I am a review junkie. I spend hours reading reviews on hotels, restaurants, stuff to watch on Netflix, and most especially on skin care and make up. Before I purchase anything, I have to read more than a dozen reviews per product. My friends and family tease me for having trigger words and phrases that make the product more appealing to me. These are: Holy Grail; Cult Fave; Best Seller; Beauty Experts’ Swear By These; Must Haves; Most Hyped; Beauty Awards; and any in Top 10 lists! I know right? I am such a sucker.
So wooed by all the promises, I purchase each and every one thinking this will be THE product to fix my skin woes, and hoping my wish list on those online stores will grow shorter. But in reality, they never do. There is always something new coming up, or the latest technology or miracle serum or whatever. With this dark and expensive habit of mine, I end up spending tons of cash on stuff that are either fantastic, so-so, or meh, accumulating tons of stuff I can’t seem to finish!
Hoping to be of service to our readers, I would like to share with you the stuff I absolutely love (another trigger phrase!). I have a mix of drugstore and department store products. You will be surprised, since there are some drugstore brands that perform just as well, or sometimes, even better than the luxury ones.
Just so you know my skin care needs, I am in my early 40s and a morena. My skin issues are fine lines around my eyes and bridge of my nose, occasional hormonal breakouts especially during the red days. I hardly had pimples as a teen, and only started having them this late in life. So I have some dark spots from acne scars.
- Cosrx Good Morning Low PH – I learned how detrimental using a high PH facial wash is to my skin. It dries my face out giving that tight stretched feeling, making my skin overcompensate by producing more oil and sebum, an ideal condition for pimples to grow. (I am looking at you, Shiseido Perfect Whip. Your PH level is too high!). Cosrx Good Morning Low PH Facial Wash has a PH Level of 5! This makes my face bright and ready for the rest of my skin care routine. It has 3 important ingredients:
- Tea Tree Oil – a popular antiseptic that helps combat those pesky hormonal pimples
- Saccharomyces Ferment – a yeast that gives your a bright and moisturising glow.
- Betaine Salicylate – a natural chemical that exfoliates removed dead skin cells in my pores.
- Pyungkang Yul Toner – Gothamista recommended. Need I say more? She is the OG skin nerd. I love her. Anyway, this product was developed by a South Korean medicinal clinic specialising in skin concerns. I apply this toner with my fingers. Smell is a bit weird. But have been getting used to it.
- Thayer’s Witch Hazel – When I have my pimples, I use this instead. I currently have the Aloe Vera version. I prefer the Rose Petal because it smells better. I don’t see the difference in the performance between the 2, it boils down to a personal preference with the scents. I use this on everything. EVERYTHING. (Google the benefits of witch hazel, more trigger words for me… Magic Ways, Awesome Uses, Amazing Benefits, Epic Reasons!)
- Hada Labo Hyaluronic Toner – Read tons of reviews referring to this # 1 selling lotion in Japan as a Holy Grail. It has 4 different kinds of the champion skincare ingredient, Hyaluronic Acid. HA is a moisture magnet and locks it in. It is affordable especially if you get it from drugstores all around Japan. I apply it liberally with my finger tips.
- Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate – Got this as a gift from my mom, who loves Shiseido products very much. She is 70, but looks much younger thanks to good skin care habits since she was younger. I have been using this flagship product for a couple of weeks. It is a great all around serum for morning and night. This serum has amazing ingredients like
- Ultimune Complex with ImuGeneration Technology
- Reishi Mushroom which slows down premature aging and eases skin prone
- Iris Root that help regulate moisture levels, keeping you hydrated and glowing
- ImuCalm Compound of a rose and lotus blend that relieves stress when I smell it
- The Ordinary Buffet – L brought home several bottles of The Ordinary serums and oils for me from New York early this year. I layer this after the Shiseido Ultimate Power Infusing Concentrate. Just a note though, this particular one pills when I use a silicone based primer before make up. So if I plan to put a full face of makeup, I skip this step.
- Shiseido Benfiance WrinkleResist24 Day Cream– This is my fifth pot. Absorbs easily. I always use the spatula that comes in the box so I keep the cream as hygienic as possible. This cream is a bit thick. But due to my age, I need to amp up the moisturiser. The cream doesn’t feel heavy on my skin though. I can do away with the flowery smell though. As always, Shiseido really invests in their technology and research. This is just SPF15, so it is best to layer a separate sunblock if you will be staying under the sun. In this day cream, the awesome ingredients are:
- WrinkleResist24 technology it has Chlorella Extract, Mukurossi Extract and Gambir Extract that help prevent the appearance of wrinkles.
- Super Bio-Hyaluronic Acid and Hydroxyproline to help improve fine lines and wrinkles
- SK-II RNA Power Eye Cream – Fine lines have started appearing around the corners of my eyes and in the bridge of my nose. I regret all the years I was lazy to put sunblock and take extra care of my skin. Anyway, I layer 2 eye creams every morning. One of them is SK-II. I like it because just a small amount goes a long way. It helps lighten my dark circles. It contains sake which has many skin benefits, such as hydrating, brightening and evening skin tone
- Neo Strata Intensive Eye Therapy – This promises to make my eyes more lifted and smoothen crow’s feet from inside out.
- SynerG Formula and Apple Stem Cell Extract plumps the skin
- Peptides and NeoGlucosamine target collagen and reduce pigmentation.
- Caffeine helps deflate puffiness under the eye
- Vitamin E provides antioxidant benefits.
Lip Balms and Skin Salves:
- Lanolips – Pasalubong from one of my best friends, Dar, from her recent trip to Australia. Lanolin is the superhero in this product. It absorbs easily, softens, conditions and there is no sickly sweet smell or taste. The perfect primer for my lipstick. Will definitely buy again once this is done.
- Glossier Balm Dot Com– Glossier. Love this it-girl brand. Has antioxidants and emollients to nourish lips. The millennial pink tube is so happy and chic. Another one of those products constantly described with those Trigger Words I was telling you about. As cool as Glossier is, Lanolips is still my top choice.
- La Roche Posay Anthelios XL– This is my everyday go to sunblock. It is not greasy nor does it have a white cast. It absorbs easily. And layers well under my makeup.
- Heliocare Ultra Gel SPF 90 – Got this from the dermatologist. I use this on tennis or swimming days and on the days I will need to spend an extended time under the sun. The gel is much better than the cream version, since the cream has a tendency to stain clothing.
Most of these products were the result of hours of research, aka reading reviews. LOL!
What are your morning routine must-haves and recommendations! Would love to hear from you!!
Leona Marble Tray is from @TheMasonryPH on Instagram.