Guest blog by Jude Chao of https://fiftyshadesofsnail.com
Take a walk down Annie's Way
Taiwanese beauty brands seem to love naming their brands after their founders. There’s Dr. Wu, Dr. Morita, and Dr. Hsieh, who together could form the best dermatology group practice of all time. I’ve always wondered whose diary I’m reading when I use a My Beauty Diary mask (I suppose Sister Diary, the sister brand of My Beauty Diary, makes it more clear). And, of course, there’s Annie’s Way.
Annie’s Way is known primarily for their line of jelly masks. The top-selling products in the brand’s collection, these light, refreshing wash-off packs are made to soften and nourish the upper layers of skin while clarifying pores without irritation. But Annie’s Way offers much more than just jelly masks. Their Hyaluronic Acid + Seaweed and Pearl + Hyaluronic Acid sheet masks have toppled anything by My Beauty Diary as my go-to daily masks, while their Gingko + Seaweed Anti-Wrinkle Eye Masks are the only eye masks I bother to use. And beyond masks, Annie’s Way also makes a whole range of skincare the US market hasn’t even begun exploring.
Annie Wu, the brand’s Kaohsiung-based founder, clearly knows skincare. She’s been making it since 2009, after all. So I sat down with Annie over email to learn all about her approach to skincare, both in her products and her own life.
The key to healthy skin
Considering the gentle and nourishing nature of Annie’s Way products, it’s no surprise that Annie believes in a gentle, nurturing approach to skincare. She told me:
" Some people like to use exfoliation products such as high acidity essences or peel-off masks often. They want to have bright and soft skin, but they don’t know the consequences of overexfoliation. It is very important to protect [the outer] layer of our skin from environmental stimulus and to avoid water loss. Overexfoliation may thin the epidermis and weaken the protective barrier function that would cause many skin problems such as dryness, sensitivity, wrinkles, and infection, etc. "
I’ve written at length about overexfoliation and the damage it can cause to skin, so I’m right there with Annie on this one. While removing some dead cells at the surface of skin does reveal fresher, brighter, and smoother skin underneath, overdoing it through too-vigorous or too-frequent exfoliation (whether chemical or physical) leads to damage that completely negates the original benefits of exfoliation.
Annie believes the key to healthy skin is a good balance of water and oil: the hydration within skin and the surface lipids that hold that hydration in. To achieve that healthy balance, she recommends a watery moisturizing essence under a light but oil-containing lotion, and she doesn’t overcleanse.
Annie’s skincare routine
Annie puts this philosophy into practice in her own morning and evening skincare routines.
Like many of us, Annie doesn’t have time in the morning for a particularly complex skincare routine. Her five-minute morning skincare starts with either a simple water rinse or her own Orchid Whitening and Cleansing Milk, followed by her OxySkin O2 Whitening Toner and Super Moisturizing & Soothing Essence Lotion.
In the evening, however, Annie spends more time on her skincare, since “PM time is important to my skin restoration,” she told me. On an everyday basis, she cleanses before taking a bath, then applies a hyaluronic acid essence “with macromolecular and small molecule hyaluronic acid to boost skin hydration.” Finally, she applies her Rose Nourishing & Hydrating Cream and Asiatic Pennywort Herb Brightening Eye Cream. Three times a week, Annie supplements her basic evening regimen with her jelly masks and sheet masks to moisturize, brighten, and soften her skin.
How to put Annie’s philosophy into practice
This might sound weird coming from someone whose evening skincare routine is as extensive and full of strong actives as mine is, but I fully support Annie’s simple and gentle approach. It’s more budget-friendly, less time-consuming, and suitable for far more complexions than mine can be. In addition, it gives skincare beginners a solid foundation on which to build any additional steps you might want to try.
While Annie’s daily care products haven’t made their way to US shores yet, you can build your own solid basic daily routine from a variety of brands. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:
- Never introduce a bunch of new products into your routine at the same time. Only add or change one product at a time, and give it at least a week or two before adding the next one. That way, if one of the products you’ve introduced doesn’t get along with your skin, you’ll be able to easily pinpoint which one it is, instead of having to toss everything and start from scratch.
- Double cleansing, in which you use an emulsifying cleansing oil or balm before a water-based milk, gel, or foam cleanser, is much better for your skin than one-step cleansing using an overly harsh cleanser. Harsh cleansers are one of the biggest threats to your skin’s healthy natural water and oil balance. Remove makeup and sunscreen with a cleansing oil like DHC’s classic Deep Cleansing Oil, then follow up with a gentle, water-based cleanser to remove any residue.
- A good humectant toner or essence is essential to plump, glowing skin. I’m a fan of Minon’s Amino Moist Moist Charge II Lotion, which smooths and strengthens skin with amino acids while adding lasting hydration.
- Moisturizers don’t have to be heavy creams. Choose one with a texture that suits your skin. Oily skin often does better with gel-textured moisturizer. And if you find your skin needing just a little more richness than your current moisturizer provides, adding a drop or two of facial oil to it can give it that extra oomph.
Ultimately, all of our skin goals depend first and foremost on having healthy, resilient skin. As Annie told me, “With healthy skin protect ability and proper skincare products, we can reduce even remove the traces of time on our looks. Hope all of you can have a healthy and glowing skin.”
What’s your basic skincare routine and how is it working out for you? Let us know in the comments!