Besides his amazing makeup skills and depth of knowledge on everything beauty, another reason why we love working with celebrity makeup artist Larry Yeo is his (often brutal) honesty. When you need someone to tell you your foundation colour is wrong, or your K-pop inspired brows are ridiculous, he’s your guy. So buckle up for #TuesdaysWithLarry, where the makeup maestro dishes out beauty tips, tricks and advice with a big spoonful of sass and spice.
With the current confusion in skincare as consumers are constantly bombarded by various brands who claim to have a breakthrough every other day, everyone seems to presume that the 11 to 14 steps of skincare are needed to get that "celebrity skin”, which by the way, were created by the glam team or their super secret skin doctor.
If anyone claims that they use more than 10 steps to help create amazing skin, do check out their skin up-close. With so many skincare steps, I do feel that it will lead to messy makeup application, randomly blotchy skin with occasional breakout, or a new pimple every day.
It’s worse if they claim that a certain product can transform their face into a sharper V-shape – please check for Botulinum Neurotoxin puncture marks on the side of their face. I am sure they will also claim that their double eye lids are natural… as natural as their “natural" aerodynamic noses. Or at least check them out without the Instagram filters aka real life before believing what they say.
We need to realise various things before we apply the right skincare for our weather. First of all, we have to understand that we are on THE EQUATOR OF MOTHER EARTH, where we get almost maximum sun exposure and where it is hellish summer all year long (our cooler “winter" months can be warmer than summer in some countries!).
With this ever consistent heat wave, excess moisturising actually IMPAIRS our skin to repair and renew itself. Our skin regenerates and pushes old skin upwards where it is sloughed off, hence applying excessive moisturisers will prevent skin from completing this renewal process by acting as a “glue”. We can overcome this with physical exfoliation (face scrub or face towel) to remove dead skin buildup.
Skincare isn’t complex. It is as simple as ABC. It’s not about putting that expensive ginseng-rare flower-rare monkey extract. It’s about combating factors during daytime (work stress and UV rays) and allowing the skin to regenerate at night with ingredients that help in repair work.
Also, we only need two sets of skincare. Why? Because skincare requirements vary from day to night (just like how we should always change our skincare when we go to a drier, cooler climate).
Tip #1: Use your whole palm to apply the skincare. Instead of wasting cotton pads (hooray, save money!), use your hands to feel out any dry patchy spots. Always massage skincare onto the skin – patting it on or dabbing it with fingers just looks stupid.
Tip #2: DO NOT WAIT for any step in the regime to dry before applying the next step. The slight moistness allows a better spread of the next product on your skin.
Tip #3: Never wash your face with warm/hot water, because it irritates the skin and dries out the skin. How about the old wives’ tale about washing the face with hot water to open the pores, you say? It’s Singapore and to open pores, you just have to go for a walk around your HDB. #ConfirmPoresOpenBig
Here are my recommended steps with products recommendation, categorised accordingly for Day and Night:
Use a gentle face wash with room temperature water. (If your face is always feeling dry due to excessive washing in the morning, try Bioderma Hydrabio Micellar Water on a cotton pad to cleanse the face, and splash with room temperature water.)
Hydrate the skin well to soften and plump it up so it does not feel dry. This important step prevents you from putting too much moisturiser. Always use your hands – pour a 5-cent size onto your palms, spread it out on the palms and massage upon the face.
Clarins White Plus Total Luminscent Brightening Soft Aqua-Milk is a good option because of its hydrating properties and generous amount of Ascorbyl Glucoside (Vitamin C).
Use a Vitamin C-based formula to help boost your skin’s collagen production. It can also combat skin discolouration, calm skin irritation and protect skin from UV rays – this is why Vitamin C products are best used only in the day! They form a second layer of protection underneath your sunscreen against UV rays.
M.A.C. Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence has a good percentage of Vitamin C and it also contains excellent anti-irritants. For those who wants maximum antioxidant ingredients, try using Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster, which has 15% active Vitamin C.
Use a pea-sized amount of moisturiser, spread it on your fingers and start applying from the sides of the face, as the sides of your face tend to be drier than the T-zone area. If you prefer lighter hydration, use an emulsion as a moisturiser.
Bottega Verde Sensitive Skin Anti-Redness Face Fluid works great in our weather thanks to plant extracts and ceramides for skin calming effects. For those who want an even more lightweight hydrating product, go for Ettusais Skin Version Up SUPER (which is normally use as a softener, but I find that it benefits breakout-prone skin very well as a moisturising emulsion).
This should always be the last step of your skincare. Sunscreen gives the ultimate skin protection and is the most important step for an anti-ageing routine. Apply about a bit more than a 20-cent size amount of sunscreen on your whole face (including the ears and neck). You won’t get enough sun protection if you don’t apply enough.
Check out sunscreens like YSL Beaute Forever Light Creator UV Protection SPF 50, or SunPlay Skin Aqua UV Watery Gel SPF50 if you’re budget-conscious. Those with oily skin and tend to sweat a lot can choose to use Shiseido Perfect UV Protector SPF 50+.
Use a makeup remover in whichever form you prefer – make sure your sunscreen is removed properly as well. Cleanse with a gentle facewash and room temperature water.
Pick something lightweight to hydrate the skin and prep it for the other treatments. Pour a 5-cent sized amount onto your palms, spread it out on the palms and massage upon the face.
A lightweight toner like Hada Labo Retinol Lifting + Firming Lotion helps to hydrate and prep the skin, while boosting it with antioxidants.
The darling of skincare actives now is Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide). It helps to boost skin regeneration, reduce dullness, even out skin colour, and combat acne. I suggest using it during the night to maximise its repairing properties.
WARNING: Active Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and Niacinamide are not compatible as they neutralise each other’s properties. If you choose to include Niacinamide in your daytime regime, make sure your Vitamin C serum doesn’t contain ascorbic acid.
SKII GenOptics Aura Essence is one such blessed formula – with its combination of antioxidants and actives, the formula works together to help regenerate the skin.
For those who are concerned about wrinkles, an additional Retinol-based product can work towards better skin regeneration; use together with Peptides and Niacinamide for total cell regeneration!
Add ALGENIST Retinol Firming And Lifting Serum to your nighttime regime (every night or every other night) to maximise your antiageing regime.
Finish with a lightweight moisturiser, preferably something that will help boost your previous skin treatments. Apply the moisturiser on the drier areas of your face.
ForBelovedOne Red Wine Anti-Oxidant Night Jelly is packed with antioxidants and anti-irritants to make sure your skin is ready for the next day. Those who sleep in an air-conditioned room can use Restylane Night Cream, which is more moisturising.
I hope this explains the basics of skincare and removes stressful guesswork for your next skincare purchase. It is intense, but hey, I am here to educate. So go on, and share this with your friends – Education Is Power!
For more from Larry Yeo, check out #TuesdayWithLarry: The Kylie Lip Kit or #TuesdayWithLarry: The Expert Guide To No-Makeup Makeup. For more beauty stories, head here.