As the Marketing and Business Development Director of Buzz Concepts, Joleen Soo is used to pounding HK’s pavements while keeping tabs on the city’s social scene. All this became a little more difficult last year when she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Gabriel. However, that didn’t stop this city-slicker mama! In her new column for Sassy Mama, she dishes on everything from beauty tips to personal care to navigating life in the city as a busy mum while keeping in tip-top shape! Stay tuned for the next installment on perfect shades of lipstick for planting smooches on baby all day long…
Madame de Pompadour, the beguiling chief mistress of King Louis XV famously quipped “Champagne … leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it. Bar binging on bottles of bubbly, most of us probably need to resort to slightly less intoxicating beauty routines. Anyone who knows me knows my mantra… “moisturise, moisturise and then moisturise again”! So as an ode to my love of lube (couldn’t help myself there), I’ve compiled some of my top picks. All work for both mama and baby so feel free to save an extra step by slathering both at the same time!
Less sticky and far less smelly than Paw Paw Cream, this stuff really is magic. It works on dry hair as a fantastic split end mend, fixes cracked lips, soothes eczema and is gentle enough to use all over your face as a five minute mask. Despite its weirdly quirky marketing slogan, “My name is Lord-Pharaoh ImHotep-AmonRa, CEO, founder and manufacturer of the Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream – The People’s Choice” (?!), I’ve been a huge fan of this cult classic for about 15 years. It’s not widely available so be sure to stock up! I keep mine in a wine fridge (which by the way is the perfect temperature to store unused beauty junkie extras and chocolate) so the balm doesn’t get any strange crystallisation that a regular fridge seems to cause. It’s also great for a belly rub or massage when baby is a little fussy!
Find it: Available at Sasa on sale now for $238!
I’m not sure if I had some strange hormonal imbalance after giving birth, but hives would pop up on my face at the most inopportune moments. As I was still breastfeeding, I was wary of taking too many antihistamine pills. Enter my Chinese pui yuet (that’s confinement nanny to everyone else!) who was actually a treasure trove of beauty advice. She has after all worked in the homes of some of the most beautiful and well-groomed women in Hong Kong! She clued me in to the magic of Physiogel AI Lotion.
Available in almost every drugstore in Hong Kong, the clinical un-sexiness of the packaging meant that I had never even given this brand a second look. Once I tried it, though, I realised that this is by far one of the best soothing moisturizers I have ever used. It’s perfect to layer under sunblock during the day and keeps skin smooth and hydrated. Plus, it protects against free radicals… one of the main causes of aging (ugh). For baby, ditch the fancy brands chock full of fragrances! Physiogel might not impart that lovely manufactured “baby smell”, but it works quickly to soothe dribble rashes and dry skin on baby, and splotchy outbreaks on me.
Find it: Available at most Mannings and local pharmacies for $170 (comes in a cream as well)
Never ever EVER google “stretch marks” (or rashes for that matter). When I first found out I was pregnant, I looked down at my then flat belly and did precisely that. Horrified, I dashed out and cleared out the neighborhood pharmacy’s stock of Bio Oil. I couldn’t understand why I spent the next three months scratching my belly. Everyone told me “Oh, your skin is stretching”, but that wasn’t the case. My belly looked more like a food baby than anything else and I had terrible itchy rashes covering my burgeoning bump. A good friend of mine, whom I trust very much because he distributes pharmaceuticals to most of the industry in Hong Kong, told me to try Cherub Rubs Tummy Oil. This was a godsend!
Almost two days after I started using Cherub Rubs, all the rashes cleared up (meaning I could stop scratching myself like a gorilla). Also, the Cherub Rubs oil wouldn’t sit on my skin the way Bio Oil did, but was instead absorbed. I’m usually not a huge proponent of organic anything, but in this case, I think the purity of the ingredients made a difference in my body’s reaction and acceptance of this topical treatment. I used this religiously throughout my pregnancy and the result? Nary a stretch mark in sight! Since this oil is so pure, I felt quite safe using this on baby’s cradle cap when he was just a few weeks old. I’m quite passionate about this product and is certainly one of the first things I would recommend to any newly pregnant mama.
My beautiful 600 thread count white bedsheets have oil marks all over the side because of this, but I’m not giving it up! Jao Brand Goe Oil goes all over elbows and under socks at night for a deeply moisturising skin mask. When I am sans Brazilian blowout, this stuff fights frizz with a vengeance. A little goes a long long way so pat it in rather than slather it on. Plus, it’s free of all that gross stuff that you can only pronounce with a lisp (like phthlalates).
Find it: Available online at Jao Brand for USD$44
Got a spot? Don’t dry it out and leave an ugly mark! I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this but it’s probably one of the best beauty tips I’ve ever received! Pimples stem from bacteria, so what better way to fight it than an antiseptic cream? Polysporin (or any first aid antiseptic cream for that matter) is gentle, effective and super moisturising so you aren’t left with that disgusting scab. Don’t judge me, ladies, but when my baby was a newborn his little baby acne really bugged me. I diluted a little Polysporin with Physiogel AI lotion and it worked miracles! Now he’s about 9 months and if his dribble rash gets bad I just smear it on directly.
Find it: Antiseptic first aid creams are available at all drugstores and pharmacies. I ask anyone traveling to the US or Canada to pick up Polysporin for me but I’ve tried the Dettol brand here and it works just as well.
Yes, you still have to drink litres of water and get enough hours of sleep. But well moisturised skin is the baseline to looking great. Every make-up artist I’ve ever worked with always makes me do a moisturising mask first. Well prepped skin means makeup goes on better, your skin is more resistant to external irritants and most importantly, you’re doing a little something for yourself!