Routine for Irritated/Over-exfoliated Skin!

Haven't shared a routine in a loooong time and I thought I'd start with a simple simple one today! 

My skin was really irritated when I came back due to the travelling, the long plane ride, the jet lag, PMS and the huge change in weather. Whenever my skin goes cray, I stop my current gazillion-steps routine and revert to my go-to fix.

This routine would be great for irritated/sensitive skin during PMS, or after long drying flights. Over-exfoliated skin that are red/sensitive/flaky should also benefit slightly from this routine.

Irritated skin can appear in many forms - red, sensitive, flaky, itchy etc. It can go away in a few days or up to weeks, depending on how u 'treat' it. 

When my skin is irritated, I like to assume that the moisture barrier is 'injured'. At this point, I seek to 'repair' it so as to restore some normality.

If we are sick, we are always told to drink plenty of water right? To re-hydrate ourselves and flush out toxins. I apply the same kinda logic to an injured moisture barrier. I rehydrate my skin a lot - not only through drinking - but also through the surface. 

The next few products I'm gonna talk about are what I personally use when my skin is begging for me to save it. It's not necessary for u to go and get the same stuff cause if u have hydrating toners in ur routine, it should work the same. Hydrating toners are more common in Asia than US/UK for sure. I'm really damn happy to be back in the land of it. In fact, I'm on a hunt for a new one to try cause backside itchy.

Toners have a lot of names and use to it, which can be pretty confusing lah tbh.

Western toners often have astringent properties and they tend to be drying. Those are NOT what you wanna be using. Stuff that contains witch hazel, smells very strongly of alcohol, gives u that too-clean squeaky feeling after using are drying toners. 

Some people still believe in using these after cleansing to wipe off any leftover residue but to me, if u practice double-cleansing, that SHOULD already remove ALL traces of dirt and makeup. There would be no need for these kinda toners. 

In fact, after cleansing ur face, it will immediately start to lose moisture so what u really want is to replenish it fast instead of drying it out more. Makes sense? Lol I hope it does. 

So anyw, what u wanna be looking for are toners that will hydrate and replenish moisture to repair the barrier. Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion, Dr Wu Intensive Hydrating Toner, Innisfree Green Tea Moisture Skin etc. are all hydrating toners. 

For me personally, I use two - one from Mamonde and one from Laneige. 

You don't have to use one hydrating toner on its own. There's this trend in Korea called the 7-Skin or smth?? A very nice reader (sobs sorry I tried scrolling back to track the post to find out who it was but I failed 😭) was telling me about it and I did some casual research on it and it's basically layering 7 layers of toner. 

The idea is to hydrate your skin without layering thick amount of moisturizer and is perfect for oily-skin. 

I personally don't think only people with oily skin will benefit cause it's a sound logic. Even if ur skin is super dooper dry, this is also useful cause hydration mah?? Then just layer a moisturizer over to seal it in and it should work too. In fact, I don't see why using 2 diff hydrating toners will affect anything. 

Okay, I'm really not being long-winded. I just wanted to explain the whole layering-toner theory before moving on to the routine cause that's what I based it on! 

When the moisture barrier is irritated, I think going simple is still one of the best solution and it's rather tried and tested (by me and some girls I've been helping. Not by some professionals so just stating it first lol). This way, you don't overload the skin and at the same time, provide it with hydration and give it time to heal itself. 

During this period, it's best (to me) to
1. Skip exfoliation on irritated areas (both chemical and physical) 
2. Use sunscreen
3. Cleanse properly but preferably without use of a tool (e.g. Foreo or Clarasonic)
4. Don't overload on any kind of masking - u can still do it but maybe lessen it till your skin heals and go back to normal! 
5. Don't start on any new products
6. Skip fermented products - this is a personal preference cause my skin gets irritated even more by these when it's sensitive

Okay, but wtv it is, pls rmbr to patch test a new product just to make sure ur skin is okay with it! Patch test around ur neck/jaw/ear area so even if there's a reaction, it's not highly visible. And don't overlap products around that area when you're patch testing so as to truly the product!


Lol yah u are not seeing this wrong. It's literally a 3-product routine. 

So as not to overload the skin and clog the pores up whilst the barrier is repaired, I go with plenty of layers but with incredibly light products. 

⭐️ And try and pat in the next layer while ur face is still damp to promote absorption instead of waiting for it to completely dry up! Damp skin surface absorbs stuff and retains moisture better!!

After cleansing, I go for

1. Mamonde Rose Water Toner

2-4 layers - depending on how irritated my skin is. Aside from hydration, this is AMAZING for calming skin down (I'll explain why below)! Truly my HG for it. I used to DIY my own rose toner but it got damn troublesome to do it weekly cause there's no preservatives. 

This toner has 90.89% rose water leh??? Like the first ingredient is rose extract instead of water. My skin drinks this up when it's stressed and the immediate soothing effect is just 😭😍😱 No other hydrating toners I've tried has been able to give me such relief. 

Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness of irritated skin and helps calm it down so this is really my HG for times like these. 

Not only that, it has anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties, it also can repair moisture barrier and restore hydration. 

These are really proven properties of rose water leh wtf like some kinda miracle water?? I mean, I'm sure a lot of u alr know the benefits of rosewater lol so it's not anything relatively new lah. But in any case, even if u don't have irritated skin, u still can try using rose water just for its beauty benefits too. 

I don't use any cotton pads for these steps cause I feel like the patting helps push the product in and with light layers, my skin 'drinks' it up bit by bit.  

You don't have to use as many layers as me lah. Just stop whenever u feel like your skin is hydrated enough so u don't overload it. I tend to do 3-4 at night cause I sleep in an air-conditioned room but I only do ~2 layers in the day. 

2. Laneige Power Essential Skin Refiner (Moisture) 

This is my fave hydrating toner for sure. I've tried plenty but I always find myself going back to this. This is more viscous compared to the rose water toner but still really light. It's also not sticky?? I know a lot of ppl always say the Hada Labo one is sticky/tacky but this isn't! I'm okay with any both actually, just that I keep finding myself coming back to this. 

I use about 2-3 layers of this and I know this has alcohol as it's ingredient but omg this is really not drying and there's NO scent of alcohol at all. I'm very particular when it comes to alcohol but I'm alr on to my second bottle and I cannot live without this. I keep wanting to try other brands of hydrating toner even tho I can't let this go. But if anyone has other brands to recommend, I'd be very willing to try lol. 

3. Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid

This is one of my lighter moisturizer and I simply seal all that layer of toner with this! It's up to u, at this point, to seal it. If u feel that ur skin is hydrated enough and it's good to go, you can even skip this step. 

I normally stick to this for both AM/PM when my skin is irritated until it heals and calms down then I go back to my normal gazillion-steps routine.

And that's it for the routine! Simple right? I skip all the extras like essence and masking whenever my skin is annoyed so it can balance out first. Then the extras can come back when it's normal-ed out. Okay, hope that this is useful for anyone seeking to calm ur skin down! 💕