Once upon a time, I was a product whore. I was working in media – a women’s magazine where the beauty desk would be inundated with the latest whitening serum, the hottest lip colour for summer, the breakthrough foundation formula.
You name it and I’ve tried it. You know how in the beauty section of a glossy you would read about the “ultimate” skincare routine that would involve way too many but absolutely essential steps? I wrote that and obviously, I practised what I preached. My vanity table was filled with all sorts of products – some used once or twice but never any till its last drops. That’s how “privileged” I was when it came to my beauty routine.
Could the key to better skin be about using fewer products and spending less time fretting over every line and pore? Chua Siew Ching believes so.
These days, my vanity table has more tabletop than it does bottles, tubes and pots. I am no longer in the media industry (well, not exactly – there is the odd freelance job here and there, like this) but now work in a kitchen, my tiny café that I started more than a year ago.
While before I would be spending my days and nights at launches and PR events, now I’m spending my time in a hot and busy kitchen where I’m prepping, cooking, serving, bustling tables and talking to customers. By day end, the last thing on my mind is pre-treatment serum lotion, if you get what I mean. Instead, I’m more interested in scrubbing the grease off so I no longer smell like my menu but more like me.
A semblance of a good skincare routine is still important to me – just a more simplified one.
Forget makeup; who wants foundation dripping down their neck when taking orders, right? So most days, it is just a case of wash, tone, moisturise and off I go. Five minutes top – OK maybe a little longer some days if I remember my eye cream and the occasional serum.
Skincare for me is super streamlined now – and you know what? My skin has never looked better. I might be inclined to say it has a glow that I actually love. It could be the kitchen grease but who cares, I’m radiating (well, in my definition)! I’m more likely to show off my “naked” skin now than I was before – then, despite using an army of products, my skin looked blotchy, red, super slick, spotty, not perfect.
Hence makeup to cover and even things out. I’d spend time analysing every pore in the mirror, lamenting on how despite having the best of formulas at my disposal, I can’t seem to get my skin to behave and calm down.
I’m not saying it’s a perfect 10 now but it’s closer to that than it ever was.
I’m inclined to believe it is the fact that it’s getting exactly what it needs to look its best: No-nonsense formulas and optimum hydration, two ingredients I now believe make the ultimate recipe for better skin.
Skin is really like a lot of things in life: The more you fuss about it, the worse it becomes – at least in my case. So now, the more I “neglect” it, the better it seems! Weird how things work out, eh?
Of course, I have my arsenal of trusty products that I use over and over again.
That’s my advice to you: If you find something that works, keep to it. Moisturising is super important to me – working in a kitchen and being on your feet almost all day long have a way to deplete moisture from your skin.
To put it all back in, my go-to is Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion for day and It’s Skin Prestige Crème D’escargot for night. I love how both have an all-natural formula that seems to work wonders for my skin. Here’s a tip I picked up from a friend when applying moisturiser: Make sure your skin absorbs it all by continually “pressing” the lotion in until there are no traces of lotion. Doing this delivers all that goodness straight to your skin, I swear. As for the occasional pampering, it’s sheet mask all the way – particularly Naruko’s super range of different formulas. I slap on one before I sleep and wake up to clearer skin.
Oh there’s one more “product” I want to recommend: It doesn’t come in a bottle but it is all around you if you decide to use it – contentment. Maybe it is realizing a dream of owning something I am proud of but ever since starting my café, I’ve never felt better about myself. It gets though some days and yes, it is super challenging but the rewards are worth it and it shows – not just in my skin but life in general. Now, that’s one step you really should include in your skincare routine.
Formerly an editor for a women’s lifestyle magazine, Chua Siew Ching is now a freelance writer and owner of Crack Pork (www.facebook.com/crackpork)