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Skin

I tried following the 10 step Korean skincare routine for a month and here’s what happened…

So as we all may know, Koreans take their skincare routine very seriously; so damn seriously that they have a whole 10 steps to follow. I already read about the benefits of their routines and their habits and the products they use. Some are pretty pricey and some are average and their skincare varies from creams to serums to ampoules to masks. After a month of trying this out, I gotta say it’s exhausting, but after some extensive research, I do realize that it is not required to do the full 10 steps on a daily, but rather to choose what to use according to the particular needs of your skin. Here are the deets…

Step One: Oil Cleanser

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Purpose of this step: The oil cleanser is applied to dry skin; an oil cleanser to help remove makeup and any other oil-based product debris like sunscreen and pollution particles.

What I used: I recently got on the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm bandwagon thanks to many obsessive review readings. There is no particular special texture or smell for this product, but it was soft and pleasant to use. It takes a little to get used to if you do not like the feel of oil on the skin; it was definitely weird for me to have an oily film on my skin but knowing that I could wash it right after didn’t make it too bad to bear. Every night, for a whole month, I first cleansed my face with this oil whether I had makeup or not.

Step Two: Foam Cleanser

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Purpose of this step: According to Koreans, the secret to perfect skin is to make sure it is fully clean before applying any other product…therefore, double cleansing is necessary because there, for sure, will be leftover gunk on your skin after one cleanse.

What I used: I never paid any consideration to the cleanser I used as long as it never made my skin dry. So I grabbed whatever was on the shelf at the drugstore and to be honest, other than the Cosrx Cleanser which I still love, I didn’t give it too much thought, so I figured there’s no harm for me to try a foam cleanser. I decided to try the Shiseido Extra Cream Cleansing Foam and I actually loved the double-cleanse step. This rich cream foams instantly and helps clean the skin in the smoothest way leaving you with fresh and supple skin filled with health and just oomph. It really felt like my skin was completely cleared of any bad particles, leaving a clean slate to work with for the rest of the regimen. This is probably the two steps I will stick with forever because clean skin feels truly amazing.

Step Three: Exfoliator

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Purpose of this step: It’s pretty obvious why we use exfoliators. I remember being quite obsessed with this step when I was younger, because it was the only way my skin felt super clean and fresh…and I may have been abusive with it to the point where I exfoliate almost daily which put a strain onto my sensitive skin. Too much of it can actually damage the skin rather than saving it. Granted, exfoliation not only cleans out clogged pores, but it also sloughs off dead skin cells as it removes the dull layer of cells to help reveal brighter skin.

What I used: I wanted something less abrasive because I already have quite dry skin now with the pregnancy. So I decided to stick to just using a glycolic acid exfoliator instead rather than bead filled cream. Although, when I do feel like my skin needs it, I do use a cream exfoliator once every two weeks in the shower for an extra boost. With the Pixi Glow Tonic, I could easily exfoliate away with a little cotton pad and be done in like  two seconds. Although I ended up not sticking to this step, it was still beneficial as glycolic acid is the Holy Grail for exfoliation because it helps effectively remove the outermost layer of dead cells from the complexion, revealing brighter, fresher skin. Glycolic Acid can also be used to treat scarring, skin discoloration and signs of aging.

Step Four: Toner

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Purpose of this step: According to Korean skincare experts, after cleansing so many times the skin becomes fragile, so it is really important to take the time to hydrate it and this is why toner is necessary because it acts as a way to prep the skin, so it’ll absorb the following treatments better.

What I used: I stuck with just using the rose water I was using from the beginning of my pregnancy. You can pretty much find rose water in your local organic food store and not spend a gazillion dollars. Didn’t want to go all out and purchase something just to try it…I was content with the results of the rose water. I still used this step, on and off, depending on how I feel and depending on the time I have to spend to prep my skin. At the beginning, I used a cotton pad but then I felt like I was wasting so much product and wasn’t getting all the benefits…therefore, I decided to just pour the liquid into my palms and patting onto my skin and this felt much more beneficial. This step really did help my skin feel plumper and more hydrated.

Step Five: Essence

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Purpose of this step: The essence is the heart of Korean skin care and it considered the most important part of their entire routine. The essence is a treatment that is similar to serums, boosters, or ampoules; but it’s more watery in consistency then the rest of those products, so it comes out like a toner.

What I used: Since I have used Cosrx before as a brand and felt like it wouldn’t cause me to break out massively or have an allergic reaction, I decided to try on of their essences. I went with the Advanced Snail Power Essence but honestly, although I finished up the bottle, I didn’t feel like it made a world of a difference, I mean I don’t feel like I need to continue with this step. It did feel luxurious and diva-like to splash the essence on my face but it was just meh for me.

Step Six: Serum, Boosters, or Ampoule Treatments

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Purpose of this step: This basically where you target your major needs and use these specific products to treat all the concerns you may have with your skin. This step is to work on issues that you may have such as brown spots, pigmentation, acne and more.

What I used: Since at the moment, I am having very good skin, I haven’t changed what I use. I have been using this particular serum for ages and will continue to do so because I really do actually see a difference in my skin whenever I stop using it. This Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum is a must for me because it helps me maintain a healthy, glowing, clean skin all year round. It helps brighten my complexion and even out my skin tone. This serum step is a regular in my skincare routine anyway so I didn’t feel like I had to go all out. My skin really does feel healthy with this serum and I do recommend it to anyone looking to remove any spots and pigmentation.

Step Seven: Mask

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Purpose of this step: The purpose of your mask depends on what your skin needs. You can choose to extra hydrate, to deep-clean or whatever depending on how your skin is on this particular day. This is not an every-night step, you really only need to do it twice a week.

What I used: Masking has been a ritual for me for ages! I cannot not use a mask, you know what I mean? It’s like the only way I feel like I unwind and relax. I use masks usually to relax but whenever I feel like I need to clear up my clogged pores or deep clean my skin, I reach for the heavy duty masks. There are a couple of masks that I use and it would be too long to go through them in this post…but I can definitely do another updates posts with my favourite masks of all time. I usually just reach for the Sephora Brand Sheet Masks depending on how I feel and they work great. There is no need to spend big money on masks as long as they truly work and deliver what they promise.

Step Eight: Eye Cream

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Purpose of this step: Depending on what you are looking for, this step could focus on everything from fine lines to dark circles. Basically, if you have any under eye concerns, “there’s” a cream for it.

What I used: I was never into eye creams to start with; I tried a gazillion cream from a gazillion different brand but never truly saw the benefit of any. According to my dermatologist, eye creams aren’t necessary anyway because they’re just like your regular moisturizer with a little less concentration in the ingredeints….so using your regular moisturizer around your eyes gently is way better than splurging your money of an eye cream that won’t do much anyway. I, for kicks, used to Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Night Cream and yup, as I predicted, nothing really changed. I mean it’s nice and bougie to use it, but I won’t keep spending 78$ for something that doesn’t work all that much.

Step Nine: Face Cream

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Purpose of this step: This step is simply to lock in skin’s moisture and it is the key to supple, younger-looking skin.

What I used: Even if you don’t end up following the 10 step skincare routine, moisturizer should be worn day and night. My current favourite is the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream and I absolutely love it because it quenches my dehydrated skin so deeply. It freaking feels amazing on and I don’t feel greasy or icky after putting it on. Sucks that it’s always sold out at Sephora. It honestly does make a difference in the way my skin feels and since I have been using it, I haven’t felt a bit dry or irritated. I cannot stress how smooth my skin feels at the moment, like better than baby-butt smooth! I promise!

Step Ten: SPF

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Purpose of this step: Koreans (Asians in general) are really really obsessed with SPF. It seems self-explanatory, but sun protection is crucial on a daily basis to maintain healthy skin. Applying SPF regularly, even when it’s cloudy, that’s the biggest differentiator in the Korean regimen.

What I used: I usually apply my SPF after my moisturizer every morning. I love physical sunscreen because they contain mineral ingredients like Zinc Oxide and so they protect from both UVA and UVB rays. The one I am currently using is the Shiseido Oil-Free SPF. I mean we all know why SPF is important and so it is really important to make it a big habit to use this on a daily even when it rains and really when the sun’s too hot and out there.

After spending a whole month working up on this routine, I am not going to lie that it did feel like a chore on some days and it was sometimes annoying for me to go through everything daily. Whenever I felt like I needed to unwind, I love it! I loved doing the whole circus, but being real here, 10 steps as a new mum will be quite hard for me to maintain and so I will probably end up keeping 5 to 7 of these steps for the future. Quite frankly, if you do have the time for the 10 steps skincare routine, then go for it, because the benefits are really there and I do see results, but life everything else in life, it’s work and you need to be dedicated.

 

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Uncategorized

Su:m 37 Secret Essence.

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I talked about Korean skincare in a previous post and how I also jumped on the k-beauty bandwagon to see what the hype was all about. So along with my other purchases, this was one I really looked forward to trying out because of how much hype it was getting.
It was compared to the SK-II facial treatment essence and I figured I could give it a go.
What is a treatment essence you say? Well, as an outsider looking in, I get overwhelmed because there are like a million steps in the k-beauty regimen. From eye serum, to lip serum, water essence, to leave in mask..and the list goes on. Asians are trained from a young age to take care of themselves and their skin in general as a preventative measure and I find that so inspiring and fascinating. That’s why most of the Asians I meet having amazing skin! To die for!
So, a treatment essence is the second moisturizing step in an Asian style routine after toning. They’re basically there to help your skin absorb moisture more to hydrate and plump it. When I first received the bottle, I was so impressed with the packaging, because I am a nerd like that! It feels luxurious in the hand. Unlike the SK-II essence, this one is a little more affordable and it is perfect to try it out as a “starter” to luxury brands.

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This Su:m37 essence is filled with yeasts, beneficial bacteria and a larger number of beneficial plant ferments and extracts (it has over 80 fermented plants and vegetables extracts). The smell is wonderful, it smells so soothing and pleasant. It smells floraly and earthy. I quite enjoy it, but can see how others may not. This is a watery toner/essence. The texture is very much that of water, but a smudge more viscous. It’s also clear, and slightly yellow in appearance. It feels the skin super moisturized and happy. I like to use it at night right before my serums. I pat it in and leave it to dry completely and skin in before I go to my next step and sometimes, I find that this is enough for me and I go to bed.
I have been using this since the beginning of the November and I can see a difference in my skin. It feels more hydrated and more glowing in the morning. I use this in conjunction with my Youth to the People moisture cream. I still have loads of product left, because a little goes a long way. It costs 75.50$ USD for 100ml. So will I repurchase this? I would. But not anytime soon, because I have a few more products I am curious about to try out.
Till next time x
Categories
Beauty

Sensitive skincare

For the past couple of months I have been struggling to find the perfect skincare routine due to my newly diagnosed skin condition (contact dermatitis). For those of you who do not really know contact dermatitis, briefly, it’s a skin condition caused by the inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis is caused by the skin reacting to allergens or irritants and it is usually characterized by red, itchy skin that can become blistered and sensitive. My skin swells badly and crusts up, which creates scar afterwards. Sucks big time, I know, but thankfully I am so not into layering loads of foundation and makeup on my skin (feeling bothers me and also because I think less is more…but that’s just me).  
My sensitive skin doesn’t love products very easily; it’s super stubborn, dries out fast, gets super itchy and sometimes breaks out. So I have been in the hunt for something that will hydrate my skin and keep breakouts at bay. After spending so much money on different skincare products, I came across the Skinceuticals range. Now, everybody’s skin is different and what works for me might not work for the rest. But what I really love about the Skinceuticals range is the work behind it. There is a wide network of dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and aestheticians who are specially trained to create the ideal skincare regimen that can help prevent accelerated skin aging and sun damage. They mainly focus on protecting the skin, correcting existing issues and preventing future damage. Prevention, Protection, and Correction!!!
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Since my skin has been quite naughty lately, I have had to change a couple of creams/cleansers around because some dried me out, some burned my skin and some made me breakout (HARD). I have specific products for eczema prone skin but I needed some serums to hydrate my skin further. So obviously because of my issues, when I came across this brand, I was hesitant to try it, because it was expensive and I didn’t know what to expect..but then I figure what the hell..let me give it a go.
So depending on what I needed to correct and recommendations and reviews I saw online, I took a plunge and bought the Phloretin CF Serum. This is a daytime antioxidant serum that delivers advanced environmental protection and diminishes the appearance of discoloration. This serum is part of the prevent range and even though it is under the anti-aging section, I figured I can start the prevention plan now and since I have a few spots and scars from breaking out, I decided to give it a try. 1 week in using this product, I noticed a huge difference with my skin tone; my skin color was more unified and less spotty.  A month later, I get compliments on how my skin glows!! My severe eczema is at bay, my skin is hydrated, I have fewer spots popping (that time of the month..ugghhh) and my scars are slowly starting to fade.
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Since noticing change in my skin, I decided to invest in more bits and bobs from this brand. For the naughty days, I invested in LHA Cleansing Geland the LHA Solution Toner. I cleanse, tone and then follow up with these babies: the Retexturing Activator and then finish up with the Blemish + Age Defense Serum. I use these mainly when my face is feeling dull, especially when Aunty Em hits town. I am super happy investing in these products because they help me keep my skin under control and mostly importantly hydrate it (because I am super prone to scaling and peeling). These products are part of the correct range and they help fight breakouts and improve the appearance of blemishes. These serums help maintain excess oil stable while exfoliating dead skin cells to prevent clogged pores for an overall improved skin appearance. You have to be careful of not overusing this because it does dry out a little, so this is why I only use this at night after putting on moisturizer.
I know that these products are super expensive but they are well worth every penny. I am happy with my skin routine and will keep using these products for as long as I can and as long as my skin loves them too. Since I hate wearing any sort of foundation, I try to keep my skin happy, healthy and clear, therefore a proper skincare regimen is super essential for me to accomplish all that and more. And because the SkinCeuticals’ philosophy is built on principals that address and minimize the visible effects that environmental aggressors have on skin, I like to invest in them. And I have also noticed that my skin glows..total bonus <3
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So this is my skin now without foundation or editing..excuse the bags under my eyes and the white-haired brow X)
Since my skin went through hell and back (got burned a couple of times, did a major chemical peel, allergic reactions…and now dermatitis), I am now more careful with what I put on my face. What works for me, might not work for other skin types, but I hope that with my sharing this post, some of you can benefit from it.
Cheers xo  
PS: for more product details, you can go check them at: http://www.skinceuticals.com