The Skincare Guide

13 Feb

Choosing a skincare brand can be daunting and confusing these days. There are just too many brands out there. How did you choose yours?


When I was younger, I was easily influenced by the packaging of the products and advertisements. I must confess I was gullible and the skincare marketing strategies had certainly got the best of me. The tv and glossy magazine ads showcasing ‘photoshopped’ flawless looking models were baits, and I was an easy target. Sometimes, it was the beauty assistants- I tell you, the beauty counter is probably the most intimidating place ever! They scrutinize and analyse your skin, and suddenly you have more problems than you thought you had in the first place. On many occasions, I took their recommendations, betting my money on their so called profesional judgement. I dont recall googling prior to purchasing and I certainly dont remember reading the ingredients.


So, how should we choose our skincare? Asian or Western skincare? What about local products?

My first experience with an Asian skincare was perhaps somewhere back in 2006-2007. It was SK11.There was so much rave about the ‘Pitera’ treatment essence, and at that time, many of my colleagues and friends were crazy over it as well. I spent a substantial amount (dont ask me how much..sigh) on many of its skincare items only to realize retrospectively a year later that I was simply pouring money down the drain. It didnt work for me…at all. In fact, I developed whiteheads. Somehow, I continued using the products because…well some people say that your skin gets bad before it gets better..sigh…so I persevered. It took me almost a year to realise it was a bad decision, so finally I stopped. Now, dont get me wrong, Im not saying it’s a bad brand, Im just saying that SK11 didnt suit me. Many of my friends had great results but I must say, it probably works well on skin that is already good. I came to that conclusion because another friend of mine had the same kind of skin reaction while some others had, in fact, great skin.


Anyway, the truth is I have been inclined to Western brands ever since. Over the years, I must say, I have tried dozens of products .From drugstore skincare products like Simple (love the make-up wipes), Garnier (the cream somehow did lighten my discoloration..must be the lemon essence), Olay (cleanser was not too bad), Biore (the nose strips and oil cleanser are good), Neutrogena (the 2.5% benzoyl perocide was great…no longer sold), Clean & Clear (err..cant recall what i like), Nivea (I only like the make-up remover wipes) etc to high-ends like ProActiv, Clinique, Dior, Murad, L’occitane, Dr. Perricone and Estee Lauder, to name a few..many (basically this means Im not young and had years of experimenting :p). Perhaps, looking back at those years, 80% of the time, the products didnt work much to my satisfaction and I only repurchased a few). Im always on the hunt for great skincare products that deliver, work for my skintype and worth the price.


Malaysia boleh? Okay, I did try a local product. Worked like magic and then…yup, you guessed it right…until the news tell you the brand is unsafe. Ok, forget it! I pledge never to consider local skincare products. Although, i think some brands like Safi and SimplySiti (its literally a Korean product, isnt it?) are okay I guess. What is your take on this?

Here are some tips when buying skincare products for your skin.

1. Know your skintype. Mine used to be oily and sensitive, Im pretty much combination now. Identify your problems eg wrinkles, sagging skin, acne, pigmentation etc.

2. Google ‘best skincare for ______skin’. Read what other people with your skintype like and dont like, what works for them. I love Dr. Google!! Hehe. Read blogs and articles, judge yourself.

3. Have a referrence website on your mobile. Mine is MakeupAlley. I downloaded it on my Iphone and this comes in handy. I now check every products before purchasing.

4. Prepare a ‘way out’ in case you need it. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed when a beauty assistant spend so much time explaining to me the products, I feel pressured to buy especially when the girl behind the counter is so nice. “Wow, sounds great! And the phone rings (dont ask how I got that to happen *wink wink*) bla…bla speaks on the phone, then..Oh, gotta go now (sad face). Do you have a card” -always work!

5. Be wary of unknown brands. When you are not sure about a particular brand, ask for their star product. Research on the web. You’ll be able to gauge somewhat.

6. Dont listen to everything people tell you (including me) especially if they have different skintype than yours. I learnt my lesson. Even 2 people with the same skintype may react differently to the same skincare.

7. Ask for samples. I must say Im good at this already.Thick skin, hehe. Sometimes, I bring my own small containers to Sephora, spot the nicest and most friendly looking stuff to get him/her to fill my containers w products I want from the tester bottles.

8. Read the labels. Know what stuff to avoid e.g mineral oils, parabens, alcohol, Sodium Laureth Sulphate, petrolatum (but petrolatum somehow doesnt clog my pores, so Im okay with it). In fact, some of my skincare stuffs do contain some of these, to be honest. My advise is, if your skin is currently acting up, you may want to try and avoid these ingredients.

9. Know what to look for e.g antioxidants, AHA, BHA, zinc, Coenzyme Q10, SPF etc.

10. Mix and match. I believe it’s a myth that we should use everything from the same brand. It’s great if you could find one brand that does all the job, but dont despair if you thought the ‘teamwork’ failed. ‘Using a cleanser and toner from the same brand provides better absorption of ensuing products’ doesnt seem logical to me. Although, if you liked one product very much, you are likely to trust the brand. I tend to like to use everything from the same brand, but after some time, I usually realised only one item really worked, so fine..just continue using that one and find the rest in other brands.

11. Use as directed. Duhhh…of course!

12, Give the products some time. I have a friend who change her skincare after 2 weeks of usage. If the results were not apparent, she’d buy new ones. I know my skin well, so I will usually notice changes if there were any. I think a period 1 month-6 weeks is a good enough time to see if the products work.

13. Seriously, i know some people believe this but I dont. The skin should not get worse before it gets better!

14. Expensive vs. cheap products. Personal choice. Many expensive products didnt work for me but some are definitely worth the price. Some cheap ones are great e.g my Hada Labo and Biore cleansing oil, Vaseline etc.

My 2 cents. Gosh, a bit too long a post , got carried away.Hehe. I cant sleep.
Any thought on this?


4 Responses to “The Skincare Guide”

  1. Shiks February 15, 2013 at 17:11 #

    I do agree with you. Had my share of trial and error on skincare. My first cleanser was nivea. Started using it when I was in dublin. I didnt have much of problem with my skin back then (i guess my skin agrees with 4 seasons country 😬)
    Decided to give neutrogena a try just for fun and had baaaddd skin peeling, so i revert back to nivea. Tried dermalogica when I started working but it just made my skin worse! I had my worse breakouts ( didnt have breakouts in my teenage years hehe terbalik!) and my skin was dull and dry. So guess what I did? I revert back to nivea! Hahaha
    Now, i am trying a new product as well and hope it’ll work well for me. So far so good!

    • zavanitydresser February 16, 2013 at 01:24 #

      I am also trying some new products, not worth the mention yet because it hasnt stood the test of time. And yeah, when things go wrong, we do tend to resort to what had worked previously to play safe. Once the skin is under control, the skincare hunt restarts again. All the best Shiks!

  2. Bazilah Yunus February 17, 2013 at 05:17 #

    i was try Hada Labo trial pack!!..much love 🙂 x berminyak but i dunno want try cetaphil cleanser or not..sigh!! ahahaha

    • zavanitydresser February 17, 2013 at 06:27 #

      Stick to Hada Labo first since it’s working for you kan..#WhatIThink

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