I think the saying that “the only thing that doesn’t change is the change itself” is very true indeed. This applies to my skincare passion. I started off in this journey with local brands like Nano White, Hada Labo, and all the way to k-beauty like Nature Republic, Innisfree, Laneige, Belif, Sulwhasoo, Primera and many more. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun in the process. However, I can’t keep testing out everything forever just for the sake of trying, because that would mean I don’t really learn something from it. In fact, I tried to explore things that I have never thought of, like minimalism. I also go back to my old habits of reading and baking. I must admit that I am slowing down on skincare and beauty, for a good reason.
In this post 12 Skincare tips, I’m gonna share some of the things I learned from my skincare journey in 2022.
1. Skincare tip 1: Everything has an expiry date so you don’t really have to stock up on things.
When I started off as a beauty blogger, I was excited about everything I found. I wanted this, and that, without realizing that I have only one face, and there is only one thing you can try at a time. I would go crazy about sales, and even stock up on things I loved, without realizing that human preferences change from time to time.
A good example would be Lirikos Marine Oxygenic Essence EX. I used to rave about this essence like nobody business. I kept so many bottles that I find too precious to finish. However, now I find it sticky and not so enjoyable anymore, and I have a huge 120ml left in my closet.
So I think it is important that you truly enjoy and appreciate every drop of the products that you love at that moment, and only buy the amount you need, because you might not feel the same 6 months down the road.
Besides, things that you stock up might depreciate over time, or become less enjoyable too. My Belif Numero 10 Essence that I love gets stickier after I open it for about 14 months although it is still another 16 months to expiry date. My Innisfree Sparkling Essence is a disaster. It is no longer sparkling after I kept it in the shelf for 24 months unopened.
2. Skincare tip 2: The best sales is to only buy the things you need at that moment.
Well, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like bargain. In fact, I am consciously looking for things that are on sales, but only for those that I truly want and need. I no longer buy something just because they are on sales. And that is very important, because again your preferences might change. Or that you might find a better deal 6 months later. So why go crazy about sales and stock up on things you don’t need immediately?
I need a mist right now, but I wont simply go and get one, because I am still searching for my next best target. Alternatively, I always have a “repurchase” list that I can always refer to. It is best stocking things up in the store, than stocking it up at your home.
3. Skincare tip 3: Don’t fall for fancy ingredients.
I know fancy ingredients like donkey milk, snake venom, bee venom, pig collagen, bubbles mask, and so on are hyped up a few months or years ago. They used to give me urges to buy because I am afraid that I might miss the “next best skincare secret”. However, after going through many ingredients list, and finding a lot of similarities among different products, I no longer find the urge of going for fancy ingredients or products that said to have fancy ingredients.
For instance, a sheet mask that claims to be made of some purified sea water extracted from some pristine island probably only has 1-2% of its content with this particular extract. The rest will be water, humectants, emollients, emulsifiers, normal plant extracts, antioxidants etc. It is like putting an abalone inside a whole pile of salad, can you really tell that you have tasted that abalone?
Now in skincare, I mostly look for things like niacinamide (because it can break down pigments), lightweight humectants, vitamin C, and some gentle botanical extracts like centella asiatica.
4. Skincare tip 4: Skincare only matters 10% of how your skin looks like, the remaining 90% comes from your diet and lifestyle.
Trust me, no matter what I put on my skin, my skin looks shitty if I don’t get enough sleep or water the day before. No skincare can solve that, unless if you are lucky enough with good skin genes then it is a different story.
5. Skincare tip 5: It is important not to exfoliate, especially if you have dry, normal or sensitive skin.
My mom used to tell me that I have to get myself a harsh scrub and scrub all these dead skin cells on my skin every week, without saying why. But after trials and errors, I realize that that was not true.
If you have dry and flaky skin, you should moisturize, not exfoliate and disturb your wounds further.
If you have normal skin, just eat and sleep better, and let your skin exfoliates like normal.
If you have oily skin, then only would I recommend using BHA because it actually melts the dirt inside your pores and make your pores less clogged and reduces breakouts.
If you have sensitive skin, what you have to do is to strengthen your moisture barrier, not to destroy it further you see.
I find chemical exfoliants like those you can get from Cosrx or Krave Beauty the gentlest. I got feedbacks from my friends saying that Bliv Blackhead Gel is good too. But the rest like sugar scrub is definitely not something I would recommend. Use it on your body, not your face.
As for me? I use treatment essence. It hydrates, preps, brightens, and gently exfoliates my skin. And that’s all I need.
6. Skincare tip 6: Don’t buy brightening serum if you don’t use a sunscreen.
Not everybody likes applying sunscreen, I am one of them. But I realize that if you don’t use a sunscreen, please don’t waste your money on getting a brightening serum because it is not gonna work. Think about it. Isn’t it easier to spend money than to earn it back? The same goes for our skin. It is easier for the very penetrating sunlight to reach the deeper epidermis of your cells, than topical ingredients, because your skin is meant to be a strong barrier against the external world. It can block ultraviolet wave good enough, but it can definitely block your vitamin C or niacinamide better.
7. Skincare tips 7: Body Lotion is not necessary
I think unless if you have extremely dry skin, a body lotion is not necessary. Usually we will forget to use body lotion anyway. I do really well with just a hand cream especially when I am travelling. Alternatively, moisturizer that you don’t enjoy can be reused as your body lotion instead of throwing it away or giving it to your friends or family.
8. Skincare tips 8: Wait 1 week before buying the things you wishlisted.
I am an impatient person. Thus I am more inclined to impulse buy. I will keep thinking about something, and then go on to buy it immediately, mostly 2-3 days after wanting it. This, trust me, is a bad habit. Always put something you like in a wishlist and wait at least 1-2 weeks before buying it. That will save you a lot of bad decision because after 1-2 weeks or so, you might find yourself wanting it less, especially for newly released items.
9. Skincare tip 9: Finish before you buy
I think I mentioned this several times, things have a best-before-date, especially perishable goods. A product that claims to expire the next three years might deteriorate within 1 year from manufacturing if your room condition isn’t optimal to keep it fresh. I learned this from my second bottle of Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Essence.
Sometimes I buy things that just came out from the market because they look fancy and I thought I might like it some months down the road… but it almost never happens. My preferences change from time to time. I rarely can finish anything that I stocked up a lot on, because my passion towards it decreases as time goes by. As such, I learn that you must finish something before you shop for its replacement. If you are dying for a product, just wishlist it, instead of buying it.
10. Skincare tip 10: It is not necessary to buy everything from the same line/series.
Sometimes we heard people saying that it is important to buy toner, emulsion, serum, and cream from the same line because ingredients from different lines might clash. Well… that’s not true unless if you have extremely reactive and sensitive skin. Most products share more or less similar skeleton with the same solvents, emulsifiers, emollients, preservatives, extracts and such. Unless there is a specific instruction on the bottle that prohibits mixing and matching, otherwise it is perfectly safe to mix and match. Plus, you will be freed to try out 10 different things that interest you from 10 different brands isn’t it?
11. Skincare tip 11: Choose your cleansing products wisely
There are so many cleansing products out there in the market today, from cleansing balm, cleansing gel, cleansing oil, cleansing water, to foam cleanser. Some also come with makeup-removing properties, but not all are created equally. Our skin is protected by a moisture barrier that once damaged will become the root cause of all skin issues. Hence it is important that your cleansers be gentle to avoid disrupting the functions of this moisture barrier.
Since I don’t makeup most of the time, I always opt for a cleansing water. I buy little cleansing balm for travelling purposes but I won’t stock up on cleansing oil anymore. As for foaming cleanser, I always get a gentle, mild, non-squeaky-clean one to make sure that my skin feels comfortable after cleansing.
12. Skincare tip 12: Normal skin needs normal care
I think it is important to be as gentle and as minimalist to your skin as possible, especially if you have normal skin. And even if you have dehydrated, oily or sensitive skin, it is also important to keep the chemical on your face as less as possible, and to only use a selected amount of products on your skin.
For normal skin, I usually go by the rule of three: toner/treatment essence –> serum/ampoule/essence –> cream. I try not to add too many steps into my basic three. Of course, things like sunscreen and cleanser are a must have. But I try not to put 2-3 layers of different toners from different brands; or use 4-5 different kinds of serums. At night, if my skin feels dry or sensitive, roughly 3-4 hours from my last skincare application, I will just wash my face with plain water, and dab some sleeping mask before going to bed.
I don’t really exfoliate. Treatment essences are enough for my normal skin. I do use Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA, or Primera Mild Peeling Gel, but only occasionally, as and when needed.
I hope these 12 skincare tips will inspire you for the coming year, to help you make better buying decisions, and to decide what best to put on your skin. After all, we only have 1 skin. Although we all may be passionate about k-beauty, do always remember to take it one step at a time and don’t grab everything in one go.
For now, I think it’s time to say good bye and I will see you guys in my next post!