Grading skincare routines – part 2

It was inevitable that after I posted the Grading my friends’ skincare routine entry that my other friends also wanted to have their routines reviewed.  I also had a reader asked me in the comments to review her skincare – which is very trusting of her! Below are their self-reported skincare routines.  My comments are in [italics].  Brace yourself, this is a wordy entry.  Again, as per my previous post’s disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist or trained esthetician, I just play one online. 😀

M’s Skin type: Practically perfect in every way… okay, okay, I guess dry / combination

M’s Skincare routine
Cleanser: No way jose!
Toner: Yes, I just can’t get enough… Winter: Micellar water (right now Vichy but I prefer the Yves Rocher Detoxifying Tea) Summer: right now trying to use up Clarins but prefer Yves Rocher’s micellar water or the Perfecting Toning Lotion from the same line… so refreshing!)
Serum: Paula’s Choice (PC) Resist Daily smoothing treatment (5% AHA) + PC Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate serum
Moisturizer: Currently using up: Silk’n Face Dead Sea Mineral Cream but prefer Olay Mature Therapy (would love to find an alternative with less/more pleasing scent)
Sunscreen: BB cream (Dr. Jart Premium BB SPF 45 in winter & Guerlain Lingerie de Peau SPF30 in summer) when staying out of the sun; If entering possible sun exposure, then anything Clarins/Shiseido SPF 50 & up!

Makeup Remover: yes! Whatever dual sample I have on the go for eye makeup & then more makeup remover (using up Vasanti but prefer micellar water from Yves Rocher)
Cleanser: Oils like Boscia, Origins
Toner: Definitely! More Vichy / Yves Rocher
Moisturizer: Trying to find a moisture overnight mask but all of them have too much fragrance which keeps me from drifting off to sleep
Eye cream: Nope (okay sometimes I use the Bobbin Brown one :P)
Serum: PC RESIST retinol serum

Others (weekly treatments):
PC Weekly resurfacing treatment (10% AHA)
I switch out the 5% AHA to 2% BHA lotion the week before my period to reduce the likelihood of acne
Vasanti scrub when my nose is feeling flaky
Sheet masks whenever I can (& especially after plane travel)
I used to really like treating myself to Lush’s cupcake masks during the summer but haven’t in a long time…

My assessment:  A
M’s skincare routine is similar to mine so of course I’d give her a good grade! 😛  And I can assure you all that her skin is lovely.

I do question why an eye cream isn’t consistently incorporated into your routine?  Do you just use your face cream as eye cream (which is totally fine too of course, if it’s sufficient enough). As for a recommendation for a non-scented daytime face cream (yes, I agree, the Olay stuff is too heavily fragranced!) for your skin type, here are a few options:
• Olay does offer some of their line in fragrance-free formats, including Total Effects 7x Visible Anti-Aging Moisturizing Complex and Total Effects 7-in-1 Moisturizer + Treatment Duo Fragrance Free, and Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator
Consonant Skincare Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream or the Dry Skin version (they’re really good at giving samples to try)
Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Moisturizer SPF 15

As for a less fragrant night cream / overnight sleeping masks, here are some suggestions:
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque (at least get a sample to test out)

[My friend P sent a very detailed skincare list and explained that her main skin concern are dry patches and enlarged pores in her t-zone area.] “Both have been diminished significantly since I started to take care of my skin with the following: (funny enough, before this, I used anything and everything under the sunlight to pat on my skin lol).”

P’s Skincare routine
Cleansing: double cleansing, since I don’t wear make-up (i.e. mascara and eyeliners) I don’t use any make-up remover prior to the oil cleansing step. On the day I wear make-up, I just use the sample size Lancome Bi-Facil to remove mascara first . My cleansing oil is The Face Shop Deep Firming Cleansing Oil. it’s okay, I plan to change it, I have just a tiny bit left. What should I use? For foaming cleanser, I use Cerave, almost finish my first bottle.
Toner: I use St Ives Face Cars Pads, Exfoliating Pads with mild AHA interchargeable with the mist you gave me from Reviva Labs Facial Spray Rosewater.
Treatment: I just started introducing 5% AHA Paula Choice twice a week. I do have a question: if I use this, should I skip the toner step? Because in the St Ives pads there’s already some natural fruit extract for exfoliating. if not, what should I use? After the AHA, I wait 2 mins and then put on BHA Paula Choice, and wait for 30 mins before next step
Balancing water: Hada Labo Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Moist
Serum: I tried the Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence interchargeable with the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Recovery Complex. Nothing wow here. I plan to follow your footstep once these two bottles are finished.
Oil/Moisturizer: I use pure argan oil from Divine Essence at the health food store (much cheaper than other brands at Sephora or online) or the same line Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream. I am ok with both, though nothing as amazing. I think I will continue with the argan oil, but need a moisturizer, what do you think about the super luxury brand Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream?
Masks/treatment: once a week, on lazy Sunday I would do a mini facial, and finish off with a Korean moisturizer mask sheet, any brand would do. Any reco? Sometimes I would do a deep exfoliating by Skin Food Black Sugar Mask wash off, or Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask. Really, anything, I want to experiment.

[P so kindly summarized it in a chart format (nerd alert, can you tell that she works in Finance?!). She compared what she used to use and her new revised skincare routine:]
My assessment:  A-
I do have to say that I feel as though I had a hand in molding P’s skincare routine! 😀  A gap I see is: no cleansing in the mornings.  I know you don’t wear a lot of makeup but I still think something like a micellar water or a non-foaming cleanser would be a good skin prep step to rid of sebum build-up and residue skincare from the evening.  I recommend the Yves Rocher micellar water or Spectro Cleanser for Combination skin.  You asked for another kind of cleansing oil to try at night – I really enjoyed Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil which is quite inexpensive.  Regarding the question about whether to use Paula’s Choice AHA with the St Ives Exfoliating pads – on the nights you use PC AHA, skip the pads and just use the Reviva Labs facial spray.

I know P is really into Asian skincare and pH level is critical to her (I’m guessing you’ve been reading the reddit Asian Beauty subforum, hence the slew of Benton products!).  I think there are diminishing returns on ultra luxury brands like Sulwhasoo. Any single skincare product that costs $200+ isn’t going to give you twice, or 4 times as good result as something in the $100 to $50 price range.  The key ingredients in the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream – aside from panax ginseng root extract – are: glycerin, squalane, and glycol.  These basic ingredients can be found in many, much less expensive moisturizers.  And, I’m just not convinced of the skincare benefits of panax ginseng root extract as a topical treatment – there might be some anti-oxidant properties, but not enough to justify the price tag.

All that said, for an evening face cream, I would recommend to try these which have been lauded online:
• HADA LABO Goku-Juyn Moisturizing Cream
• Tosowoong Snail Natural Pure Cream
• Dr.Jart Ceramidin Cream
If you’re still curious about trying something with ginseng, give Ole Henriksen Truth Crème Advanced Hydration a try.

I’m no authority on sheet masks – I mainly use ones with hyaluronic acid and they all tend to hydrate and plump my skin – I focus more on how much serum is in the package and if the mask shape fits my face well.  I mentioned in my sheet mask post that I really like the My Melody ones I got from sasa because they’re 3D masks that fit my face snugly.  I’ve also heard really good things about Leaders Insolution sheet masks.

[And lastly, a reader, Amalia, sent me her skincare routine to review. Amalia lives in Indonesia so I hope that the items I recommend are available locally. I will try my best to perhaps recommend general product types rather than specific brands.  Her routine as described in her own words below]

Note>> (1) I have combination skin – oilier forehead and nose with regular break outs. I have new zits appearing on my face gradually in pre, during, and post period. (2) I experienced even worse breakouts (like, 5-6 zits appearing in a day) when using products specifically made for oily skin, Like Biotherm Purefect range and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-free and Blue Herbal range, so now I tend them. Proactiv has also made my face slicker. (3) I Live in Indonesia, where the weather is mostly humid and temperature can reach 30゜C during the day.

Morning routine
Wash >> Juara Skincare Rice Facial Cleanser
Tone >> Clarins White Plus Tightening Brightening Lotion (this acts as the cleansing toner for me) and Juara Skincare Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner (this acts as my day moisturizer, as it is really hydrating)
Others >> Kiehl’s Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Treatment and The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream
Sunscreen >> Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40

Evening routine
Make up remover >> Bioderma Sebium (used as soon as I got home)
Wash >> same as morning
Toner>> same as morning
Others >> same as morning
Moisturizer >> Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Gel (yes I use acne treatments and eye cream before moisturizer.. do you think that’s right?)

My assessment:  B+
You’re using the correct products for your skin type, which is fantastic.  Thanks for introducing me to Juara Skincare – their range looks quite nice!  I think that the Bioderma Sebium cleanser in the evening may not be enough to clean off your skin of sunscreen and sebum from the day. I’m a huge advocate of oil cleansing for oily skin types. Have you ever tried oil cleansers?  A few to try are The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, and L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil – none of these contain mineral oil just in case you’re sensitive to it.

Yes, acne treatment should be used before moisturizer so that it can be in direct contact with the affected skin.  Allow the acne treatment to dry and absorb into the skin for about 5 minutes before applying anything else on top. There’s no set rule about eye cream – I typically apply it after my face moisturizer but it should be fine prior.  The general guideline is: thinner, more fluid products first: toner/lotion, serums, gels – and then thicker more emollient products on top to seal everything in.  Sunscreen goes on last in terms of skincare.

You noted that the morning toner is hydrating enough as your moisturizer – I think it would still be beneficial to have a serum or a light moisturizer which acts as a barrier / protectant between your skin and your sunscreen / makeup.  I would recommend something light but containing hyaluronic acid – perhaps something like Derma E Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid.

The Clarins sunscreen you’re using only contains Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) as its active sunscreen ingredient which does not provide sufficient coverage of UVA rays (these are the long term damaging rays that promote aging).  Zinc Oxide (ZnO) the best mineral suncreen ingredient, and ideally, a sunscreen should contain both TiO2 and ZnO for maximum effectiveness.  ZnO has the added benefit of skin healing properties (it is the primary ingredient in diaper rash ointment!).  Since you live in a tropical climate, a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 40 is recommended. Here are some options that contain both TiO2 and ZnO and are suitable for the face: La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 MineralAvene Mineral Ulta-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Face SPF 50+, and SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50.

You may be allergic to something in those products that broke you out; common skincare ingredients that are irritants include: alcohol, menthol, sodium lauryl sulfate, essential oils like orange oil, etc.  Fragrance can also be a major irritant.  Be sure to read labels (here’s a handy site) and do a process of elimination – remove one item at a time to isolate the culprit.  In the same vein, only try one new product at a time in order to lessen the risk of a reaction, so if a reaction does occur, you know immediately what is causing it.

I don’t think the Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Gel is doing your skin any favours, its second ingredient is alcohol.  In addition, fragrance is quite high on the ingredient list, and from experience, I do find that Clarins products are overly scented.  My recommendation to you is to find something lightweight without alcohol, and if possible, something without fragrance – look for products with these ingredients: glycerin, sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), glycol, squalane, and vitamin E. One to try is Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion.

I hope this helps!

Thoughts on these skincare routines and my assessments? Speak up! 🙂

30 thoughts on “Grading skincare routines – part 2

  1. I’m in the market for a sunscreen for my face — was loosy goosy with it over the weekend and now I’m rashy 😦 Do you have any recs? I usually use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 60, which works fine on my dry skin, but I wouldn’t mind trying something new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I want to like the Neutrogena stuff but it only contains chemical sunscreens, which I don’t advocate. I wouldn’t even mind if it was a blend of chemical and mineral sunscreen but that Neutrogena one is all chemical. I think a mineral sunscreen would be a better bet for you. And since you’re Canadian, I can recommend Canadian ones to you!

      The 2 I mentioned above for Amalia would also be good for any skin type:
      La Roche-Posay Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 50:
      Avene Mineral Lotion SPF 50+ (there’s a cream version too if you prefer)

      Canadian options:
      Consonant Skincare The Perfect Sunscreen SPF30:
      Lise Watier Sunsmart SPF 30

      Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I should mention that I’ve tested both the LRP and Avene out and the LRP is lovely! It has a tint which is around a MAC NC35 – the colour didn’t stay dark on my skin though. It is super liquidy. The Avene one has a slight white cast and more of a lotion consistency. I think LRP is your best bet.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw don’t be scared! I’m just trying to help if my friends ask. I’m glad you’re finding them helpful! They take a while to write because of the research – I’m most comfortable assessing skin that’s similar to mine but I am not as good with say, very dry skin. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can imagine it would take a long time, but your efforts are appreciated.
        I haven’t had a proper skincare routine in ages, so I will be getting pointers from your posts. xx


  2. This is so cool and in depth! I’d love for you to grade my skincare routine. I’m not as happy with it as I have been. I’d like to figure out what I’m doing wrong and why my acne won’t clear up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What do you think of the “bounce” creams such as:
    *Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream
    *Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream
    *Olay Regenerist Luminous Overnight Mask Gel Moisturizer
    *The Body Shop DROPS OF YOUTH Bouncy Sleeping Mask
    *Kiehls Ultra-Facial-Oil-Free-Gel-Cream
    *Shu Uemura tsuya bouncy-fine cream

    Are they over-hyped? I’m trying to figure out which one to try first (I think they are listed in order of cheapest to most expensive)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like they’re overhyped. I just looked up the ingredients of a few of them and they’re really no different than a hydrating serum mixed with film forming ingredients to help “seal” the product onto the skin. You can achieve the same effect by using a serum and then a more emollient moisturizer on top. But I wouldn’t discount them – try one if you’re curious especially the cheaper price point ones (watch out those, some of the gel creams contain alcohol). That Body Shop one has a really neat texture!


Leave a Comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s