Beauty School
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Beauty School: How to Apply Skincare

For those confused about the functions of the multitude of skincare products, and the multi-step beauty routine, here is the lowdown.

First, the steps.

Note that you don’t have to follow all the steps, just what works for you.

For each step, only one product is necessary (except for cleansing because you need to get skin thoroughly clean).

PM routine (steps 1 to 3 are most important):
1) Cleanse and exfoliate (makeup remover, foamy cleanser; scrub/ cleansing device depending on your needs)
2) Prepare skin for absorption (pre-serum/ essence/ beauty lotion/ emulsion)
3) Nourish (serum/ treatment/oil)
4) Hydrate (moisturiser/cream/oil)
5) Protect (sleeping mask)

AM routine (steps 1 to 5 important)
1) Cleanse (a gentle one, like a water cleanser or cream cleanser)
2) Prepare skin for absorption (pre-serum/ essence/ beauty lotion/ emulsion)
3) Nourish (serum/ treatment/oil)
4) Hydrate (moisturiser/cream/oil)
5) Protect (sunscreen)
6) Makeup optional

Here’re some info on what the various products are for.

The key to clearer skin.

Oil cleansers:
To remove waterproof make-up. Rub onto dry skin to melt away make-up, then add water to emulsify the oil. Use a regular cleanser afterwards to get rid of the remaining oily residue.

Micellar water or water cleansers:
A watery lotion for removing non-waterproof make-up. Not to be confused with a toner. Soak a cotton pad and swipe on skin.

Scrub, peel or cleansing device (Clarisonic etc.):
For gentle exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells at the surface. A facial scrub can be foamy or not, and contains fine granules.
A peeling lotion usually contains fruit acids to remove the surface cells.
A cleansing device also serves the same purpose while offering the skin a deep cleanse.

Regular cleansers:
Foamy ones are made to remove excess sebum from oily skin; creamy ones are made to retain moisture in dry skin.

A watery lotion, usually with a high alcohol content. Soak a cotton pad and swipe away remaining deep-seated dirt, after cleansing. Can be drying. Skip if skin is not particularly dirty or oily.


Keep skin moist so the rest of the products work better.
Like how a wet sponge absorbs liquid more than a dry one.

Pre-serum/ essence/beauty lotion/ emulsion:
Viscous lotions that keep skin moist. Pat onto skin with clean hands or a cotton pad.
An emulsion is a lightweight moisturiser that is really only good for moistening and softening the skin.

Skinfood. The good stuff for the skin.

Serum/ essence/ treatment/ oil:
Potent blends that penetrate deeper into the skin to treat, firm, and heal.


Moisturiser/ cream/ oil
These seal moisture into the skin; some even boost the skin’s natural moisturising levels. Oils work like a serum and moisturiser. So I use them at night, or when I am too lazy to slather on a serum and moisturizer.


For PM: Overnight masks
Repairs and protects skin from drying heaters or air-conditioning.

For AM: Sunscreens
Pick broad spectrum ones (some come with the PA+ symbol) that protect skin against both UVA and UVB rays. These rays can cause sunburns, dark spots, wrinkles and even cancer.

How many steps do you have in your skincare routine?

Picture: Internet

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