Did you know that skin is the largest organ on the human body? That is reason enough for you to prioritise skincare and take good care of it. While those 11-step Korean beauty routines promise bouncy, glowy skin, I am sure that we polytechnic students simply can’t afford the time (and money) to keep up with such an extensive routine on a daily basis. If you’re looking for a more minimalist version, here are five essentials to help you get started.
FACE WASH OR CLEANSER
If you don’t wash your face twice daily then you should do it at least once a day. With a hot and humid environment like Singapore’s, using a good facial cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and grime from your face is crucial. Not all cleansers are created equal. There are many different types of cleansers; from gentle ones for sensitive skin, deep pore cleansing for oily skin, to those that help with brightening, acne, and skin dryness . It is important to understand your skin so that you know which ones to purchase. If you’re unsure, always check with the beauty advisors at the counter.
While it is generally recommended to wash your face twice a day, it can dry out your skin so choosing the right cleanser is important. Another option is to cleanse once with the product, and alternate with a mild or gentle gel cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin’s natural hydration . Skincare can be customised according to your needs and preferences. Just keep trying until you find the best solutions that work for your skin.
The good news is that cleansers are generally very affordable. Prices start from $5, for the Garnier Light Complete Brightening Foam, to $18 for the Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Jam Cleaner. If you want to test the effects of certain ingredients before you splurge on a high-quality one, try the supermarket.
Toners may seem like an insignificant step in a beauty routine, but it is not to be overlooked . Many of us know toner as “the thing that shrinks your pores”, but it is much more than that. Toners remove the dirt, dead skin cells, and residual makeup on your skin. It restores your skin pH levels after cleansing and it prepares your face for serum or moisturiser.
Personally, I am not one for creams and lotions because of the sticky, goopy feeling it leaves on my skin. If you don’t like too many products on your skin, look for toners or lotions with moisturising properties that double up as your moisturiser. Like cleansers, there are many types of toners out there, so you should look for one that suits your skin type best.
Prices start from $5 for the basic toners, but they may be drying on the skin . If you can afford to splurge a little, try the Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin EX for $24, and your skin will surely thank you in the long run.
The skin around the eye area is the thinnest and with all the squinting and blinking we do each day, fine lines and crow’s feet may start to show up prematurely. Hence, including an eye cream to your routine will help boost this delicate area. Using an eye treatment regularly can help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, reduce puffiness, and dark eye circles (perfect to hide any trace of the all-nighters you have pulled cramming for graded assignments and exam revision!) Just a disclaimer, even though the properties of eye cream may sound magical, a single use does not take all your problems away, so keep your expectations moderate, but do use it religiously for the benefits to set in over time.
Eye creams are a little more pricey, especially for the more reputable brands. On average, they are priced $20 and above, so definitely weigh and compare the benefits and fiscal responsibilities for this product.
If you have acne-prone skin, then pimple patches are going to be your best friend. These little stick-ons are not only easy to use, they will help to absorb all the oil and gunk from your pimples, thereby reducing the size of the bumps. These patches come in all shapes, sizes, and even thickness. There are patches that are so thin that you can wear them out or layer makeup over them, and no one would be the wiser! Some like the Nexcare ones are non-medicated, while some like Innisfree’s Bija Trouble Focusing Path comes with more skincare properties, to give your skin a little extra help in clearing the pimple.
Another added bonus is that it prevents you from getting more bacteria into your pimple from all the prodding and poking (But DON’T DO THAT!). Just place it on clean skin and leave it on for around 10 to 12 hours, and you are good to go.
Pimple patches are generally quite affordable, with brands like Oxy and 3M Nexcare (pictured above) offering 20 to 30 pieces for less than $10. Other products, like the Innisfree Bija Trouble Focusing Patch, are a little more pricey, but offer a treatment effect. So definitely shop around for the one that suits you most.
Last but definitely not the least, sunscreen. According to Yale Medicine, photoaging, or sun damage, is caused by UVA and UVB rays entering your skin. While UVA causes wrinkles, pigmentation, and uneven skin texture, UVB burns the skin, causing redness and may even lead to skin cancer (after prolonged exposure). A good broad-spectrum sunscreen can help to block these rays from entering and damaging your skin. There are many SPF numbers out there, but a good minimum of SPF 30 will be good for daily use. But if you intend to stay outdoors more, get one with SPF 50 for more coverage and higher protection.
Sun protection, like many other skincare products, come in different forms. There are sprays, lotions, and sticks, so you can pick your favourite applicator method.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen like Biore’s UV Perfect Milk is usually priced around $15.60, which may be steep due to its content and skincare ingredients, but this is a worthy investment because you don’t want those dark spots and pigmentation patches to show up prematurely. Freckles (or sun spots) are cute when you’re young but they do become larger as you grow older. Food for thought.
As mentioned, skincare is really customisable, and before deciding on which products to get, one should first get to know their skin better. There are many websites and simple tests out there to help you find out your skin type. Youthful skin only stays youthful for so long, so definitely start taking care of your beautiful skin now!