One of the comments I would always get is that I have great skin.
It’s a compliment I take graciously, not because I’m bragging, but because I take my skincare seriously, dammit, and I accept all validation that it actually works.
Also, thank you. 🤗
If you read what I wrote about my favorite facial, you’d know I wasn’t always this dedicated. But here we are, with me fully committed to a full 10-step skincare regimen for the past three years and counting. A consistent routine has done wonders for my skin, not to mention my confidence. It’s certainly more empowering to go some days not hiding behind makeup, though that’s also a creative and emotional outlet.
I started my skincare journey with Korean products with the goal of getting that glass-skin effect. But as I gradually ran out and had trouble replacing them (they don’t come cheap!), I began replacing products with items that were more accessible, some from care packages sent by my mom in the U.S., and some from the malls.
I discovered I need not exclusively stick to K-beauty to achieve great skin. My arsenal of Clinique worked well enough, but more interestingly, skincare products manufactured in Cebu are just as great.
Enter Primo+Skin, the latest addition to my existing routine.
The first time I heard of Primo+ Skin was when I was writing about the lovely Phoebe Fernandez for g.spot earlier this year. Back then, it already sounded promising, but it was still so early days that I had little room to speculate what to expect—I just knew she worked so hard over it.
Fast forward to a month later and I was fortunate to get my hands on all the items in their Hydro Glow collection: Body Soap, Body Lotion, Facial Wash, Toner, Facial Moisturizer, and Facial Sunscreen.
I had been in a self-care rut lately due to the pandemic, skipping my routine on some days when I just didn’t feel like it. Receiving their PR package, especially in a cheerful pink box, excited me enough to get more consistent again.
There were products that stood for certain steps in my routine, and I was really curious if they would hold up well to my current lineup. I figured the best way to find out was to organically incorporate them into my existing routine—that is, to swap out some of the items I was already using for Primo+ Skin products, and keep the rest of my steps intact with other brands.
I’m about to break down my full routine, but you can jump straight to the Primo+Skin products below:
- Hydro Glow Facial Wash
- Hydro Glow Toner
- Hydro Glow Facial Moisturizer
- Hydro Glow Facial Sunscreen (with SPF 50 PA++++)
- Hydro Glow Body Soap
- Hydro Glow Body Lotion
Oil-Based Cleanser: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
I am an advocate of double-cleansing, especially in the evenings. Starting with an oil-based cleanser melts off most of my makeup and other oily residues such as sebum and SPF. Since I have lash extensions from NÉW Lounge, I try to keep this away from my eyelids—not that I’ve been wearing a lot of eye makeup these days anyway. But when there’s waterproof mascara involved, this really gets the job done.
Currently, I keep a small pot of Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm in the shower. I swipe a small amount onto my finger, work this all over dry skin, then emulsify with a bit of water. I then rinse this off with a full stream of water before moving on to the next step.
Shop on Lazada: Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
Water-Based Cleanser: Hydro Glow Facial Wash
When I got the package from Primo+ Skin, I had just run out of my previous facial wash, so it was easy to start using theirs. It comes in a 120ml squeeze bottle with a matte finish, which gives it a premium look and feel, while also preventing it from being too slippery in the shower.
The product is clear and has a somewhat viscous consistency, more like a thick gel than a cream. I found it difficult to squeeze out, but it melted like butter when I applied it to my wet skin, so it was easy to spread around my face and neck.
After patting dry, my skin does feel a little dried out, but not to the point that it’s extremely tight, which is my usual experience with drugstore facial washes and do not care for.
Shop on Lazada: Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Facial Wash
Exfoliator: KEVLO Exfoliating Cream
Once a week, I exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and really get deep into my pores. Right now I’m going through a small tub of the Exfoliating Cream from KEVLO. This has a slight tingling sensation when applied and does peel my skin within a few days, so I try to schedule it around days I don’t have to go out (not a tall order when there’s a pandemic involved). I like this product because even when there’s peeling involved, it doesn’t strip my skin raw.
Before KEVLO, I was using the NEOGEN Canadian Clay Pore Cleanser, which was recommended to me because it exfoliated without peeling. If you’re keener on that, this is a product worth checking out.
Shop on Lazada: KEVLO Exfoliating Cream
Toner: Hydro Glow Toner
After cleansing (or exfoliating) my face, I immediately like to go in with a toner to restore some moisture and rebalance my skin’s pH levels. I swapped out the Mamonde Rose Water Toner for the Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Toner, and if not for the sudden absence of the rose scent, it would have been hard to tell the difference.
The Hydro Glow Toner has a nice watery consistency that applies and dries really well. Immediately, I can feel an instant hydration boost, and my skin feels more supple and ready to take on the rest of my skincare routine. It contains Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid for hydrating and brightening purposes, both of which I love in my products.
Shop on Lazada: Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Toner
Essence: Farmstay Honey Gold Wrinkle Lifting Essence
At this point, besides sheet masks, I think this is the lone K-beauty product in my current routine. I picked this up at SM Department Store on impulse, lured by the sheer amount of product in a tall glass bottle, and also the gold flakes #bougie.
No regrets. Two or three drops go a really long way, and it coats my skin rather nicely but doesn’t dry out with a sticky feeling. It does have a slight scent, and though it’s pleasant, if you’re sensitive about the fragrance you may want to find something else. I was using the Benton Snail Bee High-Content Essence prior to this.
Shop on BeautyMNL: Farmstay Honey Gold Wrinkle Lifting Essence
Serum: Blank Canvas Beauty Oil
Like Primo+ Skin, I’m also taking The Beauty Oil by Blank Canvas on a rodeo, and it fits perfectly well into the serum slot of my routine. It has a proprietary blend of grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, geranium, lavender, tea tree, clary sage, and frankincense, all of which are sustainably sourced.
Out of all these ingredients, I’m most familiar with tea tree oil in my skincare products. I love having it here because it soothes redness, which is a skin issue I’ve been battling for who knows how long. It also sorts out the occasional dryness I would experience, especially on colder days or when I’ve been in air-conditioned rooms for far too long (or, y’know, stress).
The product itself does tend to leave an oily residue, so I only use one or two drops especially during the day. Also, it has a bit of a scent, but it’s clearly all-natural and very relaxing, so it’s not something I mind so much.
Shop on Disenyo del Sur: Blank Canvas The Beauty Oil
Sheet Mask: Nature Republic
I’m a little all over the place when it comes to sheet masks because there are just so many options to try out. But one brand I keep coming back to is Nature Republic. I like to get a bundle for more variety and just pick one depending on whatever skincare issue I need addressing.
I do my sheet mask once a week, usually on the same evening I would exfoliate to help out with the dryness.
Shop on Lazada: Nature Republic Real Nature Mask Sheet
Eye Cream: KEVLO Eye Contour Serum
When it comes to eye creams and eye serums, I have mixed feelings. I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t get instant gratification—they’re more of a preventive measure than wow results. But my good friend Joanna a.k.a. The Beauty Enthusiast in Cebu does swear by them, so I try not to forget this step as much as I’m often tempted to.
The KEVLO Eye Contour Serum definitely encourages me to be more consistent about it. Unlike most eye products I’ve used, this one is light enough that I can actually use it during the day, and under makeup as well. I also appreciate the pump bottle, as it’s a more sanitary way of dispensing product for a sensitive area of your face.
Shop on Lazada: KEVLO Eye Contour Serum
Moisturizer: Hydro Glow Facial Moisturizer
If I had to pick a favorite out of Primo+ Skin’s Hydro Glow collection, I think it’s easily this one. I’m very particular about moisturizers because my skin tends to get oily throughout the day, and so I don’t need anything that makes me greasy.
In my Instagram Live doing my skincare with Primo+ Skin products, I compared this to my Goldilocks moisturizer, the Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrator. While the comparison still stands, the consistency isn’t as gel-like as I initially thought. But it’s still very lightweight and absorbs well, and I can layer my makeup on top of it with no problem. Like the toner, it also packs Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid to further the hydrating and brightening agenda.
I was using the Clinique iD Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion with the ‘Fatigue’ Active Cartridge, which allowed me to combine my serum and moisturizer before I swapped them out with separate products. I still take that out of the drawer from time to time when I’m feeling especially lazy, just to get the job done.
Shop on Lazada: Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Facial Moisturizer
Sunscreen: Hydro Glow Facial Sunscreen (with SPF 50 PA++++)
You can do all the skincare steps you want, but the point is moot if you don’t put sunscreen on top. Seriously, wear sunscreen, even when you’re just indoors or it’s an overcast day.
Maybe it’s because I’m pale enough, but I never get issues with sunscreen causing a white cast on my face. The Primo+ Skin Facial Sunscreen is no exception. Compared to my most recent sunblocks, this one felt the most… natural, shall we say.
It was so lightweight, it almost felt like I have anything on. There was no sticky feeling unlike the Neutrogena UltraSheer Face Sunscreen, but I also couldn’t conceivably say it can “stand” as a makeup base which was what I liked with both the KEVLO Collagen Placenta with SPF 70 and the Innisfree Daily UV Defense with SPF 30, the latter of which I especially liked for a mattifying effect.
That’s not to say it doesn’t go well under makeup because it does, but it’s definitely sheer enough to give you a completely makeup-free look if you don’t put BB/CC cream or foundation to even out your skin tone. I do love that it’s very moisturizing thanks to the Hyaluronic Acid, and SPF 50 is a decent amount of sun protection that I can’t complain about.
Shop on Lazada: Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Facial Sunscreen
Bonus! When I think of skincare, I used to think exclusively of my face regimen. Since receiving my Primo+Skin PR kit and seeing how it included a body soap and body lotion, I’ve learned to reconsider that it also encompasses the skin on… well, the rest of my body 😅 Using these two products has made me more mindful of my routine during and after a shower.
Soap: Hydro Glow Body Soap
Since the onset of the pandemic last year, I’ve been extra diligent about disinfecting. When I’ve been out and about, I hop straight into the shower and lather myself silly with a bar of soap in the hopes of getting rid of potential coronavirus contamination (spoiler alert: Ya girl still got COVID-19 anyway). But on the days I’ve just been home, I use a moisturizing body wash that doesn’t dry out my skin so much.
The Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Body Soap is a bar soap that gives me the best of both worlds. It cleanses thanks to a lot of sodium-based ingredients and provides moisture with shea butter. It also contains Niacinamide for that extra brightening effect. Just like the facial wash, I love that this doesn’t leave me with a tight and drying feeling, though I believe it’s still best to pair this with lotion.
Shop on Lazada: Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Body Soap
Lotion: Hydro Glow Body Lotion
As my numerous bottles of opened but half-used lotions can attest, I have a finicky relationship with body lotion. I know it’s good for my skin, I try to make it a habit, but I would completely forget about it until I have a new body lotion I’m excited to try out, and the same thing happens all over again.
Truth be told, my drawer graveyard of opened lotions made me hesitate to pop open the one from Primo+ Skin, but I’m a bit of a completionist. For the sake of review, I went ahead with it.
The formula is a white-colored cream that glides really smoothly and absorbs fast. I like that it feels lightweight — none of that heavy, sticky feeling — though boy, is this lotion heavily scented. All of the Primo+ Skin products have a mild and pleasant smell, and this lotion has the same fragrance but dialed up a lot. I found it overpowering on the onset, and while it gradually fades over time, I could still catch a whiff every now and then. That’s all up to the person’s preference, of course, but it’s worth mentioning because it was something that really stood out.
Shop on Lazada: Primo+ Skin Hydro Glow Body Lotion
Thanks to the excitement that the Primo+ Skin products brought, I’ve been more diligent when it comes to taking care of my skin the past month. I’m very familiar with how my skin changes when I become more consistent — less red and splotchy, brighter, more even — and all of those happened as if on cue. I also didn’t have any adverse effects like allergies, though there were a couple of pimples around the time of the month. Considering that a good chunk of my regimen has been swapped with Primo+ Skin products, I’m sure that all the Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid did a lot of the heavy lifting.
I’m really impressed. For a homegrown brand — a new one at that — their products performed as well as their western and K-beauty counterparts, sometimes even better because of the homecourt advantage. It propels the idea that locally-manufactured skincare, especially one that is so well thought out and cultivated, can be something to be proud of.
Right now, Primo+ Skin’s lineup is limited to the six products mentioned above. I would love to see them expand their collection in the future. I’m interested to see what they can do with a serum and an under-eye product, perhaps even a sheet mask? (Do we have locally-made sheet masks?). And just to throw a wildcard in there, maybe a lip balm!
What would I buy again? It’s a toss-up between the toner, the moisturizer, and the sunblock. If I really had to pick just one, my runaway favorite is the moisturizer. I’m halfway through my pot and love it so much, I would totally buy a bigger size.