(yes, that’s a picture of me above when I was 5.)
Fact – as women, we are constantly bombarded with messages from the media to buy the latest products in skincare or makeup just so we can look like a celebrity or model. In Asia, especially, skincare products are focused on whitening as well as the removal of eye bags. There is a constant flow of advertising just targeted at skincare, with a new product or two popping up at least once a month.
However, caring for your skin truly is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Your face is the first thing people look at, be it on the streets, or at meetings, and it is the canvas for the impression that you wish to create. Good or clear skin signals that you take proper care of yourself and your well-being, and being well-groomed shows that you take pride in your physical image. I have always placed much emphasis on skincare, but find it excessive in purchasing countless of products that might not give you the results you want.
I’ve seen my fair share of women who individually use at least 5-10 products on their faces daily. I used to be one of those women – I purchased and stocked up on 3 different facial cleansers, 4 different day moisturizers, and 2 night creams. I also had an array of products to get rid of pimples, to tighten my pores, to reduce my eye bags, and to even lighten the scarring on my face. When you put that altogether, I spent an average of $300 a month on skincare alone. That’s about 50 cups of coffee, and 30 meals aka lunch for a month. For that amount alone, I had better have skin that’s smooth, glowing, zit free, and just enviably beautiful. That wasn’t the case though, and as a working young adult with future plans I need to save for, savings should be my top priority, so that expensive and ineffective skincare habit had to go.
To start things right, let me share my skin type – I’ve got combination skin, and my T-zone gets oily after an entire day of being out and about. I get the occasional pimple once or twice a month, and when it appears, it stays on my face for at least 2 weeks, after which if I’m not careful, it ends up as a scar on my skin. That’s something I detest and have always wanted to put an end to. The sides of my nose tends to get clogged up every now and then, and the scarring on my skin has the tendency to get a bit overwhelming.
I used to put on make-up on a daily basis (that’s a whole other expenditure account right there), which took up both my time and money. I had realized that without makeup, my skin was extremely dull, and it was getting clogged and irritated by the makeup. I decided to put an end to this, and that I would cease wearing make-up for the good of my skin. That was close to 6 months ago, and that was when I brought my skincare regime down to a total of 3 products. Yes, THREE PRODUCTS. All I needed was a face wash, a night cream, and a day moisturizer.
Prior to this, I had invested and used the following much raved products – the Clarisonic, Creme de La Mer, SK-II Miracle Water, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo – the list goes on. Ask me and I would have probably bought the product at some point in time. I’ve tried almost everything that’s been hyped, allowing me to realized what worked for me and what didn’t.
Back to my 3 products – they’re affordable, and they work wonders – which is perfect for me, since I’m never again going to spend $200 on a tub of cream that will last me for 3 months. Let me break down these 3 wonderful items:
1. LUSH Angels on Bare Skin
The name speaks for itself – it does literally feel like angels on bare skin. After using this product for a week, the small zits on my face disappeared, and the scarring on my cheeks slowly started to fade. I love the fact that my skin doesn’t feel too tight or dry after washing, and this leaves my skin soft and moisturized. Angels on Bare Skin is primarily made out of ground almonds, lavender, chamomile blue oil, lavender flowers, and kaolin (a form of clay) – the smell of this is just lovely! You can read more about Lush’s ingredients over at their website, which I love since it makes me feel very informed.
Cons: This is quite messy to use (you have to scoop up this clay textured product, then mix it with water before using it) and relatively pricey, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.
I’m on my second tub now (after about 2 months), and I’ve seen a drastic improvement in the texture of my skin. Plus with less breakouts, this is a large contributing factor as to why I feel confident about going out in public without makeup.
2. Hadanomy Collagen Mist
Made in Japan, this is a collagen-gel mist that is meant to hydrate and moisturize your skin. It does all of the above while emitting a sweet smell, and it also does a good job in setting makeup. I’ve tried this on my boyfriend as well, & there is a drastic difference in skin texture after a couple of hours. The skin looks plump, smooth and there is close to little stickiness after 1 hour. It’s easy to use, and because the mist is thicker and gel like, I tend to pat it down into my skin to ensure even application.
Cons: Like mentioned prior, this is not a light mist, and the product tends to come out in quite thick droplets. It also leaves your face sticky for about 30 minutes, and if you don’t pat it in, it could last for a lot longer. You also should wait for a bit before attempting to put any make-up on.
It does leave your face very very hydrated, and the smell is a huge plus for me. It is very very affordable, and one bottle can last me for at least 3 months or more. Thanks Faz for introducing this to me about a year back, it has replaced my Claudalie face mist, which was at least triple the price of this. Best used after morning wash, and as a replacement for your day moisturizer. Much lighter and easier to put on.
3. Laniege Water Sleeping Pack
This is my miracle product, and even though it is advised that you should use this twice a week, I slather this on every night without fail. The next morning, my skin looks and feels dewy, soft and smooth. I stare into the mirror every morning, and realize that I look better than I did the previous night. My skin looks clearer, pores are tighter, and in general brighter.
No complaints about this, except that please ensure that your fingers are 101% clean before applying the sleeping pack so as to avoid contaminating the rest of the product. I put this on immediately after my evening shower, and it tends to remain a bit wet / sticky for about an hour or so.
For all entries with pictures of me on my blog, please note that I have no makeup on. I rarely leave the house with makeup these days, unless I’m headed out for a social dinner or event. If I do, I will definitely leave a disclaimer on the entry. After not using makeup on a daily basis for the past couple of months, my skin has become clearer, less clogged, skintone is a lot more even, and scars are slowly fading. I’ve realized that less zits and pimples pop up, and if they do, it is either because I had chocolate or fried food the day prior, or because it’s that time of the month. I’m extremely pro-no-makeup and I believe that being less dependent on such products is not only beneficial for your skin, but also your expenses. I don’t see the need to rely on makeup to feel good about yourself, but also do understand that I am blessed with rather nice features (except for my round face). I would encourage everyone to try going without makeup for a month in order to experience the difference, and don’t forget that drinking lots of water through the day helps.
Here are four shots of myself I took on the iPhone, makeup free & with no editing of the pictures whatsoever except to resize & crop. I would not have been able to do this a year back, but the pressure that has been lifted off my shoulders after focusing on improving my skin rather than hide my flaws has been immense, especially since in my opinion, makeup is actually a contributing factor to poor skin.
Current problems I face with my skin include redness & peeling around my nose (Can’t understand why but it’s gotten better over the past couple of months), dark eye circles (due to my irregular sleep habits) and a couple of iffy scars left on my cheeks. With my “base routine” set, I’m looking at seeking out 1-2 more products that can help me with these issues. If you’ve any recommendations, I’d be more than happy to suss + try them out!