If you’ve know me from any moment circa 2013 to now, you’ll know I hit that rite of passage that any Asian-American girl probably recognizes as the moment you realize that all those years your mom spent nagging you about washing your face and using moisturizer actually matters, a lot.
Blame it on a mother’s persistence, or maybe it’s just because 13-14 is the peak age for when girls start realizing society judges you (unfairly) on your appearance, but entering high school marked the beginning of when I took that $80 bottle of Japanese toner my mom got me and never used much more seriously.
Now, roughly seven years later, I’ve amassed a huge collection, (maybe a slight obsession – see picture below) with all things skincare, fashion, and makeup, even if I don’t use it all.
So what better thing to do than for me to give my review and opinions on all the things I tried, tested, and wasted than to put it on the internet?
Here’s a short list of some of my favorite skincare/makeup products I currently use:
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
You guys. Words cannot express how much I love about this moisturizer but I’ll try to summarize it in a way that’ll do it justice.
My skin experienced the rebirth of Venus with this tiny jar. I would literally sacrifice my first-born for a lifetime supply of this for me and my future daughters. I could literally feel my ancestors praise me from the heavens when my nose finally stopped that nasty winter dry skin peal with this cream.
If you have dry skin, or even if your skin gets dry specifically in the winter: get. this. facial. cream. It comes in various sizes for those just wanting to try a small sample, or if you’re a crazy-person like me who hoards just buckets of the largest size they sell – truth me on this one, it’s worth it.
Nature Republic Soothing and Moisture Aloe Vera Gel
A personal “Fang-favorite” of mine that I’ve used religiously for the past 4+ years, (peep the four tubs I bought in the first picture), Nature Republic’s Aloe gel has never let me down as a soothing way that’s kept my redness in check, while also offering light moisturizer when I’m on the run, or just feeling ashy.
I use it as a “base” moisturizer before the Kiehl’s Facial Cream, and honestly sometimes use it on my body just because you feel like a newborn baby after applying, since it’s one of the 10 main ways the brand promote its usage. A simple step to any routine, I definitely recommend this product if you’re looking for extra plumpness, smoothness, or a cool refresher for the skin.
Kanebo KATE Fit Rare Gel Pencil
I’m no Jeffree Star, and I barely know how to put on eyeshadow correctly, so I’ve been doing the “no-makeup” look my whole life without realizing it just because I really put on close-to-no makeup nowadays out of laziness. But over the years I’ve developed a radar for products that’s upped my “no-makeup” look and this is one of them.
Super thin, and glides like an ice skater on a newly zambonied ice rink – this is great for tight lining right under your eyelashes for that natural looking fullness.
Although hard to find, this has been a popular drugstore product in Asia, and after being introduced by my mom I can see why. (People are literally selling this eyeliner on eBay). So if you’re ever in NYC, take a trip to Flushing, Queens and pop into one of the newly opened Japanese Teso Life stores to grab one!
Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam
There’s no such thing as having no pores but I would argue this product gets you pretty darn close. Innisfree has always been one of my main go-to brands when it comes to trying new facial cleansers/toners and finding this two years ago was an amazing stroke of luck.
I used to think I was a combination skin type but after many years of testing various products, I’ve learned I’m definitely the dry skin type, and this is one of the few face washes that I can use daily and not feel anything less than refreshed and cleansed.
Made from the rich minerals of the volcanic muds found in Korea’s famous Jeju island, this is a great cleansing foam for anyone looking for a facial cleanser that makes you feel like a K-beauty pro after every wash.
I was a Glossier skeptic for a period of time, but when presented the opportunity to visit their NYC Flagship store and experience their products first-hand, I became one of their many followers.
For anyone looking for products that offer a good balance for their “no-makeup” look, this brand has become a personal favorite after trying other similar brands such as Milk Makeup.
My personal favorites? Their infamous Boy Brow, Glossier Stretch Concealer, and Cloud Paint. On any given day I will be wearing a combination of these three products because of how seamless and light they feel on my skin, and definitely recommend these as starter products if you’re thinking about trying out Glossier for the first time.
Nature Republic California Aloe Fresh Powder Sunscreen Stick
It’s only right for me to end this list with at least something that relates to the headline. The product that started all of this is sunscreen, the same product I hated wearing as a kid but now has become something I never leave the house without.
And yes, if you go into my car I have a can of Neutrogena Spray-on Sunscreen but for facial sunscreen I turn to Nature Republic. This new release is light, velvety, and rolls on perfectly when you’re layering it with your daily makeup.
Word of advice, do a few layers for maximum protection and leave it one for 10-15 minutes to dry before continuing so it doesn’t feel oily and smudged. When it comes to sunscreen I look for lightweight, easy application, and continuous protection and this product has hit all the marks.
I switch sunscreen brands and products at least 3-4 times a year, but this one has become a pleasant surprise that I’m sure I’ll be adding to the Fang favorites collection.
Now it’s your turn:
All skincare and makeup really is, is problem-solving. Every person has a different skin type, preference, and needs and all that takes time, constant trial and error, and patience to find what you like. Hopefully this list will be of some help for those looking for new products, or just starting to understand why sunscreen is more than just something your mom nags you about.