It’s time to get Scrub’d up! Order now. 

by Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya 


So one of my new year’s resolutions was to improve my skin care and so I invested a large bulk of time investigating and doing my research on skin care. The first step was identifying the problems I face with my skin. My main problems on my combination skin were hyper pigmentation and uneven skin tones, primarily due to all the threading and plucking that we asian girls got to go through. So I primarily did some research to search for products that could brighten up my skin and reduce the hyper pigmentation.

It still is a work in process and I’m still learning more about the world of skin care everyday, but I’ve logged down what I’m using at the moment. I went through a lot of youtube videos to find those that have similar skin types and similar issues to me. I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have for me and your thoughts on the products I use (I’ve tagged the link to purchase it just so you know the price in singapore dollars/sri lankan rupees).



This has been a tough one to find. I tried the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Micro-cleansing foam (got samples!) – yes it says night, but I used it twice a day – and I didn’t really feel it to be as effective as my usual face wash. I think I need something with beads in it to feel like my face is actually clean. The creamy liquid doesn’t really lather on the face unlike the Clean & Clear Morning Burst Berry Face Wash (only Rs. 275/=, but no Sri Lankan link available) which is ideal, cheap and cheerful. It helps balance the oiliness of my skin and my skin feels refreshed after. It lathers up, smells so good and brightens up my dull tone.

The next cleanser on my to try list is the Bio-essence 24k Gold Radiance Cleanser (bought the mini-size from Singapore for $5), but I do want to eventually invest in the “Fresh Soy face cleanser” which I’ve heard very good reviews about and isn’t going to make my wallet sweat.


Whilst studying in the UK, the body shop was a skin care staple brand of mine. It wasn’t ridiculously expensive and there were discounts available if you were a body shop card holder. I had seen good reviews about their Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner and purchased it. With my oily skin, the toner does do what it says and leaves my skin feeling matte (sometimes a little too matte though). It does have a layer that collects at the bottom of the bottle and so shake it before you use it. I apply the toner with my fingers because I’m too lazy to actually use cotton pads, but I’ve realised that it goes on more evenly with cotton facial pads.

Another toner that I have been dying to trying out is the Pixi Glow Tonic which has had great results for those suffering with dull skin. It doesn’t cost too much and in addition to making pores smaller, you can see results faster. It has 5% glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin.


Bio essence 24k Bio gold water has changed my life! This gel like formula with gold specs leaves my skin feeling super hydrated and absorbs into the skin within a matter of minutes. I always thought an essence was equivalent to a toner, only later did I read that this layer comes before your oils. I bought this from Singapore as it was 40% off and only cost around $25. It makes a huge difference to my night time routine and my skin feels very plump the next day. I have also tried the Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion, which is basically a water like liquid so really can’t be called a lotion. I It has got rave reviews, but I don’t feel like it made much of a difference. It absorbs quick into the skin, but I don’t get the same effect I get with the Bio-essence lotion.

The SK-II treatment essence has been claimed by many to be the holy grail, but boy is it going to cost you a packet. It definitely is the next on my list to try, but first I got to make sure I have enough coin!


I am a beach baby and over the years all that sun exposure means I have got sun spots which only Beyonce can seem to pull it off. Finding an appropriate SPF was difficult and so I resorted to my easy access skin care line and found The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF 50. Two things I really love about it is that it not only has the highest defence with SPF 50 (a requirement for us brown chicks), but it also is very thin and is quickly absorbed without leaving those streaky white lines. Another reason I hated SPF is that in this humid weather, the oily SPF layer would make me sweat so much and my oily skin ended up being oilier.

I don’t have any other options for SPF, so if anyone out there has any other suggestions, do let me know!



I use the same cleanser, toner and essence for my PM routine.


Oils were something I weren’t too sure about with my combination skin, but I learnt that if you deprive your face of additional oils, it is only going to make your face produce more oils. So for starters, the lost puppy in me decided to try The Body Shop Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil which ain’t cheap in Sri Lanka (read below for how I deal with that). It is quite oily (duh I know!), but after about 5 minutes it absorbs into the skin. The best thing to do is to apply it whilst your face is still a bit damp from the essence applied so that the oil glides on easier onto the skin. A few drops goes a long way and all you need is 4 drops to cover your face. My bottle is not even half way through and I have been using it for the past 3 months. The website says you can even add it to your moisturiser. I also tried the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (again samples!) and this is more of a goo-ey jelly like consistency, not like an oil at all. It is hydrating, but again best applied after the layer of essence. I didn’t really see much results, but I think it requires a month long use and it really hasn’t been that long. With this product you need to wait a couple of minutes before applying your moisturiser.

Good genes by Sunday Riley is another serum I have heard wonders about! However as with all “wonderful” products it’s going to cost you! This product I haven’t been able to find on Sephora so it’s on my shopping list for the next time I go abroad. I don;t think this serum is equivalent to the facial oil, but oh well I can’t be adding more to the list so one must replace the other.


Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is my holy grail kind of product and yes it was an investment. It’s a thick lotion so if you sweat a lot at night then I wouldn’t recommend this for you. However it is worth sleeping in the A/C for! It’s a thick lotion and all you need is a pea size drop to cover both your face and neck so definitely worth the investment. My skin felt AH-mazing after I applied this and so refreshed/hydrated the next morning. Before that I had been using The Body Shop Vitamin E night cream since my days in medical school and it’s pretty good too, but is not as moisture overload as the Clinique mask. It smells super nice though and is a cheaper option!

I don’t intend on changing for a while, but the Jet Lag Mask by Summer Fridays has a huge buzz around it and is on my the list for my next shopping spree.

Eye gel

The Body Shop Elderflower Unperformed Eye Gel is another product I’ve been using since medical school and it’s super cooling under my eyes. It does reduce the tiredness dark puffy eyes that is a consequence of internship and is the only product I regularly used during my internship. This gel like product is instantly cooling and requires to be gently patted on as opposed to being rubbed in. One the minus points is that this product I think evaporates and so I run out quite regularly which is annoying. I’m still experimenting with other under eye products including the estee lauder one (samples to the rescue!).


Facial massage roller

So with my chubby cheeks my jaw line is constantly missing in action. A facial massage roller is just the product needed for us fuller face girls as it really helps all the products absorb and also helps contour your face angles. The Body Shop Oils of Life Twin-Ball Facial Massager was my starting point at it is super soothing on the skin especially when the metal parts are cold. Jade facial massagers are currently very popular and will probably be my next purchase, but I’m still getting used to the body shop one so I’ll be using it for a few months.




Tips and tricks

The one thing I learnt is that skin care ain’t cheap and cheap products can give you cheap results. My mother who can afford to pay for high end products buys a lot of Estee Lauder products so I was lucky enough to get tons of free samples and this is why I got the chance to try out their cleanser, essence and night oil. So keep on the look out for free samples! Shopping at sephora almost always means that you will get a goodie bag of free samples at the check out. On the way to the check out at Sephora (as with many shops) you get lots of miniature/travel size tubes and bottles of many products for cheap which might be easier on your wallet if you want to try out a product you are not too sure about yet. Due to the Sri Lankan taxes, the body shop costs a buckload here on certain products which is really sad as those who have friends abroad or travel frequently will find it cheaper to just buy the product overseas and this is exactly what I would advice you to do until The Body Shop Sri Lanka decides to sort out its’ prices.


Estee Lauder free samples!

This post is way too long to include my favourite face masks and monthly clean up routine so I will do another post about that soon. I also hope to also start adding an exfoliating segment to my facial skin care routine a few times a week. Since implementing this day and night face care routine my skin has become more radiant and my pores are much smaller. I still have a bit of hyper pigmentation which flares up with the threading, but it definitely has reduced.

I hope this post can give you an idea of where to start with your skincare routine and you can try some of the products I love. I am by no means an expert when it comes to skin care and am still learning more about it everyday, but having a regular routine has definitely made a huge difference. It doesn’t take a lot of time even though it seems extensive so I hope you give it a chance!

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Hi there!

Hi there! Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya is a medical doctor in Sri Lanka, currently training in Family Medicine. Navigating the healthcare system in Sri Lanka is no easy task and this website was created to help guide other foreign medical graduates and junior doctors. This website also helps demystify life as a doctor in Sri Lanka and also combats medical misinformation circulating amongst the general public!