Splurge or Save: Skincare picks for mature skin

I grew up with acne-prone skin, which made me conscious of my skincare ever since I was a teen. Over the years though, I’ve had to change up my products and my regimen because my old staples were no longer effective. It’s not because my skin had gotten “too used to it” though; my skin’s needs have simply changed over time!

As our skin ages, we become prone to dullness, loss of moisture and elasticity, and dehydration. We can’t stop time but there are great products that can make it seem like it has slowed down a bit for our skin. Whether you’re still in denial about getting your first wrinkle or already embracing your lines, we’ve got some great skin care picks that can give your skin the extra pampering it needs.


Essences may feel like nothing more than water but they actually concentrated formulas that target skin concerns at a cellular level. Apply this right after washing your face - you can even skip toweling dry and massage this into damp skin for extra moisture!  

Splurge: SK-II Treatment Essence (P10,101 at Sephora PH)

This is the premium Japanese skincare brand's signature product. Its main ingredient is called Pitera, and was discovered when scientists noticed that elderly sake brewers had soft, youthful-looking hands despite their wrinkled faces! This multi-awarded essence moderates the skin renewal cycle while gently exfoliating it, improving the skin's texture in 14 days.

Save: Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence (P2,295)

If you're not quite ready to drop 10 grand, this is often considered as the near-perfect Korean dupe of SK-II’s bestseller. It also contains a fermented yeast concentrate that repairs and nourishes the skin by promoting its renewal process. I personally use this myself and it gives me a brighter complexion that feels tighter and more supple.

Even cheaper: COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence (P900 at Theskincarecurator.com)

This is touted to work comparably well as the two options above. In this essence, you get a good concentration of the galactomyces ferment which is the main active ingredient of both the Missha and SK-II essences.


Similar to essences, these contain potent actives that give a boost to your skin at even higher doses. Some products feel slightly thicker compared to the watery texture of essences, so this is ideally applied right after the skin absorbs the essence. Remember: a few drops of this concentrated skin care can go a long way.

Splurge: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (P5,300 at Estée Lauder)

A true cult classic, ANR’s 30+ years of being a bestseller is testament to its effectiveness as an all-around anti-aging treatment. As Liz has documented, it speeds up the cell renewal process so it can even help heal and fade acne scars.

Save: Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Borabit Ampoule (P1,600 at online resellers)

A superstar in its own right, this highly concentrated mix of lactic acid and fermented ingredients promises to strengthen the skin's elasticity and strengthen the skin barrier. From my own usage, I experienced having my skin's balance restored and more resistant against pollution. It's also lighter in texture than the ANR, so it suits my oily skin better.

Lifting Cream

Don’t have the budget to go under the knife in the name of defying gravity? A good night cream can work wonders! To keep expectations in check, we’re talking about minor miracles that can go a long way in improving appearance and preventing more obvious signs of aging.

Splurge: Estée Lauder Resilient Lift Firming/Sculpting Face and Neck Creme (available at Estee Lauder boutiques and Rustan's)

Some users experience a slight tightening sensation in their skin upon application but all agree about (and love) how well this moisturizes the skin. The cream has a light pinkish tone instantly brightens the complexion, and with regular use, skin will look more lifted and lines smoothed.

Save: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream (P1,699 at department stores)

There’s a reason why this brand has graced the vanities of our moms and titas for the past 50 years. Infused with hyaluronic acid, amino-peptide complex and niacinamide, this cream almost feels like a makeup primer because of its velvety texture, and is light enough for use even during the day. It helps in regeneration of surface cells and plumps up the skin for an instant lift.

Intensive Moisturizer

Dehydration can exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles, leading after to tired, dull skin. Regular cream isn’t going to cut it; you need an intensive moisturizer to lock up moisture and all the goodness of previously applied skincare. Applied at night, you can wake up to fresh, glowing skin.

Splurge: Crème de La Mer

Known the world over as The Absolute HG of Moisturizers, Crème de La Mer has an extensive ingredients list featuring their exclusive Miracle Broth formula, a combination of Pacific sea kelp and other natural ingredients. Their claim to fame: the promise to heal skin dryness in just three days. Crème de la Mer also promises transformation of the skin - lines and wrinkles are diminished, pores are refined, and radiance is restored!

Save: Nivea Creme (P199 at department stores)

While not exactly the same, this handy little blue tin offers a moisture surge needed by dry, dehydrated skin at a tiny fraction of the price. Compared to La Mer, the ingredients list is considerably shorter and includes glycerin and eucerit. It's also convenient that it’s available in several sizes, so you can pack as small or as large a tin you need when out and about.

Facial Oil

Love the effect that beauty oils have on your skin? Instead of ransacking your kitchen pantry, use a product specially developed for facial application to ensure that it’s not just safe for your skin but good for it, too!

Splurge: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (P2,880 at Kiehl’s)

The famous blue bottle is the epitome of big things coming in small packages. It offers natural healing as you sleep with its paraben-free blend of botanical and essential oils like squalane and evening primrose oil. It smells divine and allows you to wake up to glowy, healthy skin.

Save: Human Nature Overnight Elixir (P1,295 at Human Nature)

Boasting of a special 9ActivOil Nutritive made up of nine therapeutic oils (including rosehip, sunflower, and elemi), this locally-made bottle of goodness is fast becoming a beauty fave. It does a fantastic job at half the cost of high-end counterparts, and you support Filipino businesses. Sounds like a win-win situation!

Sheet Mask

We’re glad to see sheet masks becoming more mainstream in the Filipina's regimen. It’s probably the easiest way to pamper your skin without having to apply multiple products, so even if they’re not completely necessary, they’re a great weekly beauty treat that actually works.

Splurge: SK-II Facial Treatment Mask (P4,087 for 6 sheets at Sephora PH)

If you enjoyed the Pitera complex in the Treatment Essence, this mask allows you to steep your skin in it for 20 minutes. It delivers intense hydration to the skin and revives it with minerals and amino acids for crystal clear complexion.

Save: Leaders Insolution Aqua Cell Skin Seed Mask (P228 at Leaders)

This maskestores skin's natural moisture balance with a blend of amaranth, ren acid vegetable squalene, and mineral-rich seed. Aside from minimizing the appearance of wrinkles through adenosine, the essence creates a protective barrier that helps lock in moisture to the skin.

We hope this rundown of products can help you look like you’ve discovered the fountain of youth! And if you’re lucky enough to not have to worry about mature skin concerns yet, do consider sharing this story with or picking up one of these recos for your moms, titas and lolas!