I know I am about a year or two late into this “jade-rolling” and gua sha trend but here is my honest defence. When I heard that everyone was playing around with this “jade thingy”, I was completely baffled as to how jade was able to pierce through the beauty community. Because back in my day, jade is to be worn and not to be rolled around on the face but I completely digress..
Having said that I am not un-loving the message behind these beauty tools per se, and the message is essentially facial massaging. Not floating my own boat guys, but I have been told many a times that I do look younger than my age and if I can credit that to one thing, it is honestly facial massages. I genuinely love giving myself a face massage with my own fingers on the daily (something I do almost every single day and night and now has become a second nature in my skincare routine).
As a child growing up, my mother always instill in me the importance of giving tender loving care to our face and body, even if it means a 30 seconds face massage daily. Long before beauty massaging tools came about, she taught me to use my finger tips to massage my pressure points on my face. Also fun fact, long before rice toner was invented, my mother has been using the remnants water of soaked rice to cleanse her face. How many of your Asian mothers out there have told you this, hands up???
Anyways, let’s paddle back just a wee bit and let’s talk about JADE.
Jade is a precious stone, prevalent to the Chinese community as it is originated in China back in the 7th century (many many many moons ago). Jade, as a stone, also carries a deeper spiritual and healing meaning to it. Jade often symbolizes serenity, purity and tranquility. It also mainly signifies as a good luck stone and safety. Hence why, you will see jade usually worn as as a bangle around new born babies or as pendants and rings.
Jade rollers are undeniably a power beauty tool. The tool itself, has a big roller for the larger surface areas of the face and the small roller are for contours like around the eyes and the nose. Please be aware that the real deal of a jade can essentially cost alot of money out there, therefore if you are looking for an authentic jade roller, it will cost slightly more. If however, the jade roller is being sold at an incredibly low price, most likely it is a low quality jade which could possibly be made from glass, infused with jade colour. If you are not at all bothered with the authenticity of the precious stones being rolled on your face, then by all means, knock yourself out in eBay.
In addition to the jade, there are now, many beauty rollers out there being made from a variety of other precious stones; namely crystal quartz, onyx and even amethyst. Each precious stone, obviously bears their own significance and benefits.
When I saw the amethyst-roller make its appearance in the beauty market, I was completely sold. I love amethyst as a precious stone and I personally felt that it is not as generic as jade/rose quartz rollers (no offence). So I bite the bullet. Benefits of amethyst: Amethyst has more healing elements with physical ailments and emotional issues, energy healing and chakra alignments.
What are the benefits of a stone roller, you might ask? Well for me, massaging my own face (using either rollers or fingers) just feels incredibly cathartic and therapeutic-like and it is an excellent form of self care. It gives you a private time to be mindful and just having a one-on-one time with yourself and your skin, instead of just going through your mundane everyday skincare routine and rushing out of the front door. Take time to love yourself.
Facial massaging relaxes all kind of muscle tension that is contained in our face. *Tension around our cheeks, especially when you are smiling, talking or highly expressive with facial expressions *Tension held in clenched jaws when you are sleeping *Tension held around the mouth if you are prone to teeth grinding at night *Tension, when we are just generally stress throughout the day
Stone rolling, generally stimulates good blood flow and helps to return your “chi” (energy) back to your face. Hence why, when you are stone-rolling your face, you will notice a slight blush or redness all over your skin which indicates positive circulation of blood movement. Stone rolling your face helps tremendously in smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines, de-puffing your under eyes and even help to ease any nasal problems. (Just think of a stone-roller on your face as a foam roller to your body)
In the long run, stone rolling is also known to tighten and tones the skin, and why will anyone not want that? It also has been said that, stone rolling helps in the contouring of high cheek bones. (um hello, I want one of that).
Also stone rolling is extremely beneficial in the summer months for cooling down your skin, especially if you have rosacea or redness around your face. This brings me to my top tip for beauty tools, KEEP THEM IN YOUR FRIDGE. So when you are ready to use them, it will always be nice and cool on the skin. (of course please don’t put them in the meat section, I mean come on..)
I also find that facial massaging or stone rolling one’s face helps with the lymphatic drainage of the skin. So think of it as.. removing bad waste, toxin and extra fluid from your face (say bye bye to puffy cheeks).
Now for the million dollar question, how the bloody heck do you use these facial massaging tools? Firstly and very importantly, you are to use them on cleansed face. Not on a face full of makeup or grime. The reason why you do not use it on dirty groddy face is to prevent nasty breeding of bacteria into the skin. Hell, no.
The next imperative tip is to note the two drainage points of the face which is (1) by your ears beside your temple and (2) by your collar bone. You need to note these two points as your end points as you simply do not want to be stone-rolling all over your face and be pushing toxins all around your gorgeous little face (defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?)
So, when you are massaging your face, please remember that (1) for your face surface, you always want to massage it upwards and towards your temple and (2) from your chin, massage it downwards towards your collar bone.
I made a video on this on my instagram, so if you will like to see a quick clip on this, join me there.
I personally love using my rollers after applying my essences or serum. This could be any essences or serum of your choice, just ensure that it is not thick or tacky on the skin to ensure the roller has a smooth application to work on. You do not want to be dragging on dry skin. No no
Pretty sure, you guys will have known this but I am a big fan of sheet masks. I frequently use my rollers on my sheet mask which helps tremendously for the essences and serum on the sheet mask to penetrate deeply into my skin.
I have also rolled my face after applying a good moisturizer on it.
But, having said all that, my favorite step of rolling will be right after putting on my facial oil. I just feel that the extra sleekness of the facial oil makes it easier for me to roll and massage my face.
You can roll as often as you want, for as long as you want. But a good general rule of thumb is, you want to roll a specific area of your face at least 5 times each before moving onto another area.
Roll outwards under the eye: Using the small roller, start from the inner corner of the eye and roll outwards towards your temple
Roll in between eyebrows: Love this step, just for smoothing out those damn lines between your eyebrows. Good and free botox, if you were to ask me..
Also, I make sure that I roll along my eyebrows. I cannot tell you how relaxing this method is because I am someone who gets frequent tension headaches and this has help enormously. Saves me the trouble of becoming a panadol extra addict. Lol
And of course, you will not want to forget rolling your under cheeks/along jawline area. Start from the centre of your chin and roll upwards to your ears. Speaking of chin, I also use the small roller and go ham on my chin.
Let’s all not miss our neck area. Sadly I have deep line creases on my neck, so I am hoping that all these rolling can help to smooth the lines out. Fingers crossed..
Now brothers and sisters, let me touch on briefly about this gua sha tool. Gua sha is, yet again another ancient Chinese tool which predominantly incorporates scraping and pulling motion. In Chinese medicine, gua sha actually compliments acupunctures or cupping massages.
Gua sha generally provides medium to hard pressure which is beneficial for the back of neck for tension or migraine releases. You can also use it on your face, as for me, I personally use it for across my broad forehead and my jawlines.
Just like the roller, gua sha also increases blood circulation especially for bigger parts of the body areas. and relives muscle tensions (which is why gua sha is great for neck & back massages).
I mainly use the long edge of the guasha for the back of my neck with medicated oil to release neck aches and I also use the concave part of the gua sha to hug and massage my cheek bones and for depth-defining of the jaw line.
I really hope I made sense with my rolling and gua sha-ing jargon in this entry and I do recommend any of you guys to try incorporating facial massages in your skincare routine (be it with tools or your own trusty fingers). Like I say, spa yourself up. And last but not least, don’t forget to clean your rollers and gua sha after using it and store them in a clean setting, please. 🙂 Enjoy facial rolling, everyone!!!
I, personally, get very hyped and riled up about skincare routine, especially every time the colder months encroach. Hi, my name is Ernie and I will like to think I am a skincare addict. Harlow!!!
My back story is I was born and bred in Singapore and over 30 years of my life has passed before I packed my bags (3 gargantuan luggages in toto) and moved to Australia-the land of the free, where I have to live in both wintry and summery months. Side note: I know most of you would have been familiarised with Singapore as a city with the awe-inspiring layover airport and also from the infamous Crazy Rich Asian movie, however, for those of you who are unenlightened about this city/island, we do not have seasons and we folks live in predominantly a sweltering environment. Think 30 degrees summer all day every day with a 90% humidity and the occasional showers to be expected during the mid day. It is sweat-fest in Singapore (and I who abhor the heat with a passion, absolutely cringe every time I hear a tourist say “Ooohh I love Singapore’s weather. Like WHY?? You sweat and you stink, how is that love?). Anyways, I digress, I am not here to write about Singapore OR the climate change. I am writing about my skincare routine. (silent standing ovation)
From hereon, just a tiny disclaimer that all photos of skincare are mine 🙂
Over 30 years of my good life, all I ever do was to wash my face. In fact, I was using the same Neutrogena cleanser for maybe over 10 years, the same one being repurchased over and over like the wheels of a school bus goes round and round. Lol. (Not this particular cleanser from Neutrogena, but I did use an oil free deep cleansing cleanser for like eons). Honourable mention to the products in the hydro boost range, they are awesome possum.
Other than that, my skincare routine was perpetually non-existent and literally pathetic.
However, as and when I do a winter vacation which in my early 20s onwards, I have done at least once a year, I will chuck in a woeful moisturizer in the mix. BUT THAT WAS ALL.. and THATTTT, which I discovered in later years, is not favourable at all for my sad face which was taking all the toll.
To further aggravate the situation, I am also self-diagnosed with cranial hyperhidrosis which is excessive facial sweating, and I absolutely cannot leave the house with any layers of skincare on my face. It will actually slide right off my face and fall into a puddle of goo at the bus stop. Ooo, whats that? That’s just Ernie’s day serum from last week!
Back in my 20s with absolutely no skincare knowledge, my face had the fair share of angry breakouts, huge open pore marks, acne scarring and all the nasty things you do not want on your face plus I also picked and squeezed on my pimples and I also sleep with makeup on most nights-oh you know what I’m talking about-those FUN nights.
The amusing thing is, back in the days what I lacked in skin health, I compensate it with exorbitant makeup. I was the shiet nitzz in makeup and people back in my life can attest to that. Remember the hype of 88 eyeshadow palettes back in the day, ooo girl I have half a dozen of them. Fake lashes up to the heavens, sister can do it all. I did not pile on the makeup because I love it for the most part. It was purely because I am inferior of my very infested skin as a result of all the negligent years, so I took a cowardly way out and cover them imperfections up. But also I was in my 20s and we have all been there before, haven’t we?
I remembered moving to Sydney few February-s ago, and my world physically and literally changed. It was for the most part of it still summer and even though I was perpetually very hot and very bothered, my face was shockingly tight and extremely dry which did not make absolute sense to me. I was in a skincare conflict & dilemma! My nose was cluttered with black heads, I have enlarged congested pores, the deep lines around the mouth were starkingly abhorrent and never will I imagine that I have crow feets around my eye. It was a brutally rude awakening.
Now now.. I have never had dry skin ever in my life, mine has always been on the border of combination/oily but never ever ever ever dry. That was when I literally woke up with a jolt in life, big slap across my face with a chair, hand on heart said, I NEED TO SAVE MY SKIN. Like I need skincare products and I need a routine I can adhere to, I need to undo all the years of neglect because oh boy was it really showing on my face and time is tick-tocking.
So few years ago, the first thing I did was to go to Priceline and grabbed all of the natural, vegan/cruelty free products such as those from Sukin, Ordinary and Trilogy products. I wanted the improvisation process to be simple and dumb-proof and the last thing I want is to spend money and try out new stuff on my face and getting break outs. Ain’t no sister has time for that. Long story short, thankfully my skin loved the simplicity of the products and I could observe that my skin is well ameliorated.
Fast forward to a year ago, I wanted to UP my skincare game and have always wanted to try Korean skincare products and their ridoncolously long 10 step skincare routine, which I have been influenced by Youtube. (thanks Youtube, I am a believer).
So, I sipped on the Kool-Aid and did a giant order on NudieGlow (completely not sponsored, wish I am) an Aussie based website selling Korean skincare products. Photo below~This was a family group photo of all my western skincare products, bundled with the Korean skincare products from my very 1st order from NudieGlow back in June 2018. I was a proud mama and I knew I will be in for a great skincare journey of my life, I am not disappointed.
Side note of a disclaimer, I am not an expert aesthetician, neither am I a licensed dermatologist. My entry is not to be deemed as professional advises, just personal thoughts, opinions and methods. I try to dispense off these information to the best of my knowledge and some guidance from various websites.
Just before I dive into the specific products, the general order of my skincare routine which I have adapted from the 357 step of Korean skincare products, and modified into my own is as follows:
Evening routine: Step 1: Oil based cleanser Step 2: Water based cleanser Step 3: Exfoliator (twice a week) Step 4: Toner Step 5: Essence Step 6: Sheet mask (twice a week) Step 7: Serum Step 8: Moisturiser Step 9: Oil Step 10: Sleeping mask Step 11: Lipbalm
Let’s talk the ways: CLEANSING BALM
Double cleansing is a method made famous by obviously the Koreans which inculcate an oil-based cleanser first followed by a water-based cleanser to ensure the skin to be thoroughly cleansed. The gist behind using an oil-based cleanser first is because oil is beneficially useful in stripping off makeup and even waterproof sunscreen. Oil-based cleanser can either be in a liquid oil form or in a sherbet cleansing balm form. You will take a pump or a scrap of product onto your palm, apply it onto your face dry, work it in circular motions first, after which you will introduce water slowly to the face which will emulsifies the oil cleanser, gently removing all the residues of your day.
If you have oily skin like me, you can safely dispel your own myth of thinking that oil cleansers will make your skin oilier, this cannot be far from the absolute truth and I am a standing testament to that.
My absolute favourite is the Heimish All-Clean cleansing balm (cult favourite for obvious reasons), I personally love the slight mild herbaly scent and it gets the job effectively done in removing the gunk from my face. Other well known cleansing balm are from Banila which comes in several varieties for different skin concerns and my favourite cleansing oil is either from Biore or Klairs (which I have 7 million samples of).
You will then want to follow up your oil based cleanser with a water based cleanser and that could be any of your old regular cleanser of your choice. Water based cleanser’s function is to generally remove sweat and excessive layers of dirt on the face. So what you cannot catch in the first layer of cleansing, you will want get it all off on this step.
You guys know that for years and years, I have always gravitate towards the Neutrogena cleanser (that still is a handy backup option), however these days, I am a colossal fan of anything green-tea in skincare, not a fan of drinking it but I LOVE putting it on my face. Team green tea all the way!!!
My favourites are either the Neogen green tea cleansing stick which as you can see in the photo, has real green tea leaves in it. Gosh, it smells uhh-maa-zing and the dried leaves does give a gentle exfoliation on the skin (not those crazy exfoliation like some apricot scrub we know off). This is my go to morning cleanser, it invigorates and wakes me up. It is also note worthy to point out that this cleansing stick is considered solid, so if you are ever flying and want to take this with you in your carry on, it will not constitute as a liquid. Winner!!
Another new favourite green tea cleanser which I am currently enjoying is the Innisfree green tea cleanser, super gentle non-stripping, pleasant scent -an all around great non-offensive simple cleanser. Comes in a hefty 150ml and with a little-goes-a-long-way policy, this cleanser will last you out for a very long time.
You generally do not want to cleanse your face to a point where you feel an extreme tightness in your skin as tightness generally means that you have over-stripped the oil in your face, which can cause your face to send a signal to your brain to produce excessive sebum-hence the breakouts. I grew up with horrid over-stripping cleansers which only made me break out even more. Now that is not a win-win situation.
**I use my green tea stick cleanser in the morning and double cleanse in the evening. Without fail, non-negotiable. You can double cleanse both morning and evening, it is purely preferential.
EXFOLIATOR Exfoliators can be in one of two variations; physical or chemical. Both technically performs the same function and again it is up to your preferences.
Physical exfoliators are usually in the form of mild to grainy scrubs. I am not a huge fan of this as you ought to be uberly gentle as not to micro-tear your skin with over-exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliators are usually immersed with chemical actives like AHA & BHA to encourage and introduce new cell turnover, so just think of it as sloughing away dead cells of your skin-out with the old, in with the new. Without being too technical and from my amateur knowledge, AHA is alpha hydroxy acid which is a common derivative for lactic acid or glycolic acid-can be found in milk or grapes amongst others. BHA is beta hydroxy acid and a common derivative is salicylic acid, abundantly found in tea tree skincare products for acne clearing purposes.
My tried and true favourite exfoliator is surprise suprise the Neogen green tea bio peel (of course it has to be green tea). These peels also come in the grapes and lemon form. It has 30 pieces of exfoliating pads which you only need to swipe across your face and let the actives do its marvellous job in giving you that glow. These exfoliating pads are a holy holy holy grail for me as it visibly smoothens my skin and my pore seem to have shrunk over time. I exfoliate my gorgeous face twice a week, no more than that.
From someone who has not exfoliated since the ugly apricot scrub saga back in my late teens, now I just cannot go a week without my green tea chemical exfoliating pads.
**For absolute beginners who have not used actives prior, please start slow, once a week or half a pad in the beginning. Over-exfoliating in any form physical or chemical can exacerbates the skin horridly, causing burns and tears. Be mindful!
TONER You’ll see how many toners this sister have, because I love me a good toner.
Now, Korean toners are milestones different from the standard western toners. Western toners are usually, mostly laden with alcohol although most are getting better these days. Alcohol while great to be consumed, is not fine and dandy when overly applied on the face as we all know from basic science, that excess alcohol dries out the skin and nobody has time for dry skin. Long gone are those generic toners, and here comes the Korean toners that is packed with a punch.
Generally, you want to apply toner as soon as you cleanse. You will like to think of cleanser as removing the bad and toners replenishing back the good onto your face. Apparently so, you will hear this over and over in Korean skincare videos, toners are use to balance the PH of your skin-when cleansing your skin, you might have slightly disturbed your skin PH, hence toner will come into place to joosh the PH up and put everything back to its good place.
Especially so in the winter months, I have a personal principle of putting toner within 60 seconds from cleansing my face, for fear that my face detects dryness. You can either apply toner with a cotton pad but I go rouge and apply toner from palm to face-cutting out the middle agent altogether.
My absolute holy grail toner is the Whamisa’s organic flower toner. This toner is made up of 97.5% organic ingredients (from a bunch of flowers and good stuffs lol) and derived from the fermentation process (yes fermentation, like kombucha but for the face). I love the slightly thicker consistency of this toner as compared to the watery ones and it 100% hydrates my skin, leaving it supple and ready for my other 3467348 skincare products to be layered on.
Other favourites are the Huxley Sahara toner-gorgeous gorgeous scent albeit being slightly higher in alcoholic content-this is a summer fave for me.
A couple other toners in rotation that I am currently using and enjoying is the I’m from rice toner which lives up to Gothamista’s hyped rave. I’m from is a relatively new brand for me but this rice toner is such a calming delight-made from more than 77% rice extract, expect fresh milky goodness of a toner just hydrating your skin. Reminds me of my childhood when I will be in the kitchen with my mum and when we got around to cooking rice, my mum will always tell me that the water residues from premium quality grains are beneficial for good skin. Guess what Mum, should have taken your idea and patent it up. Great recommendation for colder months!
Last but not least, you all know I got to include a green tea thingy somewhere, yes? Innisfree green tea balancing ex toner is a relishing delight for post gym shower- well balanced, light and refreshing toner. Great for everyday usage!
ESSENCE Essence is a completely new ball game for me in terms of skincare. If you are into minimalism and do not particularly find the use of essence, you can completely skip this step.
The rule of the thumb in Korean skincare routine is all about layering, while there is no hard and fuss rule in it, you always want to apply your products from the lightest to the heaviest consistency. Some products can double up as toner/essence or essence/serum, again this is purely preferential. Always access your skin needs and make good judgement from thereon.
How does essence come into your routine? Essence is after cleansing and toning and way before serums and moisturisers, treat it as a lightweight serum if you may. Nothing serious in your routine, just treat essence as casually adding an extra layer of hydration.
My very first essence that I tried was the COSRX snail mucin essence. Grossed out at the word, snails? Don’t be. Cosrx assures you that no snails were harmed in the collation of the product. This essence, made from 96% of snail secretion is super thick and gooey, has zero scent whatsoever, however tacky and sticky it feels, it applies like any normal lightweight essence would. My biggest observation from this product is that- my acne scarring improved and lighten down tremendously and even after using it for both day an night for over 4 months, the product was not even half way used-which is a great thumbs up.
And I have not even gotten to the best part yet, my favourite essences!!! I have come full circle to embracing the love of Huxley essences, hands down holy grail.
Huxley is predominantly a range of skincare products made out of pear and cactus-gosh is not that just a delight as it is? I have tried a couple so far, my absolute favourite is the Grab water (OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT BLOODY THING). This beaut is made of 85% cactus extract and is nothing short of stunning, it applies like a dream and I have to literally scrap dry the bottle within a month of using it because my skin adored it so much.
Currently, I am trying out this new Huxley oil-essence and despite being called an oil, it is more of a thicker essence consistency and equally works like a charm, splendid for colder drier months.
If you are in the market for a light essence of watery consistent, you can try Missha first treatment essence. This product is a supposed dupe for SKII toner, I cannot vouch for this seeing that I have not used SKII toner before. However, a friend who has used both, has opined that they are incomparable. I am not a big fan of this essence per se because it is super duper runny (feels almost like water straight up) because I personally love skincare products with a little weight and texture to it, but if it is warm out there and you just need a dewy, thinned-down toner/essence, this is a good one to go by.
Wow, where do I start with sheet masks? If there are 2 things in the name of skincare that I am head over heels for, it will be sheet mask and sleeping mask (more on that just below), but sheet masks are pure love for me.
I adore sheet masks with a passion. No matter the season or temperature or whatever is going on with the world outside, when I pull out a sheet mask, I can guarantee you my day or night is going to get resplendently better. I am the best person to tell you all about self-care because I am all about unwinding and relaxing at the end of each day, a good Yankee candle burning, a warm bubble bath and definitely a hydrating sheet mask is a highly resounding YES on that self care list.
Sheet masks are, as the name suggest a sheet of mask packed with serums in it, ranging from anywhere between a buck to $50 a pop, there are all kinds of sheet masks to suit your fancy. I even tried the 111 skin rose gold sheet mask, that sucker was like $36 a piece, I better be earning millions if I want to upkeep that lavish lifestyle.
I generally apply sheet mask twice a week on exfoliating days, just for an extra oomph of self tender loving. While I love all sheet masks in general, if you were to ask me to choose my favourites, its either a toss up between Innisfree green tea sheet mask and Dr Jart ceramidin sheet mask (picture below). LOVE THEM!!
Here’s a few fun pointers for sheet masks. Firstly, sheet mask is an extension of a serum, therefore you are not to wash off a sheet mask off as compared to a regular clay mask that needs rinsing. If you are rinsing your face after a sheet mask, please just take your money and flush it down the toilet-pretty much the same concept.
Secondly, before putting on your sheet mask, make the most out of it, by scrapping out the serum from the package first and applying it on your face. You can also use the remnants of the serum for your neck, chest or hands. Now personally for me, I will generally put my sheet mask on my face for 10-12 mins as you do not need to wait for the sheet mask to dry off on your face which will then defeats the purpose of hydration. I will then roll the sheet mask into 2 and put it on my neck for a couple of minutes before tossing it off.
SERUM Now where do I start with the almighty serum? Serum is to be fitted into your regime, after cleansing , toning and essence and before moisturising. I think of serums as a product that I use to address my skin issue directly.
I completely understand that identifying the right serum for your skin can leave you utterly perplexed and even more discombobulated than you already are. Fret not, girls.
Way before I did not know any better, I took the smartest approach in using an all-rounder serum. A basic, natural, non offensive simple serum-Sukin super greens serum. This serum has great veggies in it-kale, spinach and spirulina and has none of the bad ingredients that is completely irrelevant for your skin. I enjoyed this serum immensely, I used it for a good year in the beginning. It has a somewhat runny milky consistency which is both light in warmer weather and great for layering before your advanced serums.
However, as I progressed and as I discovered that I need a stronger serum, I have shelved this serum but still till this day, from time to time, I still take this serum out especially in summer when my skin does not feel like it need much.
Moving on to specific serums.. I use a Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) serum in my morning skincare routine amongst a couple others and in the evening, I tend to use a serum which mainly contains Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) or Retinol (Vitamin A).
My go to Vitamin C serum is the Klairs Vitamin C. If you are unfamiliar with Vitamin C, it is basically an anti-oxidant which brightens your skin complexion and helps with uneven skin tone. I particularly love Klairs’s vitamin C because of its oilier formulation and of how it glides very smoothly onto the skin. It also only contains 5% of ascorbic acid so it is a gorgeous recommendation for beginners. This product is one of many that has been faithfully standard, I keep repurchasing it over and over again.
Now, there will be times when my trusty Klairs vitamin C runs out and there will be a niggly voice in my head that tells me to try a higher dose of vitamin C serum. With that, I have tried both Tiam 20% and Wishtrend 21.5%, both of which thankfully my skin could adhere to and handle and that my skin loves.
Vitamin C is a highly unstable product and goes off when exposed to heat, water or air-hence why you see many ladies putting their Vitamin Cs in a closed drawer or in the fridge. Gentle note that once your vitamin C turns brown, chuck it because it pretty much means that the product has gone bad. Think of an apple-eat it when its nice and juicy, chuck it when it is oxidized and brown.
Remember that like any other products, start from the bottom and work your way up, you simply do not want to start with the higher concentration and burn your skin off. Also do remember to pile on the sunscreen as vitamin C is known to boost the efficacy of sunscreen.
And then, we have The Ordinary I am an avid Ordinary fan. I love their mix and match policy and that all skin types are different-therefore not one product is going to accurately tailor to your needs. Plus, I just appreciate how affordable all their products are. If someone were to ask me what is Ordinary-I will say, think of its a sandwich. In a sandwich, you have different ingredients, bread, meat, cheese, vege, sauces, etc-yes? What if you are lactose intolerant and do not want the cheese or what if you allergic to pickles? Instead of selling you an entire pre-made sandwich, Ordinary is selling you the individual ingredients that goes into a sandwich (in skincare form of course). Ordinary is a very scientific brand and if you are into these technicalities mumbo jumbo, you will love this brand. Got me? Okay good.
If you google Ordinary, one of the highly recommended products is Buffet. I tried that and it broke me out for no good reason. I will not bore you into details of what you should be using from Ordinary but I will tell you what I have been using.
My skin cannot leave without Matrixyl. By that I meant, when I forgot to pack Matrixyl for a 2 week vacation back to asia, my skin broke out uncontrollably in grittiness. To date I have used about 5 bottles of this and will continue to do so. Matrixyl is a peptide (scientifically speaking are amino acids compound) and matrixyl principally takes care of wrinkle prevention. I started buying Matrixl for the sole purpose of my deep laugh lines and in between my eyebrows and so far, its been working great. I use Matrixyl every morning as my 2nd serum.
I have also started using their Hyaluronic acid (HA) as a separate product to boost my skin’s hydration. Bear in mind that Matrixyl also has a small portion of HA as well.
Another can’t live without for me from Ordinary is Niacinamide (Vit B3). If matrixyl is a morning love for me, niacinamide is an evening love for me. Niacinamide’s function is to help improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, wrinkles and dullness. I use Niacinamide about 4 times per week as an evening serum. So what do I use as an evening serum 3 other times of the week? I use retinol.
Now, I am no expert in retinol and I do not wish to dabble too deep into the derivatives of Vitamin A and blah blah but just know that retinol and anti ageing is GOLD goals. That’s all I am leaving you with.
I started using Verso’s sample retinol serum couple of times and while I love that product, I realistically cannot afford it at almost $200 a pop and in my opinion, it is not sustainable for replenishing purposes. Alternatively, I moved on to Ordinary’s 0.5% retinol in squalene which is a super low concentration of retinol in squalene form (predominantly derived from olive oil). I was being very mindful to start low and slow especially when dealing with actives. I was halfway through this bottle when I realized that I wanted to up the ante just a bit, kicked the retinol up a notch.
Hence why I moved on to using granactive 2% emulsion which I completely enjoyed and have seen reasonable results with. While the squalene was an oil version, emulsion is a milky serum-y version and I enjoyed this form much better.
Do I need serums? Completely up to you. I will not be too bothered with it if you have generally a good skin care health. However, if you do want to dip your toes into the serum pool, I totally recommend starting with a basic serum without the harsher active ingredients- for eg: Sukin green serum. You can also give Ordinary’s buffet a try and see if that works for you. Otherwise, a serum has just popped into my mind-Missha time revolution ampoule, so this was a supposed dupe for the Estee Lauder Advanced night serum and I actually enjoyed this serum while I was using it a while back. Not that this matters but it comes in a luxurious dark purple glass heavy bottle and it just makes the experience a little more lush. The reason why I did not repurchase this was because I have heaps of other serums which I wanted to try but I will love to reconcile with this serum in the near future.
MOISTURISER Moisturisers, as we all know it, is pretty standard in any skincare even right down to the super basic of a regime. In finding a good moisturiser, you need to initially determine your skin type (if you have not done so already). The reason why is, the last thing you want is a bad moisturiser which does absolutely nothing for you. If you have oily skin, you will not want to use a heavy cream which just sits on your face and break you out-instead opt for a gel consistency moisturiser which hydrates. If you have mature skin or drier skin by nature, you will want to look out for slightly thicker moisturiser to leave your skin supple and nourished.
As mentioned earlier, I enjoy the range of products in Neutrogena’s hydro boost collection; mainly this gel moisturizer and their sheet masks. This gel moisturiser is a no-brainer and fool-proof product, slapped it on and dries within seconds, giving your skin the basic hydration you need. Above and beyond that, what I really love about this gel moisturiser is, it is packed with Hyaluronic Acid (HA). And what does hyaluronic acid does to your skin? It supples, makes it bouncier like a baby’s butt. You better not tell me you don’t want them cheeks to be as bouncy as a baby’s bottom.
Do you need a separate moisturisers for day and night? Generally no, however as someone who just loves skincare, I do use 2 different moisturisers purely because during the day, I generally need a lighter moisturiser and during the evening, I prefer a thicker moisturiser that has more sealing properties.
My night moisturiser of choice is the Dr Jart ceramidin cream. I have spoken about this product endlessly and why I am completely besotted with it. You can read it in my winter essentials recommendations but just trust me when I say, putting this on is like putting on a layer of silky, smooth lard on your face.
You all will think I can rest easy without showing you my green tea moisturizing goodies? I am also currently using the Innisfree green tea moisturiser in my post gym shower routine, as a compliment to its toner and I cannot emphasize how genuinely refreshing this combination is.
SUNSCREEN Sunscreen is a touchy subject for me, knowing that I have missed 30 good years of my life NOT putting any sunscreen on my face. What I lacked in knowledge then, I made it up with abundance application of sunscreen now. How much sunscreen do we need? General rule of thumb is 1 to 2 teaspoons of sunscreen on face and neck, and of course, topping it up after few hours, if you are particularly sweaty or you are generally outdoors doing water activities.
The biggest myth about sunscreen is not wearing it during non-summer seasons and the most popular misconception is not wearing sunscreen because “I am not going outside”. Why not? The sun will always be there every morning irregardless even in the snows and the sun rays will still penetrate through the window when you are indoors and you will still catch UV rays from lamps or lights, so why should we not stay sun protected at all times?
If you are asking which SPF is better, always remember that any SPF is better than none-SPF 30 is better than no sunscreen at all. Kindly be mindful of being sun safe and sun smart. Wear a hat and not bake in the sun incessantly.
My go to sunscreen is both from Neutrogena-both of which are in the ultra sheer forms. I absolutely abhor and detest any kind of thick gooey, ceramic clay-ey scunscreen-why people sell these is a question on its own? Because I am naturally a sweaty person myself, I find that the ultra sheer versions are so easy to apply and does not leave a white cast on my face. It also does not break me out.
I did use a Japanese sunscreen from Shiseido Anessa for a good 8 months last year and I love it to death. Sadly, I cannot get it here (got that in Singapore) so I moved on swiftly to Korean sunscreen and a particular favourite of mine is the COSRX aloe soothing cream-smells awesome and feels great on the skin.
OIL Oil is a crucial step in my skincare, chiefly in the winter. I do not know about you, but during the colder months, my nose peels despite of all the amazing hydrating products which I piled on my face. There are many varieties of facial oil out there but my favourite has always been the rosehip oil from Trilogy which came a very long way with me (Remember my story about my dry skin when I first moved to Australia, this rosehip oil single-handedly combated the dryness).
Despite it being an oil, it absorbs beautifully on my skin without leaving any oil residue whatsoever. While facial oil can be used both day and night, I find that just by incorporating it in my routine has assisted my skin in being oil-balanced-which means I am no longer excessively oily during the day for no reason. Putting an oil in my evening routine also gives a nice feeling of “sealing” all the products together.
When choosing a facial oil, choose one that is organic and cold pressed to ensure that you are not just buying and slapping a random oil which can irritate your skin. Kindly also bear in mind that a facial oil is completely different to an essential oil-essential oil is not to be placed anywhere near your face.
SLEEPING MASK Now, for my 2nd favourite kind of mask-sleeping mask. Just a quick recap that I also mentioned about sleeping mask in my top winter skincare essentials previously. If you miss that, you can read it here.
What are korean sleeping mask, you may ask? I will briefly answer it by saying it is just a fancy name for a thicker consistency of a night moisturiser with potent ingredients-just like a night cream on steroids.
In the winter, we all know that the ghastly horrid cold nights are the worst. From the time I did my evening skincare to the time I hit the sack, due to the cold air circulation despite the heater blowing all night long, my face will be tight like the sahara dessert. Hence why, I am such an ardent fan of the sleeping mask in winter. I will apply it like how I will apply a moisturizer, but instead of working it into my skin, I will sloppily slap it on my face like a thick gunk of goo. Leaving a sleeping mask thick on your skin helps your skin to have an extra layer of protection against the harsh cold air. You need not worry as a good sleeping mask will do its job in absorbing nicely into your skin without making it feel dry or taut while you snooze.
You can also use sleeping mask in a couple of other situations:- Firstly, if you sleep in an air conditioned room and always wake up to dry skin, you can try applying sleeping mask too to combat dryness and secondly, you can also whip out your sleeping mask in a long haul flight, similar concept to protecting your skin from the undesirable air circulation in the plane.
My favourite sleeping mask is the Laneige water sleeping mask-this is a godsend of a product, lightweight gel consistency, tranquil scent and just a dream to apply. I always find waking up in the morning a pleasure, noticing that my cheeks are always supple and just visibly nourished from the previous night’s sleep.
Now sleeping masks unlike a night cream is only to be applied 2-3 times a week due to the potency of the ingredients, apply it as a final step and leave it overnight. Let it work its wonders and fret not friends, sleeping mask will not mess up your pillow any more than your usual skincare products.
Another honorable mention for a sleeping mask is the Klairs Vitamin E mask which has the most unique consistency I have ever seen in any skincare product. It is in layman term described as a mask in a jelly form. It does emit a strong scent and it is slightly tackier than the Laneige seeping mask but is a good alternative.
LIPBALM Last but not least, please do not forget your gorgeous lips.
I have an un-confessed lipbalm addiction and like most things, it always have to be Nivea lipbalm. Just like my body lotion, I have one in my handbag, in the car, by my bedside, on my office desk, you get the picture. Recently I got to try Carmex lipbalm too-got it in an Asos advent calendar (speaking of which, will totes go down the advent calendar rabbit hole, come December this year) and I also love the Carmex libalm, but I am so loyal to Nivea, I keep repurchasing over and over. You need a good lipbalm post-haste, whatever you choose, just keep those puckers supple and not dry.
And please for the love of bamboozle, do not lick your lips as licking your lips does nothing except to further aggravate the drying. So please lipbalm the heck up.
That’s it, guys. My long, exhaustive and completely ranty skincare entry has come to an end. I hope if you have have read thus far, have enjoyed my 2 cents insights and appreciate the grueling effort that I put in. I have spend many many months buying products, testing them out and taking pictures so I can do a good write up for you guys. There are MANY MANY other skincare products which I am currently using which did not make it into this entry because this is already too lengthy or the products are not making the cut.
I will always be interested in experimenting with skincare products because the importance of having great skin trumps above and beyond a fully made up face anytime. If you have any pointers yourself, let me know and always help a sister (or brother) out. Toodles!!