I still get pimples ever so often at the ripe age of 30. To be quite honest, I’ve been getting them since I was 13. It used to be so bad at the height of my puberty, but thankfully dwindled down significantly as I got older. To this day, I’m always so envious of friends who have pore-less, porcelain skin. I just want to go around foundation-free on some days, you know? I mean, it could’ve been worse but the fact of the matter is… it could have been better. My confession? I’m hardly ever satisfied with my skin’s state.
My skin type is combination dry; it’s also highly sensitive. Despite being religious with my skincare routine and investing on expensive products, I still break out (especially on days before I get my period). To top it all off, I might only get 1 or 2 pimples at a time but they’re almost always blind pimples or rather, pimples whose heads are buried so deep, they appear like bumps on your skin’s surface. On photos or videos or even real life, they’re not as noticeable because they’re easier to conceal, but I find them to be more annoying. This is the kind of pimple you can never pop; they also don’t get ripe by putting on pimple tapes (though I still put some on for peace-of-mind); they last for 5 – 10 days at a time (unless you get salicylic injections), are significantly more painful upon contact, and leave blemishes that last for weeks at a time. Yikes!
On the rare occasions where my skin is actually clear, it’s still flaky. Because my skin is majority dry, dead skin cells tend to gather at the edges of my nose no matter how much I exfoliate. It gets really frustrating at the end of the day, especially when you have foundation on. No primer or setting spray has ever made a breakthrough.
This is why, I’m always so astonished when people message me on my Instagram for skincare tips. Of course, there’s no shortage of me sharing a long detailed list of steps and products that have worked for me. I just usually leave the part where I actually question their sensibilities, out because… my skin isn’t that great (sometimes, even on photos).
I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, nor am I trying to sound ungrateful. It’s just a qualifier of sorts. I don’t want everyone thinking my skin is flawless just because it looks it on Instagram or even from afar. I’m just calling a spade, a spade.
That said, I do get a lot of compliments for my skin being dewy and glowing. That’s something I actually notice on photos, and something I’m proud of because I take painstaking efforts to ensure I give my skin some extra “oomph” despite its limitations. So that goes without saying that I’m really, really strict when it comes to my skincare routine–to the point that no matter how drunk I am, tired I am, or sick I am? I will always find a way to make sure I go through my skincare regimen. Sure, there are days where I do a redacted version but I make sure all the essentials are still there–and I’ve never missed a beat since (like 2012).
Dress: Mango | Earrings: @stage_chic | Bag: Gucci | Watch: Charriol | Bangle: Cartier | Sandals: Hermes
That said, here are my skincare must-haves–and they’re basically my holy grail where I will never, in any way, leave this out of my ritual:
- UV Sunblock – A lot of skin problems can be attributed to its exposure to direct sunlight. Though I don’t spend so much time under the heat of the sun, I still make sure it’s always protected. I’ve talked to a variety of dermatologists and they all tell me that their numero uno advice to everyone is to “wear sunblock.” I usually use Kiehl’s Daily UV Defense on regular days or Murad’s Oil Control Mattifier with SPF 15 on special occasions where I have to wear heavy makeup.
- Cleanser – Now this is my numero uno advice: remove all the gunk and makeup off your face before you head to bed. You can use wipes if you’re lazy, or cleansing balms, but as a personal preference, I use cleansers that lather. I use Kanebo’s beauty whip since the foam is very fine and goes deep into my pores, and I also use Benton’s cleansing foam interchangeably
- Serum – Serums are concentrated vitamins/nutrients meant to address a particular skin issue. You usually put it on after you tone, and wait for it to be absorbed before putting on moisturizer. It’s pretty pricey and comes in small doses. I have a whole lot to correspond to each and every single one of my skin problems and I usually use them in rotation depending on what my skin needs. My ultimate favourite is Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery and Estee Lauder’s Night Repair (which just ran out); for maintenance and moisture, I use Nivea’s Cellular Repair anti-age serum.
- Moisturizer – I use moisturizers every single day to make sure that my skin doesn’t get flakey and I especially depend on it when I travel to cold climates. It basically retains moisture on your skin to give it that healthy glow. I use different kinds of moisturizers depending on my skin state–for heavy-duty ones, I love Kosé Seiseki and Laneige’s Sleeping Mask.
These are my bare minimums. I’d like to think they’re universal in application too. Of course, if you can manage to go past this list (like I said, my usual regimen is much longer at around 7-10 steps depending on my skin’s state) and do some more, please do. At the end of the day, regardless whether you get skin that looks like a million bucks, or at least skin that’s acceptable, at least you know you try your best in giving it all it needs.