A few things about my skin type: I have oily/combination acne-prone skin but I often feel like I lack moisture if I only use acne products or super lightweight/oil-free products. The lack of moisture also creates more oil and breakouts so I try to moisturize my skin (but not overly) with these steps.
1. Cleanser: I use the same cleanser as Sharon and it really is all that she says it is! It’s Paula’s Choice’s SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser ($18/ 8oz, $26/ 16 oz). I normally will not use a cleanser in the morning unless I really feel the need to, but when I do, this doesn’t strip my skin because of its creamy and moisturizing nature. This is also what I use in the evenings after an oil cleanser.
How I use this: I will wet my hands and face with water and then lather the cleanser in my hands before use.
2. Toner: I feel like I go through toners pretty quickly because they are usually water-like. I’ve gone through quite a few recently, from high-end to drug store-
- Fresh’s Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion Treatment Toner $49/4oz
- Son & Park’s Beauty Water $30/11.49oz
- COSRX’s One Step Pimple Clear Pads (which is now at Ulta – what~) $20/70ct
- Thayers’ Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera $10.44/12oz
But after I started caring a little more about what ingredients are in the products that I use, I switched to Shingmulnara’s Propolis Refresh Toner ($23.20/8.79oz), which is a more gentle yet moisturizing formula. It is by far the most moisturizing formula when compared to the other products I’ve used and it is supposed to be good for wrinkle care. Propolis in general is known for its anti-inflammatory, healing and anti-bacterial nature. The product has a thicker consistency and is almost gel-like (reminds me of melted jello?).
How I use this: I will take a cotton pad and sweep the product over my face to remove any remaining makeup/oil. Sometimes I add another step by taking the product into my hands and patting it into the face for extra moisture.
3. Essence/Lotion: I have been using two of Manyo Factory’s products (again, no harsh chemicals) for this step religiously and will usually switch between these two products as I run out. I am currently almost out of the Galactomyces Niacin Special Treatment Essence ($26/1.76oz), which is one of their best-selling products. It is well-known for containing 97% of galactomyces, which is the fermented ingredient that SK-II is known for in their treatment essence. I give credit to this product for clearing up my skin and evening my skin tone out. The other product is the Bifidalacto Complex ($32/1.76oz), which is supposed to be a dupe for Estée Lauder’s brown bottle (Advanced Night Repair). Because both of these products contain Niacin, I will alternate between them.
How I use these: I will massage in a few drops to my face and neck before moisturizer.
4. Cream: I say cream, but this is really more of a cream/lotion type of product, Bonajour’s Green Tea Water Bomb Moisturizing Cream ($24.99+/3.38oz on ebay & amazon). This is my holy grail product. I’m having withdrawals because I ran out and am waiting for a friend to get it for me from Korea, rather than buying it for double its price from amazon/ebay :( they only have an online store and last time I checked they don’t ship internationally.
So, what’s so great about it? I feel like this is the perfect product for people who have my skin type, the oily/combination-but-needing-moisture types. It is moisturizing like a “water bomb” yet not heavy where I feel like I would break out. Bonus? It’s anti-aging and it has no harsh ingredients! It’s also really cheap…if you can get it straight from Korea (they never replied to my email inquiry LOL).
How I use this: I will apply a dime size amount to face and neck after essence. I will apply another layer as needed when my skin feels especially dry and pat it in.
Other creams I’ve tried:
- Belief’s The True Cream Aqua Bomb & The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb ($38/1.68oz) – the aqua bomb is a gel-like texture compared to the moisturizing bomb which is a little more heavy. Both of these were decent but they are more expensive and contain three types of PEGs and fragrance (chemicals) that can irritate/affect the skin over time.
- L’OCCITANE’s Shea Light Comforting Cream ($29/1.7oz) – I’ve gone through two of these and generally liked it but this product also contains chemicals (phenoxyethanol and fragrance) and eight different ingredients that can potentially cause allergic reactions (benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, linalool, citronellol, coumarin, hexyl cinnamal, limonene and geraniol)
- ATOPALM’s Real Barrier Intense Moisture Cream ($28/1.7oz) & Real Barrier Extreme Cream ($33.60/1.7oz) – these were really gentle but the extreme cream was a little too heavy for me. I would try the intense moisture cream again. These did not contain any harsh chemicals, only stearic acid which could clog pores.
What are your skincare must-haves? Do you have any recommendations? Would love to hear from you! Also, I am looking for a sulfate free & paraben free gentle shampoo if you have any recommendations!