by Kelly Wong

– The views expressed here are the writer’s personal opinion and experience –

Realising the (cruel) reality that being in my late 20s means gradually less resilient skin, at some point I came to terms with the need for proper investment. The kind that reaps long term benefits.

In this case, the equation was pretty straightforward: more skincare, less makeup.

And so somewhere mid-last year, I made the vow to take better care of my Asian skin. Fast forward a little over twelve months, and I’ve been noticing significant improvement.

But my skincare journey hasn’t been without its bumps (pun intended). For what it’s worth, over the coming weeks, I’ll attempt to share my experiences (and look forward to hearing yours in the comments section).

First things first – here are my basics.

Step 1: Figure out what works for your skin

Sounds simple, yet this has got to be the mother of all foundations for finding your ideal skincare regime.

Take me for example.

In the first instance, I enthusiastically made an avocado and honey mask from scratch. It would “brighten and moisturise your skin”, said a certain popular female magazine that shall remain unnamed. Alas, it turns out, my face is allergic to honey!

So instead of glowing skin, I ended up with rashes all over my face. Not exactly the result I anticipated. To say it was an unforgettable (and unpleasant) get-to-know-your-skin experience is an understatement.
It sure took me my fair share of trial and errors before discovering the best products for my skin. There’s no shortcut to knowing your own skin type, what works and what doesn’t.

Asian Money Saving Tip: Samples and mini travel packs are a great way for discovering what works for you without burning as big a hole in your pocket.

Step 2: Research, research, research

Read as many articles as you can about the ‘active ingredients’of the products you want to try (instead of the product website itself). The more write-ups the better. These will give you more information – many a time unbiased – on the suitability of those active ingredients on different skin types.

Some of them will even tell you what other products should not be used together with those active ingredients. Just in case you are planning on trying out different brands in your skincare regime.

Watching reviews also help. But I wouldn’t decide solely based on them. After all, other factors come into play in determining the effectiveness of a product. For example, skin types and even lifestyle routines. (Yes believe it or not, your diet, sleep cycle and habits all count!)

Step 3: More experimenting

I’ve come to realise that Asian brands in general, or more specifically Korean brands, work better for my Asian skin.

No, it’s not any bias from the skin-perfect female A-listers in Korean dramas. I am probably unique in that I’m not a fan of K-dramas.

But I do think the Koreans’ heavy investment in Asian-focussed skincare research and development, have propelled them ahead in the game of tackling Asian skin problems.

I realise now that for my skin, it is a constant struggle to balance care for the different parts of my skin. How do I oil control the oily parts of my skin, while hydrating the dry parts?

To that, I concluded my skincare regime needed 4 essential products: a cleanser, a toner, moisturiser, and facial mask.

With such enlightenment, I experimented with different brands. More deets on this next time. Till then!

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