Moisturizing is one of the most important steps in the Asian skincare regimen. Asian women believe that a “watery”, radiant complexion makes a crucial base for good makeup and their secret to achieving that? Applying lotion religiously.

Unlike the regular moisturizers that we call lotion here in the US, “lotion” (化妝水) is a hydrating toner that should be applied after cleansing and before moisturizer. While some people argue that toners are redundant and just another marketing gimmick, I personally can’t live without them. My rationale? If your skin is dehydrated and you slap on layers and layers of moisturizers, they will just sit on top of your skin and not get absorbed. But if you use a hydrating toner to soften the top layer of your skin first, it will help any moisturizer or treatment that follows to penetrate better into your skin.

With its Avobenzone (3%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%) along with mineral-rich Vichy Thermal Water, Vichy Aqualia Thermal Lotion SPF 30 24 Hr Fortifying Moisturizer ($26) is the best moisturizer with sunscreen ever!

The oil-free formula goes on super lightweight and has a similar texture to the Biotherm Sunfitness Gel-Cream For Face SPF 15 I loved – only better. It gets absorbed into my skin instantly and makes my skin so soft, providing a great base for makeup. I also love that the Vichy Thermal Spa Water keeps my skin hydrated ALL day and the SPF 30 is exactly what I needed. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the drier fall weather, 8-hour plane rides and my hectic schedule, my dehydrated combination skin has been acting up more than ever! Not only did it get super dry and dull, I also developed a small flaky patch close to the jawline on the left side of my face – gross I know! Lucky the folks at Vichy came to my rescue and sent me two awesome products from their Aqualia Thermal line.

Skin Genesis, a line targeted at women in their 30s, is L’oreal’s latest creation. The line uses patented Pro-Xylane™, a “superior naturally-derived molecule so small it can penetrate skin’s surface layers” along with Hyaluronic Spheres to strengthen the upper layers of skin for stronger, smoother and more toned skin.

Baking Soda (~$2 to $5)
Believe it or not but plain old baking soda mixed with a creamy cleanser actually makes a pretty good exfoliator. I always use this with my Cetaphil cleanser whenever I run out of my favorite exfoliator or when I need something mild yet effective. And the best part is it does not even cost more than $5! Definitely give it a try!

Jurlique Biodynamic Beauty Refining Treatment ($35)
This is an all natural exfoliant from Jurlique’s latest Biodynamic Beauty range. It contains Jurlique’s one-of-a-kind Biodynamic Blend – Rose Gallica, Licorice Root, Black Elder, Chamomile, Pansy and Sweet Violet – to reduce redness and fade discoloration; along with Calendula, Horsechestnut, Soapbark Tree, Apricot Seed and Willow Bark extracts. It does not contain parabens, mineral oils, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic emulsifiers, artificial colors or fragrances.

I definitely like the idea of this being a natural product since green is now the new black. The grains are medium-sized but do not scratch my uber sensitive skin a teeny bit. My skin just feels clean and smooth and never dry. The smell is also very natural and pleasant and reminds me of this moisturizer from Fresh. My only complaint is its price. $35 is pretty steep for an exfoliator – you can definitely find something with similar results for a cheaper price.

St. Ives Apricot Invigorating Scrub ($5)
This used to be my HG when I was younger. It contains 100% natural ingredients like Apricot extract, Walnut extract, Swiss glacial water etc. to deep clean pores. The grains are medium-sized and it is very effective in removing deadskin and cleaning out blackheads. I used to use this once a week and my skin would look so smooth and radiant afterwards. But now that my skin has gotten a lot more sensitive, I find it a little too harsh to use on my face. It still makes a great body scrub though.