alternatively, how banana learned to be okay with her skin and care about other people a little less
WARNING PICTURES OF MY FACE LOL
I didn’t grow up with great skin. My skin as an adolescent was just… plain, your regular occurrence of blemishes and acne (and oil, OILY-ASS FACE), but that was just about it. Nothing a little TLC couldn’t take care of. In 2013 I discovered ~Asian Beauty~ and my skincare perspective changed. Like I’ve mentioned previously, my skin routine was a little extra—washing my face every other day with green tea (yes from the bag lol), sheet masks every other night, mask packs every other night, mud masks and exfoliants once a week, putting a towel on my blanket every night, ice cubes when breakouts occurred, 3 litres of water a day minimum, PROPER DIET, SLEEP, AND REGULAR EXERCISE… I don’t even know how I managed to do all that lol. My skin was virtually flawless, the only makeup I used was concealer (sparingly) and eyeliner. That was it.
But last year after a great amount of stress and stuff, my skin went… bad. Like, really bad. Like… who is this person kind of bad. lmao I was completely SHOCKED because of how bad it was? Lots of bumps that wouldn’t go away even when I used an AHA. At first it was controllable and not too noticeable, but after a while it was just. In too deep. It was not letting up. I could probably have used up an entire set of acne patches in one night to try to keep things at bay. I called a dermatologist in January.
And that was it. Usually when I think of dermatologists I think of terrifying people who poke at your face with pointy things to try to get gunk out, but this entire thing changed my view completely, lmao. (Ok see I do know that they’re licensed medical professionals, but the thing is I feel like most places dermatological services are just so. consumerist with their products? Like “ur skin will get better but ALSO U HAVE TO USE OUR LINE OF STUFF!!. It’s ridiculous and probably not always the case but that’s how it frequently comes off to me.) Just regular stuff. Discipline, mostly. Take antibiotics during the day and slather on a topical at night. It was surprisingly simple, despite the numerous bumps (pun intended, thanks for purging hell, Epiduo) I came across along the way.
Obviously, my skin still isn’t perfect. There are occasional breakouts (from stress, hormones, and terrible eating habits lol) and a lot of hyperpigmentation, but it’s more manageable now. I went in for my second TCA peel two months ago (a whopping 30%, 5 minutes of excruciating pain in my life that I’ll never get back) and things are getting better. I’m due for a third but I’ve been painfully busy with school, but hopefully when I get back home I’ll have time to do it.
I’ve learned that taking of my skin is more than just washing and moisturizing and SPF-ing religiously. It has to do with the amount of water I drink, the kind of sleep I get, the kind of food I eat… Those are common sense though. What I didn’t realize was how important my hair is when it comes to skincare, which is so silly because it’s IN MY FACE!! ALL THE TIME!! So I’ve had to cycle through a bunch of haircare products too. I’ve also started PATCH TESTING!!!!! products properly and I’ve found that it really helps ease products into my routine.
Usually it’d take about a dozen and a half products just to vaguely cover up my face. I don’t really care so much any more lol I understand that my face isn’t perfect and that’s fine? Like my skin doesn’t play along well with base makeup—I’ve yet to find a BB cream/foundation that works well with it in its current state. I mentioned in a previous post that I didn’t like Glossier’s Stretch Concealer because it didn’t give me enough coverage, but now I find that I like it a lot, because it’s breathable and doesn’t accentuate my face marks. Usually just that is enough for me. So laziness? I guess laziness is what probably made me okay with all of this, haha. I love makeup but there’s just something so nice about seeing yourself fresh-faced with minimal coverage sometimes.
AAAAND NOW for the current skincare products I’ve been using! Heads up because I’m gonna be repetitive: I’m bad with scents. Like, I generally don’t like scents, but make special exceptions for certain products because I love them so much.
- Shu Uemura Anti-Oxi+ Skin Refining Cleansing Oil. When I run out of this I might just cry. Kidding. My favourite cleansing oil in the entire world (so far). It’s runny and lightweight and easy to spread all over the face. It doesn’t strip off any oil and it doesn’t sting my eyes. I can use my wet hands with it, which is great because I wash my hands right before cleaning my face. I don’t like strong smells but I really like how this smells—nature-y but not in an obnoxious in-your-face kind of way.
- Banila Co. Clean It Zero Purity. MAN I DO NOT LIKE HOW THIS SMELLS LOL It smells like plants and [burnt] plastic at the same time. A little of this goes a long way and I use it as a daily sunscreen-makeup remover. It makes my skin feel soft and clean. I’d repurchase it… if I ran out of the Shu oil and had no way of buying the Shu again… I don’t know. I don’t think I can get along with balm cleansers, if only because tub containers freak me out.
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. Apparently I’m supposed to be shaking it before use LOL so I have no idea what it’s supposed to be like. It’s oily and painful when it gets into my eyes but that’s probably because I never shake it LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I use it because I don’t like rubbing my eyes even with cleansing oil! EDIT: When I wrote this post I was a dumbass, but now I’ve been shaking it and it doesn’t sting at all. I like it. It’s good, reasonably-priced, and easy on the eyes. Good job.
- COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about my current cleanser, except for the fact that HOLY BATMAN I hate the scent of tea tree oil. It can be pretty drying when I rub my face too hard (whatever), but otherwise it does what it needs to do. When this runs out I’m trying either Simplistic’s facial cleanser or Human♥︎Nature’s Nourishing Facial Wash or Hydrating Creamy Wash.
- Briotech Topical Skin Spray. Not exactly a toner, but it kind of is at the same time? It’s a disinfectant (it helped breakouts and—TMI lol—a clogged nose, plus I’ve heard it’s good for piercings) that somehow softens and moisturises at the same time, with the help of HOCl. (The opaque white bottle is a plus, bc HOCl can decompose with sun exposure!) Really simple ingredients and really easy to use. It’s actually recommended for use several times throughout the day, though as my skin’s gotten a lot better, I’ve gone from four times to twice a day. I use it right after I wash my face, and before essence.
- Goodal Green Tangerine Moist Mist Toner. IT SMELLS SO GOOD!!!! Though to be honest I don’t think it really leaves my skin ~super moisturised~ in the long term (haha, that’s why I have moisturiser though), but it’s enough for the 7-skin method! After application my skin does feel bouncy and soft though, which is what I need. I use it after essence and then after serum, and if I’m just at home the whole day I spray it on my face whenever I feel like my existence is going to evaporate.
- MUJI Light Toning Water Moisture. THE BIG FAVE. A personal lifesaver. When I was just starting my Epiduo, my face hurt like CRAZY whenever I tried to put moisturiser on it. Somehow, this managed to keep my skin soft, smooth, and hydrated. It’s a giant bottle, the toner smells like NOTHING (nothing!!!), and it cleanses and hydrates without stripping my face of oils or making it feel tight or whatever. It’s my part-time best friend. I’ll probably buy another bottle when the Goodal toner runs out.
Ampoules, serums, etc.
lmao i don’t use much ok face things can cost so much money
- COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence. I’ve always wanted to try using an ~essence~ and this was on sale at BeautyMNL, so I decided to give it a shot! Its texture is kind of in uncanny valley (like it doesn’t know if it wants to be water or sticky so I feel like I’m holding some water-based alien goop) but that’s okay, that makes it easier to spread around on my face. It’s helped lighten my post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation somewhat, which is my biggest skin problem at the moment. Dunno about that ~glow~ people talk about when using first treatment essences though, but that’s fine. Maybe more results will show up when I’m a legit old lady. (I’m only a fake old lady.) I use it right after washing my face. EDIT: I think my face is, despite its pigmentation, chokchok af. Thanks maybe niacinamide.
- MIZON Snail Repair EX Ampoule. The Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule didn’t do much for me but I’m finding that I like this a lot better. Like the Galactomyces essence, this has helped somewhat with skin texture and scarring and I like the bottle a lot. I dropped it three feet above the ground and it came out unscathed lol.
- Epiduo. I have such a complicated relationship with Epiduo tbh. On one hand, thanks for all the acne help you gave me, but on the other, thanks for all the acne hell you gave me (purging is terrible). It was a sad painful period of my life when I needed to moisturise but couldn’t because this thing would turn me into a stinging mess. But that’s okay. We’re friends now. My biggest gripe is that I have to wait for it to settle down on my face before using moisturiser, because otherwise my face will die.
- Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream. I want to love this so much but the smell is so strong, lol. It smells like flowers? I don’t know. It’s just too much for me lol. The consistency is thick and bordering on gel-like, but it really does its job well. It makes my skin feel all bouncy and dewy. I use only a little at a time because otherwise I’m gonna wake up with my face looking like an oil slick. At this point I’m desperate to run out of it already though lol WHY YOU GOTTA SMELL LIKE 10000000 GARDENS!!! I’d love it more if it didn’t smell so much like nature.
- Benefit It’s Potent! Eye Cream. I’m a little self-conscious of the tiny lines that are beginning to form under my eyes (I’m probably literally the only person that notices them though lol) so in a fit of desperation, I bought this. It cost so much, lol. :’) But it feels so nice. I don’t use it daily (any more), but I keep it in the fridge for nights/days when I stay up studying or crying over bad manga (or good manga that makes me feel bad). It’s a tough life. I want to try Olay Eyes Pro Retinol Eye Treatment for Wrinkles too, but they don’t sell that in the PH and I… have used up my budget for makeup/skincare in the USA…. ha…. haha……
- VMV Hypoallergenics Creamy Rich Intensive Moisture Milk. I don’t like the term holy grail, but if I had to describe something as one of my HGs, this would be it. It says that it’s for dry skin, but I’ve been using this since my skin was oily, combination-leaning-towards-oily, and now combination-leaning-towards-dry, and throughout all these phases it’s worked well. The finish is matte-ish, and I only need a pea sized amount for my ENTIRE FACE (though definitely more than that for drier weather). Personally, the only downside for me is its price, but it’s a tiny thing for good results.
Disclaimer: You might know that SPF is my one true love. But despite my sunscreen religiousness I’m actually… not afraid… of the sun. Or getting darker. I don’t want to whiten my skin tone, I just want to even it out lol. I actually love sunlight (as long as air temperature is friendly and not pressure cooker-levels) and I’ve been spending the past week basking in it without any sunscreen on. Oops, but also life is short, my dude.
- Kojie-san Sunscreen SPF 55 PA+++. I got this for free, and I use it as a neck/body sunscreen. It isn’t too white-casty but it is tacky (bc of Philippine weather LOL) so my arms kind of feel too sticky sometimes. That’s okay though, it’s actually manageable.
- VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Sport 70. It moisturises my face. I can’t explain how, but it really does. The finish can be a little shiny for some people but I like it a lot. It really is water-resistant, btw, but it’s breathable and protects the skin properly. It’s also basically why I’m so hesitant to try other sunscreens, because this has worked out so well for me so far. I’m also a sucker for giant sunscreen packaging because I use a lot of product. GO BIG OR GO HOME, NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH SUNSCREEN!!
- COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch. The light of my life. I have yet to find another patch I like as much. It’s reasonably affordable, but I wish they came in one-size-only packs, because I don’t really use the giant ones. They don’t really stick to weird contours of my face either, like along the lip/jaw area where I have the most trouble. But somehow they work for me even when the little buggers are just bumps. It helps curb the bad face-picking habit, too.
- LANEIGE Special Care Lip Sleeping Mask. Again I don’t have any strong feelings for this in particular, but it feels ~luxurious lol. It smells like berries and doesn’t clog or irritate the skin around my lips. The exfoliating aspect of it is super fascinating too. I don’t use it every night because I’m lazy and that’s a little Much, but when I do need to use it I find that it works best if I apply it two nights in a row before the thing I need it for. The first night shrivels it up somewhat, the second night exfoliates and plumps. It’s cool but will work better if you apply something to your lips first like idk, toner or whatever. You do you.
- LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub. I CAN EAT THIS. I honestly don’t know how it works as a scrub. I probably just put it on my mouth so I can lick it afterwards at this point. (Just kidding, it softens and sloughs properly. It really does taste delicious though.)
There are still a zillion different products out there that I want to try (that aren’t sunscreen, I will never leave my sunscreen) but my budget says they have to wait. (Drunk Elephant‘s whipped moisturizer feels AMAZING but its price tag is not so amazing.)zLikewise, I wanna take it easy on my skin and use as many gentle products as possible. Thankfully, most of the products I buy are in large containers, so they last me a long time. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully, my skin goes back to being smooth and mark-free, but I think it’s okay as it is for now.
Wow much school happened so I haven’t been able to touch this baby in a while! To be honest it is … almost 1AM here in New York but I just wanted to get this out before anything else. I brought the right amount of skincare decants but I do wish I brought a heavier moisturizer, lol. I’ve been a glorified babysitter for the past few weeks so I haven’t had much time to go online, but I hope I get to post again soon! (୨୧ ❛ᴗ❛)✧