Finding the Skincare Routine

that Works for You

By Therese Aseoche

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Everybody needs a skincare routine. But with all the different products available in the market, the 10-step VS simplified skincare routine videos all over YouTube, and the mixed reviews you get from friends, beauty vloggers, and BeautyMNL customers, it becomes overwhelming to find what will work for you.

Fear not because we’ve created this simple guide that may help you earn that unblemished, glowing complexion you hope to achieve! (And just so you know, may earn a portion of the sales from the affiliate links on this article.)

Know your skin type

The first step is always to determine your skin type — if it’s oily, normal/combination, or dry. Is your face oily all around at the end of the day, or is it really tight and dry? Or does it only feel oily in your T-zone? Do you easily break out, or find your skin reacting negatively to certain ingredients?

Knowing what your skin type is will help you make better-informed decisions about the skincare products you should get, and the necessary steps you should include in your routine. For example, dry skin types should use moisturizers with hyaluronic acid (e.g. Hada Labo Gokujyun Clear Lotion) to draw in more moisture to the face, while those with oilier skin types should opt for gel moisturizers (e.g. Nature Republic 92% Aloe Vera Soothing Gel).

It’s also important to know whether your skin type changes throughout the year. You could have combination skin in the summer, but have dry skin during colder months.


Before buying products, purchase samples and do patch tests

We all know that good skincare requires a huge investment, and it’s heartbreaking when products you spent your hard-earned money on apparently don’t work for you. If you’re lucky, you can purchase 5 mL to 20 mL samples online which is most common for Korean skincare brands like Cosrx and Klairs.

You should also do patch tests before fully incorporating products into your routine. You can do this by applying a small amount on your forearm or behind your ear to test if you’re allergic to it, and on the most sensitive part of your face to test irritation. If you’re acne-prone, you may be able to see results within 24 hours, but it will always depend from person to person.


Don’t introduce your face to tons of new products right away

Coming off from the previous point, you will not want to expose your face to an entirely new line of products and an entirely new routine right away. You might shock your skin and cause inflammation (known as a “skin purge”), or, even worse, not see any visible result at all. Take it slow, and don’t keep changing your products.


Remember the holy trinity of skincare

Every person has his or her own skincare routine which can range from four to fourteen steps depending on how much products they want or need to use on a daily basis. No matter how many steps you go through in your own routine, you must always remember the holy trinity of skincare: cleanser – toner – moisturizer.

These are the non-negotiable steps in any routine and if you ever find yourself constrained by time to fully do your skincare routine, you’ll see that, as long as you cleanse, tone, and moisturize your face, you’ll always be good to go. Don’t forget that the types of cleanser, toner, and moisturizer you use should go well with your skin type!

Never skip the sunblock

Often overlooked but just as important as the holy trinity is a good sunblock with high SPF and PA+ ratings. During daytime, your skin is exposed to two harmful ultraviolet rays: UVA, which penetrates deep into the dermis and causes premature skin aging and wrinkles, and UVB, which affects the skin’s surface and leads to sunburns and skin cancer.

This is why sunblock is such a necessary step in the morning; it protects your face from these long-term effects. It’s always best to go for products that have SPF 30 or higher for at least 97% UVB protection, and a PA++++ rating for strong UVA protection.

If you’ve been iffy about using sunblock every day because it feels heavy on the skin and it leaves a white cast, we recommend using these products instead: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen, and Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream.


Know which products not to mix

While it’s nice to have dozens of skincare products for your X-step skincare routine, you have to keep in mind that certain ingredients in certain products must never be used at the same time. Some of these no-no’s include Niacinamide with Vitamin C, acne treatments (like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide) with Retinols and Retinoids, and exfoliators with skin brightening products, particularly those with AHAs.

If you have clashing products and want to use them both (e.g. The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum), use them on different times of the day or the week.


Understanding serums

Serums are actually a good way to address specific skin concerns because they penetrate deep into your skin to deliver a high concentration of active ingredients. If you want to get of acne scars or wrinkles, try incorporating a serum into your routine! Use it after cleansing and before moisturizing to really lock it in. They tend to be pricey, but definitely worth every peso.

Again, it’s best to determine first what skin concern you want to address and what your skin type is. Oily and acne-prone skin types will want to have a serum with BHAs (e.g. salicylic acid) to unclog their pores, while those on the drier side will want a serum with hydrating properties (e.g. hyaluronic acid). Those with aging skin should reach for a Vitamin C serum, while those who want to get rid of their dark spots should try out serums with Vitamin E or Niacinamide.


Don’t hate, exfoliate

As you grow older, your cells regenerate at a slower pace. This means you shed dead skin cells much slower than had 10 years ago. Allowing your face to actually keep that dead skin until it naturally sheds off does much more harm than good — it can leave your face looking dull and dry, result to more breakouts, and repel goodness you’re supposed to get from your skincare products.

Exfoliate your face once or twice every week with either a physical exfoliant (i.e. facial scrubs) for faster results, or a chemical exfoliant, often the gentler alternative, which also works on the deeper layers of the skin. Doing so will leave your skin smoother, brighter, and healthier!


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