Products to try for a ‘new you’ in the New Year

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Product Review

By Zsarlene B. Chua

I FELT IT would be a pity if I didn’t end the year with a skincare review — and this time it’s all about Filipino skincare brands that I’ve discovered and would recommend to those who want to start their “new year, new me” regimen in a bit more than a weeks’ time.

I should also mention that these are products that I have tried and liked, and products that I’ve recommended to family members which they liked and have used continuously since. All the items I will mention in this review are those that have been used for at least a couple of months and worked.

Tokyo White is a pretty new brand from the people behind the Skin Perfect chain of aesthetic clinics, having released the soap a year prior and the lotion in July. The brand claims to use Japanese technology to impart lighter, healthier-looking skin.

Having fair skin, it isn’t usually my thing to look for lighter skin but I have always been on the hunt for a good night lotion because my skin is dry all over, from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, thus I tend to look for a heavy-duty, yet budget-friendly lotion that could moisturize my skin and yet not feel sticky.

And this is what I got from the Tokyo White lotion. A cursory look at their ingredients list as stated on the BeautyMNL website, the lotion contains glutathione, Vitamin C, arbutin, and grape seed extract for “a naturally petal-soft, smooth, pinkish-white glow.”

Arbutin and Vitamin C both promote skin lightening as arbutin inhibits melanin production while vitamin C repairs damaged skin cells. Grape seed extract is a good source for Vitamin E which hydrates and also repairs damaged skin cells.

All of these ingredients are well and good though I still am skeptical about glutathione in skincare because it is commonly used for those with liver problems and is usually taken intravenously.

Going back to my being fair-skinned, I didn’t judge the lotion on whether it lightened my skin or not, but if it hydrated and kept my skin hydrated throughout the night. And it did, it has a thick consistency — so much so that sometimes I’d have a hard time pumping it out, but it does the job. So for those who want lighter lotions, this isn’t for you.

Oh, and it smells floral and fruity at the same time. (If I had to describe it further, I would say it smells “pink.”)

I have used the lotion for a few months on and off but whenever I do use it, my skin likes it — I wake up without the usually tight and dry feeling I get from most lotions.

The cons are is that it can be too thick, it’s hard to get it out and I did notice a few undissolved particles, but, hey, anything that gets the job done.

Alongside the lotion is the Tokyo White Lightening Soap which claims to give the user a “flawless, fairer, luminous look from head to toe.” Its ingredients include the aforementioned glutathione, arbutin, and grape seed extract.

Looking at the ingredients list, at the top is coconut oil alongside the active ingredients (glutathione, etc.) and a bit of titanium dioxide which is commonly used in sunscreen products so one can infer that it does offer minimal sun protection, but a soap cannot be a substitute for proper sunscreen.

Truthfully, I only used the soap a handful of times on my body and not on my face because I am not a fan of soap cleansers (I’m sticking to my oils and foams, thank you very much) but I could say that it does its job well as a moisturizing soap.

And it smells exactly the same as the lotion.

My mother loved this soap though, and she has been using it regularly on her face. My mother is 49 years old this year and has been grappling with melasma and drier skin overall and she noted that she experienced a subtle lightening of her dark spots after continuous use of the product.

Should you buy it? The ingredients list is pretty solid, so if you’re on the hunt for a new soap, you could consider this.

Both the lotion and the soap are available on BeautyMNL.

One of the biggest projects this year, having fully embraced my passion for skincare, was to help my brother find the regimen that suits his needs — a no-fuss, acne-busting routine — with as few products as possible because whenever I explain the several different steps he probably has to do to address his concerns, his eyes glaze over after the word “toner.”

I had been seeing Skin Genie on BeautyMNL for a while and after researching what ingredients could help with acne, I saw that they offer apple cider vinegar products that have astringent properties that can minimize pores and regulate one’s pH level.

So I had him try the Apple Cider Vinegar toner and soap to start, coupled with an oil-free moisturizer and sunscreen. Skin Genie is said to formulate products for those with sensitive skin but I had to make sure it wouldn’t have adverse effects on my brother’s skin because acne is such a tough battle to fight and we don’t need more complications. So I had him try it out for a week first and when it didn’t sensitize his skin further, he kept using it for a month.

After three months of constant use — and constant reminders that sunscreen is non-negotiable — we saw a slow but sure change in his skin: the pimples are drying out and are not spawning as much as they did before and his skin looks brighter and less dull.

Looking at the toner’s ingredients list, it includes witch hazel which is also an astringent and has anti-inflammatory properties, and vodka which is a disinfectant, so it’s really good for acne-prone skin provided the user puts on moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning.

The soap meanwhile has — apart from apple cider vinegar — pink guava extract and oil which is rich in vitamin A and C which helps repair damaged skin cells.

I also recommended the two products to a few co-workers and have heard good things about it. The best part is it won’t break the bank though I would suggest that when using the soap, break it up to smaller pieces so the entire thing won’t melt all at once because it does melt fast.

Skin Genie is also available in BeautyMNL.