Glow with Asian skincare

by Ashley P.

Ashley is a third year Sociology student at Singapore Management University and runs a skincare/beauty Instagram account, Glowtoglow. She lives for the multistep step skincare routine and coffee, loves a good mascara and has a severe allergy to snobs and know-it- alls. She is also a major fan of Muji and convenience store brownies.


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I have always used a toner and a moisturizer since I was 11 but at 18, when a skincare analysis revealed that I had wrinkles under my eyes because of dry skin, I freaked out big time and headed to Yves Rocher immediately to pick up an eye gel for $22. This event led me down the rabbit hole of endless skincare consumption. Every skin analysis I did gave me the same results- that my skin was very dry. How could that be?! I moisturize every day and night, thought my 18-year-old self, who had not dabbled in the world of serums, sheet masks, and essences (of course, much less AHAs, BHAs and peeling gels: say what?).

Today, my skincare routine has evolved from a toner and moisturizer combo to a multi-step skincare routine at night that I really enjoy getting through. It’s very therapeutic and also feels very necessary. So, without further ado, let the fun begin!

I’m a big advocate of double cleansing because it prevents clogged pores and breakouts. First, I start off with either a cleansing oil or cleansing water as a first cleanse. I have been using either the Kose Softymo Deep Cleasing Oil or the Bifesta Cleansing Bright Up Lotion, respectively. This is one of my favourite steps because it’s so refreshing to remove your makeup after a long day. Second, I use a powder face wash as a second cleanse. For this step, I use the Keana Nadeshiko Baking Soda Scrub Powder Facial Wash. Bits of the powder do not fully dissolve when you add water to lather it up, so these bits gently exfoliate my skin.

After double cleansing comes the exfoliating step. I alternate between an AHA gel, a peel-off mask, or a peeling gel. I do either one about three times a week and it has helped so much with preventing breakouts. Toner is next. I love using mist-type toners because they are so convenient and quick to use. Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist has been my go-to recently because it feels like a hydrating burst of roses and honeysuckle! Next up is essence time! I love essences because most contain fermented ingredients which strengthen the skin’s metabolism to make it healthier and stronger.

Fermented skincare has a ton of benefits, from hydrating to refining skin texture to brightening. After the essence comes the powerhouse products of every skincare routine- serums. I pick out a combination of 3-4 serums for the night depending on the condition of my skin. To tackle dull skin, I reach for Laneige’s White Plus Renew Original Essence. If my skin has been oilier and more off-balance, I go for Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating Serum and Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum. If my skin needs some soothing, I choose Aesop’s Parsley Seed Anti-oxidant Serum.

Unless I get home rather late, I usually pick out a sheet mask after applying the serums. The sheet masks in the photo are my top sheet mask picks. I feel like using a sheet mask after serums seals all the goodness in! A lightweight moisturizer, sleeping mask, eye cream and lip balm follow after the sheet mask is removed. My morning skincare routine is a shortened version of my night skincare routine, and with sunscreen thrown in! Biore UV Aqua Rich Sunscreen is my holy grail sunscreen and I honestly wouldn’t know how to live if it didn’t exist.

I’ve learned so much in my skincare journey and here are two of the more important things I have learnt so far:

  1. Always listen to your skin. I used to think ‘more is more’, but my skin would break out from rich creams and too many layers of skincare products being slapped on my face. Now, I adjust my skincare routine according to the current condition of my skin.

  2. Get informed. Get informed about skincare ingredients and the science behind skincare in general. I used to think any old facial cleanser would do, and was using cleansers with high pH levels. After learning that using cleansers with an acidic pH makes your skin less bacteria friendly (and thus reduces the occurrence of acne), I’ve switched to new cleansers and will never go back because of how much more balanced my skin feels now. Coupled with gimmicky skincare marketing and humans being so easily persuaded, getting informed about skincare ingredients really helps ensure that you get a bigger bang for your buck.