I hate getting ID’ed. Not because I find it insulting per se. But because I always get “You’re so lucky you’ve got those Asian genes *guffaw* guffaw*” after proving I am of legal age. Come on now. Not all Asians have good genes. I’d show you examples, but 1) that’s cruel and 2) that’s telling.
Nonetheless, my skin isn’t perfect. I see a whole lot of imperfections on my face – from wrinkles here to little bouts of pimples growing now and then to a disgusting stress-induced shine on my face that would beat your favourite highlighter down to its value. You can’t stop the signs of ageing, because you can’t face the problem if the problem is your face.
But you can slow it down like a snail on Xanax. All you gotta do is take care of it.
I’ve tried and tested a lot of facial care products and whilst I have my list of favourites, I’m always on the lookout for the next best thing. Self-improvement is a way of life, but you gotta be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Damn, girl…” every once in a while.
Here’s my current pick of facial gunk. But first, a bit of background.
My skin type is “combination”. I tend to have a dry forehead and oily side nose. I have a thing for French pharmacy picks as I genuinely think they work well (particularly La Roche-Posay and Nuxe brands) but I also tend to try out cult picks. My favourite shops to buy beauty products include Space NK Apothecary (Covent Garden has amazing staff), Harrods Beauty Hall (they have amazing offers and generous free samples) good ol’ Boots (Piccadilly has lotsa stuff), and of course, Sephora.
What you gonna do with all that gunk?
Whilst some would say cooking after work is therapeutic, facial cleansing is my downtime chill time. Probs because I come from a family who rely on people to cook for them (we burn salads), but most certainly because nothing beats a clean face feeling like a baby’s butt.
Step 1: Lancome Bi-Facil Yeux Sensibles.
I don’t really wear eye shadow but I do wear mascara and eyeliner and I prefer them in waterproof form. I found that this product helps erase all that eye gunk quicker and better.
Step 2: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil
I’ve just about finished my nth bottle of Shu Uemura Ultime8 Cleansing Oil when I was gifted this a couple of weeks ago. I’ve only been trying it for the past week but what I’ve noticed is that it glides smoothly and dissolves makeup quicker, which is good value for the product. I’m curious to see whether the long term benefits of using this is good, too. Watch this space!
Step 3: Bioderma Hydrabio H20
Bioderma’s Sensibio cleanser is such a cult classic, but i find that Hydrabio works so much better. Not only does it make my skin feel extra clean, I also found that my skin actually feels more hydrated when I use this product.
Step 4: La Roche-Posay Gel Moussant Purifiant Effaclar
This foaming gel has been a staple for a while now. It gently cleanses the face and I find that my skin feels hydrated and tighter after.
Step 5: La Roche-Posay Lotion Apaisante
Most girls tend to skip toners, but it’s really important to soothe and tone your face after all that cleansing because you want your skin’s physiological state to be balanced at all levels. I quite like the soothing effect of this toner, especially after all that scrubbing and cleansing! It also gets rid of those overnight spots quicker!
Optional Step: Clarisonic Mia 2 and Lancome Gel Eclat
I exfoliate my face regularly, but I only use my Clarisonic Mia 2 around 4-5 times a month, depending on how much I need it, to avoid thinning the skin. Genuinely, I think this works with the right brush head. I’ve been using mine with the Cashmere Luxe Cleanse Brush Head, which is super soft and leaves the exfoliated surfaces more supple.
When I bought it, the device came with samples of Clarisonic’s cleansing gel. However, those just irritated my skin. I saw that Lancome did a partnership with Clarisonic, so I thought I’d buy the gel cleanser to try… and it works!
In the mornings, I barely have to sort my face out so I try to use multi-functional face products as much as possible.
EYE CREAM: MAC Fast Response Eye Cream
I keep this eye cream in the fridge to aid it de-puffing power. It works, but I’ve had better eye creams in the past. It does work as a good primer, though.
LIP BALM: Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Now, I’ve had my fair share of lip balms and conditioners – not because I’m obsessed – but I always misplace them. This lip balm, however, is possibly my favourites of them all as it really does the job of nourishing my puckers and repairing the occasional chapped lips. Also, I don’t need to put much of it to feel its effectivity.
MOISTURISER: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
I’ve just finished a jar of Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream, which I thought didn’t really work for me in the long run, pretty as it is. Whilst looking for the next best product, I am back using my favourite French pharmacy product. Effaclar Duo definitely mattifies well and has a nice smooth finish on the face. It’s quite corrective, too with its active ingredient Procerad which helps reduce blemishes and marks.
MOISTURISER #2: Embryolisse Lait-crème Concentré
This cream is very concentrated so you only need a wee bit to spread out and feel the effects. I tend to use this during the colder months.
DD CREAM & SPF: Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse
This little tube of wonder has recently replaced my Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation with SPF 40. It’s lighter, lasts longer and I feel that it does so much more! Moisturising? Yes. SPF 30? Yes. Good colour coverage? Yes. UVA protection? Yes. It’s a good product to use all year round.
SERUM: Clarins Double Serum
I’ve started using this serum early in the year and so far it’s been great. I’ve been digging the fact that my skin feels tighter and lines seem to have reduced much. The Hydric and Lipidic system seems to even out my skin tone and give me a sweet lil glow. Let’s see how this works in the future, but I quite like this a lot.
BODY LOTION: Dyptique Do Son Body Lotion
Dyptique’s Do Son has been my scent for about five years now and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. I’m a fan of their fragrances, but their body lotion is actually pretty good, too. I’m left feeling fresh, fragrant and smooth all over.
Night jar remedies
My night time facial cleansing ritual comes with an entourage of other bits and bobs to de-stress.
EXFOLIATE: Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads
I use these scrub pads 1-2 times a week. It’s a gentle exfoliator, clearing the pores big time and helping brighten my skin. This is my Winter favourite, as it’s made my face feel super clean and glowing despite the crummy grey weather outside!
MULTI-PURPOSE OIL: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
Another French pharmacy wonder, this multi-purpose oil targeting your face, hair and body has got me feeling super supple. It’s a great overnight moisturiser and has reduced the appearance of stretch marks successfully.
EYE CREAM: Afous Argan Oil Anti Cerne Creme
This eye cream from an Argan Oil cooperative in Essaouira Morocco may have been my favourite of all time. Legit, my dark circles have disappeared since I’ve used this cream. I am, however, down to my last pot which means a) I need to go back to Essaouira to get some or b) I need to find the next best alternative soon!
FACE MASK: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask
I love Fresh’s Black Tea range and the instant perfecting mask is probably my favourite, along with the overnight mask. The cooling effect is sensational and I seriously think my skin’s never felt as tight.
NIGHT OIL: Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil
I’ve been using this night oil for over a year now and I think it’s one helluva product. The scent is absolutely calming and I like that it’s a purely botanical product. It boosts and repairs and seemingly absorbs really well.
PORE STRIP: Biore Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips
I cringe whenever I see someone’s nose up close and personal and it looks like it had a little pepper shaker action. Possibly cos I have this gross thing of getting a thrill from squeezing out blackheads and whiteheads (but not pimples). I’ve used lots of pore strips in the past but these charcoal pore strips are the best in terms of optimum, maximum pore cleaning.
These are pretty much the products I’ve been using on a daily basis. Admittedly, I still have a lot of products sitting in my toiletries shelf that a) I’ve not tried yet or b) I’ve tried and hated. The thing with skin products is that you can only read so much but most of the time, you have to find your own personalised routine because what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I would, however, recommend:
- Going to a dermatologist instead of trusting “experts” you see in-store
- Keeping your creams in the fridge to extend shelf life and potency
- Reading about the products before buying – consult expert AND consumer reviews. I tend to check Beautypedia, Total Beauty, Allure and Temptalia.
What’s your skincare routine like?