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February 10, 2020

This Is What Fiddy Snail’s Skincare Routine Would Look Like If She Weren’t a Blogger Anymore

She’s tried them all and gets PR samples sent to her all the time. So if Asian beauty blogger Jude Chao, aka Fiddy Snails, is actually spending her own money on these skincare products, you know they have to be good.


One of the questions I get fairly regularly is a difficult one: What products would I still use if I weren’t a blogger?


If I take the question as meaning what skincare I’d use if I had never become a blogger in the first place, it’s impossible to know. One of the privileges of being a blogger and beauty writer is the amount of press samples I’ve been gifted over the years. Thanks to PR, I’ve tried (and ended up loving) many products that I might not have noticed or cared about enough to purchase on my own.


If I take the question as meaning what skincare I’d use if I stopped blogging tomorrow, took down my site and my Instagram, went totally off-grid, and no longer had access to any more PR from anyone, ever, it becomes a little easier to answer. So let’s go with that interpretation of the question.



My criteria


I know exactly what I want out of my skincare routine. I want gentle but thorough cleansers. Actives should keep my nose pores clear and my skin texture firm and smooth without excessive irritation. Serums should brighten and calm my complexion for a more even tone and provide supplementary anti-aging benefits. Toners, moisturizers, and sleeping packs should provide hydration and glow. And sunscreen should deliver reliably high UVA and UVB protection in a formula cosmetically elegant enough for me to use in the quantity needed for my #threefingers application method.




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Beyond all these requirements, the products should be economical enough for me to justify buying them repeatedly, as well as reliable and, ideally, entertaining enough that I don’t feel the urge to go looking for something new.


Here’s my skincare routine if I weren’t a blogger anymore. In the morning, I’d only need cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, but this list contains what I’d use in the evening as well.



First cleanser


I double cleanse in the evening, though not always with an oil cleanser. If I’m only wearing light makeup and non water-resistant sunscreen, I often just swipe some cleansing water over my face instead. My picks for this category would be Banila Co Clean It Zero cleansing balm, a travel-friendly classic that takes care of heavier makeup and more stubborn sunscreen in a flash, and Neogen Real Flower Rose Water Cleanser, a super gentle and affordable water-based option for the lighter days.




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Second cleanser


It has to be low pH, obviously. It also has to have enough of an element of fun to prevent me from getting bored. For this category, I’d go with a bit more of a splurge: Holy Snails Kadi Cleanser, made by Holy Snails, where I work. With honey to leave skin soft and calm after cleansing, and a foaming pump that generates big fluffy puffs of marshmallowy foam, it gets my skin sparkling clean without being boring.




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This was the easiest category for me, since I’ve had my actives game down for years. I’d go with COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid for my nose, since it keeps those pores clear without irritating my skin. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a big, cheap bottle of AHA that’s mild enough for frequent use and that I also use on my scalp. And my Curology tretinoin prescription has been my front line anti-aging product for years. I’ve never even felt like trying OTC retinoids, since none will beat tretinoin for potency.




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Hydrating toner


Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion is the best purely hydrating toner I’ve ever tried. This thick gel toner delivers almost sheet mask-like levels of plumpness and hydration. It comes in a big, budget-friendly bottle and lasts forever. It also plumps up and softens lips quickly in a pinch!




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Essence and serum


The evening essence and serum steps are for maintaining my skin condition and continually addressing long-term skin concerns. Here, I’d go with the Great White Shark variant of Holy Snails Shark Sauce. Chel originally made Shark Sauce to my specs (optimal concentration of niacinamide for brightening, with sea kelp and licorice root extract too), and Great White also contains vitamin C, eliminating the need for a separate vitamin C serum. I’d also continue to use COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. It remains the best and snailiest snail product I’ve ever used, keeping my skin feeling calm and protected at all times while also possibly helping to repair old UV damage.




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I like a very lightweight moisturizer for day and a much heavier one for night. For day, I’d splurge on Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Emulsion, which I actually just repurchased for myself a couple of weeks ago. As I wrote in my review of it on this site, this emulsion provides the perfect amount of moisture for me for day while also evening out my skin tone over time. Meanwhile, for night, I’d stick with Banila Co Miss Flower and Mr Honey Cream. This silky honey salve smells like heaven, seals moisture in like nothing else, and leaves my skin super firm and glowy the next day. For eye cream, I could use COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream until the end of time and still love it as much as I always have. It’s smoothed out and kept away my fine lines and crepiness for over a year now.



fiddy snails



Sleeping packs


Sometimes I like a sleeping pack for a change of pace or a special effect. I’ve been repurchasing COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask for years for its ability to make my skin super bouncy in the morning. I’d also keep a tube of Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask on hand for those heavy drinking nights or nights I won’t get enough sleep, since this relatively affordable hanbang product always leaves my skin looking lively and bright no matter how badly I behaved the night before.



fiddy snails



Sheet masks


No question, if I weren’t a blogger anymore and had no obligation to try new things, I’d stick with Taiwanese sheet masks at all times and rotate different ones in and out for variety’s sake. The vast majority of T-beauty masks have worked out well for my skin, so the risk here would be low, especially if I stuck to reliable brands like My Beauty Diary.



my beauty diary
Instagram @mybeautydiary_jp





The final non-negotiable step: sunscreen! For the last year of so, I’ve bought and finished countless tubes of Missha All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel. This SPF 50+ PA++++ sunscreen spreads smoothly and dries down to a totally clear and utterly grease-free soft matte finish in record time. I’ve tried a few other sunscreens here and there in the past year but haven’t found any that can topple this one off the top of my list. So I’d keep using it, and I wouldn’t complain about that at all.




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And there you have it: my skincare routine if I were to stop blogging and never get PR again. While I first used some of these products because they were gifted to me for review, they are all products I’ve repurchased afterwards, usually repeatedly. For someone who could probably create routines entirely out of PR if I wanted to, I think that says a lot.


What products do you go back to over and over? Let us know in the comments!




Jude writes as Fiddy Snails at the K-beauty and skincare blog Fifty Shades of Snail and can be found on Instagram @fiddysnails. Named the ELLE Malaysia Beauty Blogger of the Month for June/July 2017 and one of ELLE Magazine‘s 10 Cool Beauty Bloggers to Watch in 2018, Jude loves ginseng, snail, honey, propolis, and tuna fish kimbap, though she generally doesn’t put the kimbap on her face.




I noticed you didn't list a specific eye cream. Would you use the COSRX Snail 92 both morning and night?


Judy, I've used the Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure eye cream for three years (I'm 53), and I recently switched to the Restorsea Revitalizing Eye Cream 15g. It has no smell (unlike the Sulwhasoo products) and it costs about the same as the Essential eye cream in Sulwhasoo's basic (yellow) line. If you decide to give it a try, remember to use my coupon code, so you'll get lots of freebies. Code is: BAfirstOrder. If you want to learn more about the brand, here's a YouTube link to the Live Demo I attended a few weeks ago: Read more


Question: would you use the Ginseng Renewing Emulsion if you had dry skin (age 57) or is there a different Sulwhasoo moisturizer you'd recommend?



Hi Judy. I have the Ginseng Renewing Emulsion, and I don't think it's hydrating enough for a night cream. I've used it during the day, but I honestly feel overwhelmed by the ginseng smell. It's really strong. Emulsions are somewhere between lotion in a pump and cream in a jar, so the texture can also be a little on the sticky side. I do, however, love the TimeTreasure version (Sulwhasoo also), but it's not available here ... yet.


I got the Emulsion and the Night Mask in the Ginseng and I love both. The scent is yummy for me. I will watch the youtube video. Thank you so much for sending to me.


I'm so glad you like the scent, Judy. I did initially, but my husband wasn't a fan. :( Sometimes, I have to limit my Sulwhasoo and other hanbang items to daytime use when his nose is a little farther away. LOL. Have a nice weekend!


Tons to bookmark here! This makes me appreciate COSRX even more, that so many of their products are your favorites but they're so affordable!