An updated routine, years after my first skin care post! ✨ I have such fond memories of that first one, and it makes me really happy when up to now people tell me that they learned so much (and laughed a lot) because of that journal entry! I had no idea it would generate so much interest, but I actually enjoy this skin care stuff and am happy to encourage more people to take care of themselves!
This isn’t necessarily only to prepare for cosplay, but it’s something you can benefit from for everyday life. Our face is something we regularly present to people and communicate with, so it’s great when you can feel more confident about it. 😀
I can foresee that I’m going to be posting about cosplay makeup a lot in this blog, but it really is important to keep the skin healthy to serve as a good base. No shortcuts! If you expect results, this can’t be something that you’ll only do right before a convention or shoot. Consistency is really important in this case.
This list I’ll be sharing with you is fairly basic (there is more to my stash /sweats💧) and I just want to remind you that you don’t necessarily have to use the exact products that I’m using. Everyone’s skin is different so what works for me might not have the same effect for you. But I’ll explain why I use the things I do, and hopefully that can guide you with your choices as well. 🙂
My Skin Type
So to start, here’s what I look like without any makeup, after cleansing.
Skin type: Combination-oily. Oily around the nose area (and eyelids) and normal everywhere else. But man, when it gets oily, it’s oily.
Acne: Mostly clear. Sometimes I get some tiny blemishes that dry up after a day, but I still do occasionally get a legit zit. (Usually when I drink too much coffee and not enough water and pair it up with lack of sleep, whoops.)
Sensitivity: Not at all. I can tank pretty strong anti-acne ingredients with no problem. I’ve got no ingredient allergies
that I’m aware of so far.
I’m going to list down the products I use, in the order that I use them.
I do this routine twice a day, in the morning upon waking up and then again at night (apart from putting on sunscreen).
It always brings a look of horror to my face when one of my friends admits that they wash their face with whatever bar of soap they use to clean their body in the shower.😱 Not only are those ingredients too harsh for the face, what I keep telling them is:
“YOU USE THAT ON YOUR BUTT THEN YOU’RE GOING TO PUT IT ON YOUR FACE???“
Needless to say, I highly encourage getting a proper face wash for daily cleansing!
Safeguard Derma Sense for Acne Prone Skin
SM Department Store, Mercury Drug, most supermarkets / ₱199.00 ($4.00)
I tried this on a whim one day simply because it seemed like a no-frills kind of product. I saw that one of the active ingredients was salicylic acid, and I know from previous experience that my skin reacts well to that for fighting acne.
✏️ Always check the ingredients! And take note of what the active ingredient is when something works well for you, or if something irritates your skin. Take note that the ingredients are listed down in a particular order — it is based on which ingredients have the highest concentration in a product’s formulation. For example, if the first one listed is water, then it is made up of more water as compared to the rest of the ingredients that follow.
I was pleasantly surprised that it felt gentle and left my skin feeling clean without being dried out. It doesn’t foam up, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s less messy so I like it. The scent is very very faint, and just smells like a clean cream, if that makes sense. Not perfumey at all, which is just what I wanted. I use this even when I don’t have acne and it doesn’t feel too harsh.
Another reason I chose this cleanser is that I heard it has a good pH level. An adequate pH level would be between 3.5 and 5.5. I don’t want to dwell too much on this as it might be a bit much for people who are just starting out with skin care. I myself get a bit overwhelmed when reading up on this. But if you are interested, you can read this or do your own research on how pH levels of products affect the skin.
2017 Update: This has been discontinued (SAD EMOJI) so I’ve been using Clinique Liquid Facial Soap, and Beauty Formulas Tea Tree Exfoliating Facial Wash.
Aqua Massage Viso Levatrucco
SM Department Store / ₱79.75 ($1.60)
So, Google Translate is telling me that means “face remover” but I can assure you that it won’t take off your entire face! 💦 The packaging also says it’s made of 100% natural cellulose. I’m not sure what benefits that bring but okay, hahah!
I use this to help rinse off the facial wash, make sure there’s no residue left. Our fingertips are pretty smooth so sometimes some residue gets left over. The sponge is just textured enough to give a more thorough cleansing, while remaining pretty gentle. It’s also good for scrubbing around the neck and ears, especially after a long day. It says on the package, “For delicate and complete removal of make-up.” I wouldn’t take off makeup using solely this, but it does help really clean up remnants of long-wearing cosplay makeup.
After use, I thoroughly rinse the sponge and leave it in a clean ventilated place to dry. Remember to replace your sponge when the texture wears out and they start getting kinda funky. For me it takes 1 to 2 months. I end up washing my face with this maybe every other day. Some days I just use my hands.
CURE Natural Aqua Gel
Beauty Bar stores or SM Department Store/ ₱1,500.00 ($30.00)
It’s beneficial to exfoliate once or twice a week so that we can avoid the buildup of dead skin on the face. That buildup can result in excess oil and clogged pores, leading to blemishes and acne. Keeping the surface fresh would make the complexion smoother and less dull, remove any flaky bits, help clean out the pores, and it would make other skincare products absorb better and work more effectively as well. It prevents the good stuff you’re putting on your face from getting trapped on the dead outer layers.
About CURE Natural Aqua Gel:
- Japan’s No.1 Exfoliator
- No artificial coloring, fragrance, or preservatives
- A water based exfoliator gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin
- Natural plant extracts of rosemary, ginko and aloe vera
Cure’s status as a cult hit and Japanese beauty product legend stems from the simple fact that Cure does what it promises: exfoliates gently and effectively, without any harsh chemicals.
Japanese beauty product legend?! Hahaha! Gotta love those descriptions!
This is a chemical exfoliant, and that sounds scary but it really is still gentle. It doesn’t have a very strong smell, and pretty much does what it claims!
I use this once or twice a week, only at night. Usually on days after I’ve had to wear makeup. I cleanse with facial wash first, then dry my face. Then I use a couple of pumps of this, spread it around my face (avoiding the eye area) then wait about a minute. Then I rub circles onto my skin using my fingertips, and watch the old dead skin ball up and fall off. It’s kinda weird but satisfying. I use this on my body too, on spots that could use a good exfoliation. Once all the gel has combined with the skin and balled up, I rinse it off with water and a sponge or towel.
It is a little pricey, but I’ve tried other peeling gels before and nothing is quite like it. It’s also a lot of product so you can share the bottle with a friend — split the price and transfer half the contents into another bottle. That way you can use it up also before it goes past the expiration date.
Celeteque DermoScience Hydration Alcohol-free Toner
SM Department Store or most supermarkets / ₱129.00 ($2.65)
So toners are meant to help maximize the absorption of moisturizer so that the key ingredients can reach deeper into the skin layers. Here’s the description for this one:
An alcohol-free, fragrance-free toner that gently removes stubborn traces of dirt and reconditions the skin to prepare it for moisturization.
I don’t feel too much of a dramatic effect from this since it is so gentle, but it feels good for really getting stuff off the face, particularly after a day wearing cosplay makeup. A lot of other toners have alcohol in them so they tend to be drying. This one feels more like water.
The reason we want to avoid alcohol in our face products is that it’s drying and damages the acid mantle of our skin — it’s a slightly acidic film on the surface of human skin that acts as a barrier to bacteria, viruses, and other potential contaminants. When this becomes imbalanced, the skin could produce too much oil or suffer long-term damage.
I like to use a round cotton pad like this. I saturate it and wipe it around my face and neck and even around the ears.
Sometimes it’s surprising seeing how dirty the cotton pad gets, meaning that some grime is sometimes left over, even after a shower and face washing. It’s good to get into the habit of doing extra cleaning with toner, because can you imagine if you didn’t —then that dirt would have just been sitting there on your skin
2017 Update: I’ve been feeling the need for something stronger so I switched to Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3.
Here’s a little thing I like to do since I regularly use cotton rounds. The cotton rounds are packaged in a plastic pouch which just flops around and looks messy. Now, the cotton buds I get come in a container like this:
Once I’ve used up all the cotton buds, I hold on to that container—
—then I keep my cotton rounds in there! It’s a nice fit. This keeps my shelf neat, and keeps me from dealing with that floppy pouch that the cotton rounds are originally packaged in.
Now, this one will most likely be very different from person to person. If you are really having trouble with your skin and are able to visit a dermatologist, take that opportunity to have your skin assessed by a pro.
Nazal MD Erythromycin Lotion
YSA Skin Center / ₱220.00 ($4.50)
I usually get prescribed this lotion after I get a facial cleaning done at YSA. It’s applied with a cotton pad as well, and dabbed only onto the areas which have acne and not necessarily to the entire face. It dries out zits pretty fast! I tend to use this only at night because I was told not good to expose skin to strong sunlight with this on.
It has a strong astringent smell and it’s so potent that if I make the mistake of applying it near my eye area, I can feel the fumes on my eyeballs. 👀
If you want to try getting a facial cleaning, it’s not fussy at YSA Skin Centers. You don’t have to set an appointment, or pay membership fees: just walk in and inquire. It’s around ₱600-something for a normal cleaning, in which they’ll extract any acne you have on your face and give you some treatments. The lotion is a separate purchase from the facial, and it’s up to you if you want to get it.
Missha The First Treatment Essence [Intensive Moist]
Althea Philippines / ₱1,520.00 ($31.25)
To tell you the truth, I haven’t completely wrapped my mind around what exactly an “essence” is. Hahah! I looked it up a bit for the sake of this blog post, and it’s a concentrated formula that’s meant to treat skin on a cellular level. They’re usually meant to improve the skin texture and overall complexion.
Now, I know that sounds really vague, but on me something about this just works. So much that I got a second bottle after I had used up the first one. After using this it just seemed like my skin is smoother and less dull. To the point that I’d offer my friends to touch my face. Hahahaha!
And this isn’t part of its claims, but I feel like ever since I started using this, the blemish scars on my face would fade so much faster. Even my dermatologist noticed that a bad scar I had suddenly faded. I’ve been applying this to a scar I have on my leg and it looks to be helping with that too.
Its texture is just like water. It doesn’t have an alcohol sting, and has just a barely detectable scent that makes me think of sake. I splash a few drops on my palms and pat it all over my face and down to my neck.
When I try to get friends to start doing proper skin care, they are usually apprehensive about moisturizer. I think when people hear that word, they might think of a heavy, perfumed, oil-based cream that they’ve seen their grandma use. Something that feels sticky and leaves the skin greasy. I was like that too at first, but then later learned that there’s a whole world of moisturizers out there and I got hooked. 💧
Another misconception is that only people with dry skin need moisturizer, and that if you have oily skin then moisturizer will make it worse. That’s not true! Sometimes the skin produces too much oil because it lacks moisture. It tries to compensate for the dryness by producing more oil. Other times it’s a case of someone using the wrong type of moisturizer for their skin.
Since my skin type is a combination of normal and oily, I find that water-based formulas and gel formulas work better for me as compared to things labeled as creams, or that or are oil-based.
Hada Labo Goku-jyun Clear Hydrating Lotion
Watsons or Guardian in SG/MY/TH, not available in the Philippines 😔
Here’s one of the things I continue to use from my first skin care post! While it is labeled as a “hydrating lotion”, it’s nothing like the body lotions we might associate that word with. The consistency is like water and it has no scent at all. It’s just ever so slightly thicker that it will leave a gel-like residue some drops are left to dry somewhere.
Similar to the Missha essence, I apply this by pouring a few drops on my palms and making patting motions on my face and neck until most of it is absorbed.
It’s just such a fuss-free and effective moisturizer. A bottle like this lasts me for months. It was enough to keep my skin healthy even through a Swedish winter.
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
Clinique stores or Rustan’s Department Store / ₱880.00 ($14.50)
During times when the Hada Labo lotion needs backup, I like using this gel moisturizer from Clinique on top of it. As with all Clinique products, this is dermatologist-developed, allergy tested, and 100% fragrance free.
I chose the gel texture due to my combination-oil skin type. The consistency is watery when spread out and it absorbs quickly into the skin. It feels refreshing and doesn’t leave a sticky or greasy residue at all.
For those of you with drier skin, they also have a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream. 🙂
For a cheaper alternative, you can try Pond’s Dewy Rose Gel (₱149-399). I can’t compare the ingredients, but it still is a gel-type moisturizer that feels refreshing and is great for oily skin. I haven’t used it for too long so I can’t speak for its long-term effects, but in terms of consistency it’s at least different from the usual cream moisturizers at the drugstore. I just wish it came in tube packaging instead of a jar so it’s more hygienic. Unlike Clinique, it has a flowery fragrance.
While typing this out I decided to see how they fare side by side. I don’t have pictures but I promise it didn’t look very exciting anyway. Clinique looks thicker out of the tube, but ends up more watery than the Pond’s gel when they were spread out. Clinique also absorbed into the skin faster. Pond’s stayed sticky for a bit. Once they dried down, they both gave a nice feeling to the skin that didn’t feel heavy or tacky.
Acne Treatment #2
Celeteque DermoScience Acne Spot Corrector Gel
Watsons or SM Department Store / ₱169.00 ($3.50)
Here’s another product that helps dry out pimples and things like that. I use this for minor blemishes that are closer to the surface of the skin, and the erythromycin treatment for those that feel deeper.
Rather than going under the essence and moisturizer, I put this on top of those. Instructions say to apply a thin layer on affected areas in the morning and at night, after washing the face. I still avoid using this when I’m going to be exposed to sunlight a lot, so I tend to apply this at night or when I know I will be mostly indoors. I just get the feeling my skin will get sun damage or discoloration if I don’t avoid the sun with this on.
This also has a gel consistency, viscous enough to stay in place when spread over an area of skin. Since it is meant to stay in specific areas, I use this after applying the other products that go all over the face.
Another product that gets resounding groans when I’m trying to get people to be nice to their skin. Many still associate the word “sunblock” with the white goop we were forced to slather on ourselves as kids during trips to the beach. It was sticky, smelled funny,and stung the eyeballs if applied too close, took so much rubbing to let it absorb and get rid of the white cast it left on the skin, felt greasy and sticky anyway when the white cast was gone.
It doesn’t have to be that way anymore!
Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence
Watsons or SM Department Store / ₱420.00 ($8.50)
Here’s part of the official description on the packaging:
Superior Double UV Block for Maximum Protection.
- SPF50+ Effectively blocks UVB rays that cause formation of dark spots, freckles and sunburn.
- PA++++ Maximum level of protection against UVA to prevent sunburn and premature aging.
With Hyaluronic acid and orange, grapefruit and lemon extract to keep skin hydrated and healthy.
Now, I didn’t go too far in researching sunblock stats(?) but to my knowledge it’s good when the SPF number is higher, and the more + signs on the PA rating, the better.
Can you tell that I’m allergic to math
Here’s a look at the texture. Another gel! It is even more watery than the Clinique gel when you spread it out. It gives a refreshing cool feeling on the skin. Unlike Clinique though, this has a bit of a scent. It smells like orange cream. It’s not too bothersome as the smell disappears soon after the product is absorbed into the skin.
Given the climate where I live, sun protection is so important. I hope you will also give sunscreen a chance if you don’t regularly wear it already! And please remember to reapply when needed. Wear some everyday — it doesn’t matter whether it’s cloudy outside, or if you’re staying indoors. As long as you can see the sun- err… the sun can see you…?
This is how I survive as a vampire
Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm
PCX / ₱490.00 ($10.00)
I happened to have this one on me while I was taking photos so I decided to feature this as well. Now, I have a lot of lip balms because my lips are kind of fussy. They tend to feel dry and painful on some days. I have to switch things around depending on what my lips decide will work on them for the day. 💧
It’s on the pricier side, but it lasts such a long time and it’s something I keep consistently reaching for. It doesn’t have SPF, but that’s fine because I like having a balm I can use during bedtime as well. The consistency is like a typical petroleum jelly-based balm, but on the lips it seems less sticky than others and absorbs better. It’s called Minted Rose because there is peppermint oil in it, which makes it smell like a candy cane and gives a cooling effect for a short time. I can’t quite place if there really is a rose scent to it, but it does smell a bit different from other peppermint products. Not flowery or perfumey, but different. I like it! The product has a pink tint in the tube but is colorless upon application.
Lip balms might not be as essential as the other things on this list, but if you’re someone like me who needs them, I thought I’d throw in some recommendations anyway. Though for those of you who spend a lot of time outside, I’d recommend getting a balm that contains SPF! I usually have a Maybelline Baby Lips (₱99.00) with SPF, but I can’t find mine right now. I used to really like Palmer’s Cocoa Butter lip balm w/ Vitamin E & SPF 15 (₱150.00) as well, but I can’t find it anymore. 😢
Since I will eventually be doing cosplay makeup tutorials and encouraging you guys to try all sorts of makeup products, I want you to be prepared to remove it properly as well! Especially for cosplay makeup where you want the products you use to be long-wearing. Normal soaps won’t take that off effectively, and might damage your skin and leave your pores clogged at the same time. 😧
Bifesta Cleansing Express Sebum Cleansing Lotion
SM Department Stores, Landmark / ₱419.00 ($9.60)
Bifesta Cleansing Liquid is a Japanese micellar cleanser that can quickly remove waterproof makeup.
The micellar makeup remover lifts away waterproof mascara, sebum, and dirt without irritating or drying skin. It is formulated with ionized hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture. It rinses quickly leaving no residue, making double cleansing unnecessary.
I really enjoy this stuff because it feels like water on the face, but is so good at taking off makeup. It doesn’t sting my eyes, doesn’t have an astringent feeling, and isn’t oily — all of which I’ve experienced with other makeup removers. The bottle is huge and lasts quite a while.
While they say that double-cleansing isn’t necessary, I still do wash my face with water and cleanser after using this. However, there are days when I’m just too tired to double-cleanse or just want to pass out after a convention day. 😪 I still push myself to at least do this before I fall asleep!
I use it by saturating a cotton pad with a couple of pumps, then wipe off makeup with it. (If I have contact lenses on, I make sure to remove them before using this.) For around the eyes, I’ll let it sit on top for a few seconds before proceeding with wiping. But don’t press too hard that the liquid might seep into your eyes.
My friends and I have tried this with all sorts of makeup, and the only thing it can’t remove is some brands of waterproof mascara. I don’t use waterproof mascara so this is fine with me!
2017 Update: This is no longer available in the Philippines (SIGH) so I’ve replaced it with Simple Cleansing Micellar Water. It works pretty much the same! I even like it better because the bottle is less fussy, and it doesn’t taste bitter when I use it on my lips.
Bifesta Cleansing Express BrightUp Cleansing Wash
Watsons or Guardian in SG/MY/TH, not available in the Philippines 😔
Here’s another makeup remover from Bifesta, which comes in the form of a face wash. You use it like you would any liquid to foam cleanser, but it is meant to remove makeup. It’s a bit of a struggle to make it foam up, but it’s still effective regardless!
Since visibility is a challenge when I’m washing my face and trying to avoid foam getting in my eyeballs, I tend to have more makeup left over when I use this. Not much, but the probability is there. It’s handy though when you’re out of cotton pads or just want to take off face gunk while in the shower.
Yikes, that was a lot. I applaud you if you’ve managed to get all the way here! 😀
For future reading, I do have a couple of websites that might be useful in your bookmarks when you’re researching about products.
I’ve made a habit of being more aware of the ingredients of things I use, so I like to search these sites for reviews:
- Beautypedia by Paula’s Choice — Their reviews are like no other because they’re not simply based on personal experiences of regular consumers. They are conducted by professionals who deliver detailed reviews backed by published medical and scientific research. They’ll scrutinize everything about a product from its packaging, ingredient list, the actual performance, and if there’s any BS in their marketing claims. It’s pretty intense. But as with anything on the internet, we can still take what they say with a grain of salt. (The reviews on Kiehl’s products might break your heart though if you’re a fan of the brand)
- CosDNA — They analyze the ingredients in cosmetics, and rate them to show if products contain ingredients that are known to cause acne/irritation, or are safe for long-term use. You can use their Product Search bar to look up products you’re using, or are considering to purchase. Pretty handy!
Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!
I always look forward to hearing from you guys! Let me know if you have any questions or recommendations, or even just to say if this was helpful to you! 😀
When am I going to stop talking?!
Soon, I promise! (Until next time.)
But I just wanted to say that if you’re new to skin care, that I hope you won’t find all of this too intimidating! And remember I’m not an expert myself! I just put up a list of options and shared my experiences. You definitely don’t have to get all of these all at once. Pick out which ones you think you most need based on your skin type and concerns, and start from there. You can try out more products eventually and purchase one when you feel you should treat yourself to something. Reward yourself for little wins.
I hope you will find things that work for you and make you feel good about yourself. You deserve it!
Go, be great. 🙂