So I’ve already written quite a few posts about skincare, covering basics like hydration and going into depth about certain ingredients. This being said, my skin has reached a turning point and is now getting worse with my old routine. 🤔 This is because Toronto has very inconsistent environmental conditions so I’m adjusting from winter to spring (ish… it’s still 5 degrees C here ❄️). With my recent saving up, I’ve decided to completely replace my old products with some new ones that I’ve been eyeing recently. I’ll also explain why I chose them.
First: My Old Routine and Why It Stopped Working
For context, I have oily/combo skin and my background is Chinese. My skin is currently dehydrated but oily at the same time, so I’m over-producing oil while still flaking in areas like my nose and mouth. This old routine worked well for me during the very cold dry months from November to February. See below:
Daytime Routine ☀️
- Cosrx low pH morning cleanser (I still love this and use it actually)
- Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum (I never liked this and it doesn’t do much for me)
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – Honey Citron
The Innisfree serum is not very hydrating at all, and I used the FAB cream because I have a lot leftover from winter that I’m trying to use up. One of the main ingredients in it is stearic acid which is high in oil content, and therefore does not absorb or work well with oily skin. It’s definitely not the best approach for hydration in this case.
Nighttime Routine 🌘
- Banilaco Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm (amazing 1st step makeup remover)
- CeraVe Foaming Face Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin (I love this!)
- Shiseido Pureness Balancing Softener (this alcohol-free toner was once my holy grail but recently hasn’t been doing enough for me)
- SKI-II Facial Treatment Essence (this is the shit and made my skin better in every way, but my mini size ran out and there’s no way I’m paying $225 for a full bottle)
- Clinique Smart Treatment Oil (my dryer skin in the winter loved this oil, high in linoleic oils and therefore good for oily skin, but recently it hasn’t been absorbing as well)
- Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream (this is pretty expensive and I won it in a giveaway courtesy of Cassandra Bankson on YouTube, but it is an extremely rich cream that doesn’t work well for me)
- BONUS: over the past 7 days I’ve stopped using the Clinique + Kiehl’s. Instead I’ve been using Dr. Jart+’s Cicapair Serum + Cream and they are absolutely phenomenal at hydrating and really healing the skin. Flaking, sensitivity, redness have all been reduced.
I believe the reason why my nighttime routine stopped working is because the Clinique oil + rich Kiehl’s cream were not layering nor absorbing well together. 🙅♀️ Your nighttime routine should always make your skin look and feel plump and refreshed in the morning but these products did not. My whiteheads, pores, etc. all stayed the same which was warning enough for a change.
What I Have Purchased/Will Be Purchasing
I’ve had lots of items saved on wish lists across the board, so I’m super excited to finally try them. Some of these I have ordered already and others I haven’t. I’ll be explaining my rationale behind each product and will give first impressions where applicable. My cleansers remain the same (Cosrx in the AM, Banilco and CeraVe in the PM) because they’re great!
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner ($32, 200ml)
The DAY THIS CAME OUT AT SEPHORA I was excited about it. 😍 Alcohol-free, witch hazel, AHAs, oil controlling but non-stripping? Sounds like a dream! Desi Perkins on YouTube said in a recent video that this toner completely transformed her skin and solved all of her sebum issues so I had to pick this up. I used it for the first time today and I already love it! It smells great, has a nice cooling effect, and leaves my skin feeling hydrated. I’m hoping that after a week or so I’ll see a major difference.
Vichy Mineral 89 ($40, 50ml)
This thing has won so many beauty awards, how could it not get my attention? I talked to a specialist at Shoppers Drug Mart today and she told me all about this magical product. Basically it contains hyaluronic acid, some special mineral water and bunch of other hydrating ingredients that boost your skin’s moisture level from the inside. 💦 An essence promotes penetration of products on top of your skin, but this Vichy ‘skin booster’ promotes hydration from within. Sounds great! I honestly just want a daytime serum that helps to hydrate without breaking the bank, and this is definitely it. I’ll buy it next week with a good promotion to get the best bang for my buck. 💸
Origins Original Skin Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb
This whole line by Origins is formulated to help keep skin matte and hydrated at the same time. After reading many reviews on this moisturizer, it does exactly that and also makes makeup application easier. I tried this for the first time today and I freaking love it! It smells great (like a fruit paradise 🍊🍋🍎), has a bouncy yet thick texture, absorbs very easily into the skin and is extremely hydrating. My skin didn’t feel tight/dry at all today and as a result my makeup looked flawless for hours. I have no cons about this and I really hope it continues to perform well because if so, this will be a new staple for me.
What’s surprising is that alcohol is the 3rd ingredient! I usually hate products with alcohol because it strips my skin but this product has been fantastic. As a comparison, I also have the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream which has hyaluronic acid. Alcohol is the 2nd ingredient in that cream and I hate it. It stings when applied and leaves my skin feeling dry. Origins is double the price but works so much better!
Same Ole Henriksen Toner
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Essence ($85, 150ml)
Like I said, there is no way in hell (with my current income) that I’m paying $225 for a bottle of SK-II. Sooo I hunted around for some alternatives and came across this product which is much price-friendlier but still a little scary. I still want to use an essence with some sort of fermented complex since that’s the key ingredient in these things. I’m worried though because this Fresh essence contains “Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate” which is also found in the famous Missha essence… which broke me out (the SK-II essence uses Pitera). Hopefully Fresh gives me no problems and makes my skin glow. 🌟
Serum or Oil of some kind… TBD 💭
This has been the toughest to decide on. Part of me wants to maintain some consistency with brands so that things work better together, but there are so many options out there! I’ll likely use the same Clinique oil because it has very good ingredients, and I still have 1/3 of it left. Otherwise, I’m looking to buy a somewhat-affordable serum that focuses on repair and hydration. The Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Serum could be a good option (I’m using a sample of it now and it’s brilliant) but it’s quite expensive. Anyways, I’ll be purchasing something with an active ingredient like bird’s nest, hyaluronic acid, tiger grass, Vitamin E, idk. If you have a recommendation please let me know! If Drunk Elephant or something is really that amazing, I might just take the plunge.
MIZON All In One Snail Repair Cream 🐌 ($26, 75ml)
This is a very well-known cream in the k-beauty community. For those of you not aware, snail mucus extract is an extremely effective all-in-one ingredient that promotes skin healing and recovery. This cream also contains peptides and vitamins all without harmful ingredients so it’s great for sensitive skin. Heyitsfeiii on YouTube swears by this cream for her acne-prone skin (she is the cutest thing ever and has turned her cystic acne to flawless skin) so that gave me the extra push to buy this. In a night cream, I’m looking for something 1. Hydrating, 2. Regenerating in some way, because Toronto is home to many pollutants and skin harming factors, and 3. Cost-effective. Amazon currently has the full 75ml size for $26 which is much less than your usual Sephora brand. I can’t wait to get this in the mail and try it out!
I have a ton of products I’ve acquired through the years either from buying, or receiving as a gift, or redeeming some deluxe size sample. It’s really important to remember that everyone’s skin is different and depending on where you live 🏙️, your needs may change at different times of the year. I made the mistake of trying to finish using ineffective products before addressing the negative reactions I was feeling. 👸Your skin is extremely important and it’s not worth damaging your skin barrier just to save some cash. There are always budget-friendly options out there, and most stores’ return policies are quite flexible. Listen to what your skin is telling you, consistency is key, and do your research. Thanks for reading! 😊❤️
In about a month, I’ll write an update on my new AM and PM routines with product reviews. Crossing my fingers that everything goes well.