understand me clearly, essence is no toner. This stuff is too precious to use it to wipe excess dirt off your face. In fact, I strongly suggest you skip the cotton pad altogether, pour a little bit of this watery ambrosia in your hand, mix it a bit with your other hand and wipe it all over your face, neck, and décolletage. In theory, essence lightly replaces moisture to your skin after all that cleansing and prepares it to readily absorb the rest of your products. There is some sort of fermented yeast going on here that imparts b vitamins amongst other supposedly delicious things that maybe somehow get lost in translation. It also apparently addresses your skins cellular turnover schedule, which is what I think Missha means when they say “control the rhythm of your skin.” This I truly believe to be true because I have witnessed new blemishes that have healed more quickly than usual. My skin definitely has a more even tone now which I really must, at least in part, attribute to this essence. My serums and potions do seem to absorb more quickly. I do think it has helped with that cellular turnover because I’m actually not struggling to exfoliate as much. There is some talk of assistance with firmness and wrinkles but I use so many other products meant to address these issues that it’s hard to correlate one with the other; especially since I’m also 44 and fighting a day to day battle on this front. In any case, I do believe it helps facilitate the absorption of those special serums and creams. 

You may have heard of this insanely expensive line called SK-II from ‘she of the most beautiful, radiant skin,’ Cate Blanchett. An essence just like Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive is their signature product. Word on the street is that Missha’s version is a very close approximation to the SK-II essence at a fraction of the cost. I cannot state this as an absolute truth because I have not tried both products. I’m quite happy with the Missha version however so why would I?

It took me a while to decide I absolutely love Missha Time Revolution, The First Treatment Essence Intensive, because honestly I found it confusing at first. Plus I was doing so many other things at the same time with the Korean 10 step regime. I was breaking out more from all that cleansing due to my sensitive skin issues. So it really wasn’t until I dialed it back with the cleansing that I truly realized how nice my skin is behaving as a result of essence. I’m good and sold on this stuff. My skin loves it.

As for the Korean 10 step program, I know people swear by it and I do recommend giving it a try. It didn’t work well for me but it did introduce me to this amazing product. I suspect someone younger, with less sensitive skin will absolutely respond well to the Korean 10 step regime. It also encourages you to take the time to pamper yourself in a somewhat ritualistically extreme way two times a day. I heard it described somewhere as a radical act of self-care. How can I be mad about that? Self-care is entirely the point. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Best Pre-made Hydrating Japanese Lotion Mask Ever

You have already seen me mention Japanese paper lotion masks on this blog. I love them very much. My DIY directions can be found here: Japanese Lotion Mask. It's a beautiful thing I promise. That said, I have found a pre-made version that is literally sent from heaven. Well maybe not literally, but pretty darn close. It truly is a miracle worker. I get most of my imports from Amazon and you can find it there under the name Rohto Hada-Labo Goku-jun Hyaluronic Facial Mask 20ml x 4 sheets (Japan Import). 

So here's the thing. I had a difficult birthday to face this month. So I broke out my Special Night Tricks & Tips (except sleep, I didn't get enough sleep) and this mask during my prep for a Dolly Parton themed birthday party.

Take a good look at my skin in this picture folks (forgive the gigantic fake eyelashes & crazy, costume wig). Thanks to this hyaluronic mask from Hado-Lobo this 44 year old birthday girl felt a little less like Methuselah. I swear to you there is no Photoshop or Instragram filter applied to this photo. If you don't see wrinkles, trust that the very recent application of this hyaluronic mask had a lot to do with it. You've heard me go on about hyaluronic acid before but I cannot stress enough how beneficial it is for over 40 skin. This intense treatment mask filled with the stuff plumps up your skin with moisture. The appearance of wrinkles is greatly diminished. It really is a small miracle.

Now when I was in my early 30's I didn't really get hyaluronic acid because I didn't need it. So keep that in mind if you are younger than, say, 35. It will feel nice and your skin will look nice, but you won't be as shocked by the results because you already have young (damn you), hydrated skin.

Directions for use:
First of all, don't waste it on your bed time or bath time. Sure it is beneficial any time you use it but trust me when I say you are going to want the world to see you after you use this mask. There are four individually wrapped paper masks in the box. Open it up, carefully unfold the paper and apply it to your face. Spread any excess serum (and there will be excess) to your neck and chest area. Then let it sit there for at least 20 minutes. In theory you are supposed to leave these paper masks on until they dry but I have yet to make it long enough for this particular paper mask to dry out. The longer you leave it on the better however.

Well there you have it. This particular mask is one of my most consistently effective go to products. It sounds like a cliché but I really do panic when they are not in the house. Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Laziest Girl In Town - Bioderma Crealine H2O Micellaire Solution, Sensitive Skin

I am completely guilty of the worst 'do as I say and not as I do,' crime when it comes to skin care. I rarely wash my face before I go to bed at night. Or at least I used to be guilty of this crime before I discovered another fabulous secret from my sisters in France, micellar water.

French women cannot be bothered to wash their face. Actually, the common wisdom is that the water in France was infamously harsh, so really out of necessity they needed an alternative. I prefer however to imagine Marlene Dietrich as the Laziest Girl In Town.

Many people confuse this with makeup remover. Don't do that. This is not going to remove your water proof shellac. If you typically require an eye makeup remover, do not skip it. Micellar water simply replaces the step of water and cleanser in your routine. Which for some reason I cannot manage to do at night otherwise. I must have been a fabulous french woman in a past life.    

Anyway, oil molecules (micelles) suspended in soft water gently draw the dirt, oil, and impurities out of your pores and clean your skin. It sounds crazy I know. You use a cotton pad to wipe the solution all over your face and neck and then a dry pad to wipe the water and grit off your skin. This step is very important. The product repeatedly states that you must not let the solution air dry on your face. I suppose if you do, you're leaving both micelle oil molecules AND dirt on your skin. That can't be good.

In any case, a quick swipe of the product on and a quick swipe of the product off and you're good to go. I use a sensitive skin version which does not replace my moisturizing step. Although there are some versions that claim do do so. This is not the case with the Bioderma product covered here. Often I choose to get even more frenchy with an application of Argan Oil after some sort of serum. Why not?  

Look, all I can say is I'm washing my face like a french whore most nights and I couldn't be prouder of myself.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Eyelash Self Improvement Project Part Deux

When it comes to mascara I am beyond picky.  It's really my lashes that are so persnickety.  They cannot handle any weight whatsoever because they are super fine and the manufactured curl from my trusty Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler will simply not survive.  Also I am completely prone to the smeary under eye due to the shape of my eyes.  So yeah, if a mascara has any smear to it at all I am a wreck.

Also ladies and gentlemen, as you get older, gulp, your lashes get finer.  And by finer I do not mean better if you catch my drift.  So if you're getting on in age at all this is your issue too.  That heavy, thick mascara is simply your enemy.

OK, with that harshness aside, let me get down to business.  THEY'RE REAL mascara by BENEFIT is the stuff.  I've been using it for a while now and I feel amazing.  The wand is a bit tricky at first so don't be put off by that.  It's easy to over do it.  You'll find that a light touch is the way to go.  Lightly shift the brush horizontally back and forth first then sort of blink on it again horizontally.  Go vertical with the round spiky tip to find those hard to get lashes you missed and viola, your amazing!  The lighter the touch the more natural the look.  But you can add more for drama without adding heaviness which is truly a gift.  It's the best of both worlds.  The tip is very similar to the Givenchy Mascara without the smearing and the rest of the rubber wand is just like Lash Blast.  I'm hooked!

I cannot get over how long my lashes get with the right touch of this mascara.  It lasts all day (and night if you're bad) and it doesn't give me racoon eyes at all.  I'm even brave enough to apply this on my lower lashes because, I repeat, it doesn't smear.  Very exciting.  Between the staying/non-smearing power of Etude House Liner and this delightful stuff I am officially not a racoon.  Hazah!

So many problems are solved here; no timber, no smears, longer lashes.  Seriously.  I could cry.  Oh and that reminds me.  It stays put and maintains the curl even when I cry or apply eye drops.  It's true, I've done both of these things in this mascara and can 100% vouch.

You're welcome.



Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Eyelash Serum Goodness

I've mentioned several times on this blog how eyelash deficient I am.  It's bad.  They are super fine, dead straight, and face down.  I have to use an eyelash curler if I want them to make any appearance at all. Any weight on them whatsoever makes them cry timber.  So finding a lightweight mascara is imperative.  People with long, luxurious lashes make me green with envy.  To make matters worse, miss overly sensitive skin over here started to lose her lashes over the past year.  Again, notice how I switch to third person the more anxiety inducing the topic.

My left eye officially had bald patches people.  Not cute.  I was walking around bald during the day but would add false individual lashes or straight up false lashes on nights out.  Let me tell you, the lash glue wasn't helping my situation.

In an act of sheer desperation I decided to try Rapidlash.  This serum has a little liner style brush that you sweep over your lash line.  I decided to focus on that left eye since there was some major catch up work to do there.  Slowly, over time, the lashes on that side started to grow again.  The lashes that were there to start with got really long.  It's true!  Once I felt like I had something going on over there I started using the product on my right side as well.  The results have been amazing.

It's really incredible.  I am starting to feel like one of those people with luxurious lashes.  They are still very fine and straight, my genetics are what they are, but when I curl them they look huge (to me)!
Now this is the type of product I think you need to commit to on a daily basis.  And by commit I mean I plan on using this every day from now on.  Your lashes do fall out regularly and regrow like the rest of your hair so this is not a one time fix.  So if you're lash deficient like me, plan on adding this permanently to your regime.  At about $30 a tube, that's not cheap.  But in my book, it's well worth it.

By the way, I've been using this tube for months and have yet to replace it.  So it does last a while.  Give it a shot and hang in there for the results.  It's not an overnight thing but with a little persistence you will be so happy.  

Friday, January 02, 2015

Etude House Play 101 Pencils

My New Years Eve ended up being an impromptu dinner and slumber party with some close friends.  I rushed home from work that night and had very little time to get cute.  Let's just say My big night out regime wasn't going to happen.  Frankly I've been running a little ragged with work, a big move, and the holidays so I had my work cut out for me.

My go to product of late for a quick sprucing up has been these fun pencils from Etude House (which I believe is a Korean company).  I first heard about them on XOJane and ordered some on Amazon.  For an import, they were surprisingly cheap.

The concept is simple and quite brilliant.  Pencils in 50 different colors with different textures for all your makeup needs.  I have four different colors in the eyeliner and concealer spectrum.  #1 - a creamy black eyeliner, #49 - a creamy brown eyeliner, #8 - a matte concealer color, and #6 a shimmery champagne color.  As you can see from the picture above, there are colors and textures that are great for eye shadow and lip colors but I have yet to dip into those areas of the Play 101 world.  All 50 Colors

Anyway, I threw on a quick dab of eye cream and a swipe of the #8 concealer color around my eyes (Dent Alert) and then lined my lids with the creamy black color (#1) which goes on very smoothly and is dense enough in pigment to almost look like liquid or gel eyeliner.  I then dabbed the shimmery champagne highlighter color on the inner corners of my eyes and under my brows,  Another great trick I have found for the #8 concealer color is lining under and above my eyebrows (blend of course) after I have filled them in to make them look nice and tidy.  My friend Naomi then insisted I add some lashes and we threw those on as well.

The great thing about these pencils and the reason I'm bringing them up now is this stuff stays put.  The eyeliner color doesn't ever smear.  In fact, when I woke up New Years Day and one by one said goodbye to my darling friends that makeup was still intact.  I'm not exaggerating.  With seven people in the house that morning and one bathroom I glanced in the mirror and let it go.  It still looked surprisingly fresh throughout the next day despite what one could only call a doozy of a hangover.

Now I obviously don't recommend leaving your makeup on over night like this ever but I do think these pencils are pretty remarkable.  I'm officially hooked.    

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ultimate Facial Serum

It's about time I revealed my best kept secret product.  I honestly have mixed feelings about sharing this because I don't want the price to change or for Essential Wholesale to run out!

My all time favorite serum is called Ultimate Facial Serum from Essential Wholesale.  I've been sharing it with my close friends for years and they swear by it.  It started with me sharing it with them because the smallest batch you can order is 16 ounces.  Which is really more than anyone can use on their own before the batch expires.  We're talking about a serum here.  So if you do buy a batch of Ultimate Facial Serum, by all means, share it with your friends.  Literally spread the love.

That said, the ingredients in this serum are absolute top notch.  Vitamins A, B, C, E and DMAE are just a few of the amazing ingredients.  Coenzyme Q10, tons of fruit extracts, and niacinamide are in there as well kids.  It's just packed with good, strong stuff.

Some of my friends swear it helps reduce and prevent their acne.  Others claim it creates a wonderful healthy glow.  All of this is true for me.  Basically, it seems to help greatly with the cell turnover and firmness of my skin and who doesn't need that?  Well, if you're in your 20's you may not need that.  Just saying.

It might be a little intense for sensitive skin.  So ease into it if you have these issues.  Maybe start every other day for example.  I'm pretty sensitive and I can tolerate it but truth be told, I can feel it working.  Not in a bad way.  It doesn't hurt or anything and I don't experience redness or get a rash.  I just feel a little extra warmth.  It's a myth that you shouldn't feel your products working by the way.  Don't believe that if you want results.  Do me a favor though and stop using this product if you develop a rash OK?  You are obviously too much of a hot house flower for this one.  Don't let this caveat scare you off!  Be brave!  Give it a shot.    

Serums with ingredients like these go for at least $30 for two ounces.  Here you are getting 16 ounces for less than that.  Perricone sells a six ounce serum with high levels of DMAE for $145.  Seriously, do the math.  

It's very emollient so I tend to use a dime size amount daily with a lighter moisturizer.  Also, it doesn't contain hyaluronic acid so make sure you're getting that elsewhere if you're over 35.  My Pack Gel takes care of that.  By the way, I often add it to the hyaluronic lotion I use for my Lotion Masks.  That combination really packs a punch.

Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) means you will be more sensitive to the sun so don't you dare go outside without sunscreen!  Don't make me come after you!  

Anyway, I was recently without this for a while and it really reminded me how much I absolutely love this stuff.  I hope you love it too.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Special Night Tricks & Tips

When I have a very important night planned, I add about thirty minutes to my prep time and break out some special extras to make sure I'm at my very best. Here is a list with links of those must haves:

A solid eight hours of sleep the night before - 
As we get older, we really cannot afford lose sleep. It shows in a major way on our face. Seriously. This is not always the easiest prospect for me but I have found Rescue Remedy Sleep to be extremely helpful with the snag and loop. It's non-habit forming and made from Bach flower remedies, which are comprised of flower essences that have been distilled in alcohol. They have a pastille version that is sans alcohol if you prefer.

Exfoliation - 
You just simply cannot skip a good solid exfoliation before your big night out. I always take the time to use Peter Thomas Roth Peel Pads. All three minutes of it.
PTR Unwrinkle Peel Pads

Hydrating Lotion Mask - 
A girl's gotta do and I have got to take 15 minutes for a hyaluronic acid lotion mask. If I'm really going for it, I put the mask on my face, slip into a hot bath, and place a shower cap (cut a little slit for air) over the mask. I know that sounds crazy, and frankly it feels a bit crazy, but you will not be able to dispute the results. Trust me. It's amazing.

Japanese Lotion Mask

Facial Massage - 
While my skin is nice and slippery from the lotion mask, I do a shorter, simpler version of this Japanese facial massage. I do the eyes, the jawline, down the neck, above the collar bones towards my armpits, and then pinch my arm pits to release the fluid build up there. The idea is to move any puffiness out of your face and into your lymph nodes.  It really does make a difference.

Primer -
Then, after applying my normal skincare, I add the extra step of primer to my makeup regime. Mally primer is silicone based and it really minimizes the look of fine wrinkles. The fact that it sets my makeup in a major way doesn't hurt either. One word of caution, do not use powder foundation over a primer. Powder foundation needs to mix with the natural oils in your skin. A liquid or airbrush foundation is the way to go in this situation.

Mally Primer

Eyelashes -
Finally, if it really is an important night I have to add false eyelashes. I know they're a pain but even if your eye shadow and liner isn't picture perfect, lashes will always fix everything. Every time. You can't go wrong with Ardell. Make sure the lash band is nice and flexible by bending it back and forth a bit. They'll be easier to apply. Then use my favorite lash glue from Darkness. Darkness Glue    

This all sounds very elaborate I know and I only break it all out at once for VERY special occasions. That said, don't be afraid to implement these things here and there on their own. You won't regret it.  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Gold Standards of My Regime

Birthday No. 42, gulp.

Products come and go.  Especially for a skincare/makeup obsessive like me.  Some products are so tried and true though I continue to use them regularly, if not daily.  I may cheat on them a bit now and then but I always return to products that work.  These are the absolute gold standard of my regime.  Follow the links to my original blog postings.

Purity Made Simple Face Wash - Philosophy
There simply is no better face wash.  It is gentle, dissolves makeup, and doesn't sting my eyes.  I buy 32 ounce sizes so that I never run out.
Purity Made Simple

Clarisonic Face Brush
This brush is amazing.  It's worth the money.  Your skin just gets cleaner.  Your pores look better.  Just remember to REGULARLY replace that brush.

UN-Wrinkle Peel Pads - Peter Thomas Roth
I don't take the time to use these enough.  When I do though (and I always do), I swear to myself that I'll use them at least weekly.  The results are miraculous.  I never fail to break these out if I have a special occasion to attend.  In other words, I am never without this product.
Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads

Un-Wrinkle - Peter Thomas Roth
When there is a sale, I stock up on this serum.  I have yet to run out of it without a replacement bottle on hand.  In fact, I got the stronger version of it for Christmas because I have people in my life who understand.  There is no living without it.

Asahi R&d Suhada Shizuku Pack Gel All-in-one Beauty
This product is fairly new to my regime but I think it's pretty safe to say it's not going anywhere.  As long as Japan will ship it to me I will use it every day.  I have used some very high quality sources of hyaluronic acid in my day but nothing beats this pack gel in pure effectiveness.
Asahi R&d Suhada Shizuku Pack Gel

WEN by Chaz Dean
I literally buy this stuff by the gallon.  It's imperative.  Just recently, my new hairstylist was commenting on how healthy and soft my hair is despite coloring and highlighting it regularly.  I also have it down to a science so it really doesn't add much shower time.  

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
When it was announced this stuff was leaving the US I ran out and bought 10 of them.  That's how much I need this eye lash curler.  No other eyelash curler compares.
Shu Uemura Curler

Elisha Coy Premium Gold Mineral BB
I have to admit I'm rather proud to have first posted this BB crème back in May, 2012.  No one I knew had heard of BB crème at the time.  Somehow I hit the jackpot with my first BB Crème.  Believe me, I've tried others.  This is simply the best and I still put it on my face every single day.
Elisha Coy BB Crème

Mally Perfect Prep Poreless Primer
This is the best primer period.  Not an every day thing for me but an absolute must for an important night out.
Mally Primer

Clear Radiance - Bare Escentuals
I wear this highlighter so regularly it's constantly with me.  There have been other affairs, sure, but I'm never without and always come back to Clear Radiance.  You simply cannot go wrong with this stuff if you have fair skin.  It's completely mistake proof (trust me, other highlighters can go very wrong) and extremely flattering.
Clear Radiance

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Gel What?

 Normally I'm one for keeping my face creme simple and spending my money on serums.  I've been on this Japanese skincare kick recently however and came across this amazing product.  Now I'm hooked.

The Japanese are all about hyaluronic acid which makes them kindred spirits in my book.  You've heard me talk about this ingredient many times before.  I'm admittedly obsessed.  This particular product called Asahi R&d Suhada Shizuku Pack Gel All-in-one Beauty is positively loaded with hyaluronic acid, two kinds in fact.  

This gel takes the place of my moisturizer yet has a very unique texture.  They call it a gel for a reason, it melts into your skin and becomes almost the consistency of water as you rub it in.  You see and feel little droplets of water form as you rub the product into your skin.  It's quite literally the opposite of oily.  

According to the Japanese skincare guru Chizu Saeki, you know your skin is hydrated if you press your fingers gently into your skin and it clings a bit to your fingers as you pull them away.  All I can say is when I put this stuff on in the morning, my skin passes this test the entire day.         

What's in it you ask?  Well, the packaging is entirely in Japanese so I really had no clue until the Amazon store that sold me this product was kind enough translate.  Along with water, glycerin, and some other long words, it has both regular hyaluronic acid and hydrolized hyaluronic acid.  It also contains hydrolized collagen, placenta extract, soybean seed extract, glucosylceramide, water-soluble proteoglycan, and hydrogenated lecithin.  There are crosspolymers to thicken the gel and strangely enough ethanol, but I'm trying not to judge it too harshly for that (or the placenta for that matter).  

Because my skin is so plumped up and dewy moist!  Like I said, I’m hooked.   

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Japanese Lotion Mask

My newest skincare obsession has been the wealth of products and methods the Japanese have to offer.  Thanks to the internet, I have been able to try popular Japanese products normally sold only in Japan.  It’s all very exciting. 

For this post however I would like to introduce you to a remarkable method for which you can use the products you already have in your drawer.  It’s called the lotion mask.

The concept is simple.  By applying product via thin saturated cotton and leaving it on your skin for 3 to 15 minutes, your skin somehow absorbs the product more deeply into its epidermis than it would if you simply applied to your skin directly.  Osmosis perhaps; I’m not sure. 

The Japanese have a product category they call lotion which is somewhere in between toner and serum here in the US.  This is the consistency you need for this mask.  They have products for sale with this consistency, very good ones in fact.  But depending on your needs and what you already have in your cabinet, you can create your own by combining your serums with your toner.  For example, I would combine my toner in a small bowl with some hyaluronic acid, vitamin c powder, and my serum containing retinol.  Maybe even just a little bit of moisturizer to thicken it up a bit.  The idea is to have a consistency that is thicker than a toner but thinner than what we would call a lotion here in the United States.  It should be much thicker than toner but thin enough to easily pour out of the bowl. 

With that said, I understand not everyone is as DIY as I am so a good Japanese lotion I can strongly recommend would be Rohto Hadalabo Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (Moist).

This is a really solid source of hyaluronic acid in the perfect consistency for a lotion mask. 

Once you have your lotion figured out, you will need very thin cotton squares like Daisan 5-layer Cotton Facial Cosmetic Pads:

You can see by the picture that the idea is to saturate the cotton pads, peel them apart, and apply the thinnest layer all over your face.  Once they are saturated you can actually work with the layers to stretch them out a bit as you apply them.  This takes a delicate touch (you can mangle the pads a bit if you stretch them out too much) and a little practice however.  Feel free to just simply use more pads until you’re comfortable. 

Allow them to sit on your face until the moisture has transferred from the cotton into your skin.  The cotton will actually dry out.

Another method that I actually prefer simply because it’s faster is a premade, dry mask.  One that I found that works perfectly is a DIY Facial Paper Compress Mask.   

They are readily available on Amazon under various names, a simple search will find them for you.  They are very easy to use, you drop the tiny little dry disks into a bowl with your lotion mixture and it expands into the mask as it absorbs the liquid.  Make sure the mask is fully saturated but not sopping wet.  There's a fine line between not enough product and wasting your product that you will figure out with a little practice.  Gently pull it apart into the flat mask shape and apply it to your face.  Voila, you’ve got an easy breezy lotion mask. 

All of the goodness of those ingredients will absorb deeply into your skin, much more deeply than if you applied it directly.  After 3 to 15 minutes, peel the mask off and you will find that your skin is plumped and hydrated.

Then apply the rest of your thicker serums and moisturizers as you would normally.  As always, follow the thin to thickest rule of thumb.  I have a very thin peptide serum that I actually apply separately before the mask.  Assuming I were to use just the hyaluronic lotion above, after the mask I would apply my thicker retinol serum and moisturizer.  Basically, whatever ingredients I need that are not included in the mask itself.  
With regular use over time, I think you will find that your more deeply absorbed ingredients are much more effective and at the very least, you are seeing a major difference in your skins overall hydration.