Compact cutie
EVERYTHING IS EMBARRASSING - Margarita Buenaventura (The Philippine Star) - March 24, 2017 - 12:00am

The last time I wrote about beauty, I extolled the virtues of a complicated, 14-step Korean skincare regimen. That sh*t ain’t easy. It required a fair amount of my finances, patience and time I could’ve spent eating my weight in tuna pie. Worst of all is that, while it did address certain skin issues, the problems were merely kept at bay — I kept having to look for alternatives when my skin developed resistance to the treatment, like a virus in one of those zombie films where everyone wears cargo pants. This meant that my formerly straightforward regimen turned into a literal web of steps and products. My skincare Frankenstein was beginning to turn against me.

So if I really wanted to have the skin I wanted, then I was going to need to address the issues that I was facing, head-on. No more mucking about with yet another damn serum.

My process was simple. I asked myself first: what were my most pressing issues? Most of my breakouts where concentrated on the chin area, and I was often troubled with cystic acne when the time of the month rolled in. I also had rosacea, which meant that my face had a red flush beyond my cheek area. My dermatologist had erred on the side of caution and recommended topical products versus more invasive means, so I realized that I would need to make that decision on my own.

Treating your main skin issues

When people notice how much my skin has improved, I always credit it to the wonders of birth control. I realized that my acne could be hormone-related, so I sought out a doctor to recommend the right birth control. Beyond its sexier functions, birth control is an excellent means to improve your skin — however, it can have some side effects if taken without the right advice. I decided to consult with a gynecologist first, a frighteningly old woman who thought that I was asking for birth control just so I could have sex with half of Manila. (Does she know that this has already been done? Major JK.) It’s been a year of me on the Diane 35, a mid-range birth control pill, and so far, I’m pretty happy with it.

For my rosacea, I decided to undergo IPL (intensive pulse light). It’s a pretty painless procedure that can be used for hair removal, but it’s also known to delay the effects of rosacea. It’s a little expensive, considering how much you’ll need, but there are several clinics that offer this at a package rate. I’m currently four sessions in, and I noticed that the redness has significantly decreased.

Curating your arsenal of products

By the time I was able to address my main skin problems, I turned to the products I used on a daily basis. Before, I felt like all I was doing was constantly trying to address every pimple and blemish; this time around, I focused on how to treat my skin in the long run. From an arduous 14-step process, I was able to pare down my daily routine to the following steps: cleanser, toner, emulsion, facial oil and sunscreen. I determined this by identifying which steps I couldn’t live without, and which ones I found myself skipping most often. The list varies in the evening, when I tend to put on a facial mask and I add a few more steps for some extra luxe. I rarely put on moisturizer anymore, and I think my skin has thanked me for the relief from all that product. Plus, I realized I don’t actually need to put that much stuff on my face. At least not every day.

That isn’t to say I now live the life of a skincare monk. (Nobody’s perfect, and certainly not I. The occasional impulse purchase still tends to happen.) But whatever product I add to my regimen should equate to another product getting the boot. That also makes it easier for me to identify what really works for me, versus piling on the stuff and assuming that they’re all great.

A caveat, though, for those looking to simplify their skincare regimen: it doesn’t necessarily mean spending less on your skin. In this process I’ve learned that it does pay to spend a little bit on your face. That isn’t to say that drugstore products don’t work, but when you find a product that works for you, sometimes it helps to invest in it. (I can’t stress enough, only if you need to. Otherwise, go for the cheaper alternative.) Prioritizing quality over quantity will do wonders on any type of skin — trust me, mine used to be the worst. In skincare — and sometimes, in life — a little change goes a long, long way.


A minimal beauty regimen.


Adios, 14-step skincare.

Because on most days, all you really need are the essentials. This regimen works best on combination skin.



Extra steps in The Evening:

Makeup remover

Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes / L’Oreal Micellar Water


The Face Shop Yehwadam Revitalizing Serum

Night oil

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with