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Skin Care Basics: It's Never Too Early to Start

Skin Care Basics: It's Never Too Early to Start

As beauty enthusiasts, relatives and friends frequently always ask, "Please teach me about skin care. How do I start?"

I always say girls should start with a regular skin care routine as early as 13 years old when they start having breakouts because of puberty. I remember a friend telling me about her Korean classmate whose mother started her in skin care early.

“Her skin was like clouds,” said my friend of her former classmate.

Cleanse-tone-moisturize is a routine that I usually recommend. That, plus a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, is enough for your skin, unless you have specific problems like acne or melasma. Then, you'd need specialized products.

I started my skin care journey when I was in my 20s with Clinique’s 3-Step Skin Care System. Back then, the Clinique cleanser was a bar. Now, it’s a Liquid Facial Soap, which is Step 1Step 2 is the Clarifying Lotion, which comes in different numbers (1 being the mildest and 4 being the “strongest”). The last step was the iconic DDML—Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. When I got older, I started using Turnaround Cream, also from Clinique, at night.

The Clinique 3-Step Skin Care System is actually very effective for newbies because the only thing you need to find out is your skin type. From there, you can choose products.

But here’s a cheat sheet if you want to start your skin care journey:

First, find out if your skin is sensitive, dry, normal, normal-combination, oily or acne prone.

Sensitive Skin

Your skin is sensitive if your face has reddish/red patches on the cheeks, chin and/or forehead. If you don’t have these patches, try brushing your fingers across your cheeks with medium pressure. You
have sensitive skin if it turns red. You have sensitive skin if many products make your face sting.

Dry Skin

Your skin is dry if you have many visible lines and if your complexion is dull and rough. Normal skin is good skin. The complexion is radiant and there are hardly any blemishes. Normal/combination skin is characterized by a shiny complexion and pores that look larger than usual.

Oily or Acne Prone Skin

Oily skin has shine all over and pores are large and very visible pores. Blackheads, whiteheads and blemishes are very visible on oily skin which is usually acne prone.

You tailor your skin care to your skin type. If you have any doubts or questions, it's best that you visit a dermatologist.


Step 1: Cleanse

If your skin is dry, go for gentle cleansers like Physiogel and Cetaphil. If you wear makeup, remove it at night using micellar water (check out brands like Avene and Bioderma) before you wash your face. Eye makeup requires a different remover (I use a cleanser from The Body Shop).

Step 2: Tone

Choose one without alcohol. My favorite toners are Moringa 02 Malunggay Herbal Facial Toner and Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion. I also like Kojiesan Cleanser + Toner and Etude Wonder Pore Freshner (sic).

Step 3: Moisturize

Moisturizing is important even if you have oily skin. You can use a serum if you have oily skin if you have issues with shine. My favorite is MAC Lightful 2-in-1 Tint and Serum with Radiance Booster. The separately packaged product has serum on top for nighttime while the tinted cream at the bottom is for the day (doubles as face base, too). The price is a bit steep but you get what you pay for.


Origins GinZing line is designed for younger women with dry to normal skin. From that line, I love the Refreshing Scrub Cleanser and Energy-Boosting Moisturizer.




For drugstore brands, check out Olay’s line of serums and moisturizers.

In the end, you should decide what works for you. I try to change my skin care routine every month except for one constant (MAC Strobe Cream) because I believe products stop working as effectively if you use them for long periods of time.

Again, with beauty products, it's your call. Make sure the product you use is fit for your skin. Always remember to stay hydrated to keep your skin healthy and glowing!

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