Since I was a teenager I was convinced I had an oily skin type. My T-zone would always be shiny and oily and I would buy everything accordingly: Matte primers, foundations, powders and setting sprays. It was all for combatting oil. That was until I started an Asian Beauty skincare routine. I’ll be talking about my Asian products and at the same time will suggest some Western pharmacy items that could work or just give you can idea of what to look for. What I found out from the multi-step, layering of moisture and hydration was that my skin wasn’t oily; it was dehydrated. As soon as I started giving it the nutrients it needed the oil dried up and now I have normal skin.
The first steps in a good routine is proper cleansing. When wearing make up and sunscreen this means double cleansing. You can double cleanse with oils, balms, powders, foams, gels, creams… any combination you like!
The first step needs to be melt and remove your face products. What I find best for this step is an oil or balm – one that is formulated to emulsify with water for easy removal. I do have a cleansing oil battle from earlier where the cheapest option (Kose Deep Cleansing Oil) won and I have used up over half of the bottle now, but I’ve recently turned to the premium product of Shu Uemura POREfinist. Cleansing Oil at Priceline: Face of Australia Pure Skin Cleansing Oil ($13.95)
The second step is any other type of cleansing product, foam, gel, cream, that is pH balanced. That is the key to good cleansing. A lot of cleansing products, basically almost all of them, are too high a pH level to be good on the skin. If yours leaves your skin feeling squeaky and dry – it’s too high and you could be damaging your skin’s barrier. What you’re looking for is a cleanser with a pH level of 5 – 5.5. This is kind of hard to find out except attempting to find it online, contacting the company or buying a cheap set of pH strips to test yourself. My Asian pick is Hado Labo Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam, the one in the automatic foaming bottle. This is famous for being pH balanced in the Asian beauty community. As for Western, I find it really hard to find any available in Australia that have been pH tested. Maybe I should get to Priceline myself and do some testing?! From what I’ve gathered across Google I can sort of recommend… Cleansing Foam at Priceline: La Roche-Posay Physiological Foaming Water ($24.99)
The third bottle in my photo is Cure Natural Aqua Gel which is a really gentle physical exfoliant. It exfoliates without beads (which are actually really bad for the ocean and its citizens) and without stripping the skin. It’s a cult product from Japan and it’s fairly expensive… it lasts forever though. A gentle exfoliant once a week to clarify the skin is purely optional but can be nice. I couldn’t find too similar a product in Priceline but once a week you could use a clay mask instead.. Once A Week Exfoliant at Priceline: Sukin Super Greens Detoxifying Clay Masque ($15.99)
After removing all my make up and gently cleansing the skin without stripping it you usually chuck on a toner. The problem with a lot of Western toners is that they are for clarifying and removing last bits of make up. With our double cleansing, we should be all clean by now and what we want to focus on is starting the hydration! I’ve used a few different toners/lotions/skins in the past and am currently using this pore toner from innisfree. You’ll find that a lot of Asian toners are more specific in what they target. When looking through Priceline you don’t really find any “pore” toners, etc. But what you want to do is stay clear of clarifying. Another great thing that cuts down on time is a mist toner that you just spritz on your face and you’re done! Toners that list good soothing, tightening and brightening ingredients such as vitamin C, witch hazel and rosehip/water are good to look for. Toner at Priceline: Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner ($9.99)
In the Asian routine we would now layer on our essences, ampoules and serums. These products target our problems as well as providing extra hydration to the skin. My two favourite ones so far have been Missha Night Repair New Science Activator Ampoule and Saint Peau Eco-Friendly Snail Balancing Aqua Ampoule. Both include ferments, extracts and oils to hydrate, brighten and soothe the skin, as well as anti-ageing and mark fading ingredients. Snail is probably the rockstar ingredient of Asian products and if you can find one you like I highly recommend adding it to your regime, especially if you need to repair acne marks and the like. I suppose these are really optional but it’s all about the thin layering of many ingredients to get the most out of all of them. When it comes to Western versions I find most of overpriced for what they are. You can find the same, if not better, in the Asian market for much much cheaper and I would recommend going that route instead of trawling Priceline for this step. Look here on Jolse, with free shipping and a huge range you’re certain to find what you like. Snail, ferments, collagen, aloe, hydrating, soothing, whitening, anti-ageing, it’s got it all at all price points. But if you really just want to pick something up in person then Serum at Priceline: Innoxa Organic Hydrating & Anti-Ageing Serum ($24.99)
Final step in a proper routine is moisturising. I haven’t gone too far into creams and what-not since I did consider myself to have oily skin. Even as normal now I don’t feel like I need anything heavy especially after the work we’ve already done. The biggest product I used during my skin changing time was the Hado Labo Gokujyun Moisture Milk. It has a super light milky lotion-like texture and a little goes a long way. It was really great during the warmer months to moisturise without clogging or feeling heavy on the skin. At the moment I am trying out the much-coveted Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream which is a silicone gel with tonnes of snail. Since I started on antibiotics to kill my acne I have been layering up the snail to lighten and heal the leftover redness and it’s been working a treat! For the extra hydration I want during the day, even over make up, I’ve also bought myself a hydrating mist, this one is the SAEM Moisturizing Mojito Grapefruit Jelly Mist. It looks like jelly in the bottle and spritzes on a thin layer of wetness. Smelling just like grapefruit it is really refreshing. Moisturising at Priceline: She Pure Botanicals Ultra Hydrating Day Cream with Rosehip Oil ($14.95) and In Essence Rose Water Hydrating Mist ($22.99)
As an extra but of (fun) hydration I also like to use sheet masks every now and then! Before you put on your moisturiser for the night, slap on one of these cotton sheet masks for 20 minutes to soak in some different essence. My favourite ones are Honey, Royal Jelly and Bee Venom. They’re inexpensive and easy to use. These haven’t hit Priceline just yet so hit up an Asian online store or search out a cosmetics store near you to try out a $2.00 bit of luxury. ;)
Since switching to gentle cleansers, hydrating toners and thin layers of serums and moisturisers I have transformed by skin type from oily to normal. Even when I go days without my routine, my face no longer turns into an oil slick. Add in drinking plenty of water, sleep and sunscreen, my skin feels and looks a lot better. Gone are the days of shine and greasiness!
This kind of routine at Priceline without extras will cost you, when not on sale, $88.87. Remember that they multiple 40% off sales a year so there are lots of savings to be had there.
Including the weekly mud mask and the hydrating mist the whole routine mentioned is only $127.85. Not too shabby, especially when using thin layers – this could easily last 3 or more months depending on how much you use and how often you do the full routine.
**All prices mentioned are Australian dollars. I am in no way affiliated with Priceline or Jolse, just thought it was fun to try and find Australian pharmacy equivalents!