June 03, 2017 / 14:43 PM
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.
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.
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.
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. ✨
March 20, 2017 / 12:51 PM
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.
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!).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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! ✨
P.S. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for mini beauty reviews!
December 22, 2016 / 13:00 PM
2016 was all about rekindling my inexhaustible love for beauty and educating myself with the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine. If there’s one thing I learned from watching snippets of my mother’s Koreanovelas, it’s that Koreans have the best skin. It’s all about layering! I’ve been a religious follower for months, and my skin has never been better – with the exception of stubborn acne during that time of the month. Texture’s improved so much, and I owe it to these life-changing products. Of course, drinking water is still my number one essential! A useful tip, if you can’t remember the order, apply the product with the lightest to the thickest consistency.
My personal x-step routine – devoid of a holy grail sunscreen and eye cream for now – is all about curating products that work for my (dry to combination) skin and making a conscious effort to follow through every day. Discipline, my friends! It only takes 5 minutes in the morning and 10 in the evening (if you don’t include the occasional masks). It may be overwhelming for beginners but it’s also very exciting especially when presented with a myriad of possibilities from the local drugstore and online beauty shopping platforms like Beauty MNL, Zalora, and my personal favorite, Althea Korea.
I cannot reiterate how important it is to take care of one’s skin. Not only does the process improve its quality over time, it allows make-up to adhere to skin better, and more so, uplift one’s confidence and change one’s lifestyle.
Banila Co. Clean It Zero Super Size (Beauty MNL, P1,250)
My two-step cleansing process begins with the game-changing Banila Co. Clean It Zero. If you remove make-up properly – especially when you have a full face like I do every day – you allow your skin to absorb other products and prevent breakouts from occurring. It’s fast, easy, and foolproof! I’ve been using it for the past 3 months and am close to emptying it. The only thing that bothers me is how it blurs my sight when applied to my eye area. It’s a temporary affair but still a very strange sensation.
Read: Unboxing: Banila Co.
L’Oréal Micellar Water in Moisturizing (Watsons, P225)
For those on a budget, the recently released micellar water from L’Oréal does a stellar job of removing make-up. I’m so relieved that there are actually drugstore options now including Simple, Garnier, and Bioré. It’s so gentle, almost as if it were really just water; others have a tendency to sting. It’s perfect for removing elaborate eye make-up including budge-proof mascara and even long-wearing lip products. I just find myself reverting to Banila’s cleansing balm because I don’t like wasting cotton pads – the Cuddles Cotton Rounds (P55) and the Cleene Facial Cotton Pads (P65) being my favorites.
Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash (Watsons, P299)
The water-based cleanser I’ve thoroughly been enjoying is the Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash. It actually reminds me of the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser because of the gel-like consistency. It helps remove whatever oil residue remains from the cleansing balm. It’s recommendable for all skin types and leaves the skin feeling fresh and smooth.
Collagen by Watsons Moisturising & Gentle Peeling Milk (Watsons, P249)
Now, this is where it gets fun! Exfoliating is always so satisfying especially since you see results quick. The Watsons skincare line is so good, I can’t believe people don’t talk about it. It’s a great local drugstore alternative for skin care products. The Gentle Peeling Milk is the first product I’ve tried from the brand, and it’s incredible. I use it once a week to remove dead skin cells without drying or irritating my face. My skin feels like an actual baby’s butt after use!
Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam (Althea Korea, P450)
I can probably live on Innisfree everything. I use the Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam once or twice a week before the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask to remove impurities, control sebum, and unclog pores. Every time I have a really long day and get home from a tough commute, I use this, and it immediately transforms my skin.
Read: Unboxing: Althea Korea (Innisfree)
Watsons Collagen Youth Lock Essence Water (Watsons, P359)
Toning is such an overlooked step on every girl’s regimen. It restores skin’s PH balance, removes impurities and pollutants, and prepares it for the next steps.
Aside from the Watsons Collagen Youth Lock Essence Water, I really love the Nivea Mattifying Toner (P174), which I abused in the beginning of the year. The Essence Water is almost like a toner-and-essence combo because of its thick consistency but I prefer having 2 separate products since I’m a crazy skin care lady. I also prefer toners with more natural ingredients and less alcohol; it proves to be more refreshing and less drying. I plan on purchasing the much raved about Son & Park Beauty Water (P,1850) when I finish this – maybe in the year 2058 because this contains so much product.
CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pad (Watsons, P665)
If you’re lazy and having 65 steps on your routine is simply unintelligible, I recommend having the award-winning CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pad on your top shelf. It delivers instant results! These convenient pre-moistened pads removes impurities from skin, wipes away excess sebum, and helps treat and prevent breakouts. It has two sides: the textured for exfoliating and the other for a gentle cleanse. It’s not only great for days when I’m struggling with major skin issues but it’s good for daily use.
You get a ton of product on each pad (70 pieces/pack); it’s more than enough for your face and neck! Because of how expensive it is, I only use it at night and use the Watsons Essence Water in the morning. Saving tip: You can cut the pad in two. You can also purchase this on Althea and Beauty MNL but for a heftier price tag. I plan on exploring the brand more in the future. Of course, it’s a plus that the packaging design is really swell!
Collagen by Watsons Youth Lock Intensive Serum (Watsons, P349)
Serum is still a mystery to many but I find this step to produce instant results! As with essences and ampoules, it usually addresses specific skin care problems. The Watsons Collagen Youth Lock Intensive Serum retains the suppleness of skin and makes it extra firm and smooth. The product comes out looking and feeling like a moisturizer but more lightweight. I’m really impressed by the Youth Lock line from the brand; it’s so underrated!
St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer (Watsons, P249)
I’ve never enjoyed a moisturizer as much as I have the St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer. It’s not at all greasy or sticky. This seals in all the other products applied previously. It definitely changes how my make-up applies. When I’m lazy, I also use it as a lotion. It also comes in a huge tub which will last anyone a really long time.
Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (Althea Korea, P560)
Masks are my favorite. When I feel like pampering myself at night, I apply the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask once a week for around 10 minutes. It rids my skin of filth and excess sebum, makes my pores smaller, and exfoliates! It’s also super cooling.
Daiso Charcoal Face Mask (Daiso, P88)
The Daiso Charcoal Face Mask is the first mask I’ve ever tried. I started using it this summer (once a week) and am surprised how it isn’t empty yet. I leave it on my face until it completely dries and peel it off to reveal cleaner skin. It dries my skin unlike the Pore Clay Mask but nothing a good moisturizer won’t solve. Did I mention that it’s also P88?
The Face Shop Jeju Aloe Fresh Soothing Gel (The Face Shop, P195)
The Face Shop’s Jeju Aloe Fresh Soothing Gel completely changed my skin! I’ve been struggling with strange, tiny bumps on my face for months until I watched a video on how to get clear skin. I tried it every night for a week as a sleeping mask and in just a few days, the bumps decreased. It absorbs to your skin which leaves you with a very smooth canvas.
Aside from using it as a sleeping mask, this multi-purpose gel can be used as an all-around moisturizer. It hydrates skin and retains moisture. It also calms the redness and inflammation of pimples. Major plus, it also helps relieves insect bites and sunburn. What a miracle worker!
What were your favorite skin care products from 2016? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know!
P.S. Use my discount code for Althea! Click here.
P.P.S. All my favorite sheet masks require a separate entry. Wait for it!