Let’s be Honest – I DO NOT HAVE PERFECT SKIN. If you only knew about the time and money spent, all the effort – you would probably be in disbelieve. I talk about skin care A LOT. I would go on and on if someone asks me to share about the products I used and my skincare routine. I am very passionate about it. I even have a vlog on this! (Search: Mishael Vanessa Lee on Youtube)
So it really annoys the shit out of me when people slam me saying I already have great skin and that it would be easier to manage and I probably won’t know how it feels about having bad skin.
Well, I do, actually. It’s because bad skin can come in many forms. MANY. Be it rosacea, eczema, pimples, jerawat batu, milia seeds, blackheads, sensitive skin etc. It can be anything. Just because it seems like I don’t have visible pimples, it doesn’t mean I have great skin. I have sensitive, dry skin and it is extremely troublesome to take care of it. You can be sensitive and dry, sensitive and oily, normal combination, combination dry – you name it. But sensitive is just the most annoying thing ever.
I had bad skin all through college (18-20 years old) where I had so many milia seeds and white heads and I would always squeeze them myself in frustration (which is a complete no no by the way…). My cheeks were always red and I had a lot of scars and holes from that. Ask my friends and they would say I really had issues back then! These are pictures of evidence during my college days and spots were very prominent on my cheeks:
Growing up, I only had occasional breakouts but my biggest problem was always milia seeds. I had them for as long as I can remember and I recall my first painful facial session when I was about 11 or 12.
When I was younger, anything worked for me. I can use over-the-counter drugstore products like Nivea, Garnier, Clean & Clear – you name it. No breakouts whatsoever, or excessively dry skin. During college, I vanished all scars with Olay Total Effects Extra Whitening. It was a gem, pretty disappointed you can’t find it anymore. At this stage I was also aiming to be a cabin crew, so I started putting in more effort to take care of my skin.
I pretty much believe that the cabin crew lifestyle put a strain on it. It was only after I started work that I developed sensitive skin. It was always dry and tired looking. Being a cabin crew, it was late nights or inconsistent sleeping patters, dry air in the cabin as well as the lack of healthy food. But as I was now working and able to afford, I started going for regular facials.
I had mentioned this in the past but I swear by my facials. My cousin is now 40+ and have great skin and she was the one who told me that facials are the answer to maintaining good skin. Second comes skin care and lifestyle.
I always ensured I had enough sleep when I was working – 7 hours sleep at least. Of course there were days when I would slack off a little but I would try to have enough before flight. I take multivitamins and detox every now and then. This really worked for me; I realised that frequent detoxifying cleared my skin – A LOT.
You’d be surprise with what I had done to maintain good and healthy skin. Facials are only just a part of it. I personally love oxygen facials but the truth is you don’t really need those intense sessions all the time. I would recommend a few sessions to kick-start and work on your problems and then just move on to maintaining your skin with whichever simple facial that works for you. Since my skin is dry and my main problem is the infestation of milia seeds or those small spots from using the wrong products, soothing and hydrating facials are always sufficient.
I started with a session every two weeks but now I only go for facials once a month. I also don’t really use the products recommended by the beautician but experiment with other affordable products elsewhere. I’ve tried so many things: SK2, Lancome Vissionnaire, Estee Lauder, Khiels, Origins, Clarins (all which can cost a bomb) or typical drugstore brands like Garnier, Bio Essence, Avene, Hada Labo, Eucerin, Nano White, Simple etc. I can’t even recall everything I’ve used!
I’ve experimented with so many things and I’m still doing it now. I’ve stuck around with some good products that has worked for me and try this and that every now and then. I will list down a few things throughout this post.
I’ve also done a considerable amount of Q-switch laser and micro-needling sessions. Oh, I swear micro-needling is the bomb! It really improves texture and firmness, I would recommend it to anyone! (Try it!) I’ve always wanted to try CO2 fractional but never had the time to put aside (you need about 2 weeks downtime). The clinic I go to is in Bandar Puteri Puchong, called Skin Medic – right above CIMB and Zouk Spa.
The best facials are not quite on the products used in my opinion. Good facials are in the hands of the beautician – clean extraction and no breakouts after. I personally have a prejudice on Dermalogica because it has not worked for me. I love Herbaline (which I am still with for more than a year now) and Sothys (I’ve tried the outlet in Damansara Perdana and Empire Subang), True Harmony (only the one in Puchong) and Beauty House in Endah Parade Sri Petaling. I’ve tried out the oxygen facials at Mary Chia, Tropicana City Mall, as well. Love, love it. Instant results, great before a big event.Lots of money splurged on facials but it really works provided you find the right one for you. It doesn’t even need to be expensive (<RM150/session) but do not keep your expectations high. If you have major problems like pimples, jerawat batu, rosacea and all, you might need several intense sessions before you can go for maintenance sessions. SKIN CARE ALONE WOULD NOT FIX PROBLEMS.
This is only half the battle for me. I’ve attended skin care and makeup classes at Malswisse (Empire Subang) which taught me 1000 things on taking care of my skin. Malswisse also have a really good range of skin care products (especially their milk wash!) but cost quite a sum! Malswisse also instilled in me the importance to mask everyday – and it really really really works and I swear that this is one of my secrets to great skin.
The other most important thing is – SLEEP. I’m very serious about this. Sleep is very very important for great skin and to reduce the chances of eye bags and dark circles. I am glad I don’t have dark circles (my mum doesn’t have it either maybe it’s just genes ahahaha) but I have eye bags and it becomes worst if I don’t have enough sleep. I’m also blessed that Daniel sleeps well at night and late into the morning so I get to catch up on sleep most of the time.
I take Borage Oil or Evening Primrose Oil often. Previously I used to take Shaklee’s GLA Complex and ESP which is wonderful wonderful for skin. I also frequently consume Vitamin C and if I remember, Vitamin E. Most of the time I just pop a multivitamin because I’m so, so lazy. Hahahahah Apart from that, I no longer consume collagen or bee pollen or royal jelly or stem cells or any of those whitening products in Malaysia – as I don’t really think it works for me. I’ve found ESP and EPO/Borage to work wonders alone and is safe for consumption.
I practice double cleansing at the end of the day. This is by washing my face TWICE with TWO different types of cleansers. You should do this too as it washes all the dirt and grime off before bed. If you are wearing make-up (especially HEAVY), you must always use a make-up remover before double cleansing. I know a lot of you are too tired and lazy especially after a long, long day but don’t expect miracles to happen if you don’t put in the effort. You simply cannot avoid breakouts if you do not cleanse thoroughly before sleeping. It is also important to use the right cleansers. My favourites are Sukin Sensitive Cleansing Gel, Malswisse Milk Cleanser and Derma Sukin Hydrating Wash. Jeanie Botanicals Pure Castile Soap is my current one. I think it’s pretty much in par with Aesops!
The next step is to use a toner. You can start with something that works for you. I usually stay clear of the alcoholic or clear ones that you put on a cotton pad. I don’t find it to work much for me. I’ve also tried several products that’s great: Hada Labo Lotion, Kose Sekkisei Lotion, Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence, Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum, SK2 Miracle Water. While the last three are more of the first step in your skin care, I usually don’t tone after and just use it as a toner. As most of the above are really expensive, I’ve alternated between Hada Labo & Secret Key for the past 3-4 years.
Serums are probably the most expensive thing I spent on – and don’t use often enough hahahaha. But they do work wonders and if possible, one should advocate. I’ve previously used Origins Mega Mushroom Serum (which costs a bomb and I’m probably not repurchasing) but works exceptionally well on redness and itchiness, including eczema or rashes. I’ve also used Secret Key Snail Repair Serum. Eye Serums are also great (and you should start young to avoid wrinkles) and my all time favourite is Three Organics Rejuvenating Eye Serum or Sulwhasoo’s eye cream.
Face Oils are probably in par with serums and I usually use it in replace of serums on lazy days (LOL) and my all time favourites will always be Three Organics Soothe Me and Eve Taylor Face Oil No.1. Wonderfully hydrating and soothing for sensitive skin. Sometimes I just use this and no moisturizer! The prejudice on face oils should be eliminated. There are so many benefits from using it and contrary to popular belief, it does not break you out at all. Especially if you are using the right type for you. I wish I knew more about it so I can educate and share, but I don’t. I was very sceptical in the beginning in fear it would break me out, but now it is really the best answer for my dry, sensitive skin.
Moisturizer are probably the only product that I am most inconsistent about. I usually don’t stick to one for long. As mentioned above, I really love my face oils and sometimes it’s sufficient enough for me. Favs are Hada Labo moisturisers, Sukin Sensitive Facial Moisturiser, Secret Key Snail Repair Cream, Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream and Secret Key Red Ginseng Oriental Cream.
I honestly find these ginseng stuff from Korea/Japan to really work..
This is only just basic cleanse-tone-moisturise. I scrub once a week (twice if you’re not sensitive) and my long time favourites are Malswisse’s Milk Scrub and St.Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub. ALWAYS mask after you scrub. It’s important to clear away dead skin and clean up pores THEN mask and let your dehydrated skin absorb all the goodness. Then continue with your next steps. If I rajin, I’ll also soak a sheet mask with Secret Key STE or Kose Sekkisei Lotion. The STE also helps with breakouts – soak a cotton pad with it and just leave it on for a few minutes.
So, you see now? Taking care of my skin takes a lot of effort and MONEY. So it really pisses me off when people actually ask me about my routine and products (in the first place…) and then slam me off by saying “it’s easy for you to say because your skin is great!”. Well I don’t. Sensitive skin is probably the worst thing in the world and combining it with dry skin makes it even harder. I’m a little bit sceptical about trying out other (more affordable) products but I break out easily – so that is extremely troublesome and difficult.
If you want good healthy skin – you need to be willing to sacrifice time and money. There is no in between. Unless you are like those people who are blessed with a carefree skin type (like my friend who’s been using L’oreal for as long as I can remember……………………), you still need to put a considerable amount of effort to AT LEAST cleanse-tone-moisturise.
Even now pun, my skin isn’t that great. I still have lubang and uneven skin tone, blackheads and milia seeds. I don’t even have an even texture. I try not to wear too much make-up, most of the time I don’t wear it at all. I also choose my make-up brands properly (think Benefit, Make-up Forever, Tarte). If you wear make-up everyday and you have tons of breakouts, try to rethink and change your foundation.
There really is no easy way to it. It’s either you’d be willing to sacrifice or not. So, Alhamdullilah to those who have the carefree skin. Yang takde tu, I wish you and your wallets….PS: I totally forgot about Yves Rocher! I love the Sensitive Range but I’ve always used masks and cleanser, as well as the Hydra Vegetal Mask.