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Korean Skin Care 101: The Double Cleanse

In the age of magical cleansing and micellar water, removing make-up is easier than ever. Now, why would anyone of sound mind want to complicate their lives with a 2-step method to add to their already staggering daily checklist? Elisa, can you not?

What is the double cleanse?

The double cleanse is a staple for Koreans for their skin care routines. Removing make-up, sunscreen, and filth from your face after a long day is absolutely essential since skipping this will lead to premature wrinkling, congested pores, and breakouts. The first step is the solid cleansing balm or cleansing oil to be followed by the second step, which is the cleanser. I personally do the double cleanse only at night. If you want great skin, incorporate this in your regimen!

How do I do the double cleanse? 

Get the cleansing balm or cleansing oil with your hands (or a spatula, if provided), and massage it on your face until it emulsifies. Rinse with water. For heavy duty make-up, you can repeat this step. Follow it with a cleanser to remove any residue left. Once rinsed off, don’t pat your face dry with a towel for a damp canvas. This is also more hygienic! Continue with the rest of your skin care routine.

Watch: Double-Cleansing Routine: The Tutorial via The Klog

Products Used:

Heimish All Clean Balm (Shop Pibu, P850)

The Heimish All Clean Balm is impressive! YouTubers say it’s even better than the bestselling Banila Co. Clean It Zero, which is my holy grail. Word has it that the creators of the new brand were former Banila Co. employees so they improved the formula. I personally think that they both do the job well although Heimish doesn’t give you the uncomfortable blurry eyesight, and it has more product in the tub (120ml) compared to Banila Co.’s (100ml) for the same price.

The cleansing balm dissolves into a milky oil consistency, and it works even for stubborn make-up. The super lightweight balm contains Citrus Herb Oil to brighten skin plus Coconut Extract, Shea Butter, and Donkey Milk for that extra moisture! It also contains a plastic spatula inside, which is more sanitary than, let’s say, using your finger. That packaging is also *kawaii!* I just wish they used less…fonts (says the design student who doesn’t know how to design).

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (Watsons, P180)

Ever since the worst breakout of my life, I’ve simplified my routine and use more gentle products targeted for sensitive skin. I’m currently using the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which does the job. It doesn’t strip my face off moisture, which a ton of generic drugstore products do.

I just discovered the best place to buy Korean skin care products in the Philippines! It’s called Shop Pibu, and they have pretty competitive (cheap) prices compared to BeautyMNL and Althea Korea e.g. Heimish All Clean Balm is P850 and in BeautyMNL, it’s P975. What did I tell ya? They carry the newest in skin care, and most of the time, the products I want are in stock, which isn’t the case with others. Check them out! ✨


Fading Acne Scars with Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (Althea Korea, P1,010)

I’ve been suffering from the worst breakout of my life since February. It started with a huge pimple on my nose, then it transferred on my cheeks and chin. The constellation of distressing acne’s made me so insecure. I took a break from my BB Cream and went back to my full-coverage foundation, the Flormar Mat Touch Foundation. I lessened my use of *blinding* highlight because it accentuates texture on my skin. Most days, I don’t wear make-up at all. Trying to find the cause, I’ve reduced my skin care routine to the basics – cleanser, toner, eye cream, moisturizer – and removed any new products I was trying – essence, sunscreen – during the period when it all began. I stopped drinking coffee for a while and drank tea. I slept, a lot. I find it so strange, considering just a week before said dilemma, I had the best skin of my life.

My skin is healing with the help of the potent The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil – diluted in my moisturizer but, as per usual, I’m left with very bad scarring and hyperpigmentation. From past experience, these fade in months so I eventually gave in and purchased the much talked about K-Beauty multitasker: the Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. It was 30% off during Althea Korea’s Trendy Best-Sellers Sale! I’ve incorporated it in my regimen for the past 2 months, and let me tell you something, it is liquid gold.

How do I use it? 

I immediately used it the day it arrived after my (recently emptied) Inisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. The combination is divine; I’ve never had smoother skin in my life! Once applied to the face, it feels warm and greasy but the slight discomfort fades. This makes my skin extra dewy. Great amount of pure Vitamin C can be harmful to skin, so I use this once a day (night) as a serum all over my face – after my toner and before my eye cream and moisturizer. Half the dropper is more than enough! If you plan on using it in the morning, don’t forget to apply sunscreen since you’re more susceptible to UV rays.

Read: Ingredient Spotlight: Vitamin C via The Klog

What does it do? 

It evens out my skin tone – from all the years I refused to wear sunscreen. It’s made my skin so much brighter that I became a foundation shade, or two, lighter. This may be a big no-no for some people, so just a head’s up. In a few days, it changed the texture of my skin; my face feels like a baby’s bottom! In a few weeks, it’s recognizable how my acne scars have faded; others have completely disappeared! It contains Centella asiatica, commonly known to treat wounds. This claims to shrink pores but I can’t attest to that because I already have small pores. This is recommended, even for sensitive skin types, but if you’re wary, you can always mix it with your moisturizer to dilute it.

If you have stubborn acne scars or pigmentation that just won’t go away, this really does the job. Believe me when I say that it’s magic in a bottle!


Reading List: The Little Book of Skin Care

I was (am) in my early 20s, still using the classic Pond’s Cold Cream to remove make-up, a generic Western facial wash that stripped my skin of moisture, and a harsh alcohol-based toner – masabi lang na I was doing something for my skin. I was clueless, hoarding the latest in beauty knowing I can cover up my skin issues – hyperpigmentation, hormonal acne, uneven skin tone, and super rough texture – with a good foundation and concealer.

Skin care…isn’t that for old people? That was me, half a year ago. As much as I enjoy the occasional beauty splurge, I’ve delved more into skin care and have been getting insider information from The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin by Soko Glam founder and esthetician, Charlotte Cho. And, it is gold.

With her charming yet culture-shock (well, I mean, for me) inducing stories of Korea and their “skin-first” philosophy, you’ll peruse every page. Charlotte educates newbies and even gurus regarding misconceptions about skin care e.g. a routine is only for mature skin, layering is unnecessary, the order of products doesn’t matter, stick to one brand, etc. and help you follow a routine that’s perfect for your skin type! She breaks down the mysterious and life-changing Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine I’ve incorporated to my every day. Bonus (!), she features beauty stories and secrets from men and women from the industry – entrepreneurs, models, and YouTubers. She even helps you plan your trip to Korea! The book also features dainty, humorous illustrations by World Wide Web-famous Gemma Correll, so you can think of it as an adult storybook – perfect for your top shelf.

Read: What Makes K-Beauty Special? via The Klog

So, what is the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine?

  1. Make-Up Remover and Oil Cleanser: This is an essential step for your nighttime routine since skipping this can lead to congested pores and premature wrinkling.
  2. Water-Based Cleanser: The infamous double cleanse ends here, clearing whatever film is left from the oil cleanser or cleansing balm.
  3. Exfoliator: It’s a weekly date with a gentle exfoliator, sloughing dead skin cells and impurities from harsh environmental factors.  
  4. Toner: This restores PH balance and perfectly preps your skin for the next steps to better absorb products. It’s also called skin, refresher, or simply, water.
  5. Essence: For Koreans, essence is the heart of the entire routine since it targets specific skin issues like wrinkling and hyperpigmentation.
  6. Ampoules, Boosters, and Serums: These are pretty much like essences but thicker and deliver instant results.
  7. Sheet Mask: Treat yourself with an essence-filled sheet mask at least once a week for that extra moisture and hydration! Super *kawaii* packaging also helps, eh?
  8. Eye Cream: No time to snooze? An eye cream is a life-saver especially since skin around your eye area is the thinnest on the face. Need I say more?
  9. Moisturizer: Seal in all the steps with extra moisture!
  10. Sunscreen: This is the most essential step for daytime routine which everyone – male and female, young or adult – should incorporate in their every day.

I mean, The Little Book of Skin Care is 200+ pages of beauty greatness. Good skin care is a must for anyone, and it’s never too late to start a routine – and actually stick to it! You might get lost in the gobbledygook midway – I know I may have snoozed during the über lengthy sunscreen lecture – but this isn’t meant to be digested in one sitting. Wear a sheet mask, pack your face on with moisture and hydration, and thank me later.

 

You can purchase this locally in Fully Booked or order online via Book Depository.


Product Empties: Beauty and Skin Care

It’s been a good year diligently collecting emptiesgathering products I love –  and found myself grieving over, upon its material death – and others, which I finished for the sake of a clear conscience. The paper bag was accumulating filth that I really had to complete this entry. Lo and behold, my trash!

Skin Care

Micellar Water 

*L’Oréal Micellar Water in Moisturizing (Watsons, P225)

Times have changed, more drugstore brands are finally carrying micellar water. If you’re on a budget, L’Oréal’s 2016 launch is a good alternative for cleansing oils and balms. It gently removes make-up effectively. I personally use it to remove my lip product and eye make-up then follow up with my (crazy skin care lady) double cleanse: a cleansing balm and a water-based cleanser.

Cleansing Balm

*Banila Co. Clean It Zero Super Size in Classic (Beauty MNL, P1,270)

I grieved over emptying my Banila Co. Clean It Zero a month ago. So far, I’ve discovered it’s the best way to completely rid my face of make-up for a clean and hydrated face. It’s an international best-seller for a reason. It’s a solid balm that dissolves into a milky, oil-like substance. This extra step makes all the difference in my regimen. The Super Size lasted me for 4 months – considering I use make-up every day – which makes the item worth the splurge. Again, the only con I have for this is the blurry sensation I have when it’s close my eye area.

Full review here.

Hope Girl Jamong Cleansing Balm (Althea Korea, P910)

I finished Hope Girl’s Jamong Cleansing Balm so fast that I don’t think it’s worth the price. It does the job but I have to apply it on my face twice. It’s a sherbet-type cleanser thinner and more slippery in consistency than the Clean It Zero. I’m on the search for the next cleansing balm…Heimish’s All Clean Balm, perhaps? Or even a cleansing oil! If you have recommendations, do let me know!

Cleanser

Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash (Watsons, P299)

Upon discovering the cult favorite, Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser, nothing else compares. Simple’s Moisturizing Facial Wash is pretty, wait for it, basic. I’m not undermining its effectivity as a cleanser but it does exactly what other drugstore generic facial washes do, and I need something more.

Toner

*CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pad (Watsons, P665)

I’ve never loved a skin care product more than CosRX’s One-Step Pimple Clear Pad; I can’t live without it. I’m on my second, and it’s been a part of my daily routine ever since I discovered it. I use it at night to gently exfoliate my skin after a long day under hostile environmental elements. Not only does it prevent breakouts, it also calms redness at the onset of hormonal acne. Use the textured area of the pad to mildly exfoliate and the flat area for a gentle cleanse. And, who wouldn’t love that super cute packaging?!

Moisturizer

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

It still baffles me how this huge jar of moisturizer (10oz) is so affordable. For the price of P249, this nourishes deep into skin. I even feel my face tighten after application! It also isn’t sticky so this is good even for day wear, especially during summer. I want to try new products for reviews but I can’t seem to detach myself from it – I’m actually on my second jar! If 10-ish steps is too overwhelming for you, I recommend at least incorporating this product to your minimal routine.

*The Face Shop Jeju Aloe Fresh Soothing Gel (The Face Shop, P195)

Aloe Gel is a miracle multi-tasker to treat stubborn acne and insect bites, soothe sunburn, and many other things. I personally use it every night as a sleeping gel as the last step of my routine. It seeps into my skin and hydrates it. In just one week of religious use, I noticed that tiny bumps on my face, especially on my forehead, started disappearing.

Beauty 

Primer

QuickFX No-Shine Mattifier (Watsons, P99)

To fill in pores and to mattify (oily to combination) skin, the QuickFX No-Shine Mattifier is an underrated gem from the drugstore! It’s a fantastic product to control sebum, and it even makes skin look Photoshopped. This silicon-based primer is pretty similar to ELF’s Mineral Infused Face Primer and Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer but way more affordable. I suggest to use a setting spray to lengthen make-up wear time since this doesn’t do that. I won’t purchase it again just for the reason that I have normal skin so I don’t really need much mattifying.

Foundation

*L’Oréal True Match Liquid Foundation in Nude Beige (Watsons, P600)

I’ve forgotten how much I love L’Oréal’s True Match Liquid Foundation after obsessing over Cushion Compacts and BB Creams for a while. I set it with my Nichido Final Powder in So Natural, and I’m all set for a full day – I even wear this for events! It covers my blemishes so well, I don’t even have to wear concealer. This also lasted me half a year. This is such a holy grail from the drugstore!

*Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte Foundation in Natural Beige (Watsons, P499)

I love, love, love Maybelline’s Dream Velvet Matte Foundation for everyday wear. This gives me flawless skin. Because of its velvet matte finish, this is super hydrating for normal/dry skin. From reviews online, this isn’t the best product for oily skin. Don’t forget to use a beauty blender or a sponge because this particular formula doesn’t cling well to normal make-up brushes.

Mascara

COVERGIRL The Super Sizer By Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black (Watsons, P395)

I purchased COVERGIRL’s Super Sizer on one of its sales because it’s Tati-approved, but it left me disappointed since it applies really messy. It does lengthen and volumize lashes like no one’s business but it took a month of constant use before I actually liked it.

Lipstick

Sleek MakeUp Matte Me Lip Cream in Birthday Suit (P450, Zalora)

I have a complicated love-hate relationship with Sleek MakeUP’s Matte Me Liquid Lipstick in Birthday Suit. I’m on my second tube, and it remains the best (pinkish) nude I have in my collection. No wonder it’s always sold out. This dries completely matte, which means it can be difficult to reapply in the middle of the day. The more you apply, the more chapped your lips will get. This is super drying, and it feels heavy but I look past its flaws for the stunning shade.

*Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creams in Cannes, Prague, Copenhagen, and Transylvania (Stuff in Style, P270)

If you’re not a fan of uber drying liquid lipsticks, the classic Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creams may be your cup of tea. They deliver superior pigmentation and come in a ton of vibrant shades – without leaving your lips a chapped mess! It remains one of the best formulas in the market, even beating luxurious brands. Cannes (a pinkish nude), Prague (a deep fuschia), and Copenhagen (a vampy red) are my top picks; they’re universally flattering, too!

*Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 08 and 104 (P350, Your Make-up Store PH)

The Kate by Rimmel lipsticks are the creamiest lipsticks I’ve tried. 08 and 104 are some of my favorite pinks from the drugstore. Because of how buttery it is, just be wary of the product moving around.

Lip Balm

Classic Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm (P139, Watsons)

I actually finished a lip balm…wait, what? This moisturizes my lips as well as Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. The smell is just a bit strange, a mixture of vanilla and Omega Pain Killer?

*This product is definitely worth repurchasing!

What have you emptied lately? Any products you’ve tried from the list? Let me know in the comments below! ✨


Favorites, Lately

In an attempt to produce more organic entries, I’m adding a new series to regularly update you guys with beauty and skin care products I’m loving. From underrated drugstore gems to holy grail status must-haves, I’ve got you covered! Before another month discovering new products and, maybe, rekindling my love for old ones, here are some things I’ve been obsessing over all year.

Skin Care

Toner

Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener (Althea Korea, P440)

Aside from the CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pads I use at night, I’ve been enjoying the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener I received from the Althea Korea Anti-Pollution Box. My pores (mostly around the nose area) have become significantly smaller. Again, I still prefer more viscous toners but I have no problem finishing this bottle if it means looking Photoshopped. I’ve even been skipping my mattifying primer because there’s, literally, nothing to cover – considering I already have small pores to begin with (thank God!).

Facial Cleanser

Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser (Beauty MNL, P408)

My recent trip to Osaka allowed me to familiarize myself with the black hole of *kawaii* that is their drugstores. The best discovery I had was the best-selling Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser; it’s #1 for a reason. Other cleansers tend to strip off moisture post-wash, and this doesn’t. It’s super thick, creamy, and even foams up if you diligently whip it with your hands or a whip maker. This removes whatever impurities I have left after my cleansing balm, too. I’m so in love with it, I’m sure I’ll get more during my trip back next month.

Essence

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (Beauty MNL, P873)

Essences are unsung heroes of skin care. My acne scars and dark spots are notorious for staying on my face for months but some (not all) faded in weeks, thanks to the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. I noticed that my smile lines are slowly fading, and my forehead is less wrinkly. How? Snail mucin repairs and heals skin. It also makes it tight and firm. The product itself can be a bit sticky but the discomfort fades within seconds. I apply it, day and night, after my toner and before my moisturizer and eye cream. My skin texture has gotten much smoother, and I love how you only need a pea-sized amount!

Read: Snail Mucin: The Superhero of Skin Care via The Klog

Eye Cream

Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream (Beauty MNL, P294)

Because I’m not over snail anything, I had to get the Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream. I noticed a visible reduction of wrinkles and a brightening of my under eye area – considering how bad my sleeping schedule is – in just a month. I cringe whenever I see old selfies (let’s face it, I take a lot) and realize how important having a good eye cream is! I think this is good, especially for the price, but I’m still on the search for the best.

Sunscreen

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (Watsons, P420)

For years, I’ve been stubborn, neglecting the most important of my day time routine: sunscreen. Now, I can’t live without it, especially after purchasing the much raved about Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence – cheaper in Japan, of course. It doesn’t give me white cast, it’s not sticky, and it’s super moisturizing. I plan on purchasing the recently launched spray form – a possible God-send for us lazy folks – after emptying this.

Oil

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil (The Body Shop, P495)

I’ve been suffering from really bad hormonal acne on my nose and right cheek – weeks after the best skin of my life. I was desperate for anything to treat it. I’ve been hearing about Tea Tree Oil for said dilemma and wanted to purchase it from Human Nature but it was sold out in store, so I purchased mine from The Body Shop. This is Heaven-sent. I place the smallest amount on affected areas, day and night, and it calms down redness and dries it up; it’s gone for as quick as 2 days to a week. Of course, it still leaves acne scars, which other products can treat.

Beauty

Foundation

Maybelline Super BB Cushion in Natural (Watsons, P749)

The entire process of putting on foundation – mixing 2 different products to perfect my shade and setting it with a loose powder – is not for the lazy girl. The Maybelline Super BB Cushion is a life-saver. It’s also travel-friendly! It provides great coverage considering how bad my skin has been because of my hormonal breakouts. Now, I wouldn’t wear this for an event. It’s best for everyday wear in the office or university. The color selection lacks variety with only 2 available colors, Light and Natural, but it matches my skin pretty well. It provides a naturally dewy look, which I’ve been loving lately. Maybelline also recently released the Super BB Cushion Fresh Matte – best for oily to combination skin – which I plan on trying out when I empty this!

Features & Shades BB Cream in Filipina (Watsons, P350)

Lately, I’ve been enjoying days without the heavy full-coverage foundation-and-loose powder combo. I’ve never owned a BB Cream in my life since I’ve gotten the misconception that it only caters to my fair-skinned friends. Finding a shade match for morena skin is near to impossible but Features & Shades BB Cream in Filipina is perfect! Fret not, they have 2 other colors, Oriental and Mestiza, to cater to other skin tones. I’m thoroughly impressed how flawless my skin looks every time I use this; it can even cover my blemishes. It keeps my skin matte so I’d give this a go for people with oily to combination skin. It claims to be a breakthrough product acting as a foundation, concealer, moisturizer, and sunscreen but I still recommend having separate products.

Highlighter

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter (Watsons, P379)

I’ve been on the search for the perfect highlighter since I threw out my expired Benefit Watt’s Up!; Essence’s Pure Nude Highlighter is pretty close. This has been on my to-buy list for months but it’s been sold out locally since every YouTuber raves about it. I finally got it in January! This swatches like nothing on my hand but applies beautifully on my face. It looks good on dark and fair skin. It can go from subtle to beaming, and it won’t accentuate any texture on the face. Because it’s a powder formula – yet still looks wet – it doesn’t appear streaky. This is definitely the best highlighter available in the drugstore.

Banila Co. So Strobing Stick (Beauty MNL, P865)

This product isn’t for everyone. It makes my face look dewy, almost wet, a look popular among Koreans. If you’re oily, I’d say stay away from anything with the word strobing in it. This is what a MAC Strobing Cream looks like but more intense – giving your face a healthy, natural glow. It can look streaky when not blended well so instead of directly applying it to my face, I use a beauty blender to distribute the product. I also use it to intensify any highlight, putting it before I top it off with a powder highlighter. This applies much better above a cushion foundation or a BB Cream than, let’s say, a full-coverage foundation. The metallic packaging is also such eye candy!

Make-up Spray

L’Oréal Infallible Setting Spray (Watsons, P500)

If you have a whole day event or want a little extra something to keep your make-up intact the entire day, the L’Oréal Infallible Setting Spray will be your best friend. This will make you want to rethink removing your make-up at night because it still looks so good. It’s currently on sale for P250 until April 2 so better get yourself a bottle, or two!

Others

Hair Care 

Dove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse (Watsons, P285)

For days when my hair is out of control, I apply an ample amount of Dove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse, and it tames it and makes it extra smooth and bouncy. I never get a bad hair day with this as my armor.

What have you been loving lately? Let me know in the comments below! ✨

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