With all the skincare products I’ve been trying simultaneously, I understand why most of my readers are confused on how I layer them. Of course if we’re going to spend on products, we’d like to optimize their effectiveness by layering them properly so as to allow the skin to really absorb each layer before moving on to the next one.  So first thing’s first; what products should be incorporated into your regular skincare routine. Different skin types obviously have different needs. In order to answer the first, we need to know what skin type does our skin fall under. If you don’t know what your skin type is, click HERE.

Next comes the layering of products itself. Asian (specifically Korean) products couldn’t be any more different from Western brands in terms of product naming as they are now. There’s essence and emulsion on the Asian side then again there’s serum and lotion on the other end. This normally causes confusion to the users especially when they try to mix products from both Asian and Western brands. How would you know what comes before what? >.<

I’ll try my best to make this as comprehensive as possible and include some recommendations as well – click the product name on the caption to be directed to the review as requested by Ladden Banks via e-mail;
“Hello Joelle, — next time please call me Celline. πŸ™‚

How are you? My name is Laben. It’s a wonderful opportunity to have you connected through email. I’ve been visiting your website, Product Arena (it’s fabulous!) for a while and heard a lot about you and your work. Can we talk? What products do you believe are the best for skin care? And what do you think they are the best? I am asking because I wanted to know what are the top priorities of women as far as skin care is concerned. I understand how busy you are but if you can answer my questions I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, Laben.”
But please do keep in mind that what I include below are only suggestions; what works for me may not work for you and vice versa simply because our skin reacts differently. So please, buy with your own discretion.

STEP 0: Remove Make-up

Left: Tony Moly Floria Cleansing Tissue | Right: Etude House Happy Teatime Milk Tea Cleansing Cream
If you’re someone who, like me, wears makeup on a daily basis, then never ever forget this step especially when you normally use water-proof products. Cleansing products like these removes stubborn makeup and prevent them from clogging the pores. TM Floria Cleansing Tissues are great for light makeup and travelling as it is very convenient to use and easy tote around. EH Happy Teatime Cleansing Cream on the other hand is my heavy duty makeup remover. It does great in removing stubborn makeup residue and budge-proof products.
STEP 1: Cleanse
Left: Etude House Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam | Right: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser 
After removing makeup, wash your face to make it squeaky clean and fresh! <3
I actaully make sure to have both cleansers within reach all the time. I use EH Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam whenever my skin feels a wee bit troubled or when I can sense that a pimple is about to pop out. It helps dry out pimple faster. However, it usually dries out my skin too if I use it continuously. To restore my skin’s moisture to its normal level, I use Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser. It feels nice on the skin and it doesn’t dry out my skin even if I use it more than twice a day – perfect for those with dry skin!
STEP 2: Refiner/Toner/Astringent
Left: Pevonia Botanica Ligne | Right: Nisce Dr. Skin Toner
The last step for the cleansing stage is toning – obviously to remove impurities that could clog the pores. Toner is a alcohol/water based product that cleanses the skin before applying other skincare products. The difference between toner and astringent lies mainly on their alcohol contents. Basically, astringent is a type of toner with much greater alcohol contents. Pevonia Botanica Ligne (oddly called lotion) is a very mild toner that would work well with those with sensitive skin. Also, because it doesn’t sting, it could be used to clean the lash line. Nisce Dr. Skin Toner, just like EH Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam, is a bit stronger. Thus, making it super useful during “breakout” season.
STEP 3: Specific/Problem Area Treatment

This step depends on what your skin needs.. anti-aging, whitening, scar removing etc. Essence and serums are both made of concentrated active peptide or specific ingredient to target your problem area. They usually are thin and, like I said, concentrated which makes it a priority on my “to apply” list.
Left: Tony Moly Floria Essence | Right: Celeteque Ultra-Lifting Concentrated Serum
 Korean brands usually use the term “essence” – though they sometimes also have serums – while Western brands call it “serum”. Basically, the difference between the two is their base. Serums are mostly silicone-based whereas essence are mainly water-based. Despite the difference in their bases, both products are easily absorbed by the skin. Celeteque Ultra-Lifting Concentrated Serum, as the name suggests, is a gel-like serum that aims to remove premature lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Tony Moly Floria Essence, on the other hand, is great in lightening the skin and giving it a subtle glow.
3.2: Eye Care
Isfren RxMagic Eye Solution EX

Yes, I included eye cream in step 3 because for me, it is an area-specific treatment. My normal problem with my eye area is the bluish violet discoloration due to the lack of sleep and water intake.  Isfren RxMagic Eye Solution EX is by far the ONLY eye cream that worked for me so I really can’t make other recommendations for eye creams. Also, unless you have really problematic skin, this eye creams can be used for any skin type.

STEP 4: Hydrate/Moisturize
I’ve mentioned this time and again, ALL skin types need to be moisturized. It doesn’t matter if you’re oily or dry. You skin needs to drink too, you know. What matters is how you pick your moisturizer. Make sure that the formulation and consistency is good for your skin. If you’re oily, go with light, easily absorbed moisturizers – or often called as lotion/emulsion for Korean brands. Stir away from heavy, cream-type products as it could promote even more unwanted shine. If your skin is extremely dry, it can handle heavy cream moisturizers that are filled with major hydrators.
By all means, this step includes the heaviest and thickest skincare product so I prefer slathering it on last. For if I put it before the thin, concentrated ones, the moisturizer might block the skin from absorbing the former. But before we continue, do check HERE to know which category you fall under – to know which recommendation applies to you.
Left: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel | Right: Tony Moly Aqua Aura Emulsion
Gel-type moisturizers are usually recommended for oilier skin as it helps lock in the moisture without clogging the pores. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel fits the bill perfectly! It’s obviously a gel and it doesn’t feel super heavy on the face. What more do I have to say? This product has be raved by so many already. I’ll make a proper review on it come summer. Next is Tony Moly Aqua Aura Emulsion. Technically, emulsion is a milky moisturizing toner-like product used to effectively lock in moisture, just like the former, but it is supposed to be used after cleansing and before moisturizer. But since it’s already moisturizing on its own, it could be a substitute for cream-type moisturizers. Also, I wouldn’t suggest layering to much especially if you skin is oily for it has a huge possibility of breaking out. Remember, less is more. Just give your skin what it needs.. nothing more. πŸ™‚
Left: Ahava Essential Day Moisturizer | Right: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

I haven’t done a proper review on Ahava Essential Day Moisturizer but in a nutshell, it is a creamy white moisturizer that is rich in one of the major hydrators called glycerin which makes it very thick and slightly heavy on the face. It’s ultra hydrating too so I would recommend it only to those with extremely dry – almost flaky- skin. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, on the other hand, is very lightweight to a point that you can barely feel it on your face. It is easily absorbed but is as hydrating as the former. Now that I think of it, given its consistency, I suppose it would also work for oilier skin as it does not promote further oiliness or accumulation of grease/shine. For a cheaper alternative, you might want to try iWhite Korea Aqua Moisturizing Cream.. it works just as well! πŸ˜€

RULE OF THUMB ON LAYERING: When in doubt, apply the thinnest in consistency first!
Just to clear things up, I am not an expert on this matter. Whatever I share here is based on my personal preferences and some research done online. Don’t be confined on whatever I suggested here. πŸ™‚
I hope you learn something useful here. πŸ™‚ I’ll be posting my way of pampering my skin home-style during the summer as a follow up for this one.
See you on my next post! 

Disclaimer: Some of the photos included above are not my own. If you own any of the photos above, please email me so I can give proper credit. Thank you!