Skin Care Archives - She Makes Him Known

Product Empties: Skin Care

The year is about to come to an end, and it baffles me how quickly time has passed! For 2017, I’ve managed to discover some holy grail skin care products, as well as others worth staying away from. Presenting my beloved Empties 2.0: Skin Care edition – gathering dust bunnies in an abandoned corner of my room – which I can’t wait to throw away!

Cleansing Balm

Banila Co. Clean It Zero in Purity (Shop Pibu, P890)*

I’ve raved about the K-Beauty cult-fave, Banila Co. Clean It Zero, time and time again. My introduction into the black hole of Korean skin care is the classic cleansing balm – the very first step of the essential double cleanse – with a milky, oil-like consistency perfected by brightening ingredients such as papaya extract. It removes stubborn make-up like nobody’s business without drying the skin. It’s the best cleansing balm I’ve tried from the 3 I’ve managed to empty this year, including the Heimish All-Clean Balm and Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero. This is my second tub – first, a supersize of the Classic variant I featured on my first empties entry – and loved (!) Purity, created especially for sensitive skin, for when I was having an unforgettable period of acne-prone, irritable skin.

Note: I always use an eye make-up remover (micellar water and/or cleansing oil) before following up with the double cleanse.

Heimish All-Clean Balm (Althea Korea, P577)

Heimish’s All-Clean Balm, another crowd favorite, is a good option for those who wear minimal make-up on the daily – maybe a BB Cream or Tinted Moisturizer as a base, etc. I wanted *so* badly to love this – as it’s highly praised by  Renée and Joan – but it didn’t meet my expectations. It doesn’t clean as effectively, leaving residue from my base. I also need to use so much product that I finished this so quickly. A pro, I gotta say, is it doesn’t sting my eyes unlike other cleansing balms but I’d still get Banila Co.’s Clean It Zero over this.

Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero Sherbet Cleanser (BeautyMNL, P995)

Among the cleansing balms I finished up this 2017, Holika Holika’s Pig-Clear Make-up Zero Sherbet Cleanser – an impulse buy from a Korean pop-up store in the office because it was 70% off – is the worst because of its uncomfortable oily texture. It leaves so much residue! This didn’t work out for me at all, and I only finished it for the sake of emptying it.

Cleanser

Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser (BeautyMNL, P408)

Another find from the Asian beauty market is the Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser, the #1 bestselling, rich cleanser from Japan. I feel conflicted since this drugstore gem thoroughly cleaned my face – even my make-up (!) – yet it was exactly why I broke out earlier this year. It may have been *too* thick for my dry skin, and upon further research, it has a higher pH than the normal. Ah, I wanted it to work out so badly but we were just not good for each other – like any good relationship I’ve lost in my life. *hikbi*

Face Mask

Lush Mask of Magnaminty Face and Body Mask (Lush, P425)

I’ve stopped using manual exfoliators after my skin got really sensitive to gritty scrubs and prefer a gentle peeling gel like Cure’s Natural Aqua Gel (available in Beauty Bar and Rustans Beauty Source). I’d recommend Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty for men since they have thicker and less sensitive (?) skin. It also works as a great body scrub leaving your skin super smooth. Plus, it smells like chocolate – but after a few months will smell…rotten because of its über natural ingredients.

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (BeautyMNL, P560)*

The Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask from Innisfree needs no introduction. A staple in my collection, I’ve babbled endlessly about this and keep back-ups. I’ve been using this religiously (once a week) for about a year! For a while, I stopped upon emptying my first tub, and I noticed such a huge difference – my skin went crazy. This is like magnet for sebum and dirt (even blackheads!), and it decreases the appearance of pores after application. I look forward to my 15-minute pamper session every week and can’t stop, won’t stop obsessing over this!

Toner

SON&PARK Beauty Water (Shop Pibu, P1,200)*

A multi-purpose gem which can be used as a 1. toner, 2. a no-wash cleansing water (for make-up removal or preparation), and 3. a midday facial mist, the SON&PARK Beauty Water is a must-have! It provides mild exfoliation for more supple and bright skin. The 340ml bottle will last at least half a year upon daily use which makes it worth the splurge!

Full review here.

Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner (BeautyMNL, P880)*

Perfect for layering, this cult-fave is the bestselling toner in Korea! The Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner is super viscous, keeping skin smooth all day. This is so good that it actually replaced SON&PARK’s Beauty Water as my favorite toner. It balances my skin’s pH level and allows all the other products to absorb better.

COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pad (BeautyMNL, P900)

From my Best of 2016: Skin Care is the COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pads, pre-soaked, double-sided pads which prevent acne and calm inflammation. The textured side is for exfoliation while the flat area is to smoothen everything out. In comparison to the COSRX One-Step Moisture Up Pads, I prefer the latter because I no longer have problematic skin and use it at least once a week for moisturizing purposes. Both are great for flaky and dry skin! I still want to try the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Pads which are a tad similar but I just can’t justify the expensive purchase (P1,100 for 30 pads while this has 70 pads).

Serum

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (BeautyMNL, P1,010)*

Ah, I believed in the power of Vitamin C after my short-lived love affair with the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. This helped fade my stubborn acne scars and hyperpigmentation – but made me about 2 foundation shades lighter – and evened out my skin tone, while also smoothening out my skin. In just 2 weeks, I recognized a huge difference. I used this for my serum step (once at night) either as a spot treatment or in combination with my moisturizer – for faster absorption.

A disadvantage is it’s super high-maintenance! It has a fast shelf life (for that tag price) because of its sensitivity to the sun even when placed on a cooler part of my desk or inside its container. In just a month or two, it turns yellow (see unsettling proof in photo). Also, if you plan to use this in the morning as part of your day routine, don’t forget to use a sunscreen because your skin will be more prone to sun rays.

Full review here.

Moisturizer

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream (Shop Pibu, P680)*

My holy grail moisturizer is the Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream. It keeps my skin hydrated but matte so it’s perfect for both dry and oily skin types. The super lightweight formula, which goes well under make-up, helped transform the texture of my skin. This is also available in 2 other variants: moisture and combination. Did I mention that it smells amazing?!

St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer (Watsons, P249)*

A drugstore alternative for a good, effective moisturizer is the St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer which is no stranger to the blog! I’ve raved endlessly about this life-saver for dry skin and even convinced a number of friends to purchase it. It’s so good that I can feel my face *tightening* – hello, collagen! – after every use. The tub is also huge (100z) that you won’t find yourself emptying this anytime soon!

Facial Spray

Pixi Glow Mist (BeautyMNL/SM Beauty Section, P975)*

Rejuvenating make-up sprays are non-negotiables in my skin care and make-up routine (most especially). They’re great before and after make-up application and as a midday pick-me-upper, especially if you’re like me and (mostly) in a cool environment for that 9-5 corporate job.

The Pixi Glow Mist is a Godsend for dry skin in need of hydrating. It leaves skin looking extra dewy and healthy; I live for that chok-chok life! If you have oily skin, I’d say stay away from this product as it can make you look greasy, and we don’t want that! If you have the extra $$$, I’d say splurge and get this but if you want a more affordable option, Mario Badescu’s cult-classic facial spray is the way to go.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater (Rustans Beauty Source, P550)*

I’m on my second bottle of the *life-changing* Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater, which I started using after emptying my MAC Fix + – it ain’t cheap! I travel with this – a lifesaver for 3º Japan weather – and bring it with me everywhere I go. A more inexpensive yet comparable dupe, which I’m hoping to try after I finish my current bottle, is Beauty Bakery’s Rose Gel Dewy Mist (P229), exclusive to BeautyMNL. Has anyone used it? I’d love to know what you think about it!

P.S. It’s P100 cheaper in Rustans than in Sephora PH!

*This product is definitely worth repurchasing!


Skin Care Basics: The Non-Negotiables

So, you’ve been meaning to get into skin care but don’t know where to start. The infamous “10 steps Routine” fashioned by the Koreans sure is overwhelming – and not (always) necessary – so let’s break it down to the basics a.k.a steps you shouldn’t compromise. Let’s talk about the *non-negotiables* you should have in your arsenal.

Here’s your cheat sheet: always apply the product with the lightest to the thickest consistency. Each step – when layered in succession – prepares the skin for better absorption, which yields maximum results. For day time: a gentle cleanser, toner, moisturizer, eye cream, and sunscreen while for night time: a make-up remover, gentle cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and eye cream. Each step targets a specific skin issue, may it be dehydration, premature aging, or sun protection.

“Good skin is not about having more products than you can count – it’s about having the right products that do the right things and then using them in the right order.” 

(The Little Book of Skin Care, Charlotte Cho)

Read: My Personal Skin Care Routine (+Tips to Make Your Own)

You may be in your starry-eyed teenage years or enlightened 30s, it’s never too early or too late to take care of your skin! Your personal skin care journey should never be rushed and must come from the desire to take better care of yourself. Now, let’s get to the stellar products I’m currently using for my *dry* skin with a concise description of each essential step.

Make-up Remover

Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Cleansing Stick (BeautyMNL, P900; Night)

I cannot reiterate enough, para na akong sirang plaka, how the double cleanse – a cleansing balm, oil, or stick followed up by a gentle cleanser – ensures the proper removal of make-up, sunscreen, and whatever filth is *still* on your face after a long day. This lessens the possibility of acne, premature aging, and other skin issues.

For the first step, I use the Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Cleansing Stick. This is an award-winning collaboration between innovative, trendy Korean skin care brand, Neogen, and Soko Glam founder, The Little Book of Skin Care author, and aesthetician, Charlotte Cho – who I absolutely trust with my life.

This breaks down impurities and effectively removes *all* traces of make-up – given that I still remove my eye make-up with a micellar water or cleansing oil – since I religiously wear a full face every day. It’s even better than the Banila Co. Clean It Zero and Heimish All-Clean Balm, which says a lot! Best part is it’s conveniently packaged in a travel-friendly tube. I’ve had to forego a cleansing balm on my recent trips – replacing it with make-up wipes – because it’s bulky.

The main star of the product (obviously) is the green tea, which is a powerful ingredient to combat premature aging and subside inflammation. A great source of antioxidants, it’s also great for detoxifying your skin! The leaves on the product even provide a satisfying, gentle exfoliation.

Read: Ingredient Spotlight: How Green Tea Helps Prevent Premature Aging

I personally had my bias towards a “cleansing stick” because it felt a bit…unhygienic, but it proved to perform much better than my other cleansing products. It also relieves you of the uncomfortable blurry sensation on the eyes which a balm always has. This gives me great reason to keep repurchasing this; I even purchased a back-up already!

Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (Watsons, P202; Day and Night)

When I had very problematic, acne-prone skin at the beginning of the year, I incorporated more gentle, fuss-free products in my routine. The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a Godsend for sensitive skin. Now, it might not do the best job in whisking away the stubborn, left-over “debris” but that’s exactly why a good cleansing product beforehand *cough* like the Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Cleansing Stick *cough* is a must-have. This may contain alcohol, which most Western drugstore skin care products have, but this doesn’t strip my skin of moisture, which I love! It’s also thin in consistency unlike other rich foam facial washes which tend to make me break out. Unlike other facial washes, this doesn’t make my skin feel tight, even plastic-y, which can eventually lead to dryness and irritation. It’s also affordable!

Toner

SON&PARK Beauty Water (Shop Pibu, P1,200; Day and Night)

I’ve raved endlessly about the SON&PARK Beauty Water, a multitasking product which acts as a cleansing water, a gentle exfoliator, toner, and even a facial mist. This is also a great choice for the trendy Korean 7-Skin Method – application of 7 layers of toner – which is a life-saver for dehydrated skin…but personally not my cup of tea.

The brainchild of Korean celebrity make-up artists, Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yun, this is buzzed about internationally. As a lightweight, hydrating toner, this works perfectly to reset and balance the skin’s pH levels and leaves my skin feeling baby soft! This also takes out residue my double cleanse may have neglected to. With papaya extracts and willow bark, this even brightens skin overtime! Now, this might seem like such a splurge but it has 340 ml (twice the size of a normal toner); this will last you forever!

Full review here

Moisturizer

Mizon Aqua Water Gel Cream (BeautyMNL, P713; Day and Night)

Like a terrible break-up, I’m still hung up on Nature Republic’s Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream, the hydrating yet mattifying (absurd, I know) moisturizer that changed the texture of my skin. Upon trying the Mizon Aqua Water Gel Cream, hopeful and starry-eyed, it isn’t *quite* the same but good enough that my skin stays hydrated and plump! It has a thinner consistency, almost “wet”, but still compatible for those with oily skin since it won’t leave you a greasy mess. It locks in all the previous steps and provides much needed moisture.

Eye Cream

Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream (Shop Pibu, P1,200; Day and Night)

This is the first eye cream I’ve ever “invested” in after finishing 2 tubes of the bestselling Mizon Snail Eye Cream – an affordable option available locally, but not quite the best. Our under eyes need that extra TLC because it happens to be the most delicate part of our face!

The Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream is a worthy splurge, a highly concentrated product which effectively smoothes out fine lines and combats wrinkles – although this isn’t the best candidate to brighten darkness. The Jeju Orchid is a potent ingredient for anti-aging which also targets dryness. I love how luxuriously thick it feels! Don’t forget to gently tap the product with your finger!

Sunscreen

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (BeautyMNL/Watsons, P445; Day)

The drugstore, in my opinion, houses a few notable skin care products that are gentle and made of natural, skin-loving ingredients. I still have to try more! Japan’s bestselling Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence is an incredible option for those on the hunt for an everyday source of sun protection that is lightweight, über affordable, and doesn’t produce a white cast. I keep recommending this to everyone! Make-up sits beautifully on top of it, too. As always, a sunscreen is never to be neglected as exposure to sun rays – even if you’re actually just inside the house – is the fastest way to age your skin. Get on it!

P.S. I want to thank the wonderful people behind Globe for making me part of the 10 Ladies You Should Follow on Instagram If You’re Obsessed with Skincare! ✨💘


My Personal Skin Care Routine (+ Tips to Make Your Own)

Skin first, make-up second.

A year after my life-changing education on skin care, I’ve skipped the daily medium to full coverage foundation and opt for a light tinted moisturizer or BB Cream – except on the occasional whole day event. I forego the thick cream concealer, sans the acne, and use a brightening liquid concealer to highlight my under eyes and the bridge of my nose. Bumps on my forehead are gone – thanks to my Aloe Vera Gel – and my dry skin looks healthy, radiating with a natural glow. My skin’s never been at a better state (no jinxing please), and I have to thank the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine.

Before anyone else, especially if you’re a beginner, attempts to create her own regimen, know that you don’t need 10 steps to achieve good skin. Layer if you must, but know that skin may be sensitive and can get agitated. Certain products can counteract one another, and the list goes on. If you break out from new products, stop using it immediately, and give it away! I suggest for you to read The Little Book of Skin Care by Charlotte Cho, and do your own research by religiously following The KlogWishtrend TVLiah YooGothamista, and The Beauty Breakdown.

If you want a personal regimen designed for you, I suggest to:

  • Identify your skin type, first and foremost.

What works for my dry skin may not work for your oily/combination skin. When shopping for products, you’ll discover that brands produce lines to cater to every skin type. Choosing the right products for you becomes less overwhelming when you acquaint yourself with the state of your skin. Choose well, and save your money, energy, and time.

  • Know which skin issues need to be treated.

Stubborn acne, pigmentation, premature aging, rough texture, dullness? Evaluate which needs to be treated, and keep building your routine with that in mind. A good serum and/or essence is your best bet!

  • Most of all, be patient. 

As with all things, good skin takes time. You won’t see instant results, and it can get frustrating. Be consistent with your routine, hydrate, eat good food, and cut back on the full-coverage foundation. Enjoy the process! Keep listening to what your skin is telling you, and you’ll see a great change overtime.

I’ve patterned *some* steps from the intimidating but highly effective international phenomenon. Given the state of my skin at present, I’ve simplified a bit and let go of essence, serum, and sheet masks. My daily routine consists of all-natural products – mostly Korean – through constant research and trial and error. Shall we get to the products?

Make-up Remover

Micellar Water

Garnier Skin Natural Micellar Cleansing Water in Pink (Watsons, P249; Night)

Because my crazy skin care lady double cleanse (cleansing balm and cleanser) isn’t enough, the first step of my (nightly) routine is to remove my eye and lip make-up with cotton pads soaked in my holy grail Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. It’s the best and most gentle drugstore option I’ve tried! This is no match for my smudge-proof liquid lipsticks and waterproof mascara. I still can’t believe that the 400ml bottle is this affordable. Get the travel-size (125ml) for P149 if you want to test it or bring it for travel.

Disclaimer: I’ve heard stories about this particular product carrying the substance Polyaminopropyl Biguanide (PHMB) which should, apparently, be banned because it’s believed to be carcinogenic but still appears in make-up removers, lotions, and creams. Please do your own research as a consumer to see what you feel about it!

Cleansing Balm 

Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser in Purity (Shop Pibu, P890; Night)

To start off my double cleanse, a non-negotiable in my routine, I use the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser which I find to remove make-up more effectively than the Heimish All-Clean Balm. A cult favorite from Korea, the oil cleansing balm hardly needs any introduction! It goes on a solid balm then melts into a milky consistency, dissolving impurities and excess make-up. I finished a big tub of the Classic version at the beginning of the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. At present, I use Purity (for sensitive skin) after suffering from stubborn acne for a few months. It could *almost* be perfect if it were not for the blurry sensation it leaves when near the eyes.

Cleanser

Banila Co. Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser (Banila Co. or BeautyMNL, P595; Day and Night)

After emptying 2 bottles of the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, a basic yet non-drying cleanser from the drugstore, I’ve loved using the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser. As the last step of the double cleanse, this thick cleanser removes oil residue left from the cleansing balm. The price tag may seem unreasonable for such product but you only need so little that it can last for months!

Make sure to always cleanse your face properly, especially if you apply a lot of make-up and sunscreen, to avoid clogged pores and irritation. A clean face is the best foundation for all the other products to work. Make that extra effort, and you’ll see (and feel!) fantastic results overtime.

Exfoliator/Face Masks

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (BeautyMNL/Althea Korea, P560; 1-2x a week)

I have repurchased this after my skin went crazy upon emptying it. The Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask detoxifies and pulls out impurities from skin. It also rids it of excess sebum and minimizes the appearance of pores – because you can never really make it disappear. Unlike other face masks, this leaves skin feeling cool and hydrated. This is perfect for your next pamper sesh!

Lush Mask of Magnaminty Face and Body Mask (Lush, P425; Once a week)

This isn’t only for your face but also your body! Primrose seeds and Aduki beans both act as natural exfoliants, scrubbing away dead skin cells to increase cell turnover. It’s luscious and smells sweetly of chocolate! My favorite thing about this is how fast it dries – less than 5 minutes – best for days when I don’t have all the time in the world. I personally wouldn’t recommend this if you’re dealing with any stubborn breakouts, as with other harsh scrubs that can agitate acne even more rather than healing it. Again, don’t over-exfoliate and only use 1-2x a week.

Watch: Lush How It’s Made: Mask of Magnaminty via LUSH Cosmetics

Toner

Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner (BeautyMNL/Althea Korea, P880; Day and Night)

My love affair with the K-Beauty multi-tasker, Son&Park Beauty Water, has officially ended after months of bliss, and I’ve gotten to know the equally raved about Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner. I’m a fan of viscous toners so this is such a treat to use! Not only does it balance skin’s natural pH levels but it prepares it to absorb the products to follow. This deeply moisturizes and leaves face squeaky clean!

Useful tip: Soak up your cotton pads with product and apply on face then use your hands to apply another layer for extra plump and hydrated skin.

CosRX One-Step Moisture Up Pads (BeautyMNL/Shop Pibu, P900; As needed)

For a gentler exfoliator, I use the One-Step Moisture Up Pads, a recent release from CosRX after the much raved about Acne One-Step Pimple Clear Pads. The pre-soaked pads are perfect for days when you have extra dry and flaky skin – either before applying make-up or after removing it! Cut it in half with a pair of sterilized scissors to save your money! This is good for everyday use but because of its price tag, I only use this 1-2x a week.

Eye Cream

Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream (BeautyMNL, P294; Day and Night)

Our under eyes are the most delicate part of our face so it needs extra TLC! This is the first eye cream I’ve ever tried so I’m honestly still on the search for a better product. This has effectively lessened my lines because of the snail mucin and gives it that extra moisture but hasn’t really lessened discoloration. This is also great for wrinkles so I use this on my smile lines.

Buy the 25ml tub (P750) from Shop Pibu.

Moisturizer

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream (Shop Pibu, P680; Day and Night)

I can heavily attribute the change of texture of my dry skin to Nature Republic’s Super Aqua Max Fresh Watery Cream. This is fantastic for the weather in the Philippines because it seeps into skin, and it won’t leave you sticky or oily. Packed with humectants, this restores and seals hydration. I also still stand by my love for the St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer, which is a great option from the drugstore for those on a budget.

Sunscreen

Nivea Sun Protect Aqua Gel SPF 50 PA+++ (Japanese Drugstore; Day)

For daily sun protection, I never leave the house without slathering my face and neck with the Nivea Sun Protect Aqua Gel, my favorite drugstore find from Japan. If you ever find yourself in the area, don’t leave without hoarding a few! Never take this step for granted because sun rays age your skin. A locally available alternative is the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, a lightweight, non-greasy water-based sunscreen. It’s just like you’re applying moisturizer on your face!

What’s your personal skin care routine like? Any tips for beginners? Leave them in the comments below. 💙


Plump, Hydrated Skin with SON&PARK Beauty Water

(SON&PARK Beauty Water from Shop Pibu, P1,200)

If you’ve been neglecting a toner in your routine all these years, it’s about time to include one! It restores your pH level – retaining moisture to the skin – and prepares it for the rest of the steps leading to better absorption and protection. You basically add back what you lose during the cleansing process. It also wipes away grime and residue left. Some Western (astringent) toners tend to be drying because of the alcohol content so I personally prefer Korean brands.

Watch: Everything You Need to Know About Skin Toning via WISHTrend TV

The SON&PARK Beauty Water is liquid gold for all skin types. I’ve heard so many Korean beauty gurus and experts rave about it – even Soko Glam #GirlBoss, Charlotte Cho, author of The Little Book of Skin Care. TBH, this wasn’t love at first swipe. I first tried it during my Osaka trip in January where it was winter. My skin was so dehydrated, and I was underwhelmed. Back in Manila where it was summer, it worked fantastic.

What is Beauty Water?

A brain child of Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yun who are both famous Korean celebrity make-up artists (Jeon Ji Hyun, etc.). You can think of the product as a bridge between cleansing and the other steps. It works amazing as a toner but it also functions as a make-up remover (think micellar water), a gentle exfoliator, and a facial mist. It’s also made of natural plant extracts!

Use it after the double cleanse (morning and night), before you apply make-up, or when you just need a clean canvas. You’ll end up with hydrated, plump skin! This allows make-up to look so much better. It’s so gentle that you can layer the product multiple times. Use it with a trusty cotton pad or your bare hands. I’ve been using this since January, and it’s still half full; talk about a bang for your buck!

Get the travel-sized bottle (60ml) for P450. I bought this from Althea Korea during its release (P1,269).


Skin Care Products to Treat and Prevent Acne

I never had to go through bad acne as a teenager – it’s probably my dry skin and genes (thanks, Ma!) – so when I had the *worst* breakout of my life in February which lasted until May, I didn’t know what to do. After panicking trying to figure out what caused it (most likely a barrage of new products I was testing) and feeling completely insecure – people kept pointing out how bad my skin was – I researched and finally found products to effectively treat and prevent acne. I also discovered how to fade acne scars!

First, let me get this straight. As much as media, myself included, bombards – even pressures – one with the idea that a multitude of products (10 steps, anyone?) promises best skin, that may not always be the case. Skin is different for everyone; what may work for your favorite b/vlogger may not work for you. Skin can get over-irritated, products (especially acids) may counteract each other, weather changes, and the list goes on.

I advocated this overwhelming regimen, which worked for me at the time but after the entire drama, much has changed. Especially if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to keep to the basics: the double cleanse, a toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen – at the very least. You can keep it simple, and it’s also best to do your research. Layer if you must (yes, sir!) but know what works for your skin. Moderation is key! Introduce new products slowly; let your skin adjust. And, please give your skin a break once in a while, and cut down on the full-coverage foundation. Okay?

Watch: Is 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine Popular in Korea? via Liah Yoo 

Toner & Exfoliator

COSRX One-Step Moisture Up Pads (Shop Pibu, P850)

A sure way to agitate your acne is manually exfoliating it with harsh scrubs (anything that has beads or rough texture *cough* St. Ives Apricot Blemish Control Scrub *cough*). I plead with you, don’t do it. If you want to eliminate dirt and dead skin cells, a weekly clay mask like Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Mask is fantastic. For gentler everyday exfoliation – which works as a toner as well – the COSRX One-Step Moisture Up Pads are wonderful. Being a fan of the COSRX One Step Pimple Pads for the longest time, I knew I had to get the product!

The pre-soaked cotton pads sweep away filth and leftover make-up that the double cleanse didn’t pick up. It contains hyarulonic acid, which is a humectant (a moisturizer) so it’s good even for those with sensitive skin types. The propolis extract (honey) in it functions as a disinfectant, great for fighting acne. It’s also formulated with BHA to help clean pores.

Oil

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil (The Body Shop, P795)

For spot treating, I used to apply The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil directly on my pimple. It would decrease the acne size overnight but it dries it out and produces a nasty acne scar. Now, I mix it with my moisturizer (St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer) as the last part of my skin care routine at night and before my sunscreen in the morning. It makes all the difference! I’ve shared this with my twitter followers and a number have messaged me to say that this cleared out their skin!

You can get the smaller bottle (10ml) for P495.

Cream

COSRX Centella Blemish Cream (Shop Pibu, P900)

For acne-prone skin, the COSRX Centella Blemish Cream is magic in a tub. Centella asiatica is commonly known as an antibacterial which treats acne and even heals wounds. It also fades acne scars! Use it to target blemishes day and night after moisturizer. This deflates the size overnight! The only downside is it’s a thick cream that can leave a white cast, just like a sunscreen would. This is life-changing especially if you’re going through major, stubborn breakouts.

Patch

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch (BeautyMNL, P180)

Now, this is where it gets really interesting! The COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch includes 24 patches in different sizes. It shortens its life span because it removes whatever pus is inside (provided that it’s “open” and not just a big lump). This is also much better than drying up a pimple with Tea Tree Oil or the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion via spot treatment because again, there are less chances that you’ll get an acne scar that will haunt you for months! It even acts as a protective shield from 1. your stubborn finger and 2. elements that can worsen its state. This is so effective (!) for emergencies, and it’s also travel-friendly!

Be kind to your skin, and don’t stress about it too much. Acne isn’t forever; it just takes time to treat! Here’s to hoping this list helps in any way! 💙

What products work best for you when it comes to treating and preventing acne? I would love to know! Leave them in the comments below. ✨