“I got good genes, and I’m aging well. Is the bitch 13? They can never tell.”

(Awkwafina. “Pockiez.” In Fina We Trust, 2018.)

I’m not saying people think I’m 13, because that would be absurd. I’m 35.

That being said, I do agree with Awkwafina’s assertion. Us Asians did luck out with the gene pool lottery, because we tend to look a lot younger than we really are. People think I’m in my early 20s and I haven’t been 20 in more than a decade.

(My sister has it even better — or worse, I guess, depending on how you look at it. People think she’s a pre-teen; she’s a high school math teacher.)

I think that’s why I’ve never really been that into anti-aging stuff. It’s also why I was hesitant to check out a brand called Youth to the People at first.

I’m not looking to recapture my youth, so I just assumed that the brand wasn’t meant for me. Besides, one of their primary ingredients is kale. Can you say hipster?

I know this sounds pretty mean, but I have this weird aversion to brands that harp on and on about how organic and natural their products are. It just reminds me way too much of that infamous Portlandia chicken sketch, and not in a good way.

But then people on the Into the Gloss Facebook group just wouldn’t stop talking about the brand, so I eventually gave in to peer pressure and decided to give them a shot.

I now own three of their products and will repurchase when I run out. I guess if I have to eat my words, I’m glad that they’re at least organic and pretty easy to swallow.

A little background before we proceed: my skin is generally cooperative, with a few blemishes here and there every now and then. I have dry, sensitive skin that reacts poorly to coconut oil and its derivatives, plus maybe a few other ingredients that I still haven’t quite sussed out.

Earlier this year I had the worst breakout of my life. My cheeks were red and inflamed, with huge cysts jostling for space. For the first time in my life, full coverage foundation was something I considered necessary just so I could get out of the house.

People with generally nice skin won’t understand, but your self-esteem really takes a hit. I know, acne isn’t life-threatening, but it’s not something I would wish on anyone.

My face is now in much better shape, though I still have to deal with the acne marks that are taking their sweet time before leaving my face for good. For all my aversion to kale, I do believe that Youth to the People played a huge part in calming my face down and getting it to a much healthier place.

Superberry Hydrate & Glow Oil

Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil

This is the first product I tried from the brand because strangers online just wouldn’t shut up about it.

It’s a very lightweight oil that absorbs lightning fast. You don’t even have to work it into your skin. I just pat four drops on my face and my skin laps it all up. It doesn’t feel oily or sticky at all, which is a major plus when you live in a country as hot and humid as the Philippines.

For an entire month, my skin care routine consisted of this oil and the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. On the first application alone — I kid you not — the stupid cysts on my face started shrinking. I swear on my entire makeup collection — the results were beyond fast.

The Superberry oil wasn’t as effective on the cysts underneath the surface, but it at least made them significantly less noticeable. The ones already out in the open shrank and healed quickly. That’s more than anyone can ask for, where skin care products are concerned.

This oil on its own isn’t moisturizing enough for me, although at that time I didn’t mind so much. I was all for dry patches if it meant the cystic acne would leave my face alone.

(It also smells really, really nice.)

Superfood Firm and Brighten Serum

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Superfood Firm and Brighten Serum

I’m just gonna go ahead and address the hipster in the room: this has kale in it.

I do want to clarify and say that the good thing about Youth to the People is that they combine science and nature in their products. Your zodiac sign will not factor into the efficacy of these products, though you’ll still have to deal with the kale.

The serum has vitamin C, peptides, sodium hyaluronate, and vitamin B5 — ingredients that are tested and verified for their skin care benefits. You can side-eye the kale all you want, but this serum’s got the goods.

I picked this serum up (despite its rather hefty price tag) because I saw “vitamin C”. I needed something to help with the acne marks, and I figured this serum was a good fit.

The good news: it works. The marks are looking slightly less obvious and I can get away with a light layer of foundation now.

The bad news: it works… very slowly. I get that we shouldn’t rush things, especially topical skin care. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a petty and impatient child, though. Of course I want results, and I want them now!

I only use the serum in the morning, because I have a rather unfortunate history with vitamin C products. My skin is sensitive and can turn red and scaly at the drop of a hat, so I’m staying on the safe side and using the serum just once a day.

Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

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Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

When you live in a humid country, “too much moisturizer” becomes a real problem, even for people with dry skin. You have to moisturize the parched landscape that you call your face, but applying just a tiny bit too much could straight up deliver you to pimple city. Not a good look.

The Adaptogen cream eliminates that concern, because I honestly don’t think you could ever over-moisturize with this cream. I’ve accidentally applied too much a few times, and I just massage it in a little more until the product’s absorbed.

It’s very rich but never heavy, and it sinks in quite easily without ever feeling like the product’s just sitting on top of your skin. Even with the shea butter it contains, the moisturizer doesn’t feel greasy at all.

Real talk: I’m not sure the mushrooms in this actually do anything. I haven’t tested it against inflammation or irritation, so I simply can’t testify to that yet. What I can tell you is that it’s a good moisturizer that handles dryness like a pro.

I know that Youth to the People isn’t cheap, but neither is my face so I don’t mind dropping the money. Besides, the products do exactly what they say on the tin and they work for me, so what’s not to love?

Featured Image by PHÚC LONG on Unsplash