To quickly replenish moisture in freshly cleansed skin, you can add a pre-toner to your skincare routine. SIMONE WU tried these three.
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Astalift Jelly Aquarysta, $148 (40g)
A pea-sized amount was all I needed. It contains ceramides to maintain optimal moisture levels and strengthen the skin barrier against external irritants. It also has antioxidants, like astaxanthin and nano-lycopene, to protect skin.
VERDICT The calming damask rose-scented, red-orange gel was globby at first, but gradually transformed into a light serum when massaged into skin. There was an orange tint after the product had been absorbed, but that was easily removed with a toner-soaked cotton pad. I liked that the jelly had my sensitised skin feeling refreshed and cool. It also removed sigins of redness and left it more plumped up, smoother and softer.
Albion Exage Activation Moisture Milk II, $82 (200g)
Using plant extracts, the milky lotion helps to improve moisture retention and maintain an optimum moisture level for a healthy skin barrier. Dispense three pumps’ worth on to a cotton pad and apply.
VERDICT My skin was instantly plumped up – as if it’d been inflated – and more radiant. The combination of thick lotion and soothing botanical scent made using the milk extra pampering. And I found it to be the most hydrating of the three. It even soothed the dry, scaly patches on my chin. Any skin redness – a result of my sensitised skin – went away, too. The only downside: Using specific steps to boost its absorption and microcirculation was time-consuming.
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX, $115 (60ml)
Made with Korean herbal ingredients such as peony, rehmannia, lotus, Solomon’s seal and white lily, this soothes, nourishes and strengthens. It also helps regulate moisture levels and boost microcirculation. Use two to three pumps for the face and neck.
VERDICT I loved its super-light texture, which was just slightly more viscous than water. It was the best of the three for absorption and did not leave a sticky residue. It helped calm my skin, too; the redness disappeared right after application. However, although my skin did feel softer and smoother, and makeup glided on easily, it didn’t feel as moisturising as the other two products. The subtle ginseng scent was soothing and didn’t linger.
Note: The pre-toners Simone added to her skincare routine for the purpose of this road test were not complemented by other products from the same brands. She has combination skin, as well as eczema.