Updated 2017 Skincare Routine

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With all the new stuff including the ones I got from Boston and DFS plus PR packages, my nesting instincts kicked in and I started repacking my skincare drawer (which has now expanded to drawerS fml).

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Which led me to do a quick poll on IG and almost 400+ voted for ‘Yes’. So I guess I’m way overdue for an updated skincare routine! 

I don’t like writing skincare posts without trying the product for too short a time and recently, I’ve also been trying to make sure that new products work with my old ones. So overall, everything will work in synergy together in my routine. 

When I pick my skincare and plan my routine, I normally have several goals in mind. Sounds ridiculous but it’s true lol. My skin has been pretty balanced recently (except for the short bout of time I was in the US) and I don’t have much issues to pick on. My short-term goals would be to keep it hydrated & keep PMS symptoms (redness/blemishes) to a minimal. For long term, it’s to maintain a healthy glow and target aging signs cause I’m fast approaching 28 and wedding approaching 👰🏻👰🏻👰🏻

It’s amazing what proper skincare can do. Long gone are the days where I have to worry about oily tzone and dry flaky cheeks. My combi skin has become really rather normal skin and that’s just what I want to maintain. 

(If u wanna read more on your skin types, I have a full post on skintypes & breakdown of Korean skincare here.) 

With the wedding coming up, of course I’m being extra diligent with brightening products and making sure I have the ✨glow✨ hahaha I mean, it’s nice to have that glow all day every day but must be practical too lah. There are some nights when I’m just dead-tired and too lazy to slap shit on my face.

(For a short lazy-girl routine, I have it here.)

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Let’s get into this or I’ll probably never end this post 😜

Similar to my other routine posts, this is broken down into categories:

1. Cleanser
2. Actives
3. First Essence
4. Hydrating Toners
5. Serum/Essence
6. Moisturizer
7. Eye care
8. Treatment
Extra: Ampoules

I skipped the first cleansing step cause I’m still using my Garnier micellar water so it’s the same for that.

Cleansers

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1. Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cleanser
2. Laneige Fresh Calming Gel Cleanser

(Post on pH testing of cleansers found here

Low pH = creating a healthy acidic environment for your skin so acne-bacteria cannot thrive on them. Any drying cleansers that strip your skin’s natural pH and cause it to be alkaline than necessary creates the perfect breeding ground for acne-bacteria. 

I’m all about the low pH-cleanser life and these two pH values are just right so they have been in rotation! Do I still need to talk about the Neutrogena one lol I guess not. This has got to be my 9383834th bottle by now and I have extra 5 on standby. I’m damn excessive. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the Laneige one cause I’ve tested a few of Laneige cleansers before and they always turn out to be very alkaline. Probably cause this is gel so it’s gentler?? 

Always rmbr to double-cleanse even if you’re just wearing sunscreen. Sometimes, I double-cleanse even if I’m not wearing it and I still see specks of dust and dirt on the cotton pad cause the air is not clean lah. So it’s a good habit to maintain imo.

Actives

Actives are normally products that contain main ingredients that are active in correcting particular problems e.g blemishes, black/whiteheads, fine lines, pigmentation. The ingredient wouldn’t be hidden deep down in the list of ingredients and, it wouldn’t be mixed with a ton of other stuff cause that affects the active ingredient’s function. 

Some example of actives are Paula’s Choice 2% BHA, The Ordinary Niacinamide, OST Vitamin C20 etc. These are active products that are meant to target and correct very specific problems. 

Actives are normally the first to go onto cleansed face so the main ingredients can get to work on problems first and also because of acids. Acids are categorized under actives and include BHA, AHA, Vit C, PHA and the list goes on. 

Acids are pH-dependent so they have to go on first to make sure the other skincare don’t dilute the optimal pH. E.g If your Vitamin C is applied after your toner and your toner happens to have a pH of 5, then the optimal pH 3 of Vit C will be diluted and it won’t be working at all anymore, thus wasting the product entirely and Vit C are v ex!!! So don’t waste. 

Always use your actives (esp. if they are acids) on clean skin first. 

If you’re layering multiple acids at once, include a 20 min waiting time between so the acid can work on your skin first. Layering will also dilute down acid’s pH cause diff acid = diff pH value

Vit C > BHA > AHA

Alternatively, apply diff ones night and day so you don’t have to wait that long. 

Eh. Vit C in the day and then AHA at night!

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I’ve stripped my acids down to only these 2 by Skinceuticals cause I was testing them out by themselves! I am, however, gonna start reintroducing some of my older acids I’ve repurchased recently aka Pixi’s Glow Tonic and Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. Exciting times~

1. Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense (☀️/🌙)
2. Skinceuticals Serum 10 (☀️)

I’ve reviewed the Blemish + Age one and it’s PERFECT for blackheads and cystic acne and you can read the review here.

The Blemish + Age contains a lot of acids but the main one that help is definitely the BHA, I feel. Since my blackheads and PMS breakouts are normally on my nose and chin, I use that there day and night. 

I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about Vit C and tbh, I’ve tried a few like OST etc. but they are always too strong and they broke me out which is why I’ve never really wrote about a Vit C product before. 

I really thought it’s my fate that I can’t use Vit C until this one by Skinceuticals, called Serum 10. It’s normally just a good preventive measure to include Vit C in your routine just cause of its antioxidant properties. 

It’s great for sensitive skin and beginners starting out on Vit C. cause there’s only 10% L-ascorbic acid combined with 0.2% Ferulic acid. 

Ferulic acid is an antioxidant found in cell walls of plants where it plays a key role in the plants’ protection and self-preservation. Topical application’s benefits include slowing ageing process and thought to also protect against sun damage. 

Not only that, it stabilizes highly-oxidative Vit C so the Vit C can work harder and longer!!! YAZZZ. 

So far, I’m having a great experience with it! No breakouts, no random dryness (which may occur if the acid is too strong!) and I find my skin tone way more even. 

I drop 1 drop each on my cheeks and forehead and pat them in and with leftover on my ring fingers, I actually dab it lightly under my eyes cause fine lines there! I don’t apply this on my nose area and chin cause it’s really not necessary for me as of now. 

After any acids application, I always wait 20-30 mins before proceeding on to my hydrating products so the acids get to work fully.

First Essence

I love First Essences after finding out the proper way to use them. First Essence normally contain fermented ingredients that are significantly more potent for brightening and hydrating purposes. 

I’ve heard people called them ‘toners on steroids’ lol which I guess is quite true! 

You can switch the application of first essence and hydrating toners around cause they are both pretty watery-liquidy products and either one is fine being the first to be applied.

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I’ve tried 3 different brands/types before:
Estée Lauder Microessence
Laneige Clear_C Advanced Effector
SKII FTE

I’ve ran out of Microessence but imo, that’s really one of the better first essence product out there, even better than the SKII one. It softens and brightens my skin ever so nicely and even tho the SKII brightens my skin, it doesn’t do the same softening job. 

But I’m really trying to finish this one first before purchasing the Estée Lauder one! It’s part of the travel-set I got from Changi DFS and I’m 3/4 way done. I don’t hate it but I think price-wise and product efficacy, the Estée Lauder one is better for my skin.

I forgot to take a pic of the Laneige one 😭 but it’s the pretty pink bottle! I also really really like that as a first essence and it’s VERY light. The brightening is also 💪🏼 but again, only the Microessence seemed to soften skin leh.

Hydrating Toner

This is my favorite step!! I’ve been diligently incorporating the Korean 7-Skins method and I find that it helps majorly with dehydrated, dry and even oily skin tone. 

This method is basically just asking u to use multiple layers of toners. That’s it. Just pat on layer after layer lol. I don’t do it 7x but I do about 3-4 which I find is just nice for me in humid SG weather.

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With proper hydration, my skin don’t find the need to over-produce sebum cause it isn’t dry all. 

Out of the 3:
1. Mamonde Rosewater Toner
2. Laneige Essential Power Skin Refiner
3. Laneige Fresh Calming Toner

No. 1 is my favvvvve. I cannot love this any more than I already do. This is my 2nd bottle alr leh. I spam it like nobody’s business okay. It’s the freaking best. It calms and hydrates and it has super good ingredients?? I like to apply 2 layers of this normally! 

For the other 2 layers, I alternate between the Skin Refiner and Fresh Calming. I feel like if I need more hydration and moisture, I would normally go with Skin Refiner cause of the slight viscosity. 

On days I feel like I can go light, I pick the Fresh Calming cause it’s lighter in texture. 

On days I feel fancy, I use 1 layer of Skin Refiner and 1 layer of Fresh Calming. Lol. No judging.

Serum/Essence

For serum/essence, it’s more of a prevention step. I already have actives that target specific issues so this is more of a ‘special treatment’ so my skin gets an extra boost.

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1. Laneige Fresh Calming Serum (☀️/🌙) 
2. CNP Propolis Ampule (☀️) 
3. Skinceuticals HA Intensifer (☀️/🌙)
4. SKII Repair C (🌙) 
Additional: LeeJiham Propolis Ampoule

The Laneige Fresh Calming Serum is super lightweight and it comes out as a gel texture but feels like water?? Cause it’s so lightweight, I feel like this does very well for hydration without the heavy feeling. It absorbs super quick and leaves my skin feeling v fresh.

The smell is super refreshing to me and I use it both night and day as Serum I just cause the consistency is the lightest. 

In the day, Serum II would be CNP Propolis Ampoule! I mentioned ALL the good things about propolis here ! I know this states ampule but I feel like it’s not potent enough to be considered as one so I like using it as a serum. 

To make it extra potent, I add a drop of LeeJiham Propolis Ampoule (50% Propolis!!) in. 

I really honestly think propolis has been the main ingredient giving me the glow my skin has been showing. It’s just a very dewy glow that nothing in my routine has replicated. I love it so much that I’m on my second bottle of the CNP one. 

I’ve also been dropping a drop of the LeeJiham one into other serums and even my moisturizer lol. Excessive is truly me. That small bottle is liquid gold to me hahaha 

Then to finish it off, I use Serum III - the Skinceuticals HA Intensifier. Zomg I love this SO MUCH, I’m almost done with mine alr. This is my bottle no.2 of liquid gold for my skin. This bottle of hyaluronic acid serum works really really differently from others in the market and imma explain why. Also, this serum has a journal article published on it albeit the study group is a bit too small to be very accurate, I’m still impressed.

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I like companies that do put the actual science and work behind the products instead of just plain advertising. 

Most HA serums have diff sized molecules that can be topically absorbed and you will feel immediate hydration. This product also has 2 molecule sizes of HA that will be absorbed once applied. However, our body actually has an enzyme called hyaluronidase that breaks down HA naturally. 

So purple rice extract is included in this bottle and what it does is it works together with licorice root extract to inhibit (or turn off) the enzyme, thus allowing the product to work to its full capacity.

With optimized amounts of these ingredients, HA content of skin can actually increased significantly, even in post-menopausal skin where aging and loosening of skin is more significant. 

The only thing I switch out for night is Serum II! Instead of using the Propolis combi, I use the SKII Repair C. It’s supposed to be a more potent version of the FTE alone and tbh...idk if I’ll repurchase this. I’m just finishing it cause I alr have it and idw to waste it. Also, it’s not doing anything bad to my skin? I don’t think this has done anything major cause I tried going without it and there wasn’t any significant changes.

Moisturizer

This is the ‘seal it all in’ step! There’s so many kind of moisturizer now that you legit have one for all skin type. If you’re oily, you can pick a oil-free one, or a light gel one. If you’re dry, there’s cream which are heavier. If you’re in between, there’s gel-cream.

Contrary to what many thinks, moisturizer really don’t cause oiliness yah. In fact, it’s the opposite.

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I’m so excessive I use all types. It’s not necessary at all k, but I’ll explain why lolz

1. Skinceuticals B5 (☀️/🌙)
2. Mamonde Rosewater Gel Cream (☀️)
3. SWS Essential Firming Cream EX (🌙)

On days after all the layering and I feel like I have enough on, I like to go with the Skinceuticals B5 Gel. It’s oil-free and contain high conc of hyaluronic Acid. The B5 is cause it’s enriched with a part Vit B5 complex. How I know this worked was cause I brought it to the US. 

After the 20-hour flight and spending 9 hours in chilly Turkey, my lips were actually peeling from being so dry that they were cracking apart when I yawn or smile when I reached the US. I read that this bottle is really good for quick moisture replacement and Vit B5 is essential for skin’s regeneration process, I spammed this on my lips and it solved all the dryness in 2 days. 

This really really helped with dryness in cold windy countries. I cannot describe the strength of the wind in these places. It’s really enough to knock your socks off. The wind literally evaporates all sources of moisture from the skin. I forgot to apply moisturizer around my legs cause I was in long pants day/night and the skin around my ankles and foot cracked and started peeling as well. Dafug right. I only realized when it was itching so badly from being dry. 

On regular days, I will use the Mamonde Rosewater Gel Cream. This tub is bae. Firstly, it’s pink yah. Secondly, it makes my skin SOOOO soft. Thirdly, good ingredients ftw. Nothing much to add. Pls go try if you have the chance. This tub is HG status. I like to add a drop of LeeJiHam Propolis Ampoule in it too! 

And finally, at night, I use the SWS Essential Firming Cream EX cause I sleep in aircon so I prefer using a cream at night. If I done some physical exfoliation or use Foreo, I will actually add some Skinceuticals B5 before using the cream moisturizer! 

Lol, my skincare posts always so excessive cause I really use whatever when my skin feels like it needs it. Nothing is super fixed.

Eye Cream

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My last step would be my eye cream! I also reviewed this SWS Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream EX here and this is my HG for realz. I alr finish the Mamonde Age Control one alr so this is both my day and night use. 

It’s really ex but right....

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I’ve been using this for more than one month alr and look?? There’s barely a dent lol. Ok lah got dent. But it’s still 90% full??? I love it. 

It’s not very heavy or oily. In fact, it actually has a semi-matte finish and the best thing is it work. 

A little trick I have been doing lately is that as I do my skincare (pat on my toner, serum etc.) I use whatever’s leftover on my fingertips to dab beneath my eyes as well so the good stuff goes there too!

Treatment

For day, treatment means sunscreen lah. I’m gonna find some time to do a Battle of the Sunscreens: Part III cause I’ve tried ALOT of new ones alr leh lol. 

For night, I like to include a sheet mask (2-3x a week) directly AFTER my serum step. Then seal it with a moisturizer after! 

If it’s sleeping mask, it goes either after my serum or after moisturizer, depends on how parched my skin feels.