Hello hello peeps! 😀
What’s this PB doing, you may be wondering. Just blogging once a MONTH now instead of almost daily? Well it almost seems that way doesn’t it? There’ll be changes aplenty going on but I’m slowly trying to make that comeback so bear with me 🙂
What with 2014 coming to an end, and having gone through a lot of ups and downs myself this year, physically and emotionally, towards the end of the year, I found I’d let myself go. My skincare routine was shot to pieces, I was a slob and all I was doing was keeping to the basic cleanse, tone, moisturise and while my skin didn’t go crazy (I do believe I’d left a good enough base that it managed to withstand my neglect) it wasn’t looking at its best.
One day, when things were starting to look up (as they always will because when you’re at your lowest ebb, the only way left to go is up!) I realised that I was just being really shitty to myself and I didn’t see why I should be. So I picked myself up, dusted off the ol’ skincare and got stuck in and within a week, I reaped the benefits.
Dull skin I didn’t quite notice before took a backseat and turned into a clear skinned glow, minor clogged pores especially around my chin unclogged and smoothed out and I just didn’t need very much foundation. The best compliment was being told that my foundation was looking great and I only had the most minimum of base on! When you look good, you feel good, clichéd as it sounds, and putting makeup on was a cinch because everything looks good! 🙂
Incidentally I also got a few requests to share my skincare products that I’m using now. So I thought it would be nice to share not my skincare products because those change a lot from time to time, but my latest skincare ROUTINE which doesn’t. This way, you get to use the products that suit your skin because you and I may not have the same skintype would we? 🙂
So, as the year closes I’d like for you to think about not chasing after that new and latest makeup obsession or product for a while, or looking for the highest coverage foundation in the market to mask your skin. Instead, remember that good makeup starts with good skin and as we close the year and step forth into a new one, make it your resolution to better your skin above all else. Here’s my routine and I hope it will help you get started.
Remember, it’s all about the base! 😉
First off, do note I have normal-dry skin. I’m 40, it happens to the best of us LOL! 😀 If you have oily skin parts of this routine may also work for you, but the products I use may not, so tweak accordingly.
DAY TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
- CLEANSE – I use a creamy cleanser now or at least a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip my skin so much. I don’t get oily in the night, so I don’t need anything too strong. Yes, I do advocate washing your face in the morning although some people may find that it doesn’t suit them. Daytime cleansers I like are Antipodes Juliet Brightening Cleanser, Pai Skincare Camellia & Rose Cleanser, Blissoma Rice Cleanser and I’m about to give the A’kin Rose & Geranium cleanser and Antipodes Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Creamy cleanser a go as well. If you get oily in the night, use something that makes your skin feel clean. I’m not a purist so if it takes a foaming cleanser to make you feel good, use one but use one that doesn’t feel as stripping on your skin. I feel the Kiehl’s Calendula one doesn’t.
- EXFOLIATING TONER/ ACID TONER – Something I added into my skincare routine this year that I reaped a lot of benefits from so I’m keeping it in. This is basically a toner with properties that help gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin and is gentle enough to use daily. Generally it tends to contain AHA or BHA or any acids. I’ve used and liked the REN Clarimatte toner and am currently loving the Pixi Glow Tonic (but not the smell).
- FACE MIST (optional) – I like spritzing a mist all over to dampen my skin after the exfoliating toner, because I find it helps my skincare absorb better. I use a cheapie rosewater one from Heritage Store that I get from iHerb and I think I’ll be sticking to this because I get great value for money. I may try the La Mer Mist next. Ooh luxe 😛
- HYDRATING TONER – I’m a big fan of hydrating the skin because believe you me, oily skin or dry skin or acne prone skin, all skin types benefit from having good and proper hydration as I’ve personally discovered. My personal favourite is the La Mer The Treatment Lotion which I swear rectifies all my hydration problems gently and subtly. When I get some heat rash on my neck, I use this lotion to clear away the scaly skin that develops after that and it works very well. But you can use any other toner (or usually labelled lotion) that adds hydration into your skin. The Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion falls into this category so use that for a budget option if you prefer.
- HYDRATING SERUM – My day routine is all about hydration because I’m in an office all day long or sometimes outside in the heat and that can dehydrate the skin quite quickly. I like using a hydrating serum like the Dr. Lewinns S8 Super Hydrator (My fave!) or the more affordable and easier to obtain Hydraluron is also quite good. The Kiehl’s Super Hydrator isn’t bad if your skin can tolerate silicones.
- MOISTURISER – What? Moisturiser after all that? Yes. You need something to seal everything in so if you have oily skin, use a light gel moisturiser that doesn’t feel heavy (e.g. Clinique Moisture Surge, Origins Make a Difference Plus+, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil Free gel cream). If you have drier skin use something a little heavier. I’m using and loving the Pai Skincare Hydrating Day Moisturiser. Love it and it’s lasting me such a long time! Otherwise, I’ve also used any number of creamy day creams because I do have slightly dry skin and I love the Origins Make A Difference Plus+ because it really did help me when my skin was feeling very dry.
- SUNSCREEN – All the makeup and anti-wrinkle cream in the world won’t help you if you haven’t gotten into the routine of using sunscreen EVERYDAY rain or snow or shine. The pesky UV rays are everywhere and I can tell you that sunscreen is your first step to an anti-aging routine. I think I can stand testament to that. So if you aren’t using one, stop reading right now and go out and get one! My favourite is the Shiseido Perfect UV Sunscreen which I’ve used up and purchased over and over. Expensive but so good. Other more affordable alternatives are the Hada Labo UV Emulsion or people also like the Skin Aqua or Biore ones as well. I personally don’t because Skin Aqua and Biore break me out but they are very popular because they are affordable. Sunscreen is the last step of my daytime skincare routine and I’m good to go. It too should be the last step of yours.
Does it look a lot? Yes it does but it takes me about 5 minutes to get through. Once you have everything in place, it’s just a matter of spritzing and dabbing and applying and really, that’s it. I let it all sink it, potter about making my breakfast and then come back to do my makeup if it’s a workday or just leave it if it’s not.
Still with me? LOL!
NIGHT TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
- MAKEUP REMOVER – On days I wear makeup I am sure to remove it quite thoroughly. I usually start with a cleansing water or micellar water because it feels more gentle on the skin but I honestly don’t think a lot about using micellar waters or cleansing waters exclusively (don’t all hate me at once, I just don’t believe in it) so it’s just my pre-cleanse. I also use a separate makeup remover for eye makeup because if you read this you’ll know why (one word, wrinkles!) Cleansing waters I’ve used are Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water and I’m currently using the Dr. Brandt Cleansing Water which is surprisingly quite good. I’ve also tried the Biore Cleansing Water and it isn’t bad either although I feel it strips my skin a little. For my eye makeup remover I just use any old bi-phase one I have. Currently it’s the Lunasol one. But I like the cheapie L’Oreal bi-phase eye makeup remover too.
- CLEANSING BALM – Yes, I’m still using a washcloth (I started in 2013) and yes, I’m still using a cleansing balm. All the ones I’ve ever tried and liked (or hated) can be found in this cleansing balm repository. I’m in the process of finishing up the Bobbi Brown Balm Cleanser and when I’m done, I’ll move on. But it’s taking me so long! This actually works for both oily and dry skin types. However, if you are the cleansing oil sort then arguably, the cleansing oil will take care of the first and second step. I used to be a huge fan of cleansing oils as my experiments will show you, but I stopped because cleansing oils were drying out my dry skin and I was breaking out. Cleansing balms are more gentle and the gentle exfoliation with the warm wash cloth is bliss at the end of the day.
- CLEANSER – Erm cleanser again? Yes I do but you don’t have to if you feel it’s too much. It’s habit for me. I used to love using the Vichy Normaderm gel cleanser which helps me battle occasional spots but I’ve started to find it too drying. So now I’m finishing up the Kiehl’s Calendula cleanser and then I’ll decide what I’ll do next.
- EXFOLIATING TONER / ACID TONER – Yes, again. It removes product residue if any, and helps rebalance your skin. On alternate days I use the Alpha H Liquid Gold and when I do, that’s the end of my skincare routine for that evening because that’s all you are supposed to use. I’ve got backups of it and sometimes when I’m tired or just feeling plain lazy, I sneak in Liquid Gold so I can just fall right into bed 😀 Sneaky yes?
- FACE MIST – Ditto the day routine
- HYDRATING TONER – Ditto the day routine
- SERUM AND/OR FACE OIL – I sometimes use one or the other and sometimes both. I like the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum a lot and I swear it works for me, so that’s a sort of staple in my routine somehow. I am never without a bottle. I slip in an occasional serum if I’m test running one, but otherwise, that’s the one I use. As for face oils, I love them (and you would too once you know how to use them) and if I don’t use them on their own, I drop a drop or two into my night cream. For now, I’m using the Pai Rosehip Oil, Human Nature Overnight Elixir, Antipodes Joyous Oil, Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Oil and Antipodes Divine Oil interchangeably depending on how I feel that evening.
- NIGHT CREAM – I seal it all in with a night cream which is generally a little heavier in texture than a day cream. I’ve used expensive ones and cheap ones and I’m currently using the Antipodes Vanilla Pod Day Cream because it’s too heavy for the day here, but nice for night. One of my favourites is the Dior Capture Totale night cream but that’s a wee bit luxe for my wallet right now so I’m just using a general face cream and amping it up with face oils instead.
You may notice that my daytime routine is heavily skewed towards hydration while my evening routine is more skewed towards an anti-aging or treatment routine. I have stopped using whitening products for various reasons, the key reason being that I don’t believe in them and they’re generally too drying for my skin. I now target a more anti-aging routine what with age creeping up and all and this current routine works very well for me as the condition of my skin tells me.
What I have also realised is that while I’m not actively treating my dark spots and pigmentation, which every SA will point out and then push a whitening product at me, by keeping my skin well hydrated and well kept in general, the dark spots and pigmentation aren’t as noticeable, or just not as obvious anymore. So, it’s kind of killing two birds with one stone, and really, I don’t care anymore. I’m flawed, I accept it 🙂
If you’ve read my previous routines (2011, 2012, 2013), you may note there is little to no difference in the routine itself and in fact, this new one seems longer although not necessarily more complicated. What has changed are the products that I use. For the first time, this year has seen me facing the least problems with my skin in terms of breakouts and towards the second half of the year, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my skin texture.
The key I feel is the regular exfoliation I’ve been doing, with the exfoliating/acid toner, Alpha H Liquid Gold, and using a washcloth and cleansing balms. Also, face oils have also made my skin look and feel better. So I’d credit these for helping my skin look better now than it did say 5 years ago when I had a looser routine and played around a lot more.
I’ve also stopped experimenting too much, sticking to things I know rather than playing guinea pig too often (I know, totally self-defeating from a blogging standpoint!) but hey, my skin is thanking me for it! An interesting observation came from a friend over lunch where she mentioned that I was skewing towards using lesser known or more cult brands in my skincare routine. I didn’t quite realise it, but when I reviewed the products I use, I did notice that a lot of the stuff I like are a little harder to find locally and are not the regular department store brands. Not to say regular department store brands are bad, but some of them just don’t work as well for me as they should and since we’re all individuals, don’t let me put you off using or trying them 🙂 As for myself, I’m saying a thank you prayer for the inventor of online shopping and for the sites that will ship internationally to keep me in cult and niche products 😛
This guide isn’t gospel of course. It is what works for me and I am first and foremost a skincare junkie so long routines don’t trouble me, and I am prepared to try new items that other people say work. I’m also not saying that a routine like this will cure all your skincare ills, but it might set you on the first step to discovering one that works for you. It most certainly helped me turn my skin around to what it is now, and since I think my appearance belies my age, that’s testimony enough, yes? 😉
So if you make just one resolution this coming new year, make your skin your focus for the coming year.
Are you diligent about your skincare routine?
I am, for the most part. I fall off the bandwagon now and again. When I was feeling low, I hardly used anything and my skin didn’t suffer too badly although I noticed the neglect did take its toll. Some evenings, I don’t use a cleansing balm, sometimes when I get lazy I just slather on face oils and forsake everything else. I tweak it but I always come back to A ROUTINE. You? 🙂
p/s If I don’t check back in before the year ends, here’s wishing everyone of you lovelies a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ahead! 🙂