My skin has gone through quite the roller coaster ride these past few years.
Just a brief little background, I have combination skin, more on the oily side on me T-zone areas, especially on my forehead like it can get really shiny mid day.
I have never had bad skin during my teenage years, I've been blessed with minimal spots all the way through high school, and good 'ol OXY 5 would always do the trick. But when I started my studies abroad in Ireland, my skin obviously needed extra care due to the lack of humidity, and the amount of stress and chocolate I started piling up. I also started being experimental with makeup and because I did not know how to properly take care of my skin, well, it started acting up.
Fast forward through lots of dermatologist visits, loads and I mean loads of skin care experimenting, I am now happy (3 years later lol) with my current regime and touch wood, my skin is finally a lot calmer. I am nowhere near having perfect flawless skin, infact I still have obvious flaws. But I am a lot happier with how it is.
Bare in mind, I was on antibiotics for a good few months, with dietary modifications too before my skin calmed down so if you suffer from severe acne, I would suggest going to a good derm. Would save you time and money in the long run. (Deep scars are permanent guys, no matter what they tell you)
And just a slight disclaimer (one you would see in all skincare routine vids/posts), this is what works for me and everyone has different skin (obvsly) so you just have to find what works for you. I just want to share my own experience and what I find useful for me, hopefully it would make a good read. Because I sure do love me a good skincare read!
STEP 1,2&3: Cleanse + Exfoliate
So, I was browsing at Bobbi Brown (quite the tongue twister innit) 2 years back and I was looking at their skin care line. The lady working there asked about my regime and she was shocked to hear that I do not pre-cleanse. K back then I never knew there even was such a thing. That was when she introduced me to Cleansing Oil! I began using it for a while and I thought it was the best thing ever! BB's cleansing oil has sunflower oil in it which soothed my skin a lot, it didn't strip off my skin when taking off my makeup.
Fast forward a few months, I found out that Koreans double cleanse using oils too! So I started getting really into korean skincare however some of the products did break me out. But I learnt their 10 step skincare routine and their little massaging tips and tricks, and incorporated them into my own using the products that work for me.
1. Origins' A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser with White Tea
2. Origins' Never a Dull Moment - skin brightening polisher with fruit extracts
3. Origins' Clear Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil
I would start off with number 3 (I skip this oil in the morning- only at night), regardless of whether or not I have makeup on, then number 1 , and then number 2. I exfoliate twice a week and this scrub is AMAZING. I've never used a mechanical exfoliator I loved more. Whenever I get a pimple, I would use this and the little critter would shrink the next day or two. Ace. (Will go into chemical exfoliating in a bit)
Also learnt from the Koreans, I use a Carbon Konjac sponge with my cleanser (once a day) and my skin would feel smooth AF. You can get them from Face Shop or Sephora. I usually bring loads back to Ireland because I have no idea where to get them here!
Oh another great tip I found is to finish washing your face using cool water to close the pores before the other steps. During cleansing, it's better to use warm/ room temp water to open the pores and get all the gunk out.
STEP 4: Essence/Toner
The first step after washing your face is always a toner and essence. Personally I prefer to use either one- not both. My favourite toner of all time is the Origins' treatment lotion with White tea (it's in the same range as the cleanser). Absolutely adore it.
But I was curious to try this cult fave - Missha's Time Revolution Essence- (ordered from a friend who visited Korea) and I have been using it for a good few months now. To be honest I have not seen any drastic changes to my skin because of it but no bad reactions so far, so we'll give it a few more months.
The sprayer thingy in the picture is just how I like to "apply" my toner/ essence just because I love the feeling. and its easier than using a cotton square- this I use if I had a full face of makeup before.
STEP 5: Spot management
My dermatologist recommended me these two creams to apply every other day on troubled/acne prone areas. Duac is my holy grail (it contains Clindamycin and 5% Benzoyl Peroxide). Differin is a form of retinoid so I find it helps with controlling hyper pigmentation but that's it- I rarely use it now.
I also still use my trusty OXY5 on larger spots.
STEP 6: Serums
1. OST's Pure Vitamin C20 Serum (Night)
2. Estee Lauder's Idealist - Pore Minimising Skin Refinisher (Day)
3. Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate (Day)
4. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (Night)
These are my favourite serums ever. Well I'm still on the fence about #2 because it does mattify my skin a little which is weird but make up does go great over it- I tend to not use a primer when I use this.
#1 is perfection! It's a chemical exfoliant due to the AHA/ ascorbic acid being an ingredient so it's great for reducing hyper pigmentation/ scarring. I know they've come up with a newer version of it- C21.5 but I have yet to try it. Leave a comment if you have! For night time I either use this or #4.
#3 makes my skin feel super lush! I love how my makeup glides over my skin and how it looks glowy and soft. HG
I tend to alternate just because I want the benefits of all of em lol
Daytime: 2 or 3
Night time: 1 or 4
STEP 7: Moisturiser
1. Algenist's Complete Eye Renewal Balm (Night)
2. Clinique's All About Eyes cream (Day)
3. Origins' Three Part Harmony moisturiser (Day)
4. Bio-essence's Hydra Triaction Sleeping Beauty Mask (Night)
5. Origins' Drink Up- Intensive Overnight Mask (Night)
The Clinique eye cream is more for morning puffiness and dark circles which is why I use it in the day and the Algenist one is for dry eyes. The skin around my eye area is really sensitive especially the lids, and since I use Benzoyl Peroxide, I need that extra moisture.
For night time I enjoy me a good sleeping mask and #4 is packed with hyaluronic acid which is a MIRACLE INGREDIENT especially for people suffering from winter dryness (or just general dry skin hehe)
STEP 8: Masks
This step actually comes right after toner, and you can moisturise after masking. Or not, it depends on how you feel. I would moisturise just because I'm extra.
So these are some of my favourite ones. Although one worth mentioning (which I have sadly ran out of) is Bio-essence's Snail Secretion Repair Mask. (My go-to whenever I get a stubborn spot that needs some serious calming down).
STEP 9 & 10: SPF and Mist
1. Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50++
2. Estee Lauder's DayWear Antioxidant BB Cream SPF 35 (I believe this isn't sold in Malaysia)
3. Innisfree's Green Tea Mineral Mist
I'm sure we all know the utmost importance of SPF and I cannot stress this enough to all my girlfriends, even my boyfriend.
Extra tips: apply on your neck and onto your lips too! and even when it's cloudy.
This BB cream (#2) is mentioned here because it is a part of my skin care sort of because of all the good ingredients in it i.e. antioxidants. And I use it every single day so.
This particular one makes my skin look so good, and dewy and moisturised I absolutely adore it. And it matches my skin tone like a dream- unlike a lot of bb creams out there. (especially you, moonshot)
I use #3 a lot. It gives me that boost of moisture I need and instantly refreshens. I use it as a finishing spray over makeup too, although I'm not sure if it actually prolongs the wear of makeup. Doubt it but it does give it that (again) dewy look we so crave for these days. #trend
So that's basically my skincare routine, here are some extra tips I've learnt along the way
1. Never skip fresh greens every single day- trust me, I started juicing and my skin thanked me for it. Incorporate carotenoid-rich veggies like kale (in Malaysia i used baby kailan), and spinach into your sandwiches, or smoothies. And fruits like blueberries (antiinflammatory), mangoes, and pineapples (Vit C)
2. Drink a minimum of 2L of water per day
3. Wash your face before bed and as soon as you get up
4. Sweat it out and space out sugary things. Dark chocolate is great for you btw
5. If a product breaks you out the following day, stop. using. it. If it doesn't break you out, give it time to work. Don't stop just because your scars are not fading within a week.
6. If something works, stick to it
7. Wash makeup brushes every week guys.
8. Use a separate small towel for your face and change it every 3-4 days
9. Eat your vitamins- C, A & E
10. Go to a good derm if you are not happy with your skin. Trust me, it costs more money trying out different things that just do not work.
Okay that's it for now! Hope this was enjoyable hehe