skincare diary : April 2017

skincare diary |
Hi everyone! Long time no blog post! Things have been quite hectic recently so I haven't been able to post anything. I wasn't even able to post this week's 52 project entry. But I'll have that up soon. Today, I'll be doing another skincare diary post! I meant to do one of these for every month, but I haven't been able to do so, what with all the other blog-related things I needed to do. I'll try my best to do these at least bi-monthly from now on. For now, here's my skincare diary entry for April✨


My skin type is oily-dehydrated, which is only made worse by the fact that it's summer in the Philippines – I've been finding it much harder to keep myself and my skin hydrated these days. My skin isn't sensitive and can tolerate stuff like BHAs and AHAs well, but it doesn't do well with coconut-derived ingredients. Lauric Acid, in particular, causes me to break out.

My main concern is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Without help from any products, my acne scars will take months or even years to fade. What's made it 100x worse is that I've been dealing with excoriation disorder or "skin picking disorder" ever since I was in high school. I've been doing it a lot less these days (by sheer willpower), but I still do it unconsciously at times. It's a huge problem because I get left with fresh red marks everytime. Though I have found that the things that have helped are 1) not looking at mirrors when I don't need to, and 2) having better skin overall (because I have less things to pick at), so I've been dealing with it better.

(By the way, I've mentioned these things in my previous skincare diary post—a lot of the text above was just copy-pasted from there lol—but I'll be adding this info to all my skincare diaries from here on. Just so everyone knows what I'm dealing with.)

skincare diary |
My face at the moment. I took this photo 20 minutes after I washed my face with just water.

This past month though, I had a HUGE breakout because I wasn't able to get my birth control shot on time. (I still haven't been able to get it.) My hormones went out of whack because of that and caused me to get cystic acne all over my cheeks and jawline. That, plus emotional instability during that time, caused me to keep picking at the acne until I was left with wounds all over those areas. (The result is what you see above.) I regret it terribly (as I always do after a bout of skin picking....). This happened sometime mid-April. Right now I'm dealing with all the scars that was left during that time. Most of them have been fading nicely, but I'm frustrated that months of progress keeps going down the drain because of my skin picking problem. I'll have to work on controlling that as well.


Because summer in the Philippines is GROSS AF (reaching 35°C and usually at 79% humidity, blergh), I've had to cut out a lot of things from my routine. The photo you see at the start of this post is my super simplified routine. That's for when it feels too gross to do any layering. But on a good day (still hot af, but not as disgusting), I add a couple more steps to my routine.


Step 1: Cleanse with water
These days I've only been using lightweight products in my evening routine. When I wake up in the morning I find that my face has already absorbed everything, so I've been cleansing my face with just water. I read a comment somewhere on r/AsianBeauty that cleansing with just water helped with their dehydrated skin, so I'm hoping to see similar results!

Step 2: pH-balancing toner
Spray it on and pat into the skin. Even though my cleanser is at a low pH, my water isn't, so I need a balancing toner to prepare for acids. Some people suggest applying with a cotton pad to remove any residue, but the cotton pads that I use soak up too much product so I don't use that method. I use the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. If I'm going out, I use the COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pads and skip the next step entirely.

Step 3: BHA
Clogged pores are a major skincare issue for me, so I use a BHA product regularly. I use the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. Spread all over the face, and wait 20-25 minutes for the BHA to do its job.

But if I'm going out and don't have the luxury of waiting, I skip this step entirely. Which is fine, because I still get about 1% of BHA from the Pimple Pads. They're not as effective as the Blackhead Power Liquid for dealing with clogged pores (you want a BHA that is around 2-4% strength for this), but at least I'm getting some BHA.

Step 4: Hydrating toner
Since I have oily-but-dehydrated skin, products with humectants like hyaluronic acid are my skin's best friend. I use the Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion. I use the Shirojyun and not the Gokujyun only because the former contains arbutin for brightening. These days though the weather's been super hot and humid, so I've been thinking of getting the Gokujyun Lotion Light for morning.

Step 5: Essence
For morning essences and serums, I prefer something that's light and absorbs quickly, because I want to be able to wear it even under makeup. My HG is the Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence. Whenever I get acne it always seems to leave a nasty dark spot afterwards (whether or not my skin picking problem kicks in), but the Benton Snail Bee Essence helps in making it go away faster. It also speeds up the healing of any acne I made worse by skin picking. I love this so much that I used it up in less than 5 months. I think my bottle still has enough for about a few days left, but I need to buy a new one very soon.

Step 6: Moisturizer
This step is pretty straightforward a traditional moisturizer. Right now I'm using the Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk, though it feels a bit sticky for a few minutes after application. (For this reason I've been thinking of getting the Gokujyun Milk to use in the morning, so I can use the Shirojyun only in the evening.) If I'm doing the next step, I wait 5-10 minutes for it to absorb.

Step 7: Sunscreen
I only do this step if I have to go out. I very rarely go out, but I never go out without sunscreen. I use the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 PA++++ for days I have to be out and about, because it has more UVA protection. Also, it dries super quickly so I can move on to doing my makeup without waiting long. For days I don't need to wear makeup and can go out with a hat, I use the Kicho Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++*.


Step 1: Point makeup remover
My makeup usually consists of glitter bomb eyeshadows, super waterproof eyeliner, and lip tint that can stain for days if you don't remove it properly, which is why I need something heavy-duty to take them off before I move on to removing my base makeup. I use the Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover for this purpose.

Step 2: Oil-based balm cleanser
For taking off the rest of my makeup, I use my HG Banila Co Clean It Zero. Does the job well and doesn't leave any residue. I love this stuff so much that I bought the ultra-size version when I emptied my regular-sized one.

Step 3: Gentle, low pH cleanser
Even though the Clean It Zero does the job well, I still double-cleanse with my COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. For days I need a mood boost, I use the (Grace Cosmetics Aloe Vera Foaming Cleanser*, only for the nice citrus scent.

Step 3.5: Pimple patches
If I have any pimples that I feel are 'ripe' and ready to be popped, I pop them (please Google how to do this properly!) and stick on a COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch on those areas. This gets rid of all the gunk that's left inside and helps the pimples heal faster. I use it right after cleansing because I noticed it doesn't adhere as well when you put it on after applying toner.

Step 4: pH-balancing toner
Spray it on and pat into the skin. I use the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner.

Step 5: AHA
I realized earlier this year that the main culprits for my skin picking problem are closed comedones. Whenever I find myself subconsciously touching my face, 90% of the time I've been picking at whiteheads. This only leads to even more acne scars and only makes my PIH problem worse. The only way to solve this is by getting rid of the closed comedones, so I don't have anything to pick at. For this I use COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. Spread all over the face, and wait 20-25 minutes for the AHA to do its job.

Step 6: Vitamin C Serum
As post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is my number one skin problem, I use a Vitamin C serum daily to help get rid of dark spots. I use the Rohto Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence for this. I apply it on my whole face, and then wait at 15-20 minutes before moving on to the next step.

Just one thing to note – I found out that the Melano CC actually has a much higher pH (according to this post, it's at 7, which is high af) than what's recommended for Vitamin C serums (2-3). Because the pH is so high, if I apply it before my COSRX actives it'll make them lose some of their effectiveness. That's why I've moved my Vitamin C to after my AHA. This is only for the Melano CC though! For other Vitamin C serums such as the OST Original Pure Vitamin C20, you'll need to use it before all other actives.

Step 7: First essence
If you're wondering what a "first essence" is, it's a type of essence that's meant to go on your skin first before all your other toners, essences, serums, etc. These are usually more watery than most essences, and are composed of very high concentrations of some kind of fermented ingredient. I'm currently using the Tony Moly 2X First Essence, but plan to replace it with either the Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence or the Nature Republic Saccharomyces Ferment The First Essence once I finish this bottle.

You're supposed to use a first essence both morning and night, but the Tony Moly 2X has a bit of oil in it, so it takes some time to absorb completely. It doesn't take that long, but I have very little patience in the morning so I use this product just in the evening.

Step 8: Hydrating toner
I use the Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion. When I feel like it I try to do the Korean 7-Skin Method (basically just slapping on 7 layers of hydrating toner), but usually I get too lazy waiting for everything to sink in that I just stop at 3 layers.

Step 9: Essence
I use the Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence. At the moment though, I feel like I need to add something that can target my dehydration issues, which have become worse ever since summer started. I'm currently looking to add the Scinic Aqua All-In-One Ampoule to my routine in the near future.

Step 9.5: Sheet Mask
An optional step. I try to at least use a sheet mask once a week, but in the past month I've had weeks where I used two or three. Like I said, my dehydration issue has gotten worse this summer so I've been using sheet masks more than usual. My go-to sheet masks are Innisfree's It's Real Squeeze Masks. These masks aren't as amazing as let's say, the My Beauty Diary masks, but the ones that I like are quite good. Plus the It's Real Squeeze line of masks fit my face well. And they're cheap (I've found sellers on Shopee selling them for about P45 a piece, which is about the same price as I got them in KL), so I don't feel bad about using them every other day.

Step 10: Moisturizer
I use the Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk.

Step 11: Sleeping Pack
Now, it would be great if I could just stop at #10 because the less there is on my face the better, but I realized that my skin's been too spoiled by sleeping packs to start excluding them from my evening routine at this point. The only solution is to use a sleeping pack that's lightweight enough for summer nights. I use the Kicho Camelia Sleeping Pack*.

And that's it! Here's a summarized TL;DR version:

Morning routine Evening routine
1. Cleanse with water
2. COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
** If going out - COSRX One Step Pimple Clear Pads
3. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
** If going out - Skip to #4
4. Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion
5. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
6. Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk
** If going out - Wait 5-10 minutes
7. Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence
** If without makeup/sunscreen - Skip to #3
1. Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover
2. Banila Co Clean It Zero
3. COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
** For 'ripe' pimples - COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
4. COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
5. COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
** Wait 20-25 minutes
6. Rohto Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence
** Wait 15-20 minutes
7. Tony Moly 2X First Essence
8. Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion
9. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
** Once or twice a week - Sheet mask
10. Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk
11. Kicho Camelia Sleeping Pack

This routine is still a work in progress – it isn't the best routine for me at this point but it covers most of what I need. I do still need certain serums and ampoules to target specific problems. I'll add those in when I find the right ones for me.

If you'd like to create your own Asian skincare routine but don't know where to start, check out these links:

Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'm no skincare expert, but I'll try my best to answer! :)

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