• Nathira Salim


Welcome back to my posts people.

As much as I am well versed in basic cosmetics, and body care, I am not that good in my skin care (you know whatever that goes on to my face). My skin care routine basically is a strict routine of whatever the Innisfree girl told me to wear - so much so that I have numbered the products so that I will know which product to put on and when. Like - does the sticky solution comes after the toner or after the serum? By the way - which is the serum?

It's going to be a long post ladies. Took some effort for this.

Lets begin with History:

When I was acne prone in my teens - a simple Kao Biore cleanser ( the blue one) routine every day and night plus a dab of Vicco turmeric ayurvedic cream ( I can still hear the jingles) every night plus a face mask made of chickpea flour, yogurt and water once a month and that was all I did till I was in my 20s. So there was a cleanser, a sort of moisturiser and a face mask.

My acne was gone when I was in my 20s and 30s apart from a few hormonal pimples appearing here and there. So I would say I was lucky when it came to the face - not so lucky for the rest of the body. I only focused on skincare - when I started to make more money and I am not joking. When I was sure I can splurge on something else than clothes, makeup and groceries, I bought my first full set of skin care products from BodyShop when I was - hold your breath - at whopping 35years old!!

I remembered buying some lotions and creams, but I don't think it made any difference to my face. Then I was into Innisfree. I loved their cleanser and toner and most of their products - and when I bought a full set - I was given a couple of bottles of serums and lotions and creams, and also the order in which I was to use them. Not knowing what was inside, what it did, the benefits and all - I used them for a few years until I started chemo.

Like I said before in many of my posts - being in chemo and radiation is not the best time to be worried about my face or skincare. Walking between rooms was considered an Olympic feat those days. So I'm telling you, if I wasn't worried or bothered even about my personal hygiene that time do you think I will be concerned about that fact my face is not bright or skin is not clear or the pigmentation all over my body and especially my eyes? Nope. I was deep within the shell of my body, I did not focus on my looks,

Now - almost five months past my chemo - my sis who came over for a visit - took a good look at my products on my vanity shelf and proclaimed them to be drying for my skin. And I was like eh? Just so you know - my sister is like the Google of skincare. I know she's really into skincare, but how much of it she's into - I didn't know.

What I had:

  • The whole Innisfree Cherry blossom set

  • Innisfree - Jeju Pomegranate Revitalizing Capsule Cream

  • Innisfree - Black Tea Youth Enhancing Ampoule (30ml)

  • Innisfree - Black Tea Youth Enhancing Ampoule (5ml) - Free Sample

  • Innisfree - Black Tea Youth Enhancing Eye Serum (5ml) - Free Sample

  • Innisfree - Intensive Anti-Pollution Sunscreen SPF50+ (50ml)

  • Estee lauder - Advanced Night Repair (50ml)

  • Estee Lauder - Resilience Multi Effect - Tripeptide face and neck cream (15ml)

  • Estee Lauder - Nutritious Active Tremella (15ml)

  • Estee Lauder - Micro Essence (15ml)

  • Estee Lauder - Micro Essence Face Mask -2

  • Estee Lauder - Face Cleanser


  • Innisfree - Brightening Pore Serum (1ml)

  • Innisfree - Jeju Orchid Enriched Cream (1ml)

  • Innisfree - Jeju Cherry Blossom Tone-up Cream(1ml)

  • Purito - Pure Hyaluronic Acid 90 Serum - qty not mentioned but its tiny

  • Purito- Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence -qty not mentioned but its tiny

  • Sensilis - Origin Pro EGF-5 - Globsl anti aging serum (1.5ml)

  • Edible Beauty Australia - Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mousse

  • Drunk Elephant - Protini Polypeptide Cream (5ml)

Now before you judge me after going through the EL products - just to let you know - all 15ml products came in a set that I bought from a special sale in Lazada in June 2020 - just before I was diagnosed with cancer. And yes - I am rich. Missing from the list is the Estee Lauder Lip Spa set which was also bought during a separate sale - but I can't find it anywhere now.

And the ones in bold were the only products I used. Yeah. The rest were lying around. Yes. The sample products were from Innisfree when I shopped there physically and the remaining from Sephora. I have not touched them still.

The reason the small EL products and samples were not touched was because I really didn't know what they were for. I mean if they were meant for something it should say it on the label. I didn't know what tripeptide was and I didn't want to risk it. And the second reason was - well cancer happened.

So my sis went through all of the above and said that apart from the EL Advanced Night Repair there was nothing good in my skin care. She whipped up her mobile phone, swiped out Sephora and started telling me about Vitamin C, Retinols, and Drunk Elephants. I wasn't sure it was a brand at first, She mentioned Dr Barts, Drunk Elephant and Pixi and all I heard was "blahblah and blah". I was clearly lost.

To make matters more complicated - I saw something related to skincare in my Pinterest that piqued my interest the following day:

I checked "Work Together" and by the 4th line I was thrown off balance. I have no idea what Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol were! What the hell is Niacinamide? I have heard of niacin before - wasn't it some kind of vitamins? What is salicylic acid? How come acids are used for face care now?

I took a screenshot and sent it my cousin. Enter my cousin, Leenu, another skincare expert who knows her salicylic acid from lactic acid and ethylated ascorbic acid. She was also my travel buddy in Korea. She replied - that yes, the details of the screenshot was true. She raved about retinol and then mentioned a cream called Tretin - a product not many people in India know about. She sent me away from WhatsApp with a YT link about layering 'The Ordinary' skincare products and asked me to do more research on them.

I checked the video first - if I was lost earlier, I was definitely in the woods 10 mins into her video. Just like everything - I decided to make some time to learn about skincare basics because its either now or never.

So what happened?

I took about two hours to read and look up and cross check various details and created nine separate notes on this in my Evernote. Most of the basics came from online health and beauty websites such as Allure,Self and Vogue. Some of them came from the beauty section from NY Times and CNN. The moment I completed my notes, I also completed the checkout option in Sephora and two days later the haul was at my doorstep. I am not disclosing how much I spent here. It's obvious.

What I learnt:

There are three main steps:

1) Cleansing

2) Toning

3) Moisturizing

There! Thats it end of the subject....not.

  1. For the three steps, depending on the skin type ( cos God did not make us all the same) - the type of products that are suitable for the skin should be used.

  2. And the order matters too. Depending on the consistency - you should start from the thinnest to the thickest. So it should be cleanser, toner, serum and moisturizer.

  3. And you know the products that have the name "acid' behind them? The ones that makes it should that they belong in a science lab rather than in your vanity? Well they are categorized as serums or depending on the products they are called 'actives'.

  4. The acid stuffs or serums are used for spot treatment or to deal with other issues such as acne, hyperpigmentation, blemishes, or dark spots - and though some stuffs can be used for AM care, they are better when used in PM.

I am not delving any further than this now. But I can tell you that the skin care steps have changed now.


Morning Routine:

  1. Cleanse - Innisfree Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam.

  2. Tone - Innisfree Cherry Blossom Toner

  3. Vitamin C - Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum

  4. Moisturizer - Estee Lauder - Resilience Multi Effect (15ml)

  5. Sunscreen - Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense Protection SPF30

Before I go on about my night routine - let me explain some more details.

The stuff I recently bought are in bold.

The Vitamin C - was highly touted as a good option. The package came in two bottles - one as a powder and the other as a thick liquid. You have to be the mixologist here - and only once as the Vitamin C will start activating the moment you mix both the stuffs together and lock it in the capsule it came in.

This has 15% L-Ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid and 1% Vitamin E. It was highly recommended that I get this because it came along with the ferulic acid and the vitamin E.

Feedback: It stinks and it's sticky. But I am at it for more than a week now and I am used to it.

Sunscreen - Both my sis and cousin were appalled that I have not worn a sunscreen ever. Again don't judge me. Drunk Elephant didn't have any higher SPF sunscreen than this so this is all I am using.

Also take note - it was after I ordered this - I realised I had the Innisfree Sunscreen with me - just hidden away in my travel pouch. The last time I used it was when I was at Bondi Beach in Sydney,Australia a year ago.

Night routine:

  1. Cleanse - Innisfree Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam.

  2. Essense - Estee Lauder - Micro Essence (15ml)

  3. Serum - Medik 8 Crystal Retinal (30ml)

  4. Serum - Estee lauder - Advanced Night Repair (50ml)

  5. Serum - Dr Dennis Gross - Hyaluronic Marine -Hydration Booster (30ml)

  6. Eye Cream - Estee Lauder - Nutritious Active Tremella (15ml)

  7. Moisturizer - Estee Lauder - Resilience Multi Effect (15ml)

  8. Lip Care - Laneige - Lip Sleeping Mask (Berry)

You would have noticed that the cleanser remains the same in both routines. I still have a lot more cleanser left, and I really like it and so no reason to change yet. Once I am done with this, I will check out something else.


The EL essence was really tiny. So once this is up, I will just use up the Innisfree toner which again have a lot more to go before the bottle is empty. I will check out the alternative soon.


Though I did purchase these items together, the Retinol came a week later. I will post more about Retinol soon, but since this is my first retinol product - and I have sensitive skin - I bought the Medik8 Crystal retinal which was the most basic level and considered as starter. The idea is that once my skin is accustomed to this, I can level up.

A quick summary of the benefits of retinol:

  • Prevents wrinkles

  • Brightens dull skin

  • Treats acne

  • Fades dull skin

And this is Vitamin A. This is not an easy peasy lotion for you to just dab it on like a sunscreen on a beach and relax. This has to be applied as sparsely as possible and you should only take a pea sized amount of retinol to apply all over the face, avoiding the eye area just to get your skin used to it. For first two weeks - I am to apply this only twice a week for the first two weeks after that every other night for the following two weeks. Pregnant and breastfeeding mums - you are not supposed to use this - but I heard theres another alternative to it called the Bakuchiol - a natural alternative and does not cause much irritation as per the site here. Will need to read up on it.

Hyaluronic Marine - a good Hyaluronic product and it keeps your skin hydrated. I love the smell, and it also sort of sticky, but I love it. It gives a nice feeling and I also love the bottle it came in.


For now - I am using up the 15ml EL's resilience multi effect cream since it has the tri peptides (will explain more in later posts). After this 15ml is over, I still have the Drunk Elephant's Protini Peptide Cream(5ml) which I expect to last maybe two weeks or so.

Did I miss anything?

Oh yes - Masks. Not the ones we wear against Covid. The facial masks that are hydrating and smells nice - those ones. I make it a point now to have a 20 min mask time once a week ( this is scheduled on Saturdays now).

And once a week - I apply the sleeping pack once a week after the night time routine. I just have to apply it all over the face like a cream, sleep and rinse it off the next day. Currently using the Innisfree Aloe Revital Sleeping Mask.


I just started this skincare routine and have been working on it for the past eight days and I have nothing to complain about...yet. (Note: At the time of publishing - its past one month).

The main objective is to stay hydrated, get rid of the darkened skin tone under my eyes, and have a clear skin and look younger than my age. I am in my early 40s, and cancer free and so my focus right now is to make sure I look after my skin and my body, inside as well as outside.I should have started on these products in my mid 30s, but my heart was somewhere else. So I hope I am not too late to jump on this skincare bandwagon.

I will post the before and after pics maybe a month or so later to see if adding the so called serums and vitamins were worth the hype and money. I am still reading and watching dermatologist's YT videos on the facts about new serums, and vitamins.

In my next post, I will write up more about the vitamins in skincare and how they are the same vitamins used to fight cancer, my skin care experts's experience on their skincare and products and their advise.

Also - do any of these products contain any ingredients that can cause or bring forth cancer regression? More research needed though.

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