2015 marked significant changes in skincare practice and education. After spending all of the previous year with one esthetician in Huntington Beach in an attempt to heal chronic inflammation caused by changes in medication, I switched a different esthetician in Garden Grove, CA.  This new esthetician was Chinese and had a very different approach as Western spas and schools. Inflammation and breakouts were healed within a few months. New procedures incorporated here included extremely painful extractions, light treatment, and two forms of collagen induction treatment: Rezenerate (moderately effective after multiple sessions) and Micro Needling (effective after one session but quite aggressive).

Here is my current skincare routine with mini reviews and future plans.

1. Cleansing Oil

koseoilKose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil

Mini-Review: This is a dupe for DHC Cleansing Oil (at half the price!) of which I am still very much a fan. I have tried both Kose’s regular and whitening version of this oil and see no visible difference.This is used at night only and for the purpose of removing makeup.

Future: I will be sticking with this version or trying Hiptech Cleansing Oil as another DHC dupe.
2. Cleanser

I have two cleansers at the moment for no reason except that I liked both and had no patience to wait until one was empty. One of the following are used once at night and sometimes in the morning.

hadalabohydrateHada Labo Tokyo Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Mini-Review: Hada Labo’s entry into the US market. This is one of the few products well-received by Beautypedia of this line. Overall, it’s fine. Creamy, perfect texture, lather, not too oily, and cleans well. No side effects.

Vitelle Labs Pumpkin Cleanser

Mini-Review: Smells like heaven for a gourmet scent lover. Recommended by my Chinese esthetician and good for cleaning off all residue. A bit expensive and hard to find as it’s a private label product.

Future: I will probably drop the Hada Labo cleanser and keep the Pumpkin Cleanser. I am going to pick up Sum37 Rose Cleansing Stick sometime before March 2016 for travel and due to its rave reviews online.
3. Toner

shirajyunlotionHada Labo Shirojyun Lotion

Mini-Review: Great hydrating toner that makes your skin feel healthy after cleansing and preps the skin for additional products. Simple, un-glamorous perfection.

Future: I have no strong desire to stray from this brand’s toners. I may switch to the Gokujyun version for additional moisture. I am considering trying Mizon’s AHA/BHA Toner to address sebaceous filaments.
4. Serum

osmosisrescueOsmosis Rescue Epidermal Repair Serum

Mini-Review: This is the miracle product that saved my skin from its long bout of inflammation. I used mostly it in the morning and sometimes at night. Unfortunately, it expensive ($110 regular price for 1 oz and $80 at its very lowest) and a bottle is used up in just 2 months.

Future: Due to Osmosis’ high price point, I will be switching to another serum. I am looking at vitamin c formulas, including OST C20, Klairs Freshly Juiced, and It’s Skin Power10 Effector VC.

osmosisclarifyOsmosis Clarify Vitamin A Blemish Serum

Mini-Review: Another miracle product from my esthetician this year that was responsible for eliminating breakouts. It’s an effective spot treatment as well as an all-over-the-face serum. Mostly used at night and sometimes in the mornings.

Future: I may restock this product and add another serum to my routine. I’m interested in the Missha Time Revolution Night Serum due to reviews about its effectiveness in easing dark eye circles caused by lack of sleep.
5. Moisturizer

shirajyunmilk Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk

Mini-Review: Like all the other Hada Labo products currently in use, I’m happy with this lightweight moisturizer. It’s a simple moisturizer that does what its supposed to with no bad side effects.

Future: I will switch to the Gokujyun version once this is empty as I don’t feel the lightening elements are very effective (still a good moisturizer though!). Since this winter is harsher than usual California winters, I will add on an additional cream moisturizer after this step. I am currently considering Mizon Starfish, Missha Snail Renew, or Nature Republic Aqua Max.

6. Eye Cream

albagteyeAlba Botanica Green Tea Gel

Mini-Review: Packaging is clean and easy, with a pump that twists and locks. This product did not cause any milia. However, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference in undereye circles either.

Future: Once this is empty, I will not be restocking.


The current cosmetics routine will be documented in a subsequent post.