They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I say… I can’t even do five days. I can’t handle doing routine work for a week, let alone three. This is exactly why I never got around establishing a solid workout routine, or drinking daily supplements, or sleeping and waking up on a regular schedule. If this was a fatal flaw, then I’d be dead by now!
I know, it can be good for me to form some beneficial habit, but I guess I have yet to find out what works for me. So, imagine my surprise when I looked back on my pseudo-planner from last year and found out I’ve been doing my skincare regimen for more than three months now! Yay, me! That can only mean I’ve finally found what works for my skin, and I’m loving the convenience and effects so far. Long post after the cut!
Just a bit of background on my skin story, though, before heading onto my skincare essentials: I used to follow the cleanse-tone-moisturize (CTM) method. It was all foamy cleansers and chemical-laden products on my face. Also, I’m not a makeup junkie. I’m all for the natural look which is why I only go for the basics—mild coverage, eyebrows and lip color—just so I don’t look too pale or sickly. A few years ago, I was adamant on finding the right facial cleanser and foundation/BB cream for my face. I was ridiculously oily, prone to having pimples and I have visibly large pores on some parts of my face. I never found the right product despite trying so many.
September came and the construction of our school’s exhibit began. Every day was a dirt-fest, sweat-fest, and paint-fumes-fest. Wearing my foundation wasn’t an option for me because it just felt disgusting. Most of the time, I’d go to our site barefaced. It. Felt. Like. Freedom. I realized then, it would be so much more convenient if I could also confidently go to other places with putting even less-than-the-usual product on my face. And I realized the only way it’s possible was to seriously take care of my skin first such that I don’t have to wear as much makeup anymore. A bit late for the bulb to light up, yes.
I spent hours online researching on natural skin care routines since CTM was not doing its job for me, and went back to using a few of the products I thought had worked for my face but I’d been too lazy to maintain. After a lot of trial and error, I was finally able to do what works for my skin, and throw away the bottles that cluttered my desk. Yay, more freedom (of space)!
Here’s a rundown on the products I currently use, in the order and frequency of usage. As you’ve probably read from other sources so many times before, I’m not an expert and my routine may not be for everyone, but I hope I can give you options to try.
SUNSCREEN: Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk
The first time I used this more than a year ago, I completely fell in love with it. Before then, I never used sunscreen on my face except on trips to the beach. But, all throughout my research, the importance of wearing sunscreen daily always came up so I tried this product after reading a lot of good reviews. This one is light enough for everyday wear, and it mattifies the skin! It acted as my primer before, but since I started using my new facial cleanser (below), I’ve been going out with only this on my face, plus eyebrow and lip color when I’m not lazy. The BB cushion which I thought was my holy grail (I got it in the middle of experimenting with all these regimen options) is now just my light concealer for my dark undereye and my nose on days when I feel like my pores are extra big, lol.
MAKEUP REMOVER/MICELLAR WATER: Bifesta Cleansing Lotion/Bioré Micellar Cleansing Water
If you wear sunscreen and makeup, you must completely remove them at the end of the day. My top choice is Bifesta Cleansing Lotion. It can take off everything from my face, even the hailed 24-hour eyebrow pen from K-palette. However, Bifesta has been pulled out from the Philippines for reasons that were never disclosed; it broke my heart (I have only about three pumps worth of product left, nooo*) but I must move on, so I got Bioré Micellar Cleansing Water as my replacement. It works just as well but I have yet to see how it fares after I use it for a longer period. On nights when I’m dead tired that I just want to pass out in bed, these products come as my savior—clean face without rinsing!
*If anyone knows where I could purchase Bifesta Cleaning Lotion here in the Philippines, please let me know!
FACIAL CLEANSER: Grapeseed Oil and Castor Oil
These are my holy grail products for cleaning my face. I’ve mentioned above that my skin used to be oily—so much that I always had tissue in hand to blot them out, and my friends can attest to this—and prone to pimples. I’ve tried so many cleansers for oily or sensitive skin and none of them worked. Sometime during our exhibit construction, my groupmate shared that her skin problems were solved when she switched to virgin coconut oil as cleanser. Curious, I researched on oil cleansing method (OCM) and tried it out for myself late September last year. I modified the method to suit my need, and I’m happy to announce that my mixture of grapeseed oil and a little bit of castor oil is the perfect match for my skin! My face gradually became less oily and less prone to pimples. I can even say it’s close to normal now; the shine it has is more of a moisturized look rather than greasy. I haven’t used soap on my face since then. And yes, I don’t find the need to use toner and moisturizer anymore! Talk about economical!
Bonus: Castor oil helps in hair growth. I’ve noticed my eyelashes became thicker and longer the more I use my OCM. My eyebrows became thicker, too; I sometimes don’t use my eyebrow pen anymore. If you want to get into it more, you can put castor oil on your lashes and brows every night before sleeping.
EXFOLIATOR: Cure Natural Aqua Gel
If you want baby smooth skin, this is the way to go! No harsh abrasives or chemicals that leave a sting on the face. I use this once or twice a week to get rid of dead skin. A bit pricey but totally worth it. I bought this bottle last year in October, and I still have more than half of the bottle now.
SERUM: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate
I stumbled upon this product while researching on skincare, and I thought it might go well with my OCM since it’s a concentrate of essential oils. However, after careful deliberation, I was already quite happy with my own oil mix so I decided not to get this anymore. Funny how the universe works: a week after that, a friend gave me this for my birthday (and she had no idea I once eyed it). I then realized I can use this after exfoliating so my skin won’t have the chance to dry up. It’s been going well with my Cure, so far.
SOOTHING GEL: The Face Shop Jeju Aloe 99% Fresh Soothing Gel
It may come as surprise to you, but I use this more on my hair than on my skin. I comb it through my damp hair as a leave-on and it helps manage the frizz. For my skin, I use it to soothe dryness, and after being exposed to harsh sunlight. My skin doesn’t tan, it just burns (lol) so this is a good product to bring on beach trips. I tried the one from Nature Republic before, and I find both products have the same performance for me.
BODY LOTION: Kracie Natululu Skin Conditioner
I abhor using lotion. I don’t like the sticky feeling it leaves on my skin, and I cringe at the sweaty sensation it makes on my palms and soles. When all hope for my occasional dry skin seemed lost, Kracie Natululu Skin Conditioner was my redeemer. It’s like lotion, but in cloudy water form! It moisturizes my skin just as well as any body lotion I’ve tried, and there’s no sticky feeling at all! Thank you, Japan! I transfer some product to a spray bottle so it’s easier to use. I’m not sure if this is still available in the country, though. (I’m doomed. Gotta find a reseller or worse, a replacement.)
That’s it for the skincare products I swear by! I find that Japanese or Korean brands work best for my skin. I guess that’s just me being Asian? Three basic steps for every day, two on a weekly basis, and a couple used only when necessary. I haven’t found my HG product for clearing the pores on my nose yet and it’s not a regular thing that I do, so I skipped that step here. Same goes for face masks; I use them sparingly whenever I feel like pampering myself, but I don’t find it essential for my routine. Nevertheless, I’m glad I could trim down on the number of products here, as I’m not the type who would religiously follow a 10-step skincare regimen. Gosh, TEN! Ain’t nobody got time for that. Haha, I kid. But hey, in the skincare and makeup world, with all our needs being different and unique, the best mantra for me would always be: “If it works, it works!”
What’s your skincare routine? Any holy grail products you’d like to share? Fire away!