My Beauty World: Vicky Tsai
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I tend to buy my make-up in little apothecaries in Kyoto. If you ever go to Japan, apothecaries are the places to buy beauty. I’ll find little mineral powders and I’ll try it out and be amazed by how soft and glow-y it is. Then, I’ll immediately take it back to the scientists I work with and ask what it is so we can harness it ourselves.
Favourite Beauty Finds
Rare Beauty is my new favourite brand. I love the intention Selena Gomez has put into the design, the packaging and the formulas. Her values and philosophy on beauty are very healthy – I truly applaud her for the brand’s success; I’m yet to try a product in the range I don’t like.
First Beauty Memory
For as long as I can remember – since I was five or six – my mum would tell me to eat rice and seaweed, and drink green tea. All three are really good for your skin and your hair. She would also tell me how when she was growing up, they didn’t have any money and would save the leftover water from rinsing rice to wash their faces and hair. It’s a simple ritual, but it does impact the overall health of both. I still use leftover rice water to this day.
I always wash my face every night – no matter how tired you are, or how much you’ve had to drink, you’ve got to clean your skin. My other rule is this: stop touching your face in the day. I love to use clean hands to massage my face during my skincare ritual, but from the moment I leave the house until when I go to bed at night, I never touch my skin. I really believe you shouldn’t touch your phone to your face either – that device is full of germs, unless you’re cleaning it regularly. My final rule is less is more – always.
My routine is small and concise but there are a few old faithfuls I swear by. That includes Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo. It makes my hair look so fresh and clean in between wash days, and doesn’t leave behind any white residue – the scent is lovely, too. For a good cat-eye, I love Hourglass Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner. The feline flick is the only make-up technique I’ve ever mastered, and the applicator on this liner makes it even more foolproof. Plus, the brand – like Tatcha – is cruelty free, which is important to me.
As for my own brand, I am never without The Essence. It’s one of my favourites because it works for all skin types. Just a palmful floods my skin with hydration and helps the rest of my skincare go deeper. Another one I am never without is the Indigo Overnight Repair. It’s a newer formula that I’ve been using non-stop. We developed it during lockdown. Everyone’s stress and anxiety was sky-high – myself included – and it showed up on my face in the form of itchy, painful eczema. So, we created this cushioning night treatment to calm stressed-out skin, and help it come back stronger.
Through my career, I’ve been lucky to have some great mentors in Japan. Our scientists help me understand the inner workings of how ingredients benefit the skin. Ito-san, our well-being advisor at Tatcha, has helped me realise the connection between body and mind, and given me a different understanding of how skin reflects our well-being. They are my true sources of inspiration. Them and the geisha – our first muses for Tatcha and the first beauty icons. Everything from their make-up and their approach to skincare is so full of meaning and history. Their beauty is so much more than just an aesthetic – it’s artistry and culture.
Mistakes To Avoid
Not using a primer is a beauty sin in my opinion. Make-up is fundamentally irritating, so a good primer acts like a guard between your complexion and your make-up – plus, it really does help the products go the distance. But another mistake is not washing the primer – and everything else – off properly. Pigments can stick to your skin, so you need to invest in a good oil cleanser that melts everything away. A soap-based one won’t get it all off, and leftover traces of make-up can irritate and age your skin.
I always do a cat-eye, and alternate between a nude lip for the day and a vibrant red for nights out. I don’t feel the need, at 44, to try to transform who I am with make-up anymore. Plus, my little routine only takes two minutes, which is how I like it. A red I love is Hourglass Confession Red 0, and a nude I swear by is Girl Lip Stylo in Honey Nude.
Final Beauty Advice
Protect your skin every single day and remember to wash your face. I advise everyone to celebrate what makes you unique. Never try to look like anyone else, it’s boring.
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