#TuesdaysWithLarry: Beauty Myths, Busted

Let the truth set you free

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.

This is a continuation from my column last week, as I am constantly bombarded with random questions for skincare steps and old wives' tales that don’t make sense.

From consumption of afterbirth material and using human ejaculate on the face for anti-ageing purposes, to certain self-professed beauty gurus claiming their homemade recipes are freshly made, and the urban myth of how certain lipstick brands contain lead, the extent to which people create and believe made-up theories is appalling – especially when they give in to scare tactics used during force-selling, and the horrible, random “dead sea” skincare product claims that we’ve all experienced in the local malls.

So let’s try to sieve through some of these common myths, so you will not end up beating your own face wrongly.

Age spots, “pigmentation” and freckles are signs of ageing.

Erm… no.

Uneven skin pigmentation can appear at any age for Asians due to our melanin-rich skin.

The colouration is caused by past sun damage (e.g. sun tanning, and outdoor sports without protection); and it can also be due to genetics as the occurrence of skin discolouration varies among different people.

And yes, it can worsen with age, pregnancy, hormone therapies, and medication that is phytotoxic. Using a generic term like “age spot” is inaccurate because it doesn’t explain what the colouration is – it’s more like a marketing tactic to scare consumers into buying certain beauty products.

To treat uneven skin tone, check out my recommendations last week.

Washing the face till it feels squeaky clean is great! It makes sure everything is absorbed better.

Please use a toilet brush while you are at it. Just to increase the irritation to your face.

The squeaky clean feeling is a sign that your face is over-washed. Coupled with warm water, it just strips the skin clean of natural oils. 

After washing your face, the skin should feel comfortable, and not overly “squeaky” clean (which is hard to get used to, as we are constantly told that a squeaky clean feel is good).

Constant over-washing can weaken skin structure, which causes cracks to appear on the skin surface and resulting in visually patchy dry skin. The cracks can irritate skin and may mislead people to think that they should use more face moisturisers, instead of learning the proper way to cleanse their face.

The trick to using a facial wash properly? Wet your hands and face. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of facial wash onto the palms and rub them together to foam it up before putting on the face. The motion of massaging the facial wash onto the face should take less than 30seconds (for skin free of makeup and sunscreen).

Choose a gentle facial cleanser like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (For All Skin Types), or if you have oilier skin, try the Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel. Those on a budget can go for TheFaceShop Green Tea Cleansing Foam.

From left: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser, Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel and TheFaceShop Green Tea Cleansing Foam.

Natural / Organic ingredients are better

This always give me the “Biatch, what you talking about?” face.

If natural ingredients are better, please use freshly cut lemons on your face for skin treatment, pure mud on your face for foundation and crush Cochineal beetles for your lipstick and blush.

All “natural” products have to go through a synthesising step to stabilise their structure or undergo some form of extraction process. And weren’t there some scientific reports showing that organic produce do not have much nutritional value difference from non-organic ones?

Our skin adapts to products so we must change them regularly

If our skin can adapt so easily to products, we should be some new form of mutant through skincare evolution by now. And if we can adapt so easily to product usage, then why does stupidity still exist?

We have to change our skincare regime to cater to our current skin condition – be it drier skin when we were young to oilier skin when we are older, we must always choose products that suit our skin condition.

For drier, cooler climate, denser products should be used. Humid, hot weather calls for lighter-weight products. Use retinols and better skin communicating ingredients to tackle wrinkle concerns. 

Most of the time, when a well-formulated product “stop working”, it is because the optimal state the skin has been reached. So no, we cannot look like we have baby skin at age 35, it is freaky.

Wearing makeup every day is bad for your skin

I disagree and agree. 

Agree, because of the recent strange IG-triggered tragedy of people applying so much makeup that they end up looking like they are putting on a new face to join the goblins at the Lord Of The Rings franchise. #ShadeThrown

But honestly, I disagree with this wholeheartedly. I do feel that the improper way of removing makeup and sunscreen is what is bad for your skin. Always make sure you use a makeup remover that you are comfortable with to remove ALL traces of makeup at the end of the day.

Also, Non-Comedogenic claims on makeup/skincare labels do not mean anything at all, because Non-Comedogenic products may end up clogging pores.

Acne is a puberty problem

No. Acne is triggered by hormonal levels and stress. But since human hormones can fluctuate at any time in our lives, this means acne can also occur at any period as well.

We tend to blame acne for everything, but we sometimes forget that excessive moisturisers or using skincare with too many irritants can cause also “breakouts”.

I’m not out in the sun often, so I don’t need sun protection. I only tan when I go on beach holidays.

Do you not realise that the sun rises every day? And sun damage is cumulative? That sunscreen is the best anti-aging preventive product due to the reduce UV damage to your skin? #MicDrop

Always use at least an SPF30 (because too many of us apply too little), and maximum SPF50 product. Anything higher means an increase of chemicals used to reach that level, which in turn might irritate certain skin types.

These are just some of the questions I get asked constantly, so I thought I might as well use the #TuesdaysWithLarry platform to reach out and get SOME of the hoo-ha cleared out. Hopefully this is as fun for me as for you!

For more from Larry Yeo, check out #TuesdaysWithLarry: Back To Basics or #TuesdaysWithLarry: The Kylie Lip Kit. For more on beauty, head here

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