Sure, beauty can be portrayed through the makeup we wear on our faces, and all the clothing that we dress ourselves in to build up a visaed of what we believe is beautiful in order to show the public eye, but when it all comes down to it, beauty is something you truly find from within, and with beautiful skin, you can feel more better about yourselves. I was asked by the community manager at Glossier (a website and beauty brand that uses our stories to compile a skincare regime that suits each individual) to share with you my go to products for skincare, makeup and anything to highlight my naturally beautiful skin, not conceal. They believe in “skin first, makeup second, smile always” which I strongly believe in as well. Without good skin, you need more makeup to make yourself feel beautiful, but when your natural skin fits to your own personal beauty standards, you’ll find yourself needing less makeup and letting your true beauty shine. I wanted to share my little story today.
I used to have flawless skin; not a blemish to be seen and my face knew not of dark circles or sensitivities. I suppose it would have all started when I finally hit my tenth year of schooling when I encountered my first pimple. I didn’t know what to do, and people often had told me to just pop it. I did, and from that day on, my skin just became gradually worse and over a long period, my face was covered in a mountain of zits that seemed like it would never heal.
I also lacked a lot of sleep throughout my schooling years, and from there developed a sort of insomnia which caused permanent dark circles that I’m only starting to heal now. My skin was normal type until something happened; I’m not sure myself, but my entire face just started to produce so much sebum to the point I enjoyed the feeling of dry or tight skin whenever I washed my face. My skin underwent a huge transformation from the year I got my first job up until now, and even at this very moment, my skin is changing and I’ll continue to have to persevere through a huge journey with my skin for years to come.
My skincare journey started off with Proactiv, a brand you all must be incredibly familiar with. If you’re just as familiar to the brand as I am, then you’d know that it only works for certain skin types and the success rate is actually comparably low to other branded acne treatments. Upon using Proactiv for a good year, maybe longer, I developed even worse acne, my skin became dry almost constantly and my skin also started to develop sensitivity and reactions to everything. “It’ll get better soon,” I often told myself using Proactiv on my face, believing the crap they said that it gets worse before it gets better. Had I known what I know today, I would have longed ditched Proactiv, and people wouldn’t have been so scared to look at my disgusting face.
I think it was probably half way into my first year of work when my mother unintentionally introduced me to the Missha M Perfect Cover BB cream, substituting it for sunblock as we didn’t have any good ones at the time. From there hit my huge phase in Asian skincare, Korean in particular, which I must note has changed my life in more ways than one. I discovered that Korean acne ranges generally include green tea, salicylic acid and various medicinal herbs in their ingredients to help prevent, control and heal breakouts. “Eh, it’s just another gimmick employed to con people into believing their skin will get better using their products. It’s another game of crappy cleansers and unnecessary things to buy which won’t work anyway.” Boy was I wrong.
It was probably a few days after that I noticed zits disappearing off my face and my skin finally peeking through the mountains and craters. After a full week, my skin started to feel softer, smoother and less bumpy. A month went by and my entire U-Zone (the cheeks and chin) have cleared up completely, which left only my t-zone to reclaim. Unfortunately, through my second shop for the products I had used, the range I looked so highly upon became unavailable in Australia, and later on, discontinued completely. I was back at square one and my face slowly gained more and more pimples. Once again, I was covered with acne, but this time around, I knew exactly what to look for to tackle my skincare woes.
I searched the entirety of Korean products to help with my skin (since Japanese skincare didn’t suit me in this dreaded Perth climate) and couldn’t find anything. It’s possibly due to the fact that I didn’t try hard enough, and actually, only solely relying on YouTube. One day, I discovered Michelle Phan while I was scrolling through recommended videos. She taught me through her videos that everyone has skin troubles and it’s best to accept them for what they are, and to just love you for you regardless of how you look. She was the person standing by the open door, guiding me into this world of skincare and makeup.
Through Michelle Phan, I learnt about pores, sebum, acne and all sorts of things related to the skin. I figured out that acne was mainly caused by bacteria, sebum and dirty pores, so I decided rather than tackling the acne itself, I clear my pores to achieve cleaner skin. Through using my new skincare range, I realised that the same ingredients that was in the products I used previously, are also found in this new range and now, I was able to tackle not only my acne breakouts, but also my pore size as well. Killing two birds with one stone was something I wasn’t expecting to happen to me.
Fast forward to possibly today, last year, I stuck with that skincare range for a while and it worked pretty well for me. I wanted more though; I wanted to control acne, whiten my skin so it became more even toned, reduce my pores but also maintain my output of sebum for as long as possible. That skincare range alone wasn’t enough for what I wanted and there wasn’t anything that I could use to achieve my unachievable goals. “Suppose I’ll just stick to what I know. There’s no point in biting off more than I could chew.”
It was finally nearing Christmas; my friend Sarah and I wanted to do our Christmas shopping together at Carousel, a small mall located in our hometown, Perth. Walking around, we discovered a little Asian beauty store that was newly opened and inside were products I’ve never seen or heard of before. I only recognised POLA, which was depressing. I thought I knew enough about skincare but I was obviously wrong. So, here I was, standing in a store with my friend not knowing anything at all. We asked one of the girls working there to help us out, and she ended up being a letdown, not knowing anything at all and she even admitted herself that she knew just as much as we, well, I did. (Honestly, Sarah knows nothing about skincare and I’m taking a whole different journey to getting her to start proper cleansing, but that’s another story.)
Fast forward to where I am today and I’ve experimented to find a range that suits me, a range that tackles all my impossible wants. Within the time I discovered the little store, to scoring a job there and experimenting with everything in between, I’ve gone through so many products, SO MUCH money (you’d all punch me in the face if you knew how much I actually spent) and a rollercoaster ride with the condition of my skin. I’m still not entirely happy with the way my complexion is now, but from where I started off to where I am now, I’m ecstatic with the results and I couldn’t be more comfortable with sharing my skin with everyone now. All in all, it took me a good four or so years to love my face, love my complexion and be happy with what I have achieved. Of course, as you get older, your skin changes with you, and in the future you will need to address those concerns on top of what you are trying to fix now, but I’ll leave that for the future Anthony to deal with. The present me is happy, loving my skin and proving to people that despite all the troubles I had to deal with in regards to my image, anything can be achieved.
What are my go to products and routines for my skin to help keep it looking healthy and bright, even without the help of makeup? I have basically a product depending on how lazy or dedicated I am, and a product to tackle basically every skin concern under the sun. That said, my routine constantly changes depending on the circumstances, but these products all fit into an interchangeable routine that I heavily rely on to achieve the skin I have now. I still stick to a typical Korean skincare routine that involves multiple steps, but it works for me and helps to keep my skin in this condition. For a Korean skincare, you have 5 or so steps for a basic routine, and up to 12 or 13 steps for a complex routine.
STEP ONE: CLEANSING
I think that proper cleansing can help you achieve an instant glow, clearer skin and less skin troubles. For your other products to work effectively, your skin must be well cleansed, prepped and perfectly conditioned for your products to absorb readily. If you don’t cleanse your skin well enough, then anything you apply topically will only sit on the skin surface and either clog your pores, damage your skin layers or even just evaporate off your face. The answer to good skin comes down to the health of your pores. When your pores are clean, your skin appears so much more dewier, more lifted and more smoother.
In the morning, I need to use a cleanser to control the output of sebum in my skin after a long night’s rest. Without a doubt, if I don’t control my acne, my skin will breakout in many mountainous zits and that’s something I’m not looking forward to if, God forbid, happens. Since these days, my skin is slowly becoming more normal skin type again, I am not needing anything too strong for my acne, so I rely solely on just this one cleanser. This comes from a Korean brand called Etude House, which uses salicylic acid to control acne, kill the bacteria and deep cleanse the pores. I have written a small review on the product half a year ago, which you can read here.
I use this cleanser only during the night after I remove any makeup or sunblock. This creamy cleanser uses medicinal herbs that can help to maintain overall skin health, has the ability to thoroughly cleanse pores, stimulates the blood circulation in your skin for normal distribution of oxygen around your face to reduce the signs of visible veins and brightens the skin dramatically, even after the first use. This comes from another Korean brand, called The History of Whoo. which is prestigious in the Korean beauty world as one of the higher end brands known to all the elderly women who look after their skin.
I’ve used many different types of cleansing oils, from liquid to balm, and all have performed the same way. This one comes in to one of my must haves, since it was the first cleansing oil I’ve ever used, my favourite by far in terms of smell and cost. The price is the cheapest, the smell isn’t too overpowering and the cleansing ability of this oil is amazing. It removes all traces of makeup (even waterproof), deep cleanses the pores, hydrates the skin exceptionally well and brightens the skin to the point it looks almost ethereal.
STEP TWO: FIRST TREATMENT
This step is all too new to the Western skincare range, but for Asian skincare, it is a huge staple to tackle many skin concerns in one product. Kill a flock of birds with one stone would be a way to sum up what a treatment essence can do. They generally work to hydrate the skin, improve elasticity, increase collagen production in the skin, tighten pores, soothe, smooth and brighten the skin complexion all at once. They are generally applied before your hydrating toner to activate any skincare product you use after it, in order to amplify your product’s effectiveness.
The only essence I’ve ever enjoyed using on my skin has been this beauty. The Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive (or better known as the Missha longer name essence) works so well for my skin no matter the condition it is in. When my skin is sensitive, I don’t experience any reactions to this whatsoever. When my skin is oily, I find that my pores become more tighter using this, and my skin is producing less sebum throughout the day and night. When my skin Is dry, the essence soaks into my skin almost immediately and feels a lot more smoother, not as rough feeling. If I could choose only one item from my skincare list, I’d hands down pick this one product.
I tried to get the liquid to stay put on my hand, but failed.
STEP THREE: TONERS
If you’ve ever read my blog, then you’d know how important toners are for the skin. If your skin’s pH level has been disrupted, your skin can react negatively by changing in skin type over time, your skin may breakout or you may experience fine lines and wrinkles earlier than expected. I rely on two different types of toners to keep my skin in check; a cleansing toner to remove any leftover debris or waste materials from the skin that wasn’t able to be removed through the methods of cleaning, and a hydrating toner, that helps to restore any lost moisture from cleaning your skin. This is where my skincare will change depending on the condition of my skin during that particular time.
When my skin is oily: I always opt for my snail solution toner that contains a little bit of serum to help repair and protect my skin. This comes from It’s Skin and works to tackle so many different skin concerns at once, just like the treatment essence. I find that if I use this toner, I can skip serum if I like, since the toner runs thicker than most.
When my skin is dry: I choose to use the Inyang balancing toner from History of Whoo that helps to nourish the skin, help with anti-aging and deals with pore scaling as well. Actually, thinking about it, most of my skincare products are multifunctional.
When my skin is in normal condition: I will immediately address my biggest concern at the moment, which is skin tone evening. Under my makeup, my skin is actually relatively uneven, and it’s due to the fact I tend to use high coverage bases, or implement good lighting that my skin appears flawless. In reality, I suffer from hyper pigmentation marks from old acne scars and general skin blotchiness. I find that this toner is the most effective to even out my skin tone whilst improving the brightness of my skin very effectively.
When my skin feels unclean: I use Missha Clear Toner to refine my pores and to deep cleanse the skin after cleansing. Though, I will admit, I haven’t seen many changes to the pores itself, I can tell that my skin is becoming more bouncy with each day due to the fermented ingredients found in this toner. It also improves skin brightness, has anti-aging properties and soothes skin fairly well.
STEP FOUR: AMPOULES
With ampoules, they work almost similar to the First Treatment essences, and again, appear to be exclusive only to Asian skincare from what I gathered. They’re multipurpose skincare addressers that help to treat a variety of troubles, whilst amplifying any serums you use after this.
I’ve only used one ampoule and I’ve never gone to try any other branded ampoule since using this one alone. This is the Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule (also known as the Missha long name bottle, or the purple bottle) that helps with skin evening, brightening, hydration care, anti-aging and elasticity. I’ve fallen in love with this product and I swear by it a lot. I’m trying my hardest to hurry and finish the little amount I have left, to get myself the updated version of this ampoule which has an even longer name. Ugh, Missha why must your products have to have super long names for?
STEP FIVE: SERUMS
They’re packed full of ingredients to specially target your biggest skincare concerns and a must have in your regime if you want a quick fix for your troubles. I heavily rely on topical serums, but Asians love serums in the form of masks, and I can vouch in how effective they are. By now, you should have noticed a trend in my favourite products to improve my skin. They all have anti-aging effects, skin brightening and hydration care. These serums which I’ve fallen in love with are of no exception.
Don’t mistake the name for an essence, because this is actually a serum, and the bonus points for this one compared to others is that it has a drop applicator that prevents spillage and unhygienic practices. This one in particular works to improve skin tone evening and immense brightening.
I will admit personally, I don’t use masks very often, but if I do, I always grab these ones from My Beauty Diary. The paper is incredibly thin, though the mask itself is submerged in a lot of serum. These work to penetrate the serum deeper into your skin in higher quantities so that your skin can heal a lot faster than applying a serum topically, though the serums in the mask aren’t as strong as topical serums. The only downfall, which isn’t a concern for me, is the fitting of the mask, where the sheet itself is too large for my face, but if you look at the effectiveness of the mask itself, I really enjoy using it, and it a beauty must have for you guys starting out a Korean skincare routine, or a regime where you’re just starting skincare and want to include serums in your routine.
My favourite from the MBD range are the arbutin masks, the apple masks and the lemon masks. The arbutin masks implements the most stable variation of vitamin c for skin evening and overall brightening. The apple mask is great for controlling sebum and refining pores with the addition of polyphenol. The lemon mask is a vitamin c mask that works similarly to the arbutin mask.
STEP SIX: MOISTURIZERS
Fitting with the toners, I use the matching moisturizer according to the condition of my skin. If my skin is oily, I’ll use my snail solution lotion, when my skin is oily, the History of Whoo Inyang lotion and so on. Moisturizing is incredibly important, and a lot of people, younger people in particular who have just started skincare, don’t realise how important it is to rehydrate the skin after you cleanse and apply your previous products. Without moisturizing daily, your skin’s water to oil balance is disrupted and your skin is forced to produce an unhealthy amount of sebum to counteract the the dryness.
STEP SEVEN: EYE CREAM
Your eyes are one of the areas that tend to age the fastest, and signs generally show at the age of your middle 20s to early 30s. I cannot stress enough how important it is to hydrate the eye areas, since we’re often told to steer clear from our eye areas whe applying toners, lotions and whatnot. If we don’t hydrate our eye areas, then we are more prone to wrinkles, dryness and dark circles, so please keep up your hydration!
I am a huge believer of massage. When you stimulate your skin (in a good way) your blood tends to flow more healthily which reduces the signs of dark circles around the eyes, or uneven skin tone caused by veins peeping through your skin’s surface. What I love about this eye cream in particular, is, just like the toner and lotion itself, it is multipurpose and also contains a metal ball application tip. The ball is used to massage the cream into the skin surrounding the eyes and trouble areas, whilst providing cool applications to de-puff the under eyes. I think eye creams that can tend to most skin troubles at once is essential to simplify your skincare routine, but also heal your skin faster for a quicker recovery to having flawless skin.
The cream itself is very stiff and is able to help lift the skin around the eyes to form them into place, which helps fend off fine lines and wrinkling.
STEP EIGHT: CREAM
I strongly believe that after using your eye cream, you want to lock in all the layers of moisturizing products into your skin so it doesn’t evaporate or leave your kin feeling too dry the morning after. Night creams in particular are thicker in consistency than normal lotions are, and provide your skin with deep hydration care, nourishment and helps your cell growth turnover for a smoother, supple and elastic skin complexion the morning after. There are two different creams that I use depending on the weather; gel type creams that don’t feel too heavy during hotter periods, and cream based that give you more hydration care than gel types do.
<I wish I had an image of the cream but I ran out and already disposed of the packaging. Think of The History of Whoo except in a baby pink shade>
When my skin is oily: I always opt for a gel moisturizer that still gives me good hydration without feeling like I’ve layered too much n my face (even though I have). I always reach for the History of Whoo Soo Yeon cream that is specially designed for the deepest hydration without feeling heavy like regular creams.
When my skin is dry: The History of Whoo’s Inyang cream is excellent for refining the pores whilst providing the deepest nourishment and makes skin appear incredibly bright the morning after. Whenever I want an instant pick me up for the next day, I always opt for this cream.
When my skin is in normal condition: I always try to brighten my skin as often as possible, so I will use the History of Whoo’s Whitening Cream to brighten my complexion almost immediately, and has long lasting results, even with usage over a three or so day gap period between using it.
STEP NINE: EXTRA CARE PRODUCTS
This isn’t very necessary but whenever I have lazy days where I just finish work and want to sleep as soon as possible, i always try to limit my time spent on my face. This was incredibly difficult for me since a lot of multipurpose products didn’t do enough for my face, so introducing these to you now makes me so happy, since I love to simplify my skincare whenever necessary.
This cream is referred to as the sheet free mask that does it all, from serums to basic moisturizing care and even masks. Using this cream, you can extend it to be a wash off pack where you leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse with water, as a serum applied before your lotion, or as a night cream. The basic fundamentals for this cream is to fix multiple skin concerns in one easy step without overspending money for those on a budget, or for people like me, who are often busy and need a simplified skincare routine.
This magic product that has become an instant HG product of mine helps to address pore scaling to tighten and refine pores, provide immaculate hydration care, soothes, smooths, boosts skin’s elasticity, brightens and evens out skin tone. It does it all and since it replace seven serums, ampoules and the extra stuff, this is one of the products I definitely recommend everyone to grab their hands on. You can even see in the image how hydrating it is since it produces little water droplets in contact with skin that absorb almost immediately after. It keeps your skin super hydrated the entire day, and night if you use it in replacement of your cream.
This is a sleeping pack that is designed for almost all skin types that helps improve hydration, brightness of skin, skin texture and overall health. As well as that, it helps to relax your mind using patented aromatherapy technology that calms and soothes the mind in preparation for sleeping. This is a gel type mask that you can apply omitting your creams and lotions before you sleep and feels light enough for hotter days, but gives you enough moisturizing care so you can use it in Winter as well.
Now, if you’re familiar with this aloe vera gel, then you’d know it can replace basically almost eery single step in your skincare routine with just one product. It helps to hydrate, control oily skin, brighten, improve hyper pigmentation marks, soothes, smoothens skin and heals skin during cell regeneration. You can also use it for any body part at all, and even your hair. It’s also one of the cheapest Asian Beauty finds you can get your hands on so definitely a HG product everyone needs in their lives.
I initially wanted to get myself a black sugar scrub, but they were out in the store, so I chose the brown sugar scrub instead. This one comes from Missha and its an exfoliator that I consider a HG as well. This not only buffs away the dead skin and gets into pores incredibly well, but the sugar crystals in the scrub also dissolve and become almost honey like, which helps to keep your skin soft and well hydrated. I used to enjoy my other scrubs until I stumbled across this baby. I think good exfoliators do it’s job to smoothen skin well, but also keep the skin looking and feeling brighter and well nourished with hydration care.
STEP TEN: MAKEUP
When it comes to makeup, there are always products that are designed to cover your imperfections. These makeup items generally are very thick and build able to work by layering on product to hide dark circles, scarring and even pimples. For natural makeup, I think it’s something very hard to accomplish when everything around you is either high coverage, or has a base color to match your skin tone. This is why I think Asian CC creams deserve a spot in this post, and the ONLY spot here, since they’re lightweight and they match basically any skin tone you throw at it.
This Etude House CC cream comes in two formulas; silky and glow. Here, I chose to add silky since I tend to have oilier skin types than normal, and I find the glow formula to be a tad too oily for my liking. This CC cream comes out white in color and when applied, also goes on white on the skin. However, the magic happens when you start to blend the product as the beads inside the cream break down and start producing pigments that fit naturally with your own skin tone. This way, you can color match to any skin tone out there, and since it has a light coverage, it works to color correct your skin tone to remove any redness or unevenness in the skin without hiding any of your beautiful features.
I hope you guys liked my skincare routine and my little story as well, and if you stuck through it all to the end then I’m so glad you did. Let me remind you that not everybody has the same skin story and it’s always a good idea to share your stories with each other so we can learn from each other as well. Beauty is definitely a gift and I’m all for sharing with you all my thoughts and experiences with you all so you can get a glimpse of what I’ve gone through. Glossier’s main ideal is to promote the beauty of your natural skin, just like mine. I think our beauty shouldn’t come from what we apply to hide our flaws, but things we use to help heal them. Our confidence shouldn’t be the makeup we wear, but the skin that the makeup is going onto. So, whenever you feel like your skin isn’t good enough, look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself you are beautiful and that everyone should see how beautiful you truly are.
Until the next post, heres to Anthony signing out.
EDIT: If the images are coming out blurry on your phone and/or laptop (or whatever device you’re using to read this) then apologies. I posted the images in this blog post and they came out fine; I think there seems to be a little glitch with WordPress that rendered my images in that way, I’m not too sure.