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This is the 18th year that health and beauty retailer Guardian is holding the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards, and it’s the second time I’ve been invited to be on the judging panel. It’s always an exciting experience because I get to try out many best-selling products that have received great reviews.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees Review 1

After trying out all the products that I had to judge on, I decided to take things a little further and swap out my entire skincare routine with some of the nominated products that I really enjoyed. After all, if these have stood out among so many products, they must be doing something good for the skin, right?

Want to know how this “experiment” go? Read on to find out.

Step 1: Makeup remover – Bifesta Cleansing Lotion (Moist)

Bifesta is probably one of the skincare brands out there that truly specialises in makeup removal, and the specialist is doing a great job so far. I’ve tried a few of their makeup removing products previously, including the Dual-Phase Micellar Water and their Makeup Remover Wipes.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees Bifesta Review

Just based on the great experiences I’ve had with their other products, I wasn’t surprised at all that the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion (Moist) was nominated for the Best Makeup Remover at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards.

How does it compare to my regular product: This micellar lotion feels a little more nourishing than my regular cleansing water, which is perfect for my dehydrated skin. While my skin may sometimes feel tight after cleansing, the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion (Moist) left my skin feeling hydrated and soft, a sensation I really liked.

In terms of its ability to remove makeup thoroughly, I think it is very comparable to what I have been using – the only difference was that my usual makeup remover costs about six times more, so this is definitely a more affordable alternative to go for!

Step 2a: Cleanser – Hada Labo SHA Hydrating Wash

Even if your skin feels cleansed and comfortable after the makeup removing step (like I did), never forget to wash your face again with a facial wash.

This technique is known as double-cleansing and has been advocated by both Japanese and Korean beauty enthusiasts as the best way to prep your skin for the rest of the skincare routine.

This is so that you can cleanse off any debris and impurities that may have been left behind by the makeup removal step that you can’t feel or see.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees Hada Labo Review

For this step, I used the Hada Labo SHA Hydrating Wash, nominated for the Best Cleanser at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards. This facial foam (and the rest of the product in their SHA range) is fortified with two types of Hyaluronic Acid (Super Hyaluronic Acid and Absorbent Hyaluronic Acid) to deliver intense hydration to your skin.

How does it compare to my regular product: Although I’ve been using different lotions from Hada Labo and have enjoyed them, somehow I’ve never picked up the Cleanser until now – and I’m glad that I have now. The cleanser lathers up very easily into fine foam and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated after rinsing off. I love my regular cleanser, but I find that the Hada Labo one may win by a small margin because of how it leaves my skin feeling and looking fresher.

Step 2b: Cleanser – By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Cleanser

I tend to have a bit of breakout when it’s near that time of the month, and that’s when I’ll change up a few products in my skincare routine to help soothe the pimples.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees By Wishtrend Cleanser Review

I decided to try the By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Cleanser, which was nominated for the Best Derma Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards.

I have been seeing a lot of good reviews about this Korean brand but haven’t had the chance to try out their products, even though it’s been exclusively available at Guardian for a while now (yes, I had no excuse other than sheer procrastination). So I was excited to know that they have a few nominations at the Awards!

(Note: As this is formulated for acne-prone skin, which is not my skin type, I only use it occasionally when I start feeling like my pores are clogged or a bump is coming out. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who don’t suffer from acne.)

How does it compare to my regular product: This is cleanser has a gel texture that makes it gentler on the skin, which is great on zit-days because you won’t want to irritate your skin too much. The formula also contains two types of acids: Capryloyl Salicylic Acid and Gluconolactone, both of which are seen as the gold standard for fighting acne.

I can’t really make a comparison with any product in my regular routine because I don’t usually use a acne-fighting cleanser on those acne-prone days. I usually introduce a lactic acid serum to unclog pores or if my skin is particularly oily, I’ll use a tea tree serum, followed by a mattifying moisturiser. But after trying out this cleanser from By Wishtrend, I’ll definitely continue to go to it for the occasional acne management.

Step 3: Toner – Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner

Some people skip the toning step in their skincare routine because they didn’t think it was important. If you’re one of them, it’s time to bring the toner back. A good toner can help to balance out your skin’s pH level, which will in turn improve your skin’s ability to absorb the skincare benefits from subsequent products.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees Neutrogena Review

For this step, I decided to try the Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner, which has great reviews online. Considering its affordable price, it’s definitely a product with a great value for money.

Nominated for Best Toner at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards, this toner is great for those with sensitive or dry skin because it doesn’t contain any alcohol, to make sure that it won’t strip your skin of its natural moisture.

How does it compare to my regular product: This is certainly a great option for fuss-free days. Simply soak your cotton pad with the toner, and swipe away at your face – you’ll be done in a minute.

I typically use toning pads so while the toning effect between the two products are comparable, my regular toning pads win by a small margin because of convenience. This being said, there’s a huge price difference between the two, so the Neutrogena toner is definitely a great option for the budget-conscious.

Step 4: Serum – L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence

This lightweight facial essence helps to brighten skin while repairing it with Centella Asiatica, a skin-healing ingredient loved by the Korean beauty community.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees Loreal Review

The L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence Water is nominated for Best Serum at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards.

How does it compare to my regular product: I like how quickly the product is able to be absorbed into skin, leaving it feeling refreshed and smooth. This has actually been my regular go-to serum for some time now and I’ve enjoyed it very much. My skin has been feeling smoother and more radiant since using it.

Guardian Botanic Heal Derma Shot Vitamin Pore Serum

Try this too: If pore management and brightening are both your biggest skincare concerns, consider the Botanic Heal Derma Shot Vitamin Pore Serum, exclusively available at Guardian, which has been nominated for Best Derma Brightening Serum. I love the mattifying texture that helps prime my skin so that makeup can glide on more easily.

Step 5: Moisturiser – La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Light

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees La Roche Posay Review

Nominated for Best Derma Hydrating Moisturiser at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards, the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Light moisturiser is non-oily and helps to hydrate oily and/or sensitive skin.

The formula includes the brand’s famous thermal spring water, which delivers healing and soothing properties. It also has a minimalist ingredient list that excludes preservatives, paraben, fragrance, alcohol, colorant, and lanolin to reduce the chance of allergies.

I have dehydrated skin so I typically go for more nourishing moisturisers. However, on the days just before my period and my skin starts oiling up more than usual, I’ll go for moisturisers that are designed for oily skin types to control the sebum and keep my skin looking matte.

How does it compare to my regular product: The usual oil-control moisturiser that I use is a lot heavier than this La Roche-Posay one. I absolutely love its non-oily and lightweight texture, and how it instantly mattifies my skin and continues to do so throughout the day – all while making sure that it’s not stripping my skin of moisture. This is definitely a winner.

Step 6: Sunscreen – Dear, Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence

One of my colleagues is a huge fan of this sunscreen and she has been urging me to try it for myself – I finally did!

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees Dear Klairs Review

Dear, Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is nominated for Best Derma Suncare at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards is vegan-friendly and offers SPF50+, PA++++. Just based on its name and the amount of sun protection it offers – as well as my colleague’s recommendation – I already know that this is promising.

How does it compare to my regular product: I’ve been using a tinted sunscreen with SPF50+ from a luxury brand. While the texture is ultra lightweight and it delivers a soft glow to my complexion, there’s one thing I have a problem with – it disintegrates immediately once it touches water. I can literally see the tint dripping down the moment I touch my face with water.

While this sunscreen from Dear, Klairs isn’t tinted, it’s so hydrated that it helps to perk up my complexion instantly. And just as its name suggests, it feels airy and soft; it’s as though I wasn’t wearing any sunscreen at all, which is a huge feat for a sunscreen that has such high SPF.

I also love that it doesn’t feel greasy or leave behind a white cast. The water-based gel texture also makes it easy to slather on and doesn’t interfere with any makeup that I apply thereafter. I have no doubt that I prefer this product to my regular sunscreen – so thanks, Mel for the recommendation, and thanks Guardian for stocking it! (Psst, you can find it exclusively at Guardian!)

Guardian Round Around Green Tea Cica Sun Lotion

Try this too: Round A’Round Green Tea Cica Sun Lotion. This product was brought into Singapore, thanks to an exclusive collaboration between Guardian and Olive Young, the #1 health and beauty drugstore in South Korea. This sunscreen, which has also been nominated for Best Derma Suncare, left a good impression when I tried it out during the judging period. I like that it is super lightweight and gives an instant brightening effect to the skin.

Step 7: Mask – By Wishtrend Natural Vitamin 21.5% Enhancing Sheet Mask

Regular masking helps give your skin the booster that it needs. I try my best to mask once a week, and on days when I feel that my skin is especially dehydrated or dull, I’d increase my masking frequency.

Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards 2020 Nominees By Wishtrend Mask Review

This Korean mask, the By Wishtrend Natural Vitamin 21.5 Enhancing Sheet Mask, is a multi-benefit one that helps to improve skin tone, while calming and moisturising it. It also delivers a dose of antioxidants to the skin. It has been nominated for Best Derma Brightening Mask at the Guardian Healthy Beauty Awards.

How does it compare to my regular product: This mask, which is exclusively available at Guardian, helped to intensely hydrate skin and my complexion instantly glowed after using it. It is definitely one of the better masks I’ve tried and I would reach out for it as an SOS for dull skin if I’m going for any important events.

Guardian Huxley Mask Glow And Brightness

Try this too: Huxley Mask; Glow and Brightness. This unique mask from Korean brand Huxley, another beauty product that’s exclusive to Guardian, comes with two formulas that emulsifies when you mix them together to form a milky essence. Enriched with prickly pear cactus oil, the nominee of Best Derma Brightening Mask doesn’t just deliver a radiant glow to complexion instantly, but also has a sensorial scent that makes for the perfect self-care ritual.

How was my overall experience?

Almost all the products I’ve tried for this “experiment” were either better or comparable to my regular products so I’m really impressed. I’m quite sure that some of them are going to become a mainstay in my skincare routine from now – no wonder they’ve been nominated for the Awards!

Who are all the nominees?

Click on this box to head right over to the Guardian Healthy Beauty Award 2020 voting site. Although the voting period is over, you can head over to take a look at the list of all the nominees!

This article is brought to you by Guardian.