Asian beauty is finally getting the attention it deserves. From complex 12-step K-beauty skincare routines to ancient Chinese jade tools, Asian beauty is incredibly comprehensive and functions in a way that always puts skin at the forefront.
I’m asked all the time about my skin and how I’m ‘not wearing makeup’* so it felt apt to set some time aside to get down to the nitty-gritty of my current skincare routine, step-by-step, and run through all of their benefits.
But first, let’s go back to the grassroots.
Mama Daisy first introduced me to the cavernous world of skincare and beauty at the tender age of 13. She’d been to John Lewis and handed me a set of products, forming my first ever five-step skincare routine. Most notably, the youth range by Lancôme, a plastic tub (to fill with water and use to rinse, as she believed the sink wasn’t clean enough!) and a towelling headband. My new Saturday squad.
Honestly though? I think ‘the secret behind my skin’ is having started on skincare fairly young, plenty of water and fruit, and the products I select.
Oh, and I have only ever had one facial in my life, during which my beautician told me I was wasting my time. Fail.
Meet my current skincare routine for normal/dry skin, in an extremely hot and humid country where A/C is rife. Photos in this post are unedited, for reference, and I am only wearing lipstick.
Gel, cream, foam, balm; I’ve sampled all manner of cleansers and formulas over the 11 years that I’ve been grooming my skin.
There’s two cleansers that I return to time and time again: the Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Foaming Cleanser and Kiehl’s Washable Cleansing Milk. I don’t wear much makeup so these work perfectly. The Boots one is refreshing and I tend to use around that time of month to prevent breakouts, while the Kiehl’s is my daily option. Rinse off with cold water in the morning and lukewarm by night. I’m also using a Biore Whitening Cleanser at the moment that really works to brighten and soften my skin after a day in the city.
As I’ve previously noted, my heart lies with one when it comes to exfoliation. The Saem’s Dr. Beauty Micro-Peel Soft Gel is gentle whilst effective and has a lovely light, soft scent to it. My skin always feels much fresher and bouncier after use and a little more radiant – just what I want.
I’ve been a toner floozy for the past year or so but I’ve finally settled down with one. For reference, I’ve tried the Kiehl’s Daily Facial Toner, The Saem’s Diamond Essence Toner, a Lancôme one and a Laneige Skin Refiner, and the Laneige is my go-to. A lightweight fluid formula, it hydrates and, um, refines the skin texture, helping to remove any final bits of cleanser and prep it for further moisture. I find it isn’t too ‘wet’, meaning I can still go ahead and squeeze in an essence.
Ah essence. The mysterious bonus step in the skincare routine. It’s often said that this is the key to unlocking super clear complexions and I try not to skip it unless I’m literally so tired that my arms can’t hold themselves up. I’m using the Laneige Water Bank White Plus Essence at the moment – surprise surprise – a thin formula that I press into the skin (I try to plump my cheeks too, by pushing my face up gently!) and leave for a few moments before going in with moisturiser.
It’s formulated for dry skin and whilst mine isn’t too dry, I get dry cheek patches and like to bump up the moisture for air-conditioning purposes. A small dab is all that’s needed and it leaves your skin feeling soft, dewy and supple – plus you can still add SPF on top without it feeling greasy.
In the evenings, I swear by my Laneige Water Sleeping Pack. Almost every (Asian) girl I know uses this and its praises are sung for a reason. This gel-like formula is made to boost hydration and restore your skin to its very best in the morning. My skin is always radiant, fresh and smooth with a lit-from-within glow after using this.
I use two eye creams: one for morning and one for night.
Mornings are dedicated to the Origins Brightening Ginzeng Eye Cream and evenings to Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream. The Origins eye cream is lightly whipped making it a great, fast-absorbing formula for use before applying SPF and makeup. It really helps to brighten the under-eye area and I’m really enjoying using this.
The Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream: this bad boy is richly whipped with nutrients aplenty and is a thicker crème formula to sink right into the skin and deliver hydration. I find it improves the texture of my under-eyes (i.e. smooth and more youthful), but doesn’t do much eyebag-wise.
Recommendations on a postcard please!
Face masks are my ultimate guilty pleasure.
Haven’t texted you back? I’m probably lying down, listening to YouTube videos and sheet-masking.
I absolutely swear by sheet masks, cotton sheets soaked in essence, that you layer onto the face and leave for 10 minutes or so. Just work the remaining product into the skin afterwards. As I don’t have visible pores or blackheads, I stay away from clay or charcoal masks as they’re far too stripping.
On top of that, I’m a sucker for Etude House’s under eye masks to refresh, tighten and lighten the area. And of course a bonus mention to the Origins Drink-Up Overnight Mask. I tend to use that around that time of the month to pump in some moisture and make sure I thoroughly rinse it off in the mornings.
* Hi Hong Kong is currently so tropical and humid that you’d need to glue the stuff on 😉