Friday, October 3, 2014

Facial Products, Including the Newly Discovered Facial Serum, and a New Routine

It used to be a badge of pride of mine to be utterly and devastatingly cavalier about my skin and, more specifically, my skin care routine.  I was always relatively vigilant about sunblock, but there was many a summer day when I was younger when I would opt to walk out into the hot, hot sun or jump into the pool instead of patiently slathering myself with a thick creamy base of sunscreen first.

I guess being out in Asia, with the proliferation of skin-care conscious women here (whether they compulsively procure whitening products or the obsess over new wrinkles) toting parasols (oh you thought it was foresight or planning or anything other than fear of sun that caused so many protestors to conveniently have umbrellas on hand to fend off tear gas in these current democracy protests?) I have also become incredibly aware of my skincare routine, in particular for my face.

Recently I made a novel discovery, which is facial serum.  Did you guys know about this?  I had no idea what a serum is, much less that you're supposed to use it.  But now that I have discovered it, I kind of love it.  Serums are kind of expensive, running the gamut from on average US$40 to upwards of like US$300, for a really little small bottle.  They are expensive because they are packed with tons of essential oils and vitamins.  With this recent discovery, I realize that I now have a morning face routine.  Wow!  

I read a few reviews and decided to buy the Neal's Yard Frankincense (and Myhrr!) facial serum.  (Side note: It definitely smells like incense.  I could see how it wouldn't be everyone's favorite.  Who knew that the ingredients so commonly associated with baby Jesus and church actually possess incredibly effective healing and soothing qualities?)
I've decided for fun to share what I do now, as opposed to what I used to do:

1. splash face with water;
2. when sleep deprived, load super hot towel over eyes to try to reduce swelling and help me open my eyes;
3. rub on some facial lotion, preferably with some sunblock properties.  

Aveeno's brightening facial lotion with SPF was my friend for a while.  This routine clearly wasn't working because my face would be so dry that my mouth and parts of my cheeks would flake.  I also realized that putting hot towels over my very delicate eye area was probably not the best move.

1. wash face with Cetaphil, rinse off with warm water;
2. tone with a high moisture toner, from Muji or, currently, an organic cucumber water toner from Taiwan
3. squirt a few dollops of facial serum and lightly pat over my face, particularly my cheeks and mouth area which are very prone to dryness
4. moisturize with a facial cream (currently haven't found one I love, so trying a few different kinds)
5. on sunny days, layer on a thin layer of La Roche Posay sunblock

I was really surprised at how dry my face remained despite being here in Hong Kong.  Humidity averages 80% year round.  I drink a TON of water.  I could not understand how all of that atmospheric moisture and hydration was not bathing my skin.  But then I realized that I am always in air conditioned rooms - and the offices here are very, very air conditioned.  And I sometimes wear a sweater or put on a blazer but more often than not I am adding to the stress on my skin by blasting my personal space heater to try to counteract the cold from the air conditioning.  So oddly enough my skin is sometimes more dry and flaky here than it was in the US.

I'm not sure if my new routine is a lot of steps.  It feels like it, sometimes.  I have already tried to keep my routine to the bare minimum.  

But supposedly it's better to keep your facial moisturizer separate from your sunblock, because you do not need the sunblock qualities at night and it's best to avoid clogging your pores if possible.

And then I think about how you are supposed to exfoliate about once or twice a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is). I always look at my dermalogica rice exfoliator with very good intentions, but then I usually skip this step because I am in a hurry. I would estimate I exfoliate about once or twice a month.
And you are supposed to use masks once in a while too.  This I draw a hard line at.  It is way too time consuming.  But I am seeing over time that this might be a slippery slope… considering the trend, I will likely end up incorporating this into my routine as well.

Thank goodness I still do not wear makeup.  At least that saves a lot of time.


  1. I am so impressed with your new routine! I use two different kinds of facial moisturizer from CeraVe (a higher-end drugstore brand), one for the morning and one for night. The morning one has SPF, the night one does not, so I find it allows me to skip a step in the morning (the extra sunblock) while not worrying about pore-clogging SPF at night. Maybe worth a shot if they have it there! Also, have you tried a Clarisonic Mia? I use it in the shower while I let my conditioner sink into my hair--great way to get in exfoliating pretty quickly.

    1. thanks Katie! I will definitively check out the CeraVe. I've heard about the clarisonic but never took the plunge. It sounds like a time saving multi tasking device though, which I love!