Sunday, March 09, 2014

skincare and the quest for the right foundation

It was only in my late twenties that I took the need to moisturize seriously. At 24, I suffered a massive breakout. It started in Spring of 2004, my first time in Japan. Before this time, I had nice skin and didn't have serious problems. My routine for my face was wash with Nivea Visage cleanser and put some baby powder on face if heading out. That's it, very simple girl. I did try St. Ives Appricot scrub several times (not everyday though) but it broke me out so I avoided exfoliating scrubs entirely.

So, back to Spring 2004. Days after my arrival, my face felt itchy and tight. I was using a L'Oreal facial wash with salicylic in its ingredients. It dried me out but ignored it. Little did I know that one must moisturize regardless of climate and especially having hit twenties, the more our skin needs something to compensate dryness. Because of my ignorance and bad hormones, I suffered acne for three years.

Fast forward to 27 year-old-me, after some numerous purchases and usage of skincare products that most only made matters worse, I found my ex-HG products. It was Clinique Superdefense and for powder foundation, Dior Extramoist Fit. Especially the former, it helped heal and fade my acne scars. 

But my relationship with these two ended in 2010. For still unknown reasons, I had developed an allergy over them. My face suddenly became red, inflamed and really dry. I stopped using them and went again searching for the right products.

Skipping the details of all the products I've tried, here's what works for me now and hopefully, they don't discontinue or give up on me entirely.

(From top, L-R) 

Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream. I first started using this in Korea. My skin liked it and even when I was pregnant, it was only this and Cetaphil I used on my face. Others I have given up until I went back to work. Now, I am in Japan, no Laneige available so I got mine via Amazon.
T.N. Dickinson's Witch Hazel toner. I only apply this at night. Cheap, natural and most important, le skin loves it.
Bioderma. This famous French drugstore product works well. It has become my make-up foundation remover.
Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. Leaves my skin not dry.

(Bottom, R-L)
L'Occitane Precious Night Cream. Been using for a year now, so far I like it. It leaves a matte finish when applied and the morning after, my skin feels hydrated.
L'Occitane Precious Cream. This is the day cream version. Been using for a year too but I'm planning on changing it for reasons that it's twice the price of Laneige.
Trilogy Rosehip Oil. I alternate this with L'Occitane Precious Night Cream. But in winter, I found myself dabbing on this almost nightly. 

Lastly, the Clarisonic Mia 2. I was supposed to make a review on this but since we're on skincare, might as well do it here now. I purchased it in January this year. Before the purchase, I made sure to read around 8,000 reviews, most of it were positive. The world has made its verdict, so I listened. For more than a month, I used it nightly. Not the twice a day as directed because that would be too much for me. The first week was glorious. My skin was awesome and not bumpy, pores look nonexistent and best of all, I look radiant. However, after two weeks, pimples started showing on my jawline and on both sides of my forehead. 

Convinced that it was probably what others called the 'purging stage', I kept using it.
Two months after, I decided to minimize the usage to twice a week instead of once a day. Having done this, my face calmed. Pimples started to vanish and hopefully not to resurface. I guess using it frequently does not work for me. It did good for others but le skin is super sensitive.

The foundation. Before, I credited Dior Extramoist fit foundation for making me look flawless but we became incompatible so we partied ways. We tried getting back together, but it just didn't work.
Since last year, I decided to rekindle my quest for THE foundation that will create an effortless flawless look. 

The quest started at 1,000yen or so. I know, impossible to purchase a product that will promise my expected 'effortless flawless' look but I have high regard for Japanese beauty products.
In order of purchase (I'll describe in colors as their names are not clearly engraved):
The golden compact: DHC. Drugstore brand. Before I bought this, I made sure there's no SPF because I thought then that was the culprit of my allergy. Flaky finish or maybe because I never use primers. Halfway, I discontinued and kept it for record (and so the rest).

Blue compact: Fasio. Another drugstore brand. Price on the same level with DHC. Flaky finish.
L'Occitane powder foundation + Brightening Shield (SPF40). Used them together. Powder was so-so. The SPF was making me look like a chalk. I endured it throughout Summer because it was too early to get rid of it and besides, I hadn't found a substitute. 

Red compact: SK-II. Expensive but I decided to try it in the hope of achieving dewy and not flaky look. Ahh, it was good at first but it was only recently that I found the shade darkens my face at the end of the day. They say to select a shade lighter as foundation tend to darken due to oxidation.

Having concluded that SPF was not the factor nor I am entirely allergic to foundation, I decided to try YSL.
I first bought the Le Touche Eclat pen concealer. Little did I know that this concealer has received rave reviews from beauty gurus. I purchased this in the hopes of concealing my pimple scars on my right jawline. Other than that, I dabbed some on my undereye to brighten my face. It works well, I don't look stressed at all, LOL!
Along with the concealer, I asked for a sample of Le Touche Eclat liquid foundation. I have never used a liquid foundation before so I was hesitant to give it a try. Two weeks ago, I tried it at home using my fingers. It was easy to apply, spreads well on face and gave excellent coverage. Just to check I was not allergic to it, I let it stay on my face for two hours. After the test, I was convinced that it would be foolish of me not to buy it.
I have been using both the liquid foundation and concealer for a week now. It gives me dewy finish not matte. I like dewy even on summer. Matte is so matrona. Though it did, at some point, look oily but I dabbed my face with oil control sheets to take the grease shine away.

I also bought the powder foundation because I might find the liquid time-consuming in application but it was not. For now, I am loving the liquid foundation and saving the powder for Summer.

Count me as one of those women who love vanity. I do enjoy trying out products but it can be a burden especially if the effects are the opposite of what you expect or what it promises to achieve. Hope this means my quest ends here. I'd like to stick to the same products as possible but we never know. Our age, more often than climate, dictates that it's time to change.

And speaking of allergy, I found that only few lip products work for me, i.e. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Rosebud Salve and Anna Sui. Even good old Chapsticks cause my lips to itch. As of this writing, I am suffering from chapped itchy lips after swiping on Savex. 

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