I wasn’t really paying attention to my skincare routine since I was a teen. My face was pimply as a teenager and it affected my confidence. My skin was so oily I can probably produce enough oil every day to fry an egg for breakfast the next day. Lol. Yuck. I still vividly remember the first pimple that broke out on my face when I was in Grade 6. A friend pointed at me and shouted, “ang laki ng pimple mo!!!” I was so embarrassed! Needless to say, that friend is no longer a friend. Haha! That huge pimple near the side of my nose was the first of many. It was not until I was graduating in college that I resorted to Roaccutane, the wonder drug that vanishes all pimples and acne but also has serious side effects that should be taken into consideration (like not getting pregnant for 2 years after using it). Anyway, after that, I was left with a number of breakouts here and then, nothing major. And acne scars, which will probably never go away.
I’m grateful that I live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia because the weather here goes well with the type of skin I have. The dry air does not make my skin too oily and I have experienced a fairly good skin situation here. But still, I’m trying to make up to my skin by upping my skincare game. 2017 was a huge year for skincare, at least for me. When we all turned 30 in our group of friends here in Riyadh, we promised ourselves to tae care of our skin more. Gone are the days of just wash, tone, moisturize! These days, we’ve all incorporated something extra extra in our skin care routine. It’s not because we’re so afraid of ageing. That’s inevitable. But we just realized that we need to take care of our skin, the same way we take care of ourselves (okay, being fit and healthy… I’m still getting there, haha, chos). Our skin is already in trouble with stress every day so it needs some TLC. I tried the 10-step Korean skincare but sometimes, I’m just too tired to go through such a tedious routine every night and so I took what worked for me and pared down to 5 steps.
Like what I do with makeup, I watch a lot of videos and read a lot of reviews before I purchase anything. The following products are the best skincare products for me that I discovered and used in 2017. I highly-recommend them for combination to oily skin like me. I still have a long way to go to achieve a glowing, flawless skin but I’m happy to say my skin has improved a lot. Also, these products are more affordable than going to the derma. Haha!
Let’s start with some tools that I use for putting skincare products on my skin. I feel like my skin gets thoroughly cleaned when I use these.
- Foreo LUNA Play / SR 200 at Whites Pharmacy or SR 180 at the Foreo Website
The Foreo LUNA Play is a small sonic facial cleanser. It’s the baby sister of the Luna and Mini Luna: it’s the travel and disposable version. I only got this last December as part of my wish list (thanks Rein!) but I already enjoy using this. Mine comes in the pearl pink color and it’s sooo cute! I use this every morning as part of my cleansing process. I sometimes use it at night whenever I wear a heavy layer of makeup throughout the day. The LUNA Play has 2 zone brushes but I just always use the first one which is faster. It makes washing my face in the morning relaxing. It’s like a quick 1-minute massage! It leaves my skin feeling smooth. I love it!
- EcoTools Facial Cleansing Brush / SR 11.89 at iHerb
Before I was gifted the Foreo LUNA Play, I was using the simple facial cleansing brush of EcoTools. It’s nothing high-tech. It was a small facial brush with a head that reminds me of Clarisonic but this one is of course, manual. No batteries, no automatic buttons, etc. I was surprised as how soft its bristles were considering the price. It’s meant for deep pore cleansing and gentle exfoliation. Ever since I got the Foreo LUNA Play, I only use this brush once a week to help clean out my huge pores of gunk. I love how it leaves my skin feeling super clean! And at that price point, nothing can beat it.
- RA & Gowoori Green Tea Facial Foam / Approx SR 15
I mentioned this facial foam wash in my September Faves. I find this facial wash to be relaxing. It’s gentle on the skin and it has a subtle fragrance of green tea. I use this at night when my skin needs some tender wash 9I use a “stronger” facial wash in the morning which you’ll be reading about below). The only downside to this is that it’s not easily available here in Saudi Arabia. If you have families and friends in the Philippines, you can ask them to buy this for you at the Saeli Melissa Yuri Lee Facebook Group or in Shopee.
- Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner / SR 57 at iHerb (3.4 fl oz)
I just got this toner from Pixi Skintreats last December but I’m loving it already! Gotta say a lot about this product huh! It contains original 5% glycolic acid that helps even out skin tone for a brighter, clearer complexion. It has an odd scent though but I get past that once I saw how it made my skin a bit brighter; nothing too obvious at first but my skin looked smoother during the day. This Glow Tonic also promises to gently exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells. Not sure how tiny these dead skin cells are because I can’t see anything from the cotton pad I used with this product, haha. We shall still wait and see but so far, yasss!
- Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer / SR 123 at Sephora
I got this moisturizer during Sephora’s Fall Favorites launch and I’ve been using it ever since. The formula of this moisturizer is lightweight and oil-free; it’s a joy to use in the morning. And because it’s gel, my skin loves it! It just soaks it all up! Because of its subtle citrus scent, it’s a perk-me-upper in the morning! It has Panax Ginseng and Coffee Bean that hydrate and revitalize the skin to create a healthy, vibrant glow. I feel like 2017 was all about the “glow” you know? Origins is new to Sephora Middle East and I’m excited to try other products from them. I actually have their charcoal clay mask but I’ve only tried it once so I don’t have a strong opinion on it yet.
- Skin Food Lemon Mask / SR 71 at Sephora
This is another newly-acquired product that just wowed me in 2017. I really have a thing for Korean skincare and for good reason: they are effective! The Skin Food Lemon Mask promises to brighten up my skin, providing a glow from within and truly, it delivered. This mask is made with fresh ingredients. It’s super easy to use: just get a spoonful, put in the face, wait for 10-15 minutes and rinse it off. It gives a cool, soothing sensation that hydrates the skin in a snap. We had a photo shoot recently and I wasn’t sticking to my skincare routine so I popped this open and used it the night before the shoot and the following day, my skin was glowing! (It can also be the highlighter, but still, haha!)
- Eskinol Oil Control Pimple Fighting Facial Wash / Approx SR 10
This is my “pang-malakasang” facial wash. If I have breakouts (or at least feeling like I’ll have one), I use this immediately and it keeps pimples at bay. This product prevents pimple-causing bacteria and reduce excess oil so it’s perfect for my skin. I’ve been using this facial wash since I was in college and until now, I’m still using it that’s why it’s a part of my “holy grail” list. It’s already a legend in my skincare routine! Haha! I actually have two tubes of these in our bathroom because I’m so afraid of running out of it. I’m not sure if you can find this in the Pinoy groceries in Batha but I usually just buy it whenever I’m vacationing in the Philippines.
- Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel / SR 28 at iHerb
Hands down the best skincare find last year, the Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel is my go-to skincare product nowadays. It’s up there in my list of best skin care products of all time. It’s amazing as moisturizer for every thing, not only the face. The gel mist version is just as good. This product is multi-purpose; it can be used in any dry part of the body and it will moisturize it like no one else’s business! I usually use this on my face before sleeping and I wake up to smoother skin in the morning. A make-up artist also used this gel as a moisturizer on our faces prior to makeup application and she swears by this. Actually, a lot of people love this product! The 300 ml tub lasts a long, long time. I have the Nature Republic gel but The Face Shop also carries aloe vera gel. It’s easier to get that in Riyadh.
I promise to up my skincare regimen this 2018. I have a lot of Korea skincare products that I want to try and use. You can see some of them in the background of the pictures above. However, the products I mentioned in this list are my staples already. No matter what product I discover in 2018, I will continue using them. Sound off the comment section down below if you discovered a skincare product that changed your skin for the better. Go and be beautiful!