Skin Care Basics: The Non-Negotiables

in at October 29, 2017

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!


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!


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


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!


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! ✨💘

Elisa Aquino

Elisa Aquino is a portrait photographer, life(style) writer, passion blogger, and beauty rookie from Manila, Philippines. This platform exists to document her daily musings and to showcase the life-changing power of grace to transform women from ashes to beauty.