[ Makeup & Beauty ]

Ion Insider: Everyday Skincare Routine: The Correct Steps!

I used to shun away from moisturizers and skin care of any form as I always thought that the more products you have on your face, the more clogged up the skin will be. I mean, after cleansing away all the dirt and particles from my pores, why would anyone want to stuff things back into them? >.<

How I wish I had known better!

During my university days, all the project stress, outdoor sports activities and unhygienic hall life gave me cruel acne problems that made me turn to doctors for help. On top of the usual antibiotics (not recommended for prolonging consumption), they also gave me cleanser, astringent, pimple cream and moisturizer with SPF.   That was when I realized how important good and targeted skin care routine is!

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
This was me 4 years ago on my graduation trip. My acne problem was more or less under control, but still, horribly dry with lots of blemishes. I was still slack with my skincare routine then and only used toner and astringent.

Not only having a skin care routine is important, understanding your own skin condition and knowing how to choose your skin care products + using them in the correct steps are equally important. I have dry and oily combination skin with large pores problem so toners and moisturizers are a must must.

FUN FACT: I only started using moisturizers 2.5 years ago and here’s the result.

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
A recent photo of me on a yacht with visibly clearer and healthier skin, protected and unafraid of the sun and drying wind 🙂 No edits. Not even the nose.

Today, I am using more than just cleanser, toner and moisturizer. Here are all the products that I use in a single day, just to keep my skin in tip-top condition.

Skin Care Routine
My everyday Skin Care Routine

Honestly, if you are blessed with better skin than I am, you do not have to go out there and stock up all the types of products that you might be missing in my posts. For some people, minimal skin care does well for them. But if you have oily combination acne prone skin like mine that needs a great amount of maintenance effort and control, this post is dedicated to you 🙂

So enough of nagging, today I will be talking about: What is the correct steps to putting on your everyday skincare products!

The Morning Routine

We all know that day and night defers as greatly as the Sun and Moon, the same goes to our skincare routine. Keeping in mind that the products that we use on our face need to be carried through the next few hours, knowing the weather and what you are going to do during these hours is important. In the day, it is warmer and you’ll be exposing your skin to harsh environmental changes such as a going in and out of air-conditioned areas as well as entering oily food eateries or being on the highly polluted roads. Thus, day time skin care needs to be light yet provide you enough protection to last you through the day.

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
My Morning Routine

Step 1: Cleanse

The first step to great skin is to clean clean clean. During the night, as your skin recovers, it automatically removes bad kinds of stuff, leaving an oily residue on your face. Thus, it is important to remove these bad and oily residues so that the other skincare products that you are going to use later on can penetrate into your skin.

I am using my new KIEHL’S Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash with Calendula Flower Extract for normal to oily skin type. It has a rich gel formula that activates with water to create a creamy, dense foam that gently removes impurities without stripping the skin of its essential moisture – very important for oily combination skin! While there are many schools of thoughts with regards to using face wash with lots of foam and no foam, I personally prefer using cleansers that gives me a nice and soft creamy foam – it makes me feel that I am doing my cleansing well and the foam creates a sliding barrier between my delicate skin and rough hands, reducing pulling and tagging (which causes wrinkles).

Skincare steps
KIEHL’s Calendula Cleanser and Toner

It is formulated with Calendula Flower Extract that helps to soothe and replenish the skin without over drying it. Regarded as a Traditional Chinese Medicine ingredient, the Calendula Flower Extract has strong anti-viral and detoxification properties, great to maintain healthy and happy skin!

Step 2: Tone

Toners are used to restore your skin’s natural pH levels as well as tighten your pores and preventing pore enlargement, making it more resistant against bacteria and micro-organisms. Toners are most essential with people who have an oily skin type and can make immediate and visible improvements to your skin.

When using a toner, it is recommended to apply a small amount to a cotton pad and simply wipe over your entire face, avoiding the delicate eye area. This step helps remove any last traces of makeup. However, in the morning, I usually simply use my hands to pat the toner into my face since there should not be any makeup to remove in the morning. This patting motion activates the skin and helps it to absorb the good ingredients quickly – I also think it helps saves your toner too! What a waste to throw away cotton pads with leftover toner!

I am also using KIEHL’S Calendula Herbal Extract Toner. It is Alcohol-free and made with Whole Flowers and Pure Extract for normal to oily skin types. You can even see flower petals in the bottle itself! These are natural, handpicked marigold petals placed into each bottle by hand!

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
KIEHL’S Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner

If you have noticed, the packaging design that I have is different – this is the 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Calendula Herbal Extract Toner designed by local Songbird Olivia Ong as part of KIEHL’s Singapore 10th Anniversary. When you purchase the limited edition products, 100% of the net proceeds will be donated to raise $10,000 for the Garden City Fund, a registered charity, and IPC established by National Parks Board.

Though a new purchase too, I’m hooked onto the light formula and natural fragrant scent – it smells very much like flower tea. Also true to its claims, it does help me to soothe and refresh my skin! What’s more, I get to do a part for charity, so… why not? 🙂

Step 3. Eye Serum

This is the step that I find many people skip.  The eye serum is a vital component and first defense against skin aging with the goal of preventing facial wrinkles. The area around the eyes is the most delicate – it is 40% thinner and 5 times more porous than facial skin (research by Estee Lauder) thus it reacts very quickly to environmental changes. The first signs of aging usually appear around the eyes thus taking good care of the area goes a long way into maintaining a young and youthful look.

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
Focus – The eyes! Here’s a close up on my Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Eye Serum

I have been religiously using the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronised Complex II for almost 3 weeks now and have seen visible improvements! For one, my dark circles are now brighter, making me look more well rested and more youthful. It has ChronoluxCB Technology that takes advantage of the restorative power of night to repair the look of damage that can age delicate eye-area skin. The formula is gel-like and I love how fast the product absorbs into my skin! Great for the morning rush when everything has to be fast!

Using an eye serum before makeup also helps plump up the area around your eye for better and longer lasting eye makeup application. Fewer creases = easier makeup!

 Step 4: Face Serum/ Targeted Treatment

Now, this is when you start treating any issues you might have on your face. I love serums as they affect the skin on a cellular level, speeding up treatment and repair. They are also super-concentrated yet light and can come in many different solutions – Brightening, spots treatment, whitening, calm skin, absorb excess oil or any other occasional skin concerns.  The best part? This step is optional or you can choose to pile up as many serums as you like on your face! I normally stick to only one serum in the day to keep things light, but at night, that’s when playtime comes! (will be talking more later)

If you have been following me closely on IG (@qiyunz) , I have been raving a lot about my Nuxe White range of products. The Nuxe Intensive Whitening Dark Spot Correcting Serum has been my go-to serum in the morning for its soft milky formula and fast absorption (REALLY FAST). My skin readily and happily absorbs every single bit of the product with no greasy or sticky film at all, allowing me to move on to my next skincare step quickly and fuss-free.

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
Nuxe White Serum and Emulsion

The product also targets at dark spots and evens out skin tone using active ingredients such as white flower and vitamin C to offer superior brightening effects, correcting and minimising the appearance of dark spots while promoting skin radiance and luminosity. It also contains extract of cherry blossoms for a moisturising effect. How to not love a product with so much awesome ingredients inside??!! 😛

Step 5: Moisturiser/ Sun Block

Finally! The last step! This step is basic to the point of crucial and everyone I know is an adamant believer in it. It is your savior from dry to oily skin! Combination skin occurs when your skin gets too dry and reacts by secreting oil (sebum) to protect itself. When your skin secretes too much sebum, this becomes a problem especially in our hot and humid climate. The excess sebum, mixed with sweat and other pollutants in the air, in turn, clogs our pores, causing pimples and acne issues.

Applying moisturizers helps provide your skin with adequate moisture throughout the day and prevents your skin from drying out. It also acts as a protective layer from all the harsh pollutants and hot weather. When your skin feels balanced, there is no need for it to secrete excess sebum anymore!

The Nuxe White Brightening Moisturizing Emulsion helps diminish the appearance of dark spots, re-plump, and revives skin radiance. It’s light and silky texture is formulated with Rice Powder that helps absorbs excess sebum, mattifying without blocking the pores, leaving a very silky finish. Once again, it absorbs super fast into the skin, leaving a healthy looking radiant complexion ready for makeup!

Skin Care Routine
NUXE White Serum and Emulsion

Some moisturizers contain SPF, which makes the morning skincare routine faster with less hassle. Personally, I like selection foundations or BB / CC creams with SPF so I get the adequate sun protection that we all need. If you do not have SPF in your makeup base or moisturizer,  you might want to consider getting an additional sunscreen product that is suitable for face use. Sun protection is one of the first and basic steps to anti-aging, so make sure you are well protected!

Skin Care Routine
Chanel CC Cream

The Night Routine Type 1

I always believe that ending your night right is the first step to starting your day right. Your nighttime routine will affect how you look the next day. Take it from someone who sometimes concusses with full makeup on only to regret a bad breakout the very next morning (don’t try). As the night turns cooler and our minds go into rest, our cells, in turn, go into overdrive to help repair the damage incurred during the day (Eg. from contact with environmental pollutants and UV radiation). Knowing this, we want to make sure that we use products that enhance our natural bodily functions 

Night time Skincare routine
Night time Skincare Routine Type 1

Step 1 & 2: Cleanse and Tone

Similar to the morning routine, the first 2 step is to cleanse and tone. If you wear heavy makeup ( like SPF laden products that needs extra cleansing or waterproof mascara etc), be sure to use a makeup remover of your choice. I personally prefer to use an oil based remover for my eyes and lip as I am fond of long-lasting mascaras, eyeliners, and lipsticks. It helps to really breakdown these products for total removal during cleansing later. If I know that I have been perspiring a lot during the day, I would also use a makeup remover wipe to breakdown all the extra debris before cleansing. It is highly important to wash off the day’s grime to create a clean slate for your cellular system later on.

For my cleanser and toner, I like to use the same KIEHL’S Calendula range as I find it suitable for day and night use. Cheers to products with double uses! 😛

Step 3: Eye Cream 

Similar to the day time routine, the very next step after toning is eye care. I prefer to use the lighter serum during the day for faster absorption and to prepare for makeup however, during the night, I let my eyes enjoy the creamy and luxurious texture of the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye.

Night time Skincare Routine
Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Eye Serum and Cream

While there is typically no real difference in the ingredients between the eye cream and serum, the different texture is the reason behind my choice for day and night regime. While a creamy texture might be too heavy for day use and may cause your makeup to slide if not well absorbed into the skin (where got time?!) , it allows the product to slowly work into the skin area around your eyes while you sleep at night, giving you the best every ounce of product has to offer!

Step 4: Pimple cream / Blemish control

Some doctors and skin care experts may advise using this type of product everyday, even during day time, but my personal preference is to keep this product for night use only. Most Blemish control or pimple cream products contain certain amounts of acid or benzoyl peroxide which helps kills bacteria. However, such ingredients also makes your skin more sensitive to the external environment such as sunlight or pollutants. Excessive drying of the skin may also occur thus I find that it is important to use stronger and thicker moisturisers to prevent excessive peeling, which is also the kind of moisturisers I use during the night.

Also, it is important to not over use such products and not to use more than one of such products at any one time as it may lead to skin irritation.

Whenever I see new breakouts or notice blemishes, I will apply a thin layer of the KIEHL’S Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Solution. It is formulated with a powerful blend of blemish-fighting Dioic, Salicylic and Lipo Hydroxy Acids, known to minimize the appearance of acne and blemishes.  It is also suitable for daily use that allows skin healing, while helping to reduce the appearance of post-acne marks – just what I need!

Night time Skincare Routine
KIEHL’S Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Solution

Step 5: Serum serum SERUMSsssss

This is my favourite part of skincare! Remember how I mentioned that you can pile up your serums as much as you comfortably want? Well, this is the time to look into the mirror and make your own concoction for your skin needs.

Our skin is exposed to different types of weather and external conditions everyday – one day I may be out in the sun for the whole day, which means I’ll probably reach out for more repairing and whitening serums for the night. The next day I might have spent the whole day in the office, thus I’ll reach out for my vitamin C serums to brighten up a air-conditioned-dulled skin. If I find that my skin have been pretty oily recently, I’ll pull out oil controlling serum to counter the problem.

Night time Skincare Routine
My trusty brown bottle for almost every kind of problem I have
Night time Skincare Routine
SKININC Skin Supplement Bar – Regenerate, Vitamin A

If you are unsure of what serums to use or have no time to fix up your own routine, I’ll recommend Skin Inc for a detailed skin analysis and a serum customisation – Yes, you can customise your very own serum at Skin Inc to target the specific problems that you have!  Skin Inc is the world’s first Skin Supplement Bar offering highly concentrated, 100% pure and active serums and skincare from Japan. As everyone’s skin is different, Skin Inc treats individual skin identities and their needs with customised products and treatments targeted at delivery to the skin’s deeper layers where it matters. 

Step 6: Moisturise

Similar to the day time routine, every routine should end off with a suitable moisturiser of your choice. Your skin needs to stay hydrated as you recharge overnight and ending off with a moisturiser is the best gift you can give to your skin everyday. During the night, I’ll choose heavier moisturisers to replenish all the moisture lost during the day and attempt to lock in as much moisture as I can 😛

My holy grail moisturiser must be the Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme. God knows what kind of ingredients Chanel uses in their Hydra Beauty Range of products, but I’ve tried almost everything from this range and I must say this range is amazing for our climate here in Singapore. Light yet highly moisturising, refreshing with a sweet apple fragrance  – relaxing!

When I’m turning on the air condition for the night, I’ll switch to my Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme, a similar version except in a cream texture for higher moisturising effect and night time protection. Both products provide intense hydration backed by advanced antioxidant protection, restoring your skin’s radiance, while delivering freshness and softness. Active ingredients includes Camellia Alba PFA and Blue Ginger PFA – nothing short of what a brand like Chanel should offer ;P

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme

Always listen to your skin and hear it tell you what to use. If your skin is dryer for some reason, use a thicker moisturiser that has a cream consistency than that of a gel consistency. Or if your skin looks redder than usual, use a more gentle cleanser and skip the pimple cream for that day.

The Night Routine Type 2

Twice a week, I’ll make a little switch to my night routine to include a varied option.

What are the correct steps to putting on your skincare products?
Night time Skincare Routine Type 2

Type 2 Step 5: Oils, Masks Sheets and Leave in Masks

Twice or thrice a week depending on my skin condition, I’ll switch out my usual skin care routine and use oils or masks instead. Oils and masks are of thicker formulas and have penetrates into your skin deeper and better. Just like serums, there are also many different masks to target different needs. Here are 3 more reasons to use masks.

  1. Deeper cleansing- Clay masks draw impurities out of the skin from the deeper layers of the epidermis, something which usual cleansing will not achieve.
  2. Stimulate blood circulation – Masks promotes  better blood circulation, leaving you with a more radiant and healthier looking skin.
  3. It’s fun and relaxing! –  I love trying out new mask sheets, exploring the different effects they have on me. Having masks on my face also means that I am forced to take time off and slow down, a quiet time all for myself to clear my mind while letting the mask do it’s work. I always find myself more refreshed after using masks!

Oils on the other hand have a thicker texture which I find unsuitable to mix with other skin care products. Some oils can be used on a more regular basis too. I am currently in love with Biotherm Blue Therapy Serum-in-Oil which pioneers a new micro-algae oil, rich in a specific omega 3 fatty acid whose lipid composition so closely matches the skin, it has the capacity to fuse with the skin’s cellular membranes¹ to repair fast, deep, close!

Night time Skincare Routine
The gorgeous and hopelessly aeromathic Biotherm Blue Therapy Serum-in-Oil – to be launched in August 2014

Since using the Biotherm Blue Theraphy, I find my skin re-plumped in the morning. Although essentially oil based, the texture comes out gel like and does not leave any trace of oily film on the skin. The gel like textures makes the product suitable for nightly use like a moisturiser, though I am currently using it for early nights as the scent is too relaxing, it just brings me straight to lala land every time I use it!

Why should you follow the steps?

Other than knowing the importance of having a different morning and night routine, the steps to which products to use before the next is equally important.

The toner is usually the first step straight after cleansing as it helps to immediately re-balance your skin’s pH level that might be altered when washing your face. During the application of toners, the cotton pad helps remove any final traces of makeup, acting as a double and final cleanse. Toners also preps your skin and helps it to better absorb any other product that comes next – thus the importance of toners before any other products.

As the skin around the eye area is very thin, we must be careful to only apply the right products to these areas. Applying the eye products before all other products not only helps protect the skin from harmful ozone and pollutants, it also prevents other unsuitable skincare products from entering this area easily. Think of it as a barrier!

The texture of the product as well as the absorption rate of the product also determines the step. Some products oxidise fast when exposed to air. As the skin can only absorb a certain amount of product at any one time, it is important to apply such products before the rest to ensure that our skin is able to absorb as mush goodness as possible before the product oxidises.

Some products may also block the absorption of other products thus it is better to apply them last in the routine. Typically, you won’t go wrong using the lightest to the heaviest textured products. To play on the safe side, always check with your beauty advisor or sales advisor every time you purchase a new product. Sometimes, some serums has to be used after the moisturiser or even before the toner.

I hope this lengthy post has been educational and information to all my readers! Till next time! Chat soon!

Most products mentioned can be found in Ion Orchard

Nuxe White Range  – Beauty by Nature #B3-49/50
Kiehl’s – #B3-54
Estee Lauder – #B2-42
SkinInc – #B3-42/43
Chanel – #B2-43
Biotherm – Sephora #01-05/06

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Hello! I am Qi Yun, the author and creative behind www.FlyingPistachios.com.

I can be best described as a beauty junkie, picky pot and a perpetual wanderlust. Colours, traveling and listening to people talk inspire me, triggering visions and ideas. I’m often called a walking box filled with ideas. I love working on projects that shows originality and have a chance to make this world a better place.


  1. That’s very informative! Thank you so much! Already looking forward to your next post ????

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  4. This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

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