Before moving on the details, it's always important to know your enemy before planning your moves! It's extremely important to first identify your skin type and problems, before deciding what products/technique to employ. In my case, I have oily acne-prone skin back then, but eventually turns into combination (a little leaning towards dry) skin to date. Problems are acne, enlarged pore and redness. Just when I think I'm done with the battle, surprise bitch! there comes the ultra big boss after those minor bosses: hyper pigmentation, acne scare and flakiness for now. Yes, your skin type might change, it's very dependent on exterior factors, including weather, diet and water intake.
Skincare and beauty are no longer "girls-only" concern, I suppose everyone wants to look good and have baby butt smooth complexion, prove me wrong if otherwise. However, it's always good to keep everything simple, both steps and ingredients-wise.
Day cleansing and night cleansing should be different, as ultimately the "substances" that you wanted to clean away are different, obviously you won't need to clean away major dirt and makeup residue when you just wake up from bed (unless you did it wrong last night, or for some unforgivable reason you didn't take off your makeup and proceed to sleep straightaway-don't ever do that).
For day cleansing, to be honest you can ultimately skip using any cleanser and rinse off the build-ups with lukewarm water, or simply cold water. Otherwise if you're like me, insisting to have squeaky clean face after waking up and overnight buildups bother you a lot, use a gentle cleanser in this case. Products that I've tried and really worked wonderful in this case:-
1. Cosrx Good Morning Gel Cleanser
2. The Face Shop Read Blends Cream Soap (#Rich)
For night cleansing, the concerns are majorly to remove makeup, sunscreen, sebum, dirt and over-the-day-buildups. I usually start off with oil cleansing, then proceed to foam cleansing, of course, for dry/sensitive skin, a good oil cleansing is perfectly sufficient, again, choose your style according to your needs. I discovered oil cleansing fairly late as I was one of the majority that holds on to the controversy of "using oil is gonna cause terrible breakouts and it's disgusting to smear oil all over your face c'mon". Of course, that's not the truth, a good oil cleanser is supposed to melt down excess sebum, dirt, makeup and sunscreen residue, carry them along and emulsifies when come in contact with water, therefore rinsing them off efficiently. If you know one or two about chemistry, you should know "like-dissolves-like", bingo, that's the truth. For me, I follow up with a foam cleanser, you can skip it if you think oil cleansing is already enough. My trusty oil cleansers:-
1. Heimish All Clean Balm (this stuff is a beast)
2. Banila & Co Clean it Zero
3. Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil
4. The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil
My trusty foam cleansers:-
1. The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Cleansing Foam
2. Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
3. Senka Perfect Whipped (much cheaper than the others!)
4. Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser (this thing is crazy expensive)
5. The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Rice Bran Cleansing Foam
6. Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam
Some people trusted makeup wipes solely as their makeup removing step. These wipes might be sufficient if you have only base makeup or light eye makeups, they're usually not sufficient when it comes to removing heavy makeup, i.e. mascara, liners and tints.
Personally, I consider toner to be the last step of cleansing, but it's one of the major skincare step so I'll discuss about this separately. It's usually advisable to use cotton pad when applying toner, you can get away with using bare hands on most hydrating toners, but peeling/cleansing toners are better paired with cotton pads (you might even pick up some minor makeup residues that managed to survive through makeup removers!). However, there's no absolute, proceed as you please, just my opinions. Try to choose a toner that's free from or very trace in alcohol, PEG free and fragrance free, they might not be a super big concern but it's always better to be gentle to your skin as you age. I personally used a lot of "oil controlling" and heavily perfumed toners and I intensely regret that. You don't want heavy alcohols on your skin, as short-chained alcohols are very miscible with water and volatile, the whole water-alcohol mixture on your skin will evaporates faster than you imagine, after the squeaky clean and short "oil-free" sensation upon applying, therefore causing dehydration and triggers more sebum production. Be careful when you're concern about oiliness on your skin, your ultimate goal is to have a balanced oil-water happy ending, not stripping either down to a very low amount, I experienced that, I regret it. Toners that I've tried and liked:-
1. The Face Shop Clean Face Mild Toner
2. The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Toner
3. Artistry Essentials Balancing Toner (I'm not sure do this still exist LOL)
4. Artistry Hydra-V™ Fresh Toner
5. Heimish Refresh Water (more like beauty water)
6. Klairs Supple Preparation Toner
7. Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol (this thing is potent)
8. Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
All skin types (yes, including dry skins!) requires exfoliating (not if you have extremely sensitive skin), at least once per week, to remove the dead skin buildups on the skin surface, to promote cells regeneration and prevent clogged pores by dead skins. It's advisable to opt for gentle chemical exfoliant instead of physical scrubs, you don't want to agitate your skin harshly. Acne prone skin should really avoid exfoliate physically, spreading that inflammation and irritation is the least thing you want for your skin. Besides, please please please, do NOT use any product with microbeads, they're FDA forbidden, and causes pollution. (here's the regulation to those who might concern)
My holy saviour is the Neogen's Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, pretty much the only one that I really wanted to recommend. There's something similar in nature from Cosrx but I've never tried any out so I'll hold back with the recommendation.
Fancy sheet masks, wash-off masks, essence and serums fall on this category. If sheet masks are too costly, DIY your own! Essence is actually very different in function with toner, fundamentally, but a lot of toner nowadays are including some perks from essence. Essence is primarily designed to provide intense moisture while toner is more on cleansing and toning. Generally, sheet masks are actually clothes/fabric/carrier material soaked in essence and other powerful extracts to deliver steady hydration and good stuff to your skin within a short period of time (usually 10~20mins).
My favourite kind of wash-off masks goes to clay mask! Clay masks effectively draws out dirt and sebum from clogged pores, or draws deep inflammation/zit to skin surface to avoid them from further spreading under deep skin layer. However, do not overdose on using clay masks even though they feels good, you might dry out your skin too much, once per week is usually good enough. A few of my favourite wash off masks:-
1. Skin Food Egg White Pore Mask
2. Skin Food Black Sugar Mask
3. The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
4. Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Mud Pack
5. Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
6. Lush Mask of Magnaminty (never tried, friend's recommendation tho)
Consider serums as the extra fancy super power supplement to your skincare regimen, they're not absolutely necessary but once you add them in, you'll notice the difference, these super power items are usually no joke, especially when you found a good one against your enemy. Serums are very dependent on your skin needs, as for me:-
1. The Body Shop Anti-imperfection Daily Solution (this baby changed my life)
2. Artistry Hydra-V Vital Skin Serum Concentrate
3. The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Serum
4. Cosrx Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (essence-like texture but potent)
5. Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (even better if paired with Vitamin E!)
6. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
7. The Face Shop Signature Conditioning Serum
For my problems, baby #1, #2 and #3 helped me through my battle against initial bad boss (acne and inflammations) while baby #4 and #5 are helping me nowadays to fight the ultimate big boss (acne scars and hyper pigmentation).
Moisturisers & SPF
Think you could get away without moisturiser if you have oily skin? Unfortunately nope, you might have oily skin, but you may have dehydrated skin at the same time, as mentioned before, the main concern of oily skin is to keep oil-water level balanced, moisturiser plays a big role here. As of recent trends, moisturisers not only provide and lock moisture to the skin surface, most moisturisers have added hyaluronic acid to help attract moisture from surroundings. Pick moisturiser according to your need, you don't have to be super afraid of oils and stick to "oil-free" products, simply find something that's lightweight and compatible. Do not be afraid of incorporating oils in your skin care, oil extracts are usually smaller in molecular size and penetrates well into your skin to work their asses off. For instance, I suppose most people know the wonder of tea tree oil in fighting acne and bacteria, and the list of wonderful oil goes on. Let me mention some great moisturisers I tried:-
1. The Face Shop Hydrating Emulsion For Men (great for guys that hate thick stuff on their face)
2. Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream
3. The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion
4. Artistry Essentials Balancing Lotion (again I'm not sure if it still exists)
5. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream (this classic yet powerful baby)
Do not skip sunscreen, do not skip sunscreen, do not skip sunscreen. Most of the skin problems and aging are consequences of sun damage, it's extremely vital to have decent sun protection, especially when we live in this beautiful tropical country. However, who loves sticky thick sunscreen and reapplying them every now and then? Not me, hell no. Find a lightweight, fitting and good SPF (around 50 to 90) sunscreen. It's advisable to use chemical sunscreen over physical sunscreen if you're concern about the white cast that physical sunscreens give, as the primary compound used for physical sunscreens is either zinc oxide or titanium oxide, that acts as physical barrier in reflecting harmful rays. However, if you're very sensitive with chemical sunscreen, use physical sunscreens instead (and bare with the white cast, also slap anyone that ask for flash photos). There's not much sunscreen I could recommend as my sunscreen lasts forever, not much chance for me to try out others (LOL here I am complaining something being too well made). However there's a simple trick to keep your sunscreen feeling light and fit: apply sunscreen in two or three thin layers instead of smearing one single thick layer, that way there's easier for the sunscreen to deposit and you won't feel as discomforting. Sunscreens that I like:-
1. The Face Shop Eco Natural Sun
2. Biore Aqua UV
3. Klairs Mid Day Blue Sun Lotion
4. Troiareuke Acsen U.V Protector Essense (expensive AF, but the sample impressed me)
That's pretty much all of them, there's also some products that I really hated and regret using but I better not write them out and post it down this way, message me in person, I'll tell.
Lastly, here's a dose of annoyance to make you wanna slap me even more. Peace out and gambateh in your skincare journey, share with me your experiences too if possible!