Disclaimer: The opinions expressed below are completely my own. I realize that different people have different skin types and there is perhaps no one magic product that suits all. It is always better to try out samples of products and do a test before applying them on your skin, even more so if you have sensitive skin, acne or other problems. Also, this post is not about make up products but is focused on skin care, which really is the foundation for everything else.
I know it feels odd to have a piece on skin care on my blog. This blog has for the longest time been witness to my random rants, personal opinions on movies and sports to mundane life observations and even arbitrary madness(I once wrote an entire article about a lizard in my room). But, change is the name of the game. That is not to say that I am going to become a beauty blogger. I am not qualified enough to do that but over the last couple of years and specifically last few months, I have turned to the internet and some blogs in particular to figure out what the ideal skin care routine should be like along with product recommendations. The sheer amount of information available on the net can be overwhelming. Contrasting reviews and unknown brands can make you feel a bit lost but I spent a fair amount of time decoding data and tried to find products that I thought would be good for my skin.
Some people are blessed with great skin and clear complexion. I do not have bad skin but it wasn’t great either. I always had a very basic approach to my skin care – face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen and compact powder. That was all I needed. I thought I was doing an amazing job to be honest. Looking back I realize my skin went through quite a bit of torture. From not paying much attention to the ingredients in a product to prioritizing clothes and other spending to skin care, I have made my share of mistakes. That is all in the past though. In fact skin can be sometimes forgiving despite use of mediocre products when you are younger. I turned a corner when I became 25. I read an article in a magazine that spoke about how people in their 20’s neglect their skin only to realize later that some damage is irreversible. That, along with access to more products (both online and retail chains) definitely brought about a shift in my attitude. So, if you are interested in knowing more, read on.
The steps in skin care
I have shamelessly picked this up from skin care guru Caroline Hirons and it has now become a standard part of my routine. I do not follow all the steps in the routine (such as eye cream at night and serums in the morning) but I guess as I grow older they will become a part of my routine.
Morning: Cleanse – Tone – Eye Cream – Serum/Other Treatment – Moisturizer – SPF/Sunscreen
Evening: Cleanse – Tone – Eye Cream – Serum/Other Treatment
In the mornings, if I am staying home I stop at the SPF stage. If I am going out I follow it up with a primer and BB cream. The compact powder stays in my purse for touch ups because I have oily skin and Singapore is a humid place but after using a BB cream I do not feel the need for using powder on top immediately. I use a liquid/powder concealer only when I am going out for special occasions and want no blemishes whatsoever on my skin. While it might feel like a lot of products on your skin, bottom line is as long as you are using good quality products and remove them properly before going to bed, your skin should be fine. In fact, cleansing – toning – moisturizing are the three basic steps advised by almost all beauty experts. Because I have oily skin, earlier I would sometimes skip using a moisturizer out of the fear that it would create an oil spill on my face but now I use a mild moisturizer daily and feel that the oil production on my face has reduced. In fact, if I do not use a moisturizer my skin produces more oil to compensate for the lack of hydration!
My favorite products
Cleansing: I used a foam based face wash for the longest time. In fact, when I was a teenager I thought more the foam, the cleaner my face would get. That myth has now been laid to rest. I stay as far away from foam based products as I can. I use a mild facial cleanser in the morning (can be milk based) and a cleansing balm in the evening (because it helps to remove all the make up and products off as well).
Products I love: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash (do not confuse it with the Tea Tree Foaming Cleanser), Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk
Toning: I frankly never used a toner till about a few months back. Now that it part of my routine I can already feel the difference in my skin as these products give your skin an even tone. I use two toners – one as part of my daily skin care routine and one that acts as an exfoliant that I use once a week to remove dead cells.
Products I love: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner (for regular use), Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid (once a week, overnight. Whenever I use this product I do not apply anything else over it for better results as suggested by the brand itself)
Eye Cream: This is one category that I have not completely figured out yet because I am not looking at anti-ageing products yet. I use an eye cream only for brightening purpose or if there is some puffiness around my eyes.
Products I love: Body Shop Moisture White Shiso 2 in 1 brightening cream
Serum: I do not use a serum in the morning and skip this step to go straight into my moisturizer. But in the evenings I use a serum as an overnight night cream. I have to confess though that I am a bit irregular with this step but whenever I use a serum my skin feels soft, hydrated and supple the next morning.
Products I love: Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum – Fragrance Free, Estee Laudeer Advanced Night Repair Serum ( I used this product for a few weeks when I bought a sample and really liked it. It is very expensive though and I might not buy it again. Still on the lookout for other serums.)
Moisturizer: There are tons of good moisturizers in the market. There are also tons of not so good ones. Choose a moisturizer based on your needs and the weather’s effects on your skin. All I looked for while buying my moisturizer was that it should preferably be fragrance free (I am not big on products with a strong scent) and not make my face too oily. I finally found two good products that I use regularly and keep switching between
Products I love: Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer For Combination Skin, Olay Total Effects Moisturizer
Other must haves in skin care routine
Scrubs: Most scrubs I have tried in the past have been effective. They remove dead skin, clean your pores and leave your skin feeling brand new. Thus, I have not experimented with too many products in this category. In fact, ever since I started following the above mentioned routine the need to scrub my face has gone down drastically. I use a scrub once every 2-3 weeks unless of course I feel like I am facing a sudden skin crisis.
Products I love: Everyouth Walnut Scrub, Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Scrub
Face Masks: In a complete contrast to scrubs, I had very little luck with face masks in the past. I found most of them to be ineffective. After a bit of research I found a few really good face masks that have now become my most favorite part of skin care because they produce instant results. Top of my list is products from GlamGlow. I use Glamglow YouthMud Exfoliate once every week or ten days, especially on Fridays, and it gives my skin a wonderful glow that lasts me a couple of days. For a more cleansing type of face mask I use Origins Active Charcoal Clear Mask that helps draw out all the dirt from your face. I also like masks from Neutrogena that are effective and great value for money.
Phew, that was quite a long list. But not long enough. There are quite a few products that are on my radar and once I get around to trying them I will update my list. While some of these products are pricey I do not mind spending a little extra considering I no longer need to get facials which in itself saves me quite a bit of money. Plus, most of these products last a long time and though it might seem a lot to pay in one shot, the benefits are enormous. My skin feels healthy and better. I would love to hear about your favorite products and skin care routines, so do leave a comment below 🙂