A millennial's reflections on trying anti-aging skincare for the first time

by Khae Aruelo

At 21, I often struggle with #adulting. I’m still learning how to be smarter with time management and planning for the long-term, and had never had to deal with very adult things like taxes until my internship. So when Den asked me to try Celeteque’s Advanced Anti-Aging line, I was initially baffled. Am I not too young to be worrying about wrinkles? Then I realized that it makes sense to use anti-aging products BEFORE my skin actually needs them. Prevention is better than cure, after all! But how could I adapt that concept into my own state of mind?

I honestly don’t think about the future a lot but I have been focused on upping my skincare game. I was also excited because Celeteque was actually my first love! With clinical formulations that are mild enough for sensitive skin, their products were perfect for the pre-teen, skin-asthmatic Khae. Back then, I didn’t even know what skincare was but as early as 12 years old, I would use their cleanser, toner, and moisturizer religiously before bed to manage my condition.

 BEFORE: You can see my textured skin, plus the fine lines around my eye area.

BEFORE: You can see my textured skin, plus the fine lines around my eye area.

The timing of my Celeteque Advanced Anti-Aging Line trial couldn’t have been more perfect. My skin was suffering from stress and a bad sunburn, so I wanted to step up my usual 7-step regimen. While going through the product ingredients and descriptions, I quickly realized that though they are marketed for mature skin types, their ingredients are great for skin issues experienced at ANY age. The line also boasts of visible results after just four weeks of use so I was excited to see what they could do for my skin!

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The Pore Tightening Serum (P849 for 30ml ) is my favorite from the line. It claims to give a “non-greasy, shine-free formula that helps improve smoothness and firmness to give you toned and supple skin”. According to Celeteque’s website, niacinamide improves skin firmness while alpha-lipoic acid targets oil control and evenness of skin texture. It also contains salicylic acid, a mild exfoliant that brightens by sloughing off dead skin cells and unclogging pores of dirt and oil. The product itself is very light, with a slight tackiness upon application. The pump also conveniently dispenses the prescribed amount of product and keeps application sanitary.

If you follow the prescribed instructions to “push” the product into your pores, it absorbs very quickly. Otherwise, they simply pill against your skin. While you can’t actually shrink pores using topical products,  I did notice that within two weeks of regular use, my pores looked more refined. My nose and cheeks play host to bigger pores that trap dirt and blackheads, so I was definitely surprised to see that they looked smoother and finer than before. However, it did nothing to prevent blackheads! I found myself using pore strips and scrubs to spring clean my pores instead.

For those looking for an entry point to try out the line, Celeteque has two perfect single-use options: a face mask and an eye mask! The Advanced Anti-aging Rejuvenating Facial Mask (P165) comes in a standard foil packet, and though it says fragrance-free, I definitely caught a fruity candy scent upon application. It’s a little pricier than what I usually pay for a sheet mask, but the serum is fortified with biopeptides, which contribute to healthier and tighter skin and vitamins for a brightening glow. Post-masking, my skin felt tighter, smoother, and more hydrated. However, I didn’t notice any visual changes aside from that usual dewy glow from the accumulated essence.

The mask material felt coarser than others I’ve tried but not to a point where it was scratchy. The size, however, really bothered me - it was way too big for my face! I had to cut the tip of the nose flap so I could breathe, and the awkward fit kept it from laying flat on the corners of my face.

The Line Reducing Eye Mask (P105) seemed kind of gimmicky at first. The packaging was a messy, too - though sealed in a packet, there was a strange plastic flap that I think was designed to keep the serum concentrated into the patches. The serum still leaked out of the flap though, and the tight fit made it pretty difficult to separate the patches. There were no directions on how to wear them so I just placed them in positions that felt comfortable on my face.

The eye mask claims to fight lines and oxidation with vitamin E and niacinamide for a younger, brighter appearance. According to the instructions, best results are achieved if an eye mask is applied twice a week. Eep! Since the line boasts of results within four weeks of regular use, then that would amount to roughly P840 a month just for the eye mask! However, I was pretty impressed with the immediate effects. Though my dark circles were still visible, my eye area looked brighter and the fine lines I had were less pronounced. I wouldn’t use these twice a week (because of budget restrictions) but would definitely want them before a big event!

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While the line had these eye masks to target the area, it didn’t have a dedicated eye cream. Instead, they released the Anti-Wrinkle Collagen Gel (P779 for 40ml) for increasing collagen production. Meant to be an all-over product, it can be used around the eyes, mouth, and other wrinkle-prone areas. The product claims to be able to decrease fine lines by the fourth week of usage by 66.71%.  Besides the collagen, the gel also contains soya bean protein for tighter, more supple skin.

Since the product comes in a pot, I use a spatula to minimize contamination. I would have preferred it in a pump like the serum, which was thicker but dispensed easily. It absorbs quickly. While I don’t have any laugh lines or wrinkles yet, I did apply the product around my lips and the dip of my nose bridge, in addition to my eye area. After three weeks of use, I noticed that it improved the appearance of fine lines under my eyes and smoothened my nose bridge. Aside from that however, there were no significant changes. I wish the gel also had brightening properties so that I could use it as an eye treatment.

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The Rejuvenating Night Cream (P899 for 50g) was admittedly the product I liked least. Because of my oily skin, I try to stay away from thick, heavy formulas like this one simply because my face feels even greasier. It was also quite tacky, so it could probably benefit from being in a squeeze tube instead. Despite being a night cream, it strongly resembled the scent, feel, and appearance of sunscreen. A little goes a long way, since the heavy formula  takes some time to absorb. Unfortunately, the heaviness took its toll and I got breakouts around my chin and forehead area, where I usually apply more moisturizer for my dry patches.

The night cream is meant to restore youthful skin, improving skin firmness and smoothness. It’s fortified with PhytocellTec for prolonging stem cell life span, and Aqua-shuttle Technology, which is meant to carry moisture deep into the skin. I don’t think that the product is bad; it’s just that it didn’t suit what my skin needs. I would wake up with skin that somehow felt oily AND dehydrated, so I asked my mom, who is in her 40s, to give it a try. Though she enjoyed how it left her dry skin feeling hydrated, the cream also broke her out and caused little bumps on her cheek.

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While this isn’t part of the Advanced Anti-Aging line, the Matte Moisturizer (P230 for 50ml) from their sun care line fits perfectly into the routine for daytime use. As we preach here on PV, daily sun protection is the most important habit for keeping skin healthy and youthful! I’m a big fan of multitasking products, so the fact that it’s a matte moisturizer with SPF30 definitely had me excited. While the moisturizer still had that usual sunscreen scent, it was definitely lighter than the night cream and blends out well with minimal white cast. I can wear it comfortably under makeup without worrying about flashback. My only problem with it is that it can highlight dry patches, so while it does hydrate the skin, be sure to exfoliate regularly so that it doesn’t cling to any flakes.

 From left: Pore Tightening Serum, Collagen Gel, Rejuvenating Night Cream, Matte Moisturizer

From left: Pore Tightening Serum, Collagen Gel, Rejuvenating Night Cream, Matte Moisturizer

I definitely see myself repurchasing the Pore Tightening Serum and the eye mask in the future! While I didn’t really see significant results in terms of fine line reduction, my face did look brighter and feel firmer after four weeks of using the products. I have come to some important realizations:

 From Week 1 to 3

From Week 1 to 3

Your skin is a lifelong investment. If you start caring for it early on, chances are, you can prevent lasting damage! Just because something is labeled as anti-aging, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it before age 30. While some formulas aren’t for younger skin, many anti-aging products also contain ingredients that can benefit various skin issues at any age.

Finally, regardless of age or skin concerns, remember to take some time for yourself. Some people, like my mom, are too busy “adulting” that they forget to take a moment and indulge in some self-care. A skincare routine helps to psych you up for the day ahead or unwind before bed, and you can enjoy the result of your efforts in the years to come.


Khae Aruelo is an intern at Project Vanity, and is currently fulfilling a degree in Communications. When she isn’t dying from school work, she is probably designing, writing, and taking photos - or indulging in her current vices of pretty cocktail drinks, semi-sweet iced coffee, and obsessing over her next online purchase.