Favourite Essence, Serum/Treatment & Cream/Moisturiser of 2020

Featured Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Happy 2021!

This is a continuation from the 1st part where I wrote about my favourite cleanser and toner for the year 2020. If you have not read the 1st part, I would suggest you to do so.

Disclaimer: My skin type is combination sensitive. And this post is not sponsored.

A quick question: Do you need facial essence in your skincare?

The answer is not necessarily, depending on your skin needs. If you felt that your skin need a hydration boost or the benefit from the facial essence, you can consider adding an essence into your skincare regime.

Favourite hydrating essence: Primera Miracle Seed Essence

Photo courtesy: Primerabeauty US

Why is this my favourite?

Out of all the essence that I have used, this is the most hydrating yet lightweight facial essence. Whenever I used this, It felt like an instant water boost on my face. The key ingredient used is the lotus seed extract – Rich in amino acids and polyphenols helps increase hydration, and help defend against environmental factors.

Other notable ingredients are the Niacinamide and Glycerin which helped to brighten and hydrate the skin. On top of that, it contains Saccharomyces Ferment known as the fermented yeast that provides anti-ageing properties. But it is listed at the bottom of the ingredients so It might be at a lower concentration.

The pros about purchasing this is that it comes with a complimentary cotton pad of 70 sheets. I would recommend you not to use the cotton pad because it absorbs more essence = wasting more essence. And the cotton fibre sticks on my skin after application which could potentially irritate your skin.

My only concern was that it was hard to use for the first few times as I was struggling to get the essence flowing out to my palm. I am not sure if it’s some air pressure or the hole diameter of the bottle.

This essence retails for USD 58 for 150ml.

Ease of application:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain harsh chemical?

Free from: Parabens, Mineral oil, Animal-derived ingredients, Synthetic colorants, Artificial fragrances, Imidazolidinyl urea, TEA


Favourite affordable essence similar to SK-II facial treatment essence:

  1. Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence RX (4th Gen)
  2. Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition

Why are these my favourite?

Missha has been my my favourite essence since 2019 and it still my favourite for 2020. I like the fact that this essence does not contain any pungent smell derived from the fermented yeast like the SK-II facial treatment essence.

Furthermore, it uses their Pro Ferment α™ technology that transforms the double fermentation content to phosphatide making it easier for the skin to absorb.

This 4th generation essence is a simple formulated essence containing 95% cica enzyme ferment extracts alongside pearl reef extracts and rice extracts. It helps to increase the hydration of the skin and moisture retention as well as smooth out fine lines/wrinkles for a youthful appearance.

I have been using this for almost 2 years and it has become a staple product in my skincare routine. I always felt that applying essence before your serums/ampoules or treatments make it absorb better to your skin. This essence retails for USD 31.20 (discounted) for 150 ml.

I decided to try this essence because some say that this is better than the Missha essence. I have been using this for the past 2 months. I would say that it deliver a similar result to Missha essence. I think it boiled down to personal’s preferences and the budget.

The unique thing about this essence is it contains Rosa Centifolia Flower Water that helps tighten pores and brighten your skin complexion. It also comprises of antiseptic properties that fight acne and reduce redness on the skin.

I like it whenever I applied on my face, it soothes and hydrates my skin immediately which gives a short “cooling” effect to calm my skin. Over time, it does brighten my skin and maintains the hydration. I prefer this over the original secret key treatment essence because it is simple formulated compared to the original consisting of less than 15 ingredients.

This essence retails USD 16.84 (discounted) for 150 ml.

Ease of application:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does the product contain harsh ingredients?

Missha: free from parabens, artificial fragrance, artificial colouring, mineral oil, alcohol, sulfate.

Secret Key: free from parabens, animal oil, artificial fragrance, artificial colouring, mineral oil, alcohol, sulfate.


Favourite hyaluronic acid treatment: THE LAB by blanc doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule.

Photo courtesy: THE LAB by blanc doux

Why is this my favourite?

Before I even mentioned the reason why I like this ampoule. I would like to state the difference between a serum and an ampoule to avoid any confusion.

The difference between a serum and ampoule:

Photo courtesy: Rovectin

According to the photo above, the first column represents the texture, second column represents the function and the last column represent the usage.

I liked this ampoule because it is a lightweight formula that can be used daily. Also, it does not break me out and super hydrating on the skin. What’s so special is that it contain 10,000ppm low molecular mass hyaluronic acid that able to penetrate to your skin deeper.

Besides, it consist of white snow tea leaf extract and cauliflower mushroom extract for a natural fermented polysaccharids formula that aid the growth of the natural moisture factors filaggrin and ceramides. Most importantly, it is fragrance free and free of colour additives. I usually put this at night 3 times a week and wake up in the next morning to a nice glowy skin.

This ampoule retails for USD 21.70 (discounted) for 30ml.

Ease of application:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does the product contain harsh ingredients?

Free from: parabens, artificial fragrance, artificial colouring/dyes, essential oil.


Favourite serum: Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief

Photo courtesy: Krave Beauty

Why is this my favourite?

Previously, I often have redness on the face and dry patches around the jaw. Besides, I do have acne scarring hence I was looking for a serum that help to tackles these problem and seriously this works for me. It is also great for those who have damaged skin barrier. Or at least want to maintain a healthy skin barrier.

I apply this 3 times a week but it is appropriate to apply daily. This serum is soothing and does not feel heavy on the skin. The effect is not immediate and it took me about 3 weeks to see the results. Overall, it does brighten my face and my redness was significantly reduced. I do notice that my acne scars were lighten too.

I would like to caution that if you have oily skin, I would recommend to apply 1 pump of the serum. But if your skin is normal to dry skin, 1 to 2 pump is recommended.

This serum retails for USD 28 for 45ml

Ease of application:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does the product contain harsh ingredients?

All KraveBeauty products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and formulated without fragrance, essential oil, colorant, and potential allergic sensitizers.


Favourite moisturiser/cream: Krave beauty Oat So Simple Water Cream

Photo courtesy: Krave Beauty

Why is this my favourite?

As you can read from the name, it is a simple formulated cream with less than 10 ingredients. The cream consist of the main ingredient: Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract that is about 80% according to Liah Yoo, the founder of Krave beauty. She mentioned that oat extract help to retain skin moisture and rebuild the skin barrier.

It is a simple cream that soothes and hydrates your skin and it could act as a foundation for layering your active ingredients such as vitamin C, hyaluronic treatment, retinol and many more. Also, the cream is fungal acne safe which is a huge bonus for me.

I have tried many creams and even some expensive creams contain ingredients that could triggered fungal acne. Fungal acne and pimple are two different terms.

Photo courtesy: Zula.sg

Fungal acne is defined as caused by yeast, a fungus, that inflames the hair follicles on your skin and causes pimplelike bumps or red bumps. I used to have it on my forehead and it is relatively itchy that cause me wanting to scratch my forehead. It can also appear on the chest, back, or upper arms. From my experience, it is harder to treat fungal acne compared to regular acne. It takes about 2-3 weeks properly treat it.

I have been using this cream since it was launch back in 2019. Even though I have other cream, I always reach out to this simply because I liked how basic it is and the unique texture that seem like a heavy cream but once applied it is like a thin layer of water on your face. It is perfect for those who lives in a humid and hot country or during summertime.

This cream retails for USD 28 for 80 ml.

Ease of application:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does the product contain harsh ingredients?

All KraveBeauty products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and formulated without fragrance, essential oil, colorant, and potential allergic sensitizer.

Unfortunately, I do not have a favourite for the sunscreen category, the sunscreen that I am currently using is decent but not something that I am fond of. So I am hoping to finish the current one and hoping to find a sunscreen that I liked in 2021.

If you are interested in the product mentioned above, feel free to click on the link under their name. Thank you for taking your time to read the post. Stay tuned for more post in 2021!

Cheers,

Favourite Cleanser & Toner of 2020

Featured image: photo courtesy of Eqqualberry

I decided to combine my November and December favourites for the beauty category here because it’s sum up the products I used for this year.

Without further explanation, let’s jump straight into the products:

Disclaimer: My skin type is combination-sensitive.

Favourite Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Face cleanser

Photo courtesy: First Aid Beauty

Why is this my favourite?

First of all, this cleanser is affordable and I don’t think there is a need to splurge on an expensive cleanser because it is a wash-off process that you put on your face no more than 60 seconds. Some may not prefer cream cleanser because it might be either overly drying or stripping leaving your skin feeling tight. But a combination skin like me has benefitted from using this and I love that my skin felt clean but still retaining that hydration after cleansing. Over time, my skin felt smoother and softer. I have recommended this to my friends which they told me that their skin have improved – lesser pimple and oiliness.

This cleanser retails for SGD 34/USD 21 for 142g.

Ease of application:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for money:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain Harsh chemical?

Free from the followings: Alcohol, Artificial Colorants, Artificial Fragrance, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Parabens, Petrolatum, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Sulfates, Talc, Formaldehydes, Oxybenzone, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclocarbon, Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol.


Favourite Toner for combination to oily skin: Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner

Photo courtesy: Isntree

Why is this my favourite?

The toner contains 80% of green tea extract with that being the first ingredient in the list and green tea does have many benefits to the skin such as antioxidants, anti-ageing and reduce redness/flushing. This toner is also alcohol-free and fragrance-free making it gentle and less irritating to the skin. Lastly, the cost of this toner is affordable about SGD 18 for 200ml. I do not think there is a need to splurge on toner as it is the first step after cleansing to give some hydration to the skin and regulate back your skin pH level.

Ease of application*:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Can use with or without a cotton pad.

Value for money:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO (most suitable for combination to oily skin type)

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any Harsh chemical?

photo courtesy: Isntree Korea

Favourite refreshing toner for all skin type: Keep cool and soothe bamboo toner

Photo courtesy: Keep Cool Korea

Why is this my favourite?

I live in a place where the weather is hot and humid frequently so a refreshing toner can instantly cool down my skin on sunny days. The toner contains 85% bamboo water with it being in the first ingredient in the list. Bamboo water is more hydrating than regular water and helps to boost natural collagen production. I also liked that it does calm and soothe the redness of my skin. Likewise, I brought it at an affordable price of about SGD 20 for 350ml that lasted for four months. A GOOD DEAL!

Ease of application*:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Can use with or without a cotton pad

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

Free from: Alcohol, Fragrance, Parabens and Essential oil.


Favourite 2 in 1 toner: Laneige cream skin refiner

Photo courtesy: Lameige Korea

Why is this my favourite?

This toner is specially formulated by Laneige Cream Blending Technology™ to dissolve a jar of cream to the skin toner. It contains white tea extract rich in amino acid to soothe and reinforce the skin barrier and return skin to its healthy condition. Plus, white tea consists of a higher number of antioxidants than green tea. This makes me get ready faster, for example, daytime skincare routine I will apply this after cleansing, followed by essence and finally sunscreen. It is also very hydrating for skin during hot weather.

But my only concern is that it’s somewhat sticky after the toner dries. I would recommend applying one layer regardless of your skin type so it might not feel that sticky. The toner is more costly than the ones mentioned above, retails about SGD 38 for 150ml.

Ease of application*:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Best recommended to use without a cotton pad.

Value for money:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO

Animal cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

Free from: Alcohol, Fragrance and Parabens.


Favourite exfoliating toner: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

Photo courtesy: Krave Beauty

Why is this my favourite?

A quick question: Do you need to exfoliate your skin?

The answer is Yes. Regardless if you have wonderful skincare products and you do not exfoliate your skin, you need to re-evaluate your skincare regime! Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This opens the way for moisturising products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective.

I swear this is the only AHA toner that worked for me. It is gentle enough yet not overly drying to my skin. I could see result (lesser breakout, glowy skin) after using it for 3 weeks. It contains 5.25% glycolic acid and formulated with a pH of 3.5-4.0. Glycolic acid is commonly used to formulate AHAs toner.

Kale-lalu-yAHA contains vitamin-rich leafy greens like kale, spinach, and parsley that is load with antioxidants to give your skin an energy boost. In addition, it consist of aloe water, hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to replenish, hydrate and soothe skin.

Initially, when I first started using, I would experience a slight tingling sensation that I thought my skin is “burning”. This is a common experience for those who first started using chemical exfoliant as our skin is new to the ingredient. Although AHAs are often marketed as safe for all skin types, you might want to be cautious if you have extremely dry and sensitive skin. I strongly recommend using once per week then slowly building it up to twice per week.

Please be warned not to use it on open wounds, the toner might sting the hell out of your skin and possibly making it worst.

The toner retails for USD 25 for 200ml.

Ease of application:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You do require a cotton pad to swipe it over your entire face.

Value for money:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin types:

YES|NO (sensitive skin user should use with caution)

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

All KraveBeauty products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and formulated without fragrance, essential oil, colorant, and potential allergic sensitizers.


Favourite non-AHA/BHA/PHA exofilating toner: EQQUALBERRY Daily Peeling Swimming Pool Toner

Photo courtesy: EQQUALBERRY Korea

Why is this my favourite?

As much I loved Krave beauty toner, I was on a hunt for an exfoliating toner that does not create any tingling sensation when applied on the skin and this is the one. It does not only exfoliate your skin but also moisturise it at the same time. Surprisedly, this toner does not contain any alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) or Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA) but rather contains KERASOLAZE(H) to exfoliate the skin.

It was known as a protein solution separated from the hatching liquid within 24 hours after rainbow trout’s eggs hatch. There should be low irritation to the typical exfoliating component BHA and 24-hour protein decomposition in some tests, which is suitable for daily peeling.

Eqqualberry toner contain 5 BERRY COMPLEX which origined from 5 types of berries to provide moisture and ZEMEA® – a moisturiser using plant-oil extract that derived from corn (GMO-free) as a base.

Since it’s a gentle exfoliating toner, I used it for twice or thrice a week and it did not cause any redness or breakout for me. My skin felt more moisturised and glowy after application in comparison to the Krave beauty’s toner. I introduced this to my boyfriend for his eczema-prone skin which he is impressed. I purchased this toner for SGD 23 (discounted priced) for 300ml which is totally worthy.

Ease of application:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You require to use a cotton pad to swipe it over your entire face.

Value for money:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Compatibility to all skin type:

YES|NO (Most suitable for normal to dry skin including sensitive skin)

Animal Cruelty free:

YES|NO

Does it contain any harsh chemical?

All ingredient is EWG tested & verified – the toner is free of harmful ingredients and heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury.


Okay these are 5 favourite toner for the year 2020! If you are interested any of the products mentioned above, feel free to click on the links under their name. Stay tuned for the second part of the favourite essence, serum and toner for 2020!

Cheers,