Skincare is expensive, but I’ll admit that I absolutely love having nice skin. My heart flutters when someone compliments my skin type – nice, glowing, yes thank you. After having terrible skin throughout my teenage years (why?), the gift of glowing skin is something I’ll always be grateful for.

I’ve calculated the total estimated cost for all my skincare products and it’s RM498 – I mean, it’s not like I’ll use up all the products in one day, so I think it’s worth it, but I’m shooketh all the same.

Still, I almost sold my soul (maybe I did?? OMG…) for flawless skin and the experience has been great so far, because my skin condition is tied to my self-worth, unfortunately. Another disclaimer is that RM498 is not the exact amount I spent. It’s just that these are the products in my current skincare routine.

skincare routine personal (11)
Did I sell my soul for clear skin?

A lot of my products are gifted, either from my time as a beauty writer at Likely or from the brands themselves. Also, I did a PRP treatment on my skin – for Likely – sometime in November last year, so my skin is still good from that. I’d probably do PRP once a year though, and the average cost to get it done in aesthetic clinics is about RM1000.

I’ve stopped taking birth control though, my skin is a little bit oilier than before, but it’s nothing that could crush my self-esteem in a heartbeat. Anyway, a final disclaimer: I’m not an expert at skincare, like a dermatologist, I’m just an enthusiast. Get to know my 10-step skincare routine for oily skin here.

1. Makeup remover

Purevivi Cleansing Lotion – RM40 (gifted)

Removing my makeup is compulsory. Like, my idea of a goodnight text is, “Did you remove your makeup?” I wear quite a bit of it at once, more than regular people, so I’d like my skin to take a breather at night. This makeup remover by Purevivi is okay, but I do have to cleanse immediately after, otherwise I’d feel like my skin becomes oily very quickly.

I try not to use makeup wipes because they cost too much money for such little product, but it’s nice to be lazy sometimes, like when I’m travelling.

2. Cleanser

Nightlabs Japanese Cedar Bud Foam Cleanser – RM16 (gifted)

I’m currently using Nighlabs Japanese Cedar Bud Foam Cleanser because I’ve recently liked foaming cleansers very much. I feel like they do the job better than gel cleansers and the bubbles are so much fun. Personally, I’m not fussy with cleansers – most of them are okay to me, but I avoid moisturising ones.

PS: Before I journeyed to the world of flawless-skin-people, I used a coal-based soap called Coal Face Soap by Kayman Beauty (RM35) to detoxify my skin.

It was worth it because my skin cleared up significantly after two months. The local brand’s product line has expanded so much since then.

3. Toner

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater – RM35 from Sephora

This is my favourite toner purely because of the scent. I believe it has soothing properties and whatnot but the rose scent keeps me coming back to buy this product, even though I can clearly settle for cheaper options, which I do have. My cheaper options are Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner (RM15) and Hatomugi Skin Conditioner (RM30) but they don’t smell as good.

4. Chemical exfoliation (twice a week)

COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion – RM50 from Shopee

I prefer chemical exfoliation to physical exfoliation because I feel like the latter could be too harsh for my skin. I don’t exfoliate too often either because I don’t feel like I need to. If you get my drift, I currently do skincare by my feelings.

5. Aloe vera

Aloe Vera Gel – RM12 from Guardian

Aloe vera is a separate step altogether because I feel like my skin cannot live without it. Besides treating sunburn, Aloe vera heals and repairs your skin cells if they’re damaged for any reason. This one from Guardian is cheap, unscented and feels good on my skin.

6. Essence

Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence - RM140 (gifted)
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence – RM140 (gifted)

I needed something to protect my face from pollutants, so I’m really glad for this antioxidant facial treatment essence. It smells divine – there’s something about the black tea scent that tugs at my heartstrings, like a long-forgotten romance.

7. Moisturiser

Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Jelly Cream – RM90 (gifted)

I love Innisfree – even though I’ve lost VIP status because I didn’t spend money on the brand for a while (oops!). Their VIP gifts are SO worth it though, you get one for your birthday and another for being their VIP. This Jeju Cherry Blossom Jelly Cream was a PR gift from one of the brand’s events.

The texture is so fun, bouncy, and it works on my skin when I use it sparingly. I don’t get moisturiser marks on my pillow – so that’s a plus point!

8. Eye cream (only at night)

Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream - RM60 from Shopee
Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream – RM60 from Shopee

Like a true victim of capitalism in the beauty world, I don’t actually know if eye cream works – but I’m sure I’ll find out in 20 years or so. If the skin around my eyes still looks spankin’ new by then, I’ll let you know.

9. Sheet mask (when I feel like it)

Sheet masks from Laneige (RM20), Innisfree (RM5) and Althea (RM3)
Sheet masks from Laneige (RM20), Innisfree (RM5) and Althea (RM3)

The price of a sheet mask ranges from RM3 to RM20 – but I use whatever I feel like, whenever my skin needs a pick-me-up. Like, if I have a wedding the next day. My favourites are the essence type sheet masks from Innisfree – ginseng and acai are my top recs.

10. Sunblock (only during the day)

Biore UV Anti-Pollution Body Care Serum Refresh Bright SPF 50+ - RM30 from Watsons
Biore UV Anti-Pollution Body Care Serum Refresh Bright SPF 50+ – RM30 from Watsons

Er… so as I was writing this, I found out that this is a body sunblock, but it’s been working pretty great for my face. I’ve been using this every day since June last year and I’m still using it now – and it comes in a substantial quantity for its fair price. Maybe “face” and “body” stuff is just labels, for some products.

Optional: Birth control pills (RM 50/ month)

Source: Indiamart

I didn’t start taking birth control because I had acne, but it was such a great help to clear my skin. It also controlled my skin’s oil production so countries don’t fight over it. The one I was taking is called “Yaz” and I bought it over the counter at pharmacies. I personally prefer going to Guardian pharmacies because it’s slightly cheaper there, like RM45 instead of RM50.