Hi! I'm Agent C.W. I'm always writing about hair because that's what I'm familiar with in the beauty world. I don't do my nails, wear makeup, or get my eyelashes/eyebrows done.
Agent G has been trying to get me to use moisturiser and sunscreen because I am always in the sun, but my skin is so sensitive that it reacts to everything. Like, everything. I have not found a moisturiser/sunscreen/serum/anything besides a cleanser that doesn't break me out. Hence, I try not to use a lot of facial products. After all, my skin is normal and clear, so I don't want to mess it up by constantly using products or trying it and getting a terrible allergy. FYI, I had a dry patch of skin on my face from a metal allergy that lasted for 4 months! Never again.
This got me thinking... do facial products actually work?
I know it's just a sample of one (myself) but I'm thinking of doing an experiment to determine what happens to my skin if I use zero facial care and what happens when I do. In order to make it as accurate as I can, here are the steps I followed:
When I talked to Agent G about the experiment, she was super excited. This is the first time I'm actually open to using facial products on my skin! Due to their very knowledgeable facial therapist and ranges of skincare that caters to sensitive skin, Agent G recommended me to try Face Plus by Yamano after the caveman routine.
This is my first time at Face Plus by Yamano, which is located conveniently at Orchard Central.
It has an open concept, so the salon manager, Chrissy, immediately welcomed me when I entered. She sat me down, introduced me to the salon, and offered me tea.
The rose hip tea was flavourful and fragrant.
She talked to me about my skin condition and asked me to fill out a form.
Chrissy is friendly and animated as she talks with her hands and face which made the chat very comfortable.
After reviewing the form, she took a closer look at my skin and complimented me on how good it looks, especially given the caveman routine I shared with her about. Still, it is slightly dehydrated and there are small blackheads beneath the surface of my nose.
It may be alright now because I'm young but the dehydration may worsen if I continue the caveman routine for a longer period of time. It didn't sound like a threat and more like a mom concerned about her daughter's skin... something I appreciate.
I wondered what Chrissy can do to help me with my complexion.
Chrissy escorted me into the facial room.
The dim lights, soft music, large mirrors and vanity area within the facial room made it look like a fancy gym ladies room. I don't wear makeup but I thought that them providing makeup for touch-ups is convenient to ladies who have to go elsewhere after the facial.
The first thing Chrissy did was to cleanse my face.
She used Yamano's signature white clay cleanser for the first cleansing and I was surprised to find that my skin felt fresh and nourished afterwards.
I've tried many many many masks but most of them either give me a rash or make my skin feel super tight (which is not good because it means that it made my skin dehydrated).
She then used warm cotton pads to remove the residue.
This is my first facial so I didn't realize how special that was until Agent G shared with me that most salons only use wet cotton wool to wipe off the residue.
It wasn't just warm though. It was also uber soft. It felt more like a washcloth instead of a cotton pad as it was fluffy and did not separate. It was comfortable and soothing, especially when placed on the eye sockets.
After a long day of staring at the computer, it felt great.
That was just the first cleansing.
She followed up by applying yet another facial cleanser and massaged it around my face gently to dislodge whatever dirt that is on my face.
The key is being gentle because my skin is quite sensitive and any excessive massage may cause a reaction. I didn't have any problems with the strength of the massage though; Chrissy always checked in with me so the strength was just right.
Beyond the strength though, I really enjoyed the facial massage Chrissy gave. She applied more pressure at points on my face and neck that help me release the tension I didn't even realize I had.
When she applied pressure on some points along my decollete, it somehow felt as if something inside me was aligned and that the gunk was getting out... or at least that's how I felt.
The massage was rhythmic and gentle, so much so that I asked Agent G a few times if she uses only her hands. From what she saw, Agent G said that Chrissy looked more like she's playing the piano more than she's doing a facial due to the elegant and fluid movements that always start and stop at the same place.
Chrissy explained later that this massage is created by the founder of Yamano herself and refined over years and years of research to enhance metabolism of the skin and rebuild the skin's immunity. To keep the spirit of the massage consistent for all of Yamano's facial therapists all over the world, facial therapists are regularly "tested" for their techniques to ensure that it feels exactly the same as the one in Japan.
I couldn't see what Chrissy was doing but I can attest to how relaxing it felt. In a hippie reference, the massage made me feel that I was one with the world. Her soft touch almost made me doze off.
I was briefly woken up by the warm towel Chrissy used to wipe the cleanser off my face and neck.
Next, she used the steaming machine which blew hot air towards my face.
Chrissy said that this helps to warm up my face and open the pores.
With the pores open and oil seeds softened, she used a small contraption that sucked the blackheads from my face. Unlike extractions which can cause scarring, the vacuum machine removes blackheads which are "ready" to be removed and does it gently by vacuuming the face.
It was so gentle that I was surprised that it actually works; I used to have some tiny bumps on my chin but they were gone after the vacuuming process.
With the vacuuming done, Chrissy applied a clay mask afterwards to clarify my face further and moisturize it.
This clay uses 3 different types of medical quality clay sourced from Italy, Germany and Latvia. They help to remove dead skin cells, suppresses excessive sebum secretion and contain moisturising ingredients such as ceramide and natural moisturising factors that further moisturises the skin.
I'm glad to find that it did not make my face feel tight and was instead cooling.
After application, Chrissy placed cling wrap and cotton pads onto my face. This caused the skin to warm up and allow the mask to penetrate deep into the skin.
After the mask was removed, Chrissy applied the KOHAKU Nourishing Crystal and KOHAKU Milk Lotion.
While the Milk lotion helps to balance the skin, the Kohaku Nourishing Crystal is best at closing the pores.
I'm glad to find that my pores were indeed visibly smaller after the facial.
To make sure that my face can absorb the maximum goodness of the products, she applied it in a massage motion that left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturised.
Chrissy gave me another neck massage once the session was over.
Chrissy left me to change into my clothes as the facial is now completed.
I couldn't help touching my face to feel how much my face was transformed. Even before looking, I could feel that my face was a lot more hydrated. When I touched my face in the past, it was smooth but after the facial, it doesn't just feel smooth. There was a layer of hydration that left my skin feeling moisturized without being greasy.
Another thing I noticed was that the tightness was gone. I didn't realize how tight my face used to be until the facial. Chrissy mentions that the tightness signified that my skin was actually becoming dehydrated over time. The dehydration wasn't as serious as what she saw on other ladies. However, it may result in premature lines if not taken care of.
During this final consultation, Chrissy gave me yet another cup of tea and advised me on the type of facial products to use.
I shared with her why I hesitated using products: I hate how heavy and suffocating they are on my skin. My skin is also very sensitive.
Based on what she saw from the facials and my input, she suggested a few essential products that are light on the skin.
I'm an active person and am out in the sun a lot. Chrissy mentioned that a sunscreen is the most important because the UV rays are a major cause of aging skin and wrinkles. If there is only one product I use in a day, sunscreen is it.
Truth be told, I know the importance of sunscreen. In fact, I've purchased more than 5 brands of sunscreens including A**** and other brands known for their suitability for sensitive skin. However, ALL of them caused my sensitive skin to break out.
Chrissy recommended me to try the Aqua Jelly sunscreen under the brand of Suncut. This is also produced exclusively by Yamano. The sunscreen is special because it does not contain zinc oxide, which happens to be a major irritant for sensitive skin. She placed a dot on the back of my palm to let me take a look. Indeed, it did not have anything I hate in sunscreens. It was odourless, light, smooth and did not leave a white cast.
I will definitely give it a go.
Cleansing is a very important process to get rid of the dirt and dead skin on our face. Water can help a little but it is often insufficient in cleansing the skin sufficiently, especially for ladies with a lot of dead skin cells. According to Chrissy, most facial cleansers over the counter tends to be too harsh. They don't cleanse the skin, but strip the skin's natural moisture and resistance layers. As a result, many ladies get breakouts after using these cleansers and they may not even know why. Switching to a caveman routine (like what I tried and liked) may therefore result in better skin for some ladies.
The ideal cleanser is one that cleanses while nourishing the skin and keeping it moisturized. That's why Yamano came up with the Doronko Facial Clay series, which uses clay from Germany and Latvia. She advised me to try it out as it cleanses really deeply without making my face feel dry. Chrissy mentioned that she is confident that my skin will see an improved hydration and fewer bumps / congestion even during before my periods if I use it over time.
Moisturizers are an essential part of a facial routine. After cleansing the face of impurities, the face will be best ready to absorb moisture and nutrients for the skin. Keeping in mind my preferences, she recommended the Kohaku milk lotion and the Kohaku Nourishing Crystal.
The Kohaku Milk Lotion is silky in texture, seals in moisture and improve resistance for the skin while the Kohaku Nourishing Crystal is a non-sticky gel type lotion that works steadily deep within the skin to retain moisture.
Ready to start this new routine.
Even before the caveman routine, I did not wash my face in the morning. I felt that washing in the morning made it dry and strip it of natural moisture.
I was most impressed with the white clay cleanser. The white clay cleanser was gentle and left my face feeling smooth. A little of the clay cleanser goes a long way and it doesn't leave my skin feeling tight.
I was a little worried putting on the sunscreen, milk lotion and nourishing crystal because I was not sure if my sensitive skin can take it all at once.
True enough, my sensitive skin acted up slightly later in the afternoon. I messaged Chrissy who advised me to remove items one by one to see what my skin can and cannot tolerate take.
I stopped applying the milk lotion because that is the richest product. I still felt that it was too nourishing so I used the crystal sparingly as well.
On the other hand, I'm enjoyed the sunscreen more and more. It absorbed into the skin very quickly and there was no white cast. I applied it 30 minutes before leaving the house and by the time I left the house, the sunscreen was all absorbed and there wasn't the usual sunscreen feeling on the face anymore. Chrissy mentions that the sunscreen will stay on when I sweat because it is resistant to sweat and I'm surprised that it did work.
I did not apply the crystals today and I'm happy to say that my bumps disappeared.
Looks like I can only use the crystals once every 2 to 3 days to avoid overloading products onto my skin. If I use them too often, I find that I will have some oily residue left on the layer underneath my skin. It is not noticceable to others, but I can see tiny build up in my skin when I look closely. This proves that you really have to choose whatever works for your own skin!
Did I expect to see a DRASTIC difference?
If I said yes, I'd be lying. My skin was relatively clear and smooth to begin with, so I don't see a difference in terms of reduction in acne (since I don't have any) or obvious changes in skin texture. Here's how my skin looks now:
What did change was hydration. My skin no longer feels as tight, but feels more supple. There is a renewed glow thanks to the hydration. My face also feels bouncier. It's not a complete transformation but an enhancement.
To be honest, I think seeing no bad reaction is an achievement because it is really difficult to find products that work for my skin. I am especially impressed with the sunscreen as it is the only one among many brands that I've tried that finally worked without giving me bumps. The Kohaku milk lotion is not suitable for skin as sensitive and mine, while the nourishing crystals can only be used sparingly.
I like the caveman routine because I love how natural and easy it is... water is sufficient. However, I do feel that a deep cleanse is necessary after a while.
The effects of using suitable facial products from Yamano are substantial enough for me to combine the benefits of caveman routine with Yamano products by using what is minimally required: 1) sunscreen 2) facial cleanser 3) very sparingly, moisturizer (nourishing crystals).
I don't think I have the budget to go for a facial monthly but this experience taught me to go once every few months to not just to destress but to let the facial therapist tell me what issues I have and give me a deep cleanse that I may not be able to do at home (remember the vacuum, mask and the massages?)
Not all facial salons are good for this as they might not have the right knowledge and instead recommend painful extractions which are not always necessary. My own experience of Face Plus by Yamano has so far shown that this is a good salon to start with because they are gentle with your skin and the facial therapists are really knowledgeable about skin. They also carry their own range of products, many of which are good for sensitive skin like mine.
I hope you can solve your problems or improve your existing facial condition by my experiments with Caveman routine and facial.
For customers keen to try their facials, they are having the following promotion:
$170 for Essential Kohaku Regeneration facial (90min) (UP: $248)
They take their last appointment at 7.30pm so its a great place to go after work or for students like me, after school!
Hope this helps!