Routines and Favorites

Welcome to Ami’s Magic Box!

This blog was created to share reviews on make-up and skincare products, thoughts about make-up brands, makeup tips, and tutorials that I collected (I am not ready to commit to making my own tutorials yet).

Why did I want a blog? To be honest, I’m literally dying to share what I know about cosmetics and makeup! My advises have been helping some of my friends which made me realize I would be able to reach more people by creating a blog. I am not a professional blogger or beauty guru or makeup artist by any means because I have a full time job which takes up most of my time. Nevertheless, I hope my limited knowledge and experience of beauty products could be as helpful and informative to my readers as possible!

*Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated, all products mentioned in this blog are not sponsored.

Check out the lists below if you’re interested in my current favorites and routines.


Because my skin changes a lot during the year: combination in Spring and Fall, oily in Summer, and dry in Winter, the skincare routines below can be applied to all skin types! Before reading any further, make sure the following are checked:

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Pay attention to the expiration date of your skincare products.
  • Keep your skincare products at places not affected by heat and direct sunlight.
  • Your hands are clean before doing your skincare routine.

My Day-Time Skincare Routine (All Skin Type)

Step 1: Cleansing – I use water only or a gentle cleanser to avoid stripping off the natural oil and the protecting film on skin. If you prefer using a cleanser, choose one with low pH level (5.5 or below).

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Step 2: Applying lip balm – I apply a non-slippery lip balm with some sun protection to prevent the lip balm from interfering with your lipsticks and protect your lips from harmful UV rays.


Step 3: Toning – An exfoliating toner helps create a smooth canvas by removing dead skin cells.

Pixi Glow Tonic (Exfoliating Toner)


Step 4: Preparing skin for treatment – An essence smooths skin, reduces pore size, and help skin absorb the next products better.

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Step 5: Treating – I use a serum and/or ampoule to target skin problems (such as aging, uneven skin tone, dark spots, wrinkles, …). It is okay to layer different serums if one can’t satisfy your needs. This step includes eye serum and eye cream.

You should start using anti-aging product early (i.e. early 20’s) because once wrinkles appear, it’s nearly impossible to remove them. If you’re under 20 and don’t have any skin problem and thus don’t find the need to use a serum, using sheet masks is a convenient way to add some benefit ingredients to your skin.

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Step 6: Moisturizing – It’s important to find a moisturizer that fits your skin type. I like to use a moisturizer gel from late Spring to early Fall and a heavy cream from late Fall and early Spring.

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Step 7: Sun Protecting – This is the most important step if you plan on going out, so make sure to apply sunscreen even if it’s raining. Use physical instead of chemical sunscreen for these reasons:

  • Oxybezone in chemical sunscreens potentially causes irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption.
  • You don’t have to apply at least 30 minutes before going out.
  • You don’t have to reapply when you’re exposed to the sun more than 2 hours.

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My Night-Time Skincare Routine (All Skin Type)

Step 1: Removing makeup – I like to use different types of makeup removers depending on my mood on that day, although I find myself using oil-based ones more often because they are more effective removing waterproof eye makeup.

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Step 2: Cleansing – At night on days when I wear makeup (almost everyday), I prefer a cleanser that can cleanse the left-over makeup effectively. I also love using a cleansing device (Foreo Luna Go every night and Clarisonic once a week) to deep clean my pores without over-exfoliating the skin.

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Step 3: Detoxifying/ Retexturizing/ Hydrating – Using wash-off masks at least 2-3 times a week provides my skin an extra help for a clear and soft skin.

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Step 4: Applying lip balm – A very moisturizing lip balm will prevent lips from drying out through the night. I always remember to reapply right before I go to sleep; doing so and I will wake up with super soft lips!

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Step 5: Balancing – A gentle toner that doesn’t have alcohol is what needed to balance the skin’s pH level, smooth skin, and reduce pore size.



Step 6: Preparing for treatment (same as step 4 in the day-time routine)

Step 7: Treating (same as step 5 in the day-time routine)

Step 8: Moisturizing (same as step 6 in the day-time routine)

Step 9: More moisturizing – When my skin is very dry during the colder months, I use oil and/or sleeping pack to further moisturize skin at night. Facial oil can be apply before or after moisturizer depending on whether you like that slightly shiny look on your skin or not. Sleeping pack/mask can be used as a replacement for moisturizer.

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Ami’s Magic Box Top Skincare Products



My Makeup Routine (All Skin Type)

A. Base

Step 1: Primer – To me this is a must. Primer doesn’t only give you a smooth surface, blur your pores, control oil, and prolong your makeup, it also acts as a barrier between the skin and other products.

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Step 2: Foundation/ BB Cream – I prefer using foundation for a full work day and BB cream  for short errands. I always use a flat-top kabuki brush to apply foundation with a circular motion on both face on neck. I find that it’s the best way to blend the foundation evenly and cover pores. I don’t really like to have more than 1 layer of foundation nor I like to rely on concealer so I need at least light-to-medium coverage. Other things I look for in a foundation is having light-weight feel, not looking heavy or cakey, not settling in pores and fine lines, being long lasting, and not oxidizing.

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Step 3: Concealer – Actually, I rarely use concealer on a daily basis because I don’t have a lot of break outs and my dark circles, though do exist, are not severe. However, I do use it occasionally when I have a nasty red pimple that just can’t be covered by a foundation. Tool? I just use the tip of my index finger because body heat will help melt the thick consistency of the concealer.

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Step 4: Powder – I can never go out without setting my foundation with a powder which has to be extremely finely milled and light weight, otherwise I would feel itchy and keep scratching my face. A powder will prevent your foundation from sliding around or melt too easily. How I apply: pick up some powder on one side of a large tapered powder brush, tap the excess off, lightly press on skin, concentrating on the center of your face.

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B. Face Makeup

Step 5: Contour – I don’t know since when but contouring has become an important part of my makeup routine. I hate seeing my face looking so flat without any shadow. Because contouring is all about creating shadow to make your face more dimensional and slimmer, you should choose products with a little gray in the shade and say NO to warm contour products or bronzers! Below are powder products I know that are cool enough for contouring.

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Step 6: Blush – I don’t have a lot of requirements for blushes but I tend to choose ones with at least medium pigmentation. There are so many great blushes out there but considering the fact that I use only a little of product each time (so each blush lasts very long), I don’t often buy and experiment new blushes. Below are the ones I love and also the ones that I’ve heard so many people raving about. Note that if you want to get many shades of the same blush, pay attention to release of holiday blush palettes which will give you a lot more value than buying single blushes.

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Step 7: Highlight – I do like to highlight my cheekbones from time to time but not everyday. I think theBalm and Becca have the best highlighters!

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C. Eyebrows

Step 8: Eyebrow pencil – I normally go for a natural eyebrow look (not Instagram type of eyebrow makeup). Although I do like the popular Anastasia Deepbrow Pomade, I always prefer retractable eyebrow pencils that are skinny and have a spoolie brush at the end. You won’t have to sharpen them, you would be able to draw sharp edges easily, and you can shape your eyebrows with the spoolie attached.

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Step 9: Eyebrow gel/mascara – Because I always dye my hair to a color lighter than my natural dark brown hair color, I need an eyebrow mascara that matches the dye color to have natural-looking eyebrows. I found that it was hard to find in the U.S. the eyebrow mascaras light enough to match the hair colors I usually use, so I turned to South Korean brands and I love what I found.

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D. Eye Makeup

Step 10: Eye primer –

Step 11: Eye shadows –

Step 12: Eyeliner –

Step 13: Eye lash curlers and mascara –

E. Lips

Step 14: Lipstick


Ami’s Magic Box Top Makeup Products

Imagining if I was allowed to have only one item for each makeup step, what would I choose?

primer – foundation – concealer – powder – contour – highlight – blush – brow – brow gel – eye primer – eye shadows – eyeliner – mascara – lipstick

Coming Soon …