Chemical exfoliants are not as scary as you think, says beauty blogger Sarah Ee

Elizabeth Tong
Entertainment Reporter

Each week, Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore profiles a beauty blogger based in Singapore. Get to know their beauty secrets and find out how you can improve your daily skincare and make-up regime. This week, we feature Sarah Ee, who runs the blog beautybyrah.com.

Blogger Sarah (Photo: Sarah Ee)

1. How did you become a blogger?

After living and studying in Europe for a few months, I was exposed to a wide range of cosmetic brands and I started to amass quite a bit of makeup products. I enjoyed talking about them to my friends, who eventually persuaded me to start a blog (as they were tired of my incessant blabber, I bet).

Therefore, I started Beautybyrah about four years ago to share my thoughts on the various makeup products that I was trying out. It did feel a little strange to know that other people were reading it at first, but soon I started to really enjoy it as it felt like a conversation with like-minded individuals.

2. Can you describe what a typical day is like for you?

I do have a full-time job outside of blogging, so I can only deal with beauty blogging in the morning or late at night. I have specified days for taking photos, editing images, drafting posts and lastly, publishing. Natural daylight is very important to me as I do not use studio- or artificial lighting for my images. Thus, I like to take pictures early in the morning at around 9 to 10am to get the best lighting for my current situation.

3. What’s your morning beauty regime?

My morning routine is pretty simple as I am usually trying to get as many things done and I rarely get the luxury of time to have an elaborate beauty regime. In the mornings, I keep it quick with cleansing, toning, moisturising and applying sunblock. It is so important to apply sun protection! I wish I knew this (and adhered to it) when I was younger as sun damage really exacerbates ageing.

4. What’s your night-time beauty regime?

With the luxury of time at night, I like to take my time to apply my skincare products. I like to use a chemical exfoliant at night to help remove the top layer of dead and dull skin cells. Do not let the name scare you – these are generally pretty gentle on the skin, and they work wonders in revealing healthier skin cells and giving the skin a natural glow.

After my chemical exfoliant, I like to apply an anti-ageing serum or whitening serum before my moisturiser.

5. What are your current favourite beauty products? Why?

Currently, I am keeping my makeup to a minimum, but I do have some beauty favourites that make applying make-up fuss-free and quick for me. I am currently enjoying the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector to help correct my dark under-eye circles, and this makes a world of difference in making me look more awake and alive!

For a quick base application, I also tend to go for my L’Oreal True Match Powder Foundation to give me some added coverage and to mattify the skin, as sunblock tends to make the skin pretty shiny and dewy.

Lastly, in terms of skincare, I am a huge fan of The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%. This works so well as a chemical exfoliant and is amazingly affordable as well. After using this, the pesky little bumps around my temples have gradually faded and I do notice that my skin looks brighter.

6. What is the most common beauty mistake you’ve heard or seen Singaporeans make? How would you correct it?

If I had to choose, I’d go with ‘not applying sun protection’. I know of so many (too many!) people who do not apply or like applying sunscreen or sunblock to protect themselves. Singapore is extremely hot and I understand that some sun protection products can tend to feel heavy and uncomfortable on the skin. Maybe that’s why people are deterred from using it.

However, Singapore has a pretty high UV index! This means we really do have to protect ourselves from the sun. Exposure to the sun leads to quicker ageing, sun spots and a higher risk of skin cancer. None of us would want that.

So I’d recommend searching for water-based sunscreens or sprays to make application easier and less uncomfortable on the skin. Neutrogena and Bioré do some lovely ones and they can be found at drugstores.

7. Is there a beauty secret that you swear by?

It is so hard to pinpoint just one as there are so many and I learn new techniques of application every so often! However, I would probably say that the secret to good makeup application is really the tools. An expensive makeup product can only look as good as its application, and good quality tools really do make a difference in my opinion.

For base application of foundation and concealer, I really do swear by the Beautyblender (or a good quality makeup sponge). This sponge makes application faster and it really aids in the flawless application of product to the skin. When I was a freelance makeup artist before, a clean Beautyblender was something that I always needed to have in my kit!

8. How big is your beauty collection now?

It’s pretty big (and embarrassing!). I do lack self-control when it comes to buying makeup, and I am very lucky to receive PR samples as well. To house them all, I did purchase a set of drawers from IKEA but it is constantly growing.

I do not really have an exact number, but I would say that I have more than 30 items of each category. A little side tip, I do find the famous Alex Drawers from IKEA to be pretty pricey and narrow for makeup storage, so I went for the STUVA ones, which have more depth and height (and you can customise them, too!).

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