Gemma Chan’s Beauty Routine Costs $998 — but a $19 Serum Makes All the Difference

Gemma Chan definitely knows how to make an impression. Her turn in 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians was unforgettable, and we’re waiting with baited breath for Don’t Worry Darling to land next year (Chan, Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine star). In the meantime, Chan is working on a podcast about Asian American civil rights, and using her position as a L’Oréal Paris spokeswoman to promote self-care’s role in building confidence and asserting equality. To that end, the actress and activist recently revealed her full beauty routine — and the intel is juicy. 

In a video for Vogue released earlier this month, Chan walked viewers through exactly what she relies on to maintain her glowing skin. As expected for any celebrity, she invests in some pricey finds like Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream, celebrity aesthetician Joanna Czech’s Facial Massager, and Foreo skincare tools. Yet alongside those triple-dollar-sign buys — The Rich Cream fittingly goes for $265 a bottle — are two hard-working products in the under-$20 range. 

The first? L’Oréal’s Revitalift Derm Intensives Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, an all-important base layer. Hyaluronic acid is in tons of products these days because, as researchers say, it has a “unique capacity” for retaining hydration — it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, which keeps that dew-making moisture on your skin. With that power, it’s no wonder Chan says the serum “works really well” to wake her face up on tired mornings after late nights, or that the serum’s garnered over 18,000 five-star Amazon ratings.  

Buy It! L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, $18.92 (Orig. $23.99); amazon.com

“I’ve been breaking out so badly from constantly having to wear a mask,” writes one 30-year-old with skin they describe as extremely sensitive and dry. “I added this serum to my skin care routine, and I got instant results overnight. My face is so dewy and moisturized, I’m literally glowing for the first time in years.” Others write that it instantly fills in deep wrinkles, and more still say that after trying “everything on the market,” the Revitalift serum gave them silky, glowing skin. 

That efficiency is rivaled by the next steal in Chan’s routine. “My secret weapon is a caffeine eye cream,” she explains. “[I] just very, very gently dot under my eyes. Hopefully [it] encourages a bit of drainage of the puffiness,” Chan says of The Inkey List’s $9.99 Caffeine Eye Cream. Reviewers say it does the trick: They credit the formula with taking puffiness down quickly and keeping it down all day, on top of brightening under-eyes and dark spots. 

Buy It! The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream, $9.99; sephora.com

“​​Holy crap, it really does reduce puffiness,” writes a shopper of the impact. “I’ve been using this product consistently (AM and PM) for just over a week, and I already notice such a difference. I don’t look like a zombie anymore.” Others say the cream’s moisture lasts all day, even for dry eyes — and at $10, it bests even more expensive products. Shop it at Sephora, and keep scrolling to see the rest of Chan’s routine for blockbuster-ready skin and makeup. 

PEOPLE ARTICLE

Make A Statement

As mask mandates begin to lift around the world, here’s a look at my absolute favourite statement red lipsticks. (Even though I wear red on the daily, like its a go-to nude!)

  • L’Oreal Liquid Lipstick in 422
  • Wet’n’Wild Liquid Lipstick in 930B Missy and Fierce
  • MAC Ruby Woo & Russian Red
  • NYX Suede Matte in Spicy
  • Maybelline 645 Red Revival
  • Milani 67 Matte Confident
  • Urban Decay Psycho
  • Sephora Collection 22 A Little Magic

6 Essential Things to Know Before Using Retinol and Retinoids

Ah, retinol. When it comes to defense against fine lines and maintaining a healthy glow, there’s no ingredient in skincare more lauded. The irony? Even though the revolutionary youth-enhancing active is a mainstay of drugstores, department store counters, and dermatologist offices alike, it still manages to mystify. And thus, it’s often underutilized or misused.

What is retinol?

To bring it back to the basics, retinol—alongside other retinoids, such as retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate—is essentially a derivative of vitamin A, which is one of the body’s key nutrients for boosting cell turnover. “It’s added to topical skincare products to promote skin renewal, brighten skin tone, reduce acne, and boost the collagen production,” explains New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD. “It also functions like an antioxidant to help address free radical damage, which leads to visible signs of aging.” The way dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, sees it, it’s the ingredient that does it all in dermatology, both cosmetically and medically. “I consider it a gold standard in skincare and often explain it to my patients as something that sweeps away dead skin cells, clogged pores, and dull skin,” she explains.

Here, experts break down how to carefully incorporate the powerhouse ingredient into your regimen to achieve a supernaturally fresh-faced complexion, now and for decades to come.

Begin in Your Mid 20s or Early 30s

Thirty has long been the banner year for introducing retinol into one’s routine, but  many women are starting before then, motivated by early signs of aging, such as sun spots or crows feet, or simply eager to get a head start and utilize the latest technologies—under the careful watch of their dermatologist. “Your mid-twenties are a great time to start using retinol,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D. “Many patients who have used it for years swear by it.”

Integrate Retinol Slowly and Gently

“Balance is critical,” cautions Bowe. “Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin.” She recommends starting off with a pea-sized amount of a low percentage over-the-counter formula (.01% to 0.03%), and using it “two times per week, slowly increasing the usage to give the skin a chance to acclimate.” Moreover, you should skip your retinol product on the day before you exfoliate (Bowe recommends exfoliating two to three times per week). “Exfoliating is abrasive and irritating, and you do not want to compound the skin irritation by heightening your skin’s sensitivity,” she says, adding that if you’re getting certain in-office treatments like lasers, microneedling, microdermabrasion, you will want to take a break from your retinol. In the spirit of not overdoing it, there’s a spate of new time-release formulas fit for skin types prone to redness or breakouts. “They’re a good option for people who have sensitive skin,” explains Fusco. “It releases the active ingredient over time and may offer less irritation.” In terms of prescription retinol versus something over the counter, the former is much more potent with a higher percentage of retinol and one may graduate to it over time, says Bowe.

Watch Out for Harsh Side Effects

While certain side effects, such as mild irritation, dryness, and sun sensitivity are normal as your skin adjusts to the active ingredient, intense flaking, redness, and burning are not—and those with especially sensitive skin, or who struggle with conditions like rosacea or eczema, should be wary of retinol or shy away from it all together. “If you cannot tolerate retinol, don’t worry,” says Marmur. “It’s not the only anti-ager! There are plenty of amazing anti-aging ingredients, such as wild indigo, that work beautifully without any irritation or sun sensitivity.”

Use Retinol Only at Night and Wear SPF Every Day

“Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product,” explains Bowe, who instructs patients to only use retinoids at night and be diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher during the day. Moreover, with retinol use, one should always be conscious of the weather forecast and trips to hot locales. “It should not be used during seasons or vacations when individuals will be spending extended time in direct sunlight,” warns Fusco.

Don’t Stop at Your Face

When applying a retinol-infused elixir, don’t neglect your neck or décolletage, which are areas notorious for showing the signs of aging, yet often overlooked. “If those zones seem too sensitive for your current formula, add a squirt of ceramide-enriched moisturizer before smoothing it on, or pick up a separate retinoid made specifically for the area in question,” says Bowe. “They typically contain a lower dose of vitamin A, zero fragrance, and loads of soothers.”

VOGUE article

Exactly How Margot Robbie’s MakeUp Artist Transformed Her Into A Jane Birkin-Inspired ’70s “Beach Babe”

The tanned skin, the freckles, the sandy nude lip, the wispy golden bangs framing azure-blue eyes… Margot Robbie on British Vogue’s August cover is the perfect example of what every single one of us wants to look like when the sun hits. The Australian star is, to put it simply, the definition of summer beauty goals.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #60 series on my blog.

Robbie is a golden girl by nature, but it was make-up artist Pati Dubroff (who works with the actor often), who amped things up with a touch of the ’70s for the pages of Vogue. “Invoking the ’70s was a big part of the inspiration for the look,” she tells Vogue over the phone from Los Angeles. “Margot had recently cut her bangs and only really shown them [in public] once before, at the Oscars, so it was really fun for us to take that new hair and mould her character [for the shoot] through that.”

The star’s new fringe is reminiscent of a certain French icon, Jane Birkin, whose hair – specifically the bangs – has spawned countless imitations over the decades. The chanteuse’s oft-emulated ’70s look was a key reference on the moodboard. “Margot is an incredible chameleon and has an openness to play,” Dubroff says, explaining how the duo approach the different looks they create. “Her basic day-to-day look is clean and fresh, with a slight wash of a tone on the eye or lip. She’s such a natural beauty that it’s about not overcomplicating or taking that away. But she does love to transform. This time: into a ’70s beach babe.”

From how Dubroff applied Robbie’s bronzer, to the technique she used to create realistic-looking freckles, here the A-list makeup artist shares exactly how she created the sun-kissed ’70s look.

Unbeatable bronzer

“Margot had a tan at the time so I just really amped it up. I used cream bronzer and buffed and buffed it in until it laid seamlessly on the skin. To recreate the look it’s really about blending and not relying on powdery products – instead, use cream matte products. I also think that using a flat buffing brush is key. Also, look out for bronzing face products that come out as a gel but deliver a matte finish – they’re great too.”

Chanel Health Glow Bronzing Cream, £38.70, available at Boots.com.

Artis Brush Elite Gold Palm Brush, £75, available at Net-a-porter.com.

Sensai Bronzing Gel, £31, available at Harrods.com

Believable freckles

“I added a lot of freckles to Margot’s skin. I actually went on YouTube and learned how to create them in the days before the shoot. I watched a whole bunch of videos featuring different people who were doing their own freckle techniques… it’s a perfect lesson that you’re never too old or experienced to learn something new. The technique that best resonated with me was to use a bobby pin and dip it into a brow product. I used a palette that had both creams and powders in it, and first put the tip of the bobby pin into a cream medium-brown shade and applied to her skin. Then I put it into the brow powder and topped each freckle with that. To finish I gently swirled a clean brush over the skin to take off the top layer of residue. Brow products – but in a different way!”

Benefit Brow Zings Pro Palette, £28.48, available at Lookfantastic.com.

Retro lashes

“As a nod to the early ’70s, it was all about mascara on the upper and lower lashes, not too perfect and a little bit clumpy. When you see pictures of Jane Birkin in that period, her lashes are clumpy on the top and bottom, so we did both. We wanted to create a feeling that she’d done it herself and had had her mascara on for a couple of days. I didn’t purposefully squeeze them together or anything, but just let the layers of mascara do that naturally. If you’re trying it at home, I’d recommend building your mascara up and not being afraid to put more on the bottom lashes.”

L’Oréal Paris Volume Million Lashes Mascara, £10.99, available at Lookfantastic.com.

Summer lips

“After a good coating of mascara, I paled out her lip to fit with the ’70s theme. It was a time when make-up was all about matte textures – not full-on matte or flat – but things weren’t too shimmery. That happened later in the ’80s. So I incorporated lots of matte formulas into the look in general.”

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour – Nuance, £27.90, available at Boots.com.

VOGUE article