Inside My Skincare Cabinet
There’s something so pleasant about having your very own skincare cabinet, in particular when it looks exactly the way you want. It’s been a couple of weeks since I replaced my previous skincare storage, a simple and boring Ikea Billy bookcase, by a custom Besta unit, yet I still can’t seem to stop staring at it. It is perhaps the most beautiful skincare storage I’ve ever come across, aesthetically and functionality speaking, so much so it even rekindled my love for beauty.
Excuse my language, but it took me 6 fucking hours to assemble it. I never want to assemble another Besta furniture again in my life, but I have no regrets as the result is truly well-worth the effort.
Current Skincare Routine
I’m a bit of a skincare junkie, and despite owning a fair share of skincare bits I still have so many on my 2017 wishlist! I mentioned in another post that I’d love to get my hands on the entire Su:m37 Flawless Regenerating line, and eventually repurchase the Amazing Peeling Smoother. I would also like to try more from By Terry, Aesop, Origins, Drunk Elephant (Have you heard about their T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial? It seems amazing!) and Sunday Riley, but this will have to wait as these brands aren’t sold in France at the moment. Perhaps this is a blessing as I just know I’d be tempted to buy everything!
At the moment I only have two cleansers on rotation, the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick and the Su:m37 Skin Saver Essential Cleansing Foam. The former is a luxurious mild exfoliating cleanser formulated with 90% natural ingredients, and I found it offers gentle cleansing with absolutely no stickiness or residue left behind – and, importantly for us sensitive types, no irritation. It leaves the skin thoroughly cleansed, soft and supple with a great hydrated glow all while banishing excess oil from those problematic areas. While Coconut and Olive oils can be two acne-triggering ingredients, I received nothing but positive feedback from acquaintances with oily and problematic skin types. Since introducing this cleanser into my routine, I have noticed a welcomed change in my complexion and a decrease in dryness and dehydration. The amazing results this cleanser provides, the heavenly light rose scent and the rose petals inlaid in the stick make my cleansing routine entirely more enjoyable, and the unique and fresh concept of a twist-up packaging makes it travel-friendly and full of advantage if like me you always have to deal with spills in your gym or travel bag.
The latter has a beautiful gel-type consistency and a relaxing herbal scent. It calms and soothes skin, and is great for those with sensitive and delicate skin types. Dehydration and irritation are, unfortunately, something I have to deal with as I get older, and I find the Skin Saver Essential Cleansing Foam to performs beautifully on my sensitive dry skin as it increases skin’s resistance and minimizes any signs of irritation. Unlike your typical drying Korean cleanser this one leaves your skin feeling moisturized, baby smooth, soothed and refreshed but most importantly doesn’t feel at all stripping or drying on the skin.
Cleansing oils/balms are skincare products I’ve always only seen as makeup removers, but I recently discovered the wonderful benefits of massaging my skin with the Su:m37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm. Like most cleansing balms, it has a thick wax-like consistency that beautifully melts into an oil when rubbed on the skin. I never use it to remove my makeup, but God knows how much I love to massage my face with it for 5 to 10 minutes every other night! Housed in a luxuriously hefty frosted glass jar, this little gem is mineral oil free and leaves the skin wonderfully nourished and baby-soft. It’s perhaps the most effective skincare treat I have found to slim down/depuff my face without irritating my sensitive skin.
When it comes to removing my makeup, I have quite a few excellent makeup removers on rotation. I can’t emphasize how important it is to make sure all of your makeup is off before you start to layer on toners, essences and night creams. Their active ingredients can’t work their magic if you put them on a dirty face, so it’s vital that you get your skin perfectly clean first!
I won’t bore you too much with the details but I’d like to mention a few standouts makeup removers like the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil, Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water and UNT Absolux Cleansing Balm.
When I have heavyduty waterproof make-up to take off, I always reach for the Sephora Cleansing Water and the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. They pretty much remove everything – even super waterproof eyeliner and mascara – in a matter of seconds without irritating my delicate skin. I’m probably the laziest person on earth so I actually soaked a few cotton pads in the Sephora cleansing water and stored them in a mason jar, that way I can easily remove 90% of my makeup during a well-deserved Netflix and chill session. Whenever I wear light non-waterproof makeup, I reach for the Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil, a cheap Japanese drugstore buy that is good enough to remove cheaper makeup, or for the UNT Absolux Cleansing Balm.
Next, I like to tone my skin with an acidic toner like the Son&Park Beauty Water or the Bravura London Ginseng Toner, and I find them much more effective at exfoliating my skin than the worldwide famous Pixi Glow Tonic. I’m not really into Vitamin C but sometimes I like to use the Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum or the Laneige Clear-C Peeling Serum to brighten my complexion, otherwise I’ll just go with my all-time favourite salicylic acid exfoliator to get my stubborn blackheads and large pores under control, the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid. Then, I wait two minutes and apply a chemical exfoliator of my choice all over my face. At the moment I mostly use the Cane+Austin 20% Miracle Pads, but I also love the NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme and the Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum. They’re very gentle and don’t irritate my sensitive skin.
On days I don’t want to use acids, I reach for the Su:m37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Refining Toner or for the Hera Aquabolic Moisturizing Water. The former is an extremely gentle exfoliating and hydrating toner, while the latter is a deeply hydrating and soothing toner formulated for dry, combination and dehydrated skin. It’s a liquid-type lotion, perfect for giving the skin the moisture and hydration it needs. I don’t think I’ve shared this beauty secret before, but I usually apply two or three layers of the Aquabolic Moisturizing Water. One layer is enough, but three leave my skin super bouncy, plump, glowy and hydrated.
After using these products, I wait 5 minutes and proceed with the Su:m37 Secret Essence or the Hera Cell-Essence to sooth and hydrate my skin. I’ve also started using the Laneige White Dew Original Ampoule Essence, but since it’s only been a week I don’t have much to say about it yet. Next, I apply two layers of the UNT Aqua D’Origine Intensive Lotion. My dehydrated skin is a huge fan of it, and literally just drinks this stuff! My hydrating serum of choice is the UNT Aqua Déluge Replenish serum as it gives my dry dehydrated skin the intense hydration and moisture it craves throughout the day. I’ve been using these two products for the past three months and I can safely say they’re perfect for dehydrated and sensitive skin. The formula works with three types of Hyaluronic Acid, Royal Jelly, Cestrum Latifolium and Niacinamide to instantly replenish moisture and hydration, but also to decrease skin’s sensitivity.
My skincare routine wouldn’t be perfect without a good skin-brightening serum, and my ultimate favourite is the Hera White Program Biogenic Effector. I know, I’ve been talking about it way too much on my blog (I even published an in-depth review about it here) but this product has honestly changed my life. To give you a brief history of my complexion, it was extremely dull, uneven and very yellowish until I discovered the Biogenic Effector three years ago. Now, I wouldn’t say my skin is perfect because it’s not, but I can easily skip foundation most of the time. I use it morning and night, and sometimes use it in conjunction with the Laneige White Plus Renew Original Essence or the Ordinary 10% Niacinamide serum. In fact, I love it so much that I have got through three bottles, recently opened a fourth, and have three new unopened bottles just in case it is ever discontinued. Perhaps it’s a tad excessive, but this wondrous and unique skincare treat is truly worth it.
My second serum of choice is the Hera Oil Serum Magic Formula. From the moment I started using this serum I became seriously hooked as the lightweight gel-like texture that turns into a nourishing oil that quenches skin’s thirst – and without clogging pores. The Hera Oil Serum Magic Formula is truly magic in a bottle for dry, dehydrated skin in search of intense hydration as it moisturizes even the driest skin from the very first application.
Next, I like to apply an emulsion to seal in previous lotions and serums. At the moment I am in love with the Su:m37 Waterfull Balancing Gel Lotion. It’s a beautiful weightless moisturizer with a cooling and refreshing effect perfect for those with combination to oily skin, and it absorbs very quickly into the skin, leaving it clear and refreshed. I don’t use it all year long since I don’t find it hydrating enough for my dry skin, but I find it truly lovely to use in the warmer months. I love to pop it in the fridge for an extra boost of freshness!
The rest of the year, my skin is usually feeling a little tight and dry so I reach for the Hera Aquabolic Moisturizing Emulsion, but these days I’ve also been using the Su:m37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Softening Emulsion. The Aquabolic Moisturizing Emulsion is pretty much liquid gold for dry skin : it deeply hydrates and nourishes the skin, visibly brighten the complexion, diminishes fine lines and decreases skin’s sensitivity. Ever since I started using it three years ago, I noticed a very welcomed change in my skin’s sensitivity and redness. The skin around and on my nose is no longer turns red all year long, and I rarely suffer from dry patches or flaky skin anymore. I can’t recommend it enough!
I finish off my skincare routine with a cream moisturizer to create a moisture barrier, seal in hydration and prevent moisture loss, and I have quite a few on rotation. Lately, I’ve been using the Su:m37 Timeless Water Gel Cream, Su:m37 Time Energy Resetting Moist Firming Cream, Sum:37 Blossom Garden Moisturizing Cream or the Hera White Program Biogenic Cream at daytime, and the Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Cream or the Su:m37 Secret Repair Concentrated Cream at nighttime.
I won’t bore you with moisturizers, unless you want me to, but I’d like to talk a little bit more about the Su:m37 Timeless Water Gel Cream. With a dreamy formula jam-packed full of hydrating, anti-aging and soothing ingredients, this moisturizer is like the upgraded version of the Clinique Moisture Surge, or the Origins Make A Difference+ Rejuvenating Moisturizer! Those with drier skin will probably find it a little bit too lightweight for Wintertime and will reach out for the Moisturizing version instead, but they will undoubtedly appreciate it as a daily moisturizer in S/S. The Timeless Water Gel Cream feels cooling and refreshing upon application, and the skin is left hydrated supple and soft. Those with oily skin will certainly enjoy it all year long. It’s a truly divine, beautiful moisturizer for all skin type. And can we take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous packaging with the magnetized spatula? Just beautiful.
When my skin becomes unbearably dry in Fall/Winter, I like to apply a beauty oil on top of my moisturizer for an extra boost of moisture, but also to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. My favourites are the Su:m37 Secret Oil, Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Essence Oil, Hera Beauty Boosting Facial Oil, Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil and Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenate Oil.
If there’s anything that makes me feel a little bit more relaxed during the week, it’s delving into a world of relaxation and pampering. Twice a week, I’ll use an overnight treatment to give my skin a real boost of hydration, and in the morning my skin looks and feels wonderfully replenished and ready to face the day. I’m well aware of the hype surrounding overnight masks these days, like the very much loved Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask or the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque, but for me the Su:m37 Waterfull Sleeping Mask is by far superior in every way. I bought it a few months ago in replacement of two other masks I had used up, the Origins and the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, and I haven’t looked back. Packed with an array of dreamy ingredients, the formula works to give the skin a boost of moisture and hydration, but also to soften and even out the complexion overnight.
Others sleeping masks I’ve been using are the Etude House Bubble Tea Sleeping Masks. They’re a real treat for the eyes and effective, though probably not enough for me to repurchase again since I feel like the formulas would work best for younger skin. The strawberry version is my favourite out of the three as it brighten the complexion. The green tea version is for pore and sebum control, and the black tea version for elasticity. I absolutely LOVE the fresh jelly-like texture and the delightful smell of these masks! Once washed off in the morning, the skin is left feeling supple, bright and hydrated.
I’ve always adored wash-off masks, but as I’ve grown up my style and preferences have matured and I now find it difficult to find masks worthy of a mention. I’m currently using Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore, Real Grapefruit, Real Rose and Real Quinoa masks, along the Dior Hydra Life Glow Better Fresh Jelly Mask. Truth be told, there are plenty of wash-off masks I would love to try but they aren’t available in France.
I’ll start off by mentioning the Real Grapefruit mask, as it is my absolute favourite mask at the moment. The refreshing scrub consistency works with Grapefruit Extract and Centella Asiatica to give your pores a deep cleanse pores and brighten the complexion. It smells delightfully fruity, and the refreshing jam-like texture is a real treat for the skin. The Real Rose mask is far from being unique in the already saturated rose-masks market, and doesn’t really do anything special other than hydrating the skin, but is still very nice to use if your face is feeling a little tight or dry. I also love how the texture turns into a warming thick oily balm when rubbed into the skin. The Real Quinoa mask is somehow similar to the Grapefruit mask as it also smooth the skin and has also a scrub-like consistency, expect it’s a little more nourishing and sensitive/dry skin friendly.
I have introduced Innisfree to my skincare routine a few years ago through the much-loved blogger favourite Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask, and it’s still a part of my skincare routine to this day. The formula works with Volcanic Ashes, Bentonite and Kaolin to draw out impurities, reduce excess sebum and give the skin a deep cleanse for a smoother complexion. I was initially put off by the reviews that said it wasn’t drying/tightening enough like a typical clay-based mask, but it actually ended up being the selling point for me. Whenever my skin feels and looks a little congested, I apply a thick coat of this mask all over my face and leave it for about 20 minutes. When rinsed off, skin is left refreshed, thoroughly cleansed and soft all while banishing excess oil from the T-zone. That being said, the skin doesn’t feel unnecessary dry, which is a huge relief for those with sensitive combination or dry skin.
Lastly, there is the Dior Hydra Life Glow Better. I received it as a gift from my boyfriend, but I honestly find it overpriced and not that worthy of a real mention. It instantly brighten and refines the skin, but performs similarly to the $14 Etude House Berry AHA Bright Peel Mild Gel. Needless to say, this is a mask I definitely won’t purchase with my own money.
- Cleansers : Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick or Su:m37 Skin Saver Essential Cleansing Foam
- Massage : Su:m37 Skin Saver Melting Balm (every other night, with a jade roller or my fingers to slim down and depuff my face). I recommend the book “The Japanese Skincare Revolution” by Chizu Saeki to learn more and get started about facial massages.
- First Toner (before acids) : Son&Park Beauty Water or Bravura London Ginseng Revitalizing Toner.
- Acids : Paula’s Choice 2% BHA and Cane+Austin 20% Miracle Pad or Mad Hippie Skincare Exfoliating Serum or NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme.
- Second Toner (hydrating) : Su:m37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Refining Toner or Hera Aquabolic Moisturizing Water (Beauty Tip : I usually apply two or three layers of the Hera to make my skin super plump and glowy).
- Essences : Hera Cell Essence or Su:m37 Secret Essence. Sometimes both at the same time.
- Lotions/Serums : UNT Aqua D’Origine Intensive (Beauty Tip : I usually apply two layers, I wait around one or two minutes between each layer), UNT Aqua Déluge Replenish Serum, Hera Oil Serum Magic Formula, Hera White Program Biogenic Effector or/with Laneige White Plus Renew Original Essence or/with The Ordinary 10% Niacinamide Serum.
- Emulsions : Su:m37 Waterfull Balancing Gel Lotion (Spring/Summer only), Hera Aquabolic Moisturizing Emulsion and/or Hera White Program Emulsion or Hera Aquabolic Moisturizing Emulsion.
- Moisturizers : Su:m37 Timeless Water Gel Cream (S/S only) or Su:m37 Time Energy Resetting Moist Firming Cream or Sum:37 Blossom Garden Moisturizing Cream or Hera White Program Biogenic Cream at daytime. Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Cream or Su:m37 Secret Repair Concentrated Cream at nighttime.
- Beauty oil : Su:m37 Secret Oil or Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Essence Oil or Hera Beauty Boosting Facial Oil or Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenate Oil.
- Extras : Su:m37 Waterfull Aqua Sleeping Pack, Etude House Bubble Tea Sleeping Packs, Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Pack, Innisfree Real Wash-off Masks.