I have to admit that since I wrote about my experience with Saeki- sensei’s lotion mask, I was on and off with the routine, especially since work became extremely busy.
But now, no matter how stressed and tired I am at night, I make it a point to make myself a lotion mask. Most of the time, I leave it on longer than the recommended 3 minutes. My skin simply loves it and I can clearly see beautiful results. I do notice a difference on the days I didn’t make a mask.
Throughout the months, I have even gotten better with my mask. It doesn’t look as ratty as the first pic I posted before. Haha. Also, after finishing my Kanebo Impress lotion, I experimented with other brands. I rotate my lotions every week too. Here is my current lotion army:
1. Shiseido The Skincare Hydro-Nourishing Softener – This is almost as expensive as Kanebo at P2950 but so much better. When used as is, it does the job of moisturizing well. But when used with a lotion mask, it is way better! I love that my skin feels like a baby’s butt after. Haha. I am looking forward to trying the lotion from the White Lucent line too.
2. Shiseido Hadasui (pink and blue) – For some reason, this didn’t do much for me. My skin did not feel any difference at all. So I now use it as an after-shower splash and as a face mist.
3. Shiseido Aqualabel White Up Lotion R – No, Shiseido does not have a monopoly over my skincare routine I picked this up after reading great reviews on Japan’s #1 cosmetics website, cosme.net. There are 2 kinds of lotion in the Aqualabel line: R and S. I do not know what they stand for exactly, but the R is good for normal or dry skin and the S is for oilier or combination ones. I use this help even out my skin tone. I noticed my skin is now brighter after 1 month of use.
4. Shiseido Aqualabel Moisture Lotion S – I only have this in sample size and after a few uses, I think I like the White Up one better. Maybe next time I should get the R one.
5. Neutrogena Hydro Boost – I accidentally came across this at Watson’s and was intrigued because it is really difficult to find a lotion from a non-Japanese brand. With promises of intense moisturizing and at a fraction of the Shiseido price, I was sold! (P458 at Philippine Watson’s outlets)
6. Rohto Hada Labo Gokujyun – One of the best selling lotions in Japan, if you will believe the ads. It’s got a very high hyaluronic acid content, great for dry-skinned gals like me. It smells like Shiseido Hadasui and is indeed very moisturizing. Perfect for days when I had an extra dose of stress at work. And the last but not the least…
7. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – now this one, I almost didn’t use with a lotion mask. Too expensive, hehe. But based on reviews I read on Makeupalley.com, many girls got good results with the FTE when used with a mask. After taking off the mask, my skin felt a little taut, with some dryness around the mouth. The following morning, my skin looked brighter and didn’t have the usual oil pool around the nose. Success!!
Why use a lotion
Differentiating a lotion from an astringent/toner is a little confusing since they look alike. Lotions and astringents have the same watery consistency but lotions contain very little or no alcohol at all. Their uses are also different. An astringent is used after cleansing to remove residual dirt that our cleanser failed to wash away. A lotion is used to balance or condition the skin before putting on moisturizer or serum.
Saeki-sensei’s analogy is perfect. Dump fertilizer on dry soil and it just stays there, the soil does not absorb it. So first, you water the soil so it becomes softer. When you put the fertilizer in, it is easier for the soil to absorb the nutrients. The same logic applies to our skin; skin can better absorb all the nice stuff in our moisturizers and serums after conditioning. Actually, you can apply lotions as normal: with you hands or with a cotton ball. But from personal experience, I get better results when using a mask.
Admittedly, we don’t have a lot of options with lotion here in the Philippines. In fact, many brands equate lotion with astringent or even moisturizer/emulsion. Check the label to see how the product is used. As mentioned earlier, a toner is for cleaning up after the cleanser (haha) while a lotion is for conditioning before moisturizer or serum. Aside from “lotion”, other keywords to look for are softener, balancing, nourishing and conditioner.
Sometimes, local Japanese groceries like Hatchin have lotions in stock. If you want to try Japanese brands but cannot read Japanese, you only need to look for ローション (lotion) or 化粧水 (keshousui). Both mean the same thing. The term “essence” in the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence might be a little misleading, since many serums are also marketed as “essence”. But it has 化粧水 on the label so at least I know it’s not meant to be used as a serum.
Lastly, some tips:
1. Get good quality cotton squares that you can pull apart. I use the ones that Watson’s carries, and I can make 4 sheets out of one square – two squares for my entire face.
2. Choose a lotion for your specific skin needs. Brightening, moisturizing, or both? Read as many reviews as you can so you can – Makeupalley is always a good source.
3. Stay on the routine! This is the only way for you to get the results you wanted.
- Chizu Saeki’s 3-minute lotion mask: revisited (catchan1980.wordpress.com)