Saturday, June 23, 2012

My night time beauty routine–how I care for my split personality skin

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I often have people asking me what skin care products I use, and what my skin care regiment looks like, I guess because people think I have good skin, judging from the photos on my blog. Now, as I will discuss in a bit more detail below, I don’t have what would be considered to be exceptionally good skin, but I do take skin care, particularly night time skin care, very seriously, as this is indispensable for me in keeping my skin in a manageable condition.

My motto has always been that ‘you should never skimp on skin care’, and if there is something great for your skin that money can buy (and you can afford it), you should get it! That said, I’ve also found that it’s not always the most expensive or hyped products that will work for my skin. So you may be surprised to find that most of my most favourite products are somewhat obscure.

My Skin Profile

Before I begin, I just want to talk briefly about my skin profile. I have split personality skin that is oily one day then dry the next. While the oily side of my skin is prone to breakouts, the dry side of my skin causes unsightly flaking. The challenge for me is striking a balance between oil control and hydration. And of course, I have struggled at length with white and black heads. I also suffer from hyperpigmentation caused by childhood chicken pox and adult pimple scarring, and general hereditary discolouration . I have tried various products in an attempt to ‘brighten’, ‘whiten’, and ‘correct’, but so far I remain sceptical that any topical product can really make any difference to hyperpigmentation. Therefore, while it’s a part of my skin profile, I don’t use any product at the moment to address this problem.


The Heroes

May I introduce to you, the heroes of my full night time skin routine. Ok this does look like a lot, but this is the routine I’ll most likely follow on weekends, when I have more time and I do skip a few products on weeknights. My routine starts from makeup removal, to cleansing, and then treatment.


Step 1: Makeup removal

This is an extremely important step for pimple prone skin and enlarged pores. Most makeup is comedogenic (clogs pores), and will exacerbate these problems if not removed properly before sleep.

For quite some time now, my weapon of choice for removing the most stubborn makeup has been Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. I’ve been using the Whitening Recovery EX version on the off chance that it would lighten my hyperpigmentation, but have not seen much improvement in that department.

However, ever since I got eyelash extensions last month, I’ve had to switch to a non-oil remover, as oil based removers can dissolve the glue that they use for eyelash extensions. Unfortunately all makeup removers will tend to eat away at that glue, so I still have to be really careful around the eyes in any case.

The makeup remover I use now is Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. Yes, I do use this all over my face, and it works a treat. It’s not as strong on hard to remove water proof mascara as Shu Uemura Cleansing oil, so when all my eyelash extensions have fallen out, I’ll likely switch back.


Step 2: Cleansing

For oily and pimple prone skin, cleansing is the single most beneficial thing you can do for your skin to keep those blemishes at bay and ‘train’ your skin. Unfortunately, in my experience, most drugstore or even high end cleansers, even those ones formulated specifically for pimple prone skin, do not cleanse well enough or in a way that really helps the problem. Surprisingly, the cleanser I use to help control oil and pimples is one that makes no promise that it would do so at all – Ponds Black Clean Charcoal cleanser (Taiwanese version called ‘Pure White’, because I guess…no one in Taiwan wants to use a cleanser called ‘Black Clean’).

The reason I came to use this cleanser was because I found that it’s very similar to cult Japanese foaming facial soap, Cha no Shizuku, which I love. These are both cleansers that produce extremely fine foam and in large volumes. Recently in Japan, the idea of ‘cleansing with foam’ has become very popular, and it’s one fad that I will attest to being completely legitimate. When I first tried Cha no Shizuku, I noticed a dramatic decrease in breakouts, and the results have continued when I started using Ponds Black Clean. Ponds Black Clean also has claims that the charcoal infused into the cleanser helps to lift oil from the skin and soak up impurities.

I’ve only been able to locate this product on ebay. 


Next in the cleansing step is all about pores. I use Zino Bubble Mask for deep cleansing and Skin Food Acorn Jelly Mask as an astringent to reduce pore size. However, when I am busy, I skip these products.

Zino Bubble Mask has been talked about a lot in Asia recently, for being a highly effective deep pore cleaner. It’s really quite an ingenious product. It applies as a gel, but once exposed to the air, it immediately begins to foam, and it’s this foaming action that’s thought to lift dirt form pores.

While Skin Food Acorn Jelly Mask might also fit into the Treatment step, I class it more as a cleansing product, as it helps to further lift oil from skin and, being an astringent, works with Zino Bubble Mask to close up the pores after a deep cleanse. I reviewed this product here.

Both these products are available on www.sasa.com.


If you have oily skin, the one thing you can’t skip is a lotion or toner. The terms ‘lotion’ and ‘toner’ have become so ambiguous these days. Some are to balance PH after cleansing (which I think is hokum because these days cleanser don’t affect skin PH), some are to hydrate the skin, and some exfoliate the skin. I’m currently using Chanel Precision Fresh Mattifying Toner. This is by far the most expensive item in my skin care routine, at $50 for the bottle. This Toner does exactly that, ‘mattifies’ oily shiny skin. It’s hard to say if one product is making all the difference, but I’ve noticed a great improvement in oiliness since using this product.


Step 3: Treatment

As I mentioned above, as well as oiliness and blemishes, I strangely also suffer from dry skin. So I need to keep my skin hydrated at all times. If I have time, I always try to fit in a sheet mask after cleansing. Asian sheet masks are great because they are cheap enough to buy a bunch and use everyday, and they come in so many fun flavours. I’m currently loving My Scheming Aloe Vera + Vitamin E Mask. As you know, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E are both known to promote healing and sooth inflammation, so this is a perfect mask for blemish prone skin, like mine. This mask is only $1.53AUD at www.pinksakura.com.au!


The final step is a good moisturiser. I think there’s a general belief out there that if you have oily skin, you can’t use any oil based moisturisers. Let me just say that from personal experience, I think this is completely wrong. Not only have I not noticed any increased oiliness or blemishes when using oil based moisturisers, but I will no longer use oil free moisturisers as they just do nothing in terms of providing any sufficient level of hydration to my skin.

While I only started using Lanocreme Vitamin E Cream because my mum has a friend who sells them and she gets them at a discount, no matter how many moisturisers I’ve used, I always go back to this one. Lanolin is the oil that is extracted from sheep’s wool, and is said to be very beneficial to skin. Lanolin cream is one of those ‘Australian made’ products that you can only find at souvenir shops and duty free! Despite being oil based, this moisturizer is non greasy, does not cause my skin to become oily, and offers the perfect amount of moisture. It also smells amazing.


Don’t forget to enter my Beauty’s in the bag Giveaway! So many prizes to be won!!beautyinthebaggiveaway

What’s in your skin care routine?

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