Beauty is acceptance. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
Welcome to #DearPauline, a new beauty column on WoW, where we aim to have honest conversations about beauty in a way that could change the way beauty is being talked and thought about.
Forget anything you’ve seen in magazines and social media that still portrays and “sells” unattainable and unrealistic ideals of beauty — that makes you feel bad instead of positive. Beauty, circa 2018, cannot and should not be defined by anyone else but you.
We also want this to be a space and community where you guys are welcome to ask anything about beauty and skincare that concerns you. Are you prone to PMS breakouts? Is your skin feeling stressed and looking dull? Can’t find the right moisturiser for your combination skin? Battling winter rash? Or do you have a zit-uation that needs to be taken care, pronto? Fire away. Leave us a comment below, talk to us via Instagram, or email us*. We’d love to hear from you because we want to see more action and less lip service. And because we really want you to know that you’re not alone.
But, who’s Pauline, you ask? Glad you did. Pauline is our resident beauty guru du jour.
Over the next few months, she will be answering all your questions and handing out beauty tips and tricks. She is an ardent believer that when you feel beautiful on the inside, you will look beautiful on the outside. Make-up is optional. Actually, in her case, inessential. Her personal belief is so strong, in fact, that it has inspired a no-make-up culture at her company, Porcelain. Imagine that. You can talk about changing the conversation on beauty and self-empowerment or you can do something about it. Pauline did. And she has made it her mission and business to help other women rethink what it means, for real, to feel and be beautiful inside and out.
When we first conceived the idea to start this column, it didn’t take very long before we decided that she would be the perfect “Aunt Agony” of beauty on this space.
To start the ball rolling, we have invited a few WoW Women to join in the conversation, share their thoughts on the topic, and ask Pauline some of their own skincare questions. We are pretty confident that they, too, will have a bag of tried-and-tested beauty tricks we could all dip into. First up, we have MTV VJ, radio DJ and model Hanli Hoefer.
In collaboration with
What makes you feel beautiful?
Hanli: Late mornings in bed with my boyfriend, fluttery eyelashes, and a good laugh with my girlfriends over a healthy date of coffee and a workout.
What do you see when you look in the mirror in the morning, as you are, bare-faced?
Hanli: I see the same girl I’ve been looking at since she was 14 years old. She looks a bit more tired, her eyes are still a little puffy from her slumber, and her hair is untamed in all directions.
Has there been an instance where you’ve been made to feel badly about being you? How has that made you stronger?
Hanli: I feel like that happened often for me when I was 15 to 17. I think it’s what all girls go through in their teenage-hood when there are moments of insecurity and self doubt. But those moments were so crucial for me to learn how to be there for myself. Now, if someone makes a negative comment towards me or throws shade my way, I find it easier to let it roll off my shoulder. Also, I have learned to not take myself too seriously over the years — this helps me.
Those moments of insecurity and self doubt… were so crucial for me to learn how to be there for myself.
What qualities do you think make a woman beautiful?
Hanli: Confidence, independence, a sense of humour with a touch of self-deprecation. She doesn’t take life too seriously, has a good heart and is unapologetic about who she is. A beautiful woman is someone who doesn’t need anyone else to tell her she’s queen but she’d never act like a diva.
No matter how we look, somehow, we are never really quite happy, always looking at our flaws, because of the unrealistic standards of beauty that are still being portrayed all around us. How do you feel about this?
Hanli: There are moments when I am self-conscious. I’m quite a tall human — 175cm! Sometimes I feel like a such a giant, especially in Singapore where women are typically more petite. I think there is this outdated beauty standard in Asia of an “ideal body type” — the petite frame with long legs, but not too tall! Or a thin yet curvy figure, or toned but not muscular… It’s total bull. I’m a firm supporter of the body-positive movement, and I think it’s about time this side of the world got up to speed with it.
SPEND TIME IN THE NUDE MORE OFTEN, LAUGH AT YOURSELF WHEN YOU CAN… AND LEARN TO LET GO OF THE THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL.
Hanli: Beauty is acceptance. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin — literally. Spend time in the nude more often, laugh at yourself when you can, roll your eyes at yourself when you’re being ridiculous, go buy yourself those sexy pair of heels you’ve been eyeing, and learn to let go of the things you can’t control. I feel that the first step to self love is self awareness. Know yourself and be okay with the person you are.
Hanli: Tired skin, clogged pores and oily skin. I can never seem to escape the golden trio of annoying skin. For tired skin, I drench cotton pads in Porcelain’s Deep Hydrating Lotion and just cover my face with it like a makeshift mask. For clogged pores, I use a red clay face mask once a week, and every month I go to Porcelain for their signature Quintessential Facial. I feel like I have half-accepted having oily skin in the tropics because of the humidity, but I do avoid cream-based products.
“I am one of those shameless women who puts on a face mask on a plane!
I don’t care how silly I look. Plane rides really dry up my skin!”
How do you keep your skin healthy when…
- you work late hours? Lemon water, double cleansing and hydrating face masks!
- you are travelling (on a long-haul flight, or in winter, for example)? In winter I apply a sleeping mask during the day if I know I’ll be outdoors for most of the day. I am also one of those shameless women who puts on a face mask on a plane! I don’t care how silly I look. Plane rides really dry up my skin!
☀️ HANLI'S MORNING ROUTINE: "The first thing I do is drink a cup of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in. Then I cleanse, tone, put on my serum, lotion, moisturiser and sunblock, followed by some mascara and tinted lip balm with SPF."
I feel that the first step to self love is self awareness. Know yourself and be okay with the person you are.
What would say are some good habits of yours that help you feel good from the inside?
Hanli: I love getting in a good sweaty workout at least four times a week. I also walk everywhere if I can afford the time. I spend about 30 to 45 minutes every morning walking my dog in a park. Being around nature every morning without my phone really sets a positive tone to my day. I also don’t drink soft drinks — sugar is the enemy.
Can you walk us through your morning and night-time beauty routine?
Hanli: Morning: The first thing I do is drink a cup of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in. Then I cleanse, tone, put on my serum, lotion,
moisturiser and sunblock, followed by some mascara and tinted lip balm with SPF.
Night time: Double cleanse, tone, serum, lotion, moisturiser and face mask.
What beauty items are essential to you?
Hanli: For skincare: Porcelain’s Deep Hydrating Lotion. I use this ALL the time. I even spritz it on when I’m in the studio and the lights are stressing my skin out. I also ALWAYS wear sunblock. For make-up: Volumising mascara and tinted lip balm — I love Fresh’s tinted lip treatment.
THE GURU WILL TAKE QUESTIONS NOW
Hanli: How do I stop my skin from looking oily in Singapore's humidity? Pauline: Our climate causes our sebaceous gland to go into overdrive. Keep your skin hydrated so that the pH level is more well balanced — that helps to reduce the overproduction of sebum (oil). Wearing less foundation (typically oil-based) can help as well.
Hanli: When I go to the gym, I end up washing my face three times a day. Is that too much? Will it strip my skin of its natural oils? Pauline: The Number 1 rule is to make sure you cleanse your face of any sunscreen or make-up before your workouts. This is something that many people neglect to do. I'm guilty of it sometimes. The sweat, mixed with your make-up, can really clog up your pores. If you're going to be washing your face a few times, there are cleansers that don't rob your skin of hydration. In fact, they add hydration. This is what I do: In the morning, I use an orchid-milk cleanser which is sulphate-free — which is perfect because morning skin is usually clean except for an oilier T-zone. Before I head to the gym, I rinse my face with water, and use a soft towel to gently wipe off any sunscreen. After my workout (you can do this, too, if your skin type and condition allows), go for a deeper cleanse as your sweat will help purge the toxins through your pores. Mud cleansers or cleansers with mild acids are awesome, but use no more than thrice a week to avoid causing skin sensitivity. In the evening, because I don't normally wear any foundation, I use a lightweight, hydrating cleanser, followed by a hydrating toner to give my skin that extra boost of moisture.
Hanli: I'm a fan of natural home-made face masks like manuka honey, yogurt and tumeric. Are these actually beneficial for my skin? Pauline: I love all these ingredients. That said, using natural ingredients directly on your skin requires proper preparation to prevent potential bacterial infection. Some natural ingredients are allergens for your skin, not unlike a food allergy. They could cause skin sensitivity at best. We once treated someone with skin burn because she applied lemon juice directly onto her skin followed by exposure to the sun without protection. Hanli: I heard that you should wear sunblock even at night due to the light rays from screens on our phones, laptops and TVs. Truth or myth? Pauline: Electronic device screens emit HEV (High Energy Visible Light), also known as blue light, which is present in the sun’s rays. There have been studies that suggest that HEV could cause hyperpigmentation and premature aging by damaging collagen and elastin in your skin. Instead of sleeping with sunscreen on (I would advise against it), just turn off your electronic gadgets before bedtime, and take more antioxidants which are a boost to your overall health, not just your skin. Hanli: Are extraction facials really necessary? Pauline: I've asked myself that many times. In an experiment to find the answer, I went without it for 12 months about two years ago. During that time, I had also tried alternative treatments. The conclusion? Yes, it is necessary. But it must be done right, because there is a risk of scarring and inflammation. If you have problematic skin, I'd recommend that you go for the treatment at least twice a month. If your skin is pretty well-balanced to begin with, or if it's just for maintenance, once every four to six weeks works. Our skin regenerates every 28 to 45 days, and dead skin cells slough off along with sebum, dirt and impurities that have been trapped in our pores. Without thorough deep-cleansing, our skin can't absorb the full benefits of even the best skincare products. Also, your pores can become a potential breeding ground for P-Acne bacteria, which if inflamed, could turn into acne. Hanli: So what happened when you went without extraction? Pauline: My skin became bumpier over time, pores got bigger, and I had more breakouts than usual. Hanli: When you first decided to not wear any make-up, was it difficult? Pauline: Yes and no. No, because I’ve always been too lazy to doll up (haha!). And yes because I do love make-up — I think it’s an art, where the human face is a canvas. But I realised that with great skin, with less to "conceal", you have the option and freedom to go easy on foundation. Sure, knock yourself out with your eye make-up, but just make sure to remove it fully, and cleanse properly at the end of the night! Hanli: What gives you the confidence to step out and face the world bare-faced? Pauline: I've seen and experienced, first hand, the benefits of going foundation-free, both for me and my clients. It has become a habit now. In fact, I feel strange and awkward when I have to wear foundation for photo shoots. I mean, even when I have the occasional breakout, which is the little angry dot on my left cheek you're looking at now, I get past it because, you know, your skin is really healthier without foundation. I still need my brows on though, I'll be honest, haha. Hanli: Thanks, Pauline! x
*GOT A QUESTION FOR PAULINE?
Leave us a comment below or on our Instagram under any #DearPauline posts.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Instagram comments, don’t forget to tag @wearohwhere and @porcelainfacespa,
and use the hashtag #DearPauline to make sure we receive your questions.
We know it’s not always easy to ask for help. So, at the end of the month,
we are going to give one of you a 60-minute OxyRevive facial treatment at Porcelain (worth S$212.93) +
our absolute favourite Soothe — Deep Hydrating Lotion (120ml, worth S$69) as a little motivation.
See details and terms and conditions here.
Can’t wait to hear from you! 🙂