After over 10 years of interviewing, observing and talking to friends, colleagues and industry experts, I have collected tons of beauty tips from industry experts. Here are five of my favourite beauty lessons I want to share with you.
1. Mind the Neck, Nape and Décolleté
The skin on the chest and neck is thinner than the skin on the face and is especially prone to lines, wrinkles, sagging and discolouration.
Caring for these areas doesn’t have to feel like extra steps and you don’t even need to buy dedicated products. As you apply skincare to your face, spread the toners, serums, moisturisers and sunscreen to the neck and décolleté. And don’t forget the back of your neck, and while you’re at it, apply the remaining product to your hands.
2. Never Skip Sunscreen (Even When You Are Indoors)
I still come across women who refuse to use sunscreen even though they know the theoretical consequences. How can I blame them since the results of using sunscreen are not immediate? In fact, I was once that sunscreen-free spirit until I came across these two women.
Woman #1 is in her 70s; she uses drugstore sunscreen consistently every day even when she is at home. Woman #2 who is 10 years younger and have never ever used sunscreen in her life, and perhaps slather on the occasional moisturiser when her skin feels tight. Both have similar non-outdoorsy lifestyles, and both have dark spots on the face and the arms. However, the complexion of Woman #1 is way more radiant and appear more even-toned.
I was sold. On my laziest days (a beauty editor is also human), I would do two things for my skin: wash it well and apply sunscreen.
For those planning to skip sunscreen, know this: your age-delaying serums cannot perform at their best as the skin is under UV attack. In other words, if you plan to skip sunscreen, do your bank account a favour and skip the entire skincare regimen. (Harsh but true.)
3. Consistency is Key
A scientist working for a luxury beauty brand once told me that it’s not about how expensive your skincare products are, it is about how consistent you are with your routine. That is the most basic and vital rule about caring for your skin. Follow through your skincare routine without fail and your skin will prevail.
4. Get Your Skin Properly Analysed
Before you actually start on a skincare routine, you need to find out your skin condition so you don’t waste money on products you don’t need. You should not be relying on beauty quizzes, or on your facialist to analyse your skin. Get it done with a skin-analysing machine.
Skip those Q&A-styled, I-think-you-think questionnaires offered by various beauty brands at their counters. Despite what the beauty advisors tell you (or brand managers in my case), it’s common sense that they are not 100% accurate. Why? Because it’s all guesswork, and we are biased about how we feel about our skin. Common sense, no?
Instead, go for the beauty brands that offer a skin-analysing machine that does a scan of your skin to reveal its true condition. Sometimes, these machines also calculate potential future skin issues if you carry on with your current routine and habits.
Beauty brands that offer skin consultation service using a skin analysis machine include Ioma, Shiseido, The Skin Pharmacy and SK-II. Various aesthetic clinics have their machines too but you may need to be consulted by the doctor and all; in other words, not quite easy on the purse.
5. Context is Also Key
When you read about beauty advice from websites based elsewhere in the world, you need to take into context the climate in those countries. We live in a humid climate all year round. We get greasy even if we have dry skin. Many times, we start sweating right after a shower.
Here are two examples of beauty advice not meant for tropical climates: The 10-step skincare routine that is said to be favoured by Koreans. That does not work for us. It’s too heavy for our skin and you can break out from using too much moisturiser.
Another beauty tip that keeps coming up is the one that tells you to not shampoo your hair daily, and to wash it once every few days; some even recommend that you wash your hair once a week.
We definitely need to wash our hair twice a day, or at least once every day. Here’s why: unlike the skin on your face, the scalp is thicker and has more sebaceous glands in order to produce sebum to protect hair.
When excess sebum builds up, on top of dead skin cells, dirt and product residue, hair follicles become clogged and is very likely to lead to thinning hair, hair loss and dandruff. If you have eczema, this buildup of debris can further irritate your scalp.
Do you want to leave all that gunk on your scalp for a few days? Let’s say you don’t mind that. (Out of sight, out of mind, right?) Now, imagine you leaving all that gunk on your face. How do you feel about that now?
Photo: Larry Yeo for M.A.C Singapore/Backstage at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi SS2018