Skincare Secrets I Learned From Mom (Ivy's Story)

Continuing on with our “Skincare secrets I learned from mom” series where the purpose is to discuss skincare habits and tips with real women from diverse backgrounds, today we’re excited to bring you Ivy’s story.  

Ivy is 40 with dry and slightly sensitive skin.  She grew up in Taiwan where she started out as a model/actress/reporter, then moved to Hong Kong to work as a TV news anchor and now lives in Helsinki with her husband and two adorable sons – fair to say she’s enjoyed some adventure in her life!  With her stunning beauty and engaging personality, Ivy touts over 1 million followers on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of twitter) – I’ve always been a huge fan and finally got her to sit down with us and spill her skincare secrets.  Below is a summary of what we discussed. 

  1. Tell us about your skincare history. When did you become aware of the importance of skincare?

The first time I paid attention to skincare was probably when I had just started college and my mom officially helped me build a simple but regular skincare routine.  My mom didn’t do much but she believed in daily care with basic products and also recommended that I get facials once in a while. 

What really helped me understand skincare was working as a reporter in Taiwan.  I covered quite a bit of medial news which gave me many opportunities to talk to various dermatologists.  From these doctors, I learned the basic skincare principles I still live by today – mainly, less is more and proper cleansing is critical for healthy skin.  They also stressed that the most important things for healthy skin are drinking enough water, getting good sleep and eating well.  If you don’t have these basics down, no amount of product can save your skin.     

  1. What is your skincare routine?

My skincare routine is pretty basic and I try to focus on keeping it simple, natural and sustainable. In the mornings, I rinse my face with water then apply either a serum or moisturizer followed up with sunscreen.  At night before I go to bed, I first cleanse my face with micellar water then a foaming cleanser.  During my TV days I used to wear a lot of heavy makeup so I’ve since become hyper focused on removing makeup and cleaning my face properly.  I’ve tried all sorts of oil or cream-based cleansers but have found that nothing works like micellar water.  It’s the only thing that will keep blackheads away for me.  These days it’s everywhere, but when I started using it more than 15 years ago in Taiwan, no one knew what it was and I had to go to a doctor to get it! 

After a good double-cleanse, I follow up with a hydrating moisturizer and that’s usually it.  I never use more than 2-3 skincare products at a time.  Most people are surprised to hear how simple my routine is but it’s worked for me.  I also don’t believe in buying expensive products – price doesn’t equate to quality in skincare.  I’m especially wary of big brands with huge marketing campaigns employing celebrities.  I want my money to go towards quality ingredients, not their modeling fees! 

  1. Any secrets/tips that stem from your diverse cultural background?

Living in various places, I’ve developed an appreciation for respecting and working with the environment you’re in.  During my days in Asia, sun protection and avoiding pigmentation was a top concern for women.  Now living in Helsinki where we actually could use more sun, I see that the key focus is hydration and moisturizing.  With the cold and dry weather here, you need nourishing products that will keep your skin well protected and supple.    

While living in Asia, I used mostly Asian-made products because I felt those brands knew my Asian-skin best.  Now though, I’ve switched over to European brands with my shifting skincare needs.  Here there’s a bigger focus on clean and natural beauty products – in particular, I love brands that will mark what % of their products are either natural or organic. 

Another interesting aspect about Finnish skincare is the focus on vitamins, in particular vitamin D.  Since we don’t get enough sun during the long and dark winter season, vitamin supplements are necessary for glowing skin and your overall health.  I see all sorts of vitamin D supplements here – both in oral digestion and topical application format.    

  1. What is top of mind for you these days when it comes to skincare?

Top of mind these days in preventing unnecessary wrinkles.  Because my skin is dry and I’m entering my 40s, I’m considering changing up my products a bit and experimenting with richer creams.  I’m also focused on cutting out more sugar from my diet… I don’t drink wine which is good, but I really need to cut out soda once and for all!