Naturally skin deep with Lisa Soon
Lisa Soon is an ardent lover of natural beauty and simple skincare. She's inspired by her multi-cultural heritage and draws from her own unique history to create her handcrafted, custom skincare products. Follow her on Instagram!
Simplicity and self-love are two important things to remember in any skincare routine. the regimen was fortunate enough to learn about Lisa Soon, founder of her own custom, natural skincare line. You might have seen her beautiful photos on Instagram and wondered about the names she gives her creations. Lisa draws inspiration from mother nature and her multi-cultural heritage to develop her line.
Kate Lee: What are three things we should know about you?
Lisa Soon: I am actually 41 years old. Nobody ever believes me when they see me but I truly am! Apart from having my own skincare line I am a freelance spa consultant. I have been in the spa & beauty industry for now coming 20 years (see, told you I'm 41). From makeup artist to spa therapist to senior therapist then to spa manager then spa consultant, and of course now skin care creator. And last of all I am Chinese. Another fact nobody ever believes but to be fair I am truly quite a mix. A Singapore girl. Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. This amazing blend of culture and heritage inspires my skincare, and in fact, it is what I base it on. My mixed heritage is the glue that binds everything together.
KL: How did you get started with your natural skincare line?
LS: I guess after all the years in the spa industry and being around such amazing products and ingredients, it was natural one fine day I would try making a lil' something of my own. I played around with some natural ingredients and made my own scrub, which of course is now known as Gritty Geisha. I gave it to a best friend to try it, she loved it, and basically pushed me into getting serious about launching my own line. I had a whole tonne of self-doubt (as do a lot of creatives from time to time), but she made me believe in myself and my products. She saw the light in me and the way my eyes truly lit up every time I described ingredients, and from there, she knew I just needed a nudge. And, well, here I am!
KL: What's different about Lisa Soon products?
LS: I think one obvious thing different about my products is how each product has its own unique name and its own story to tell. Names are either in Sanskrit, which pay homage to my Indian grandmother, or in Malay, a language that holds value to my home, Singapore. Singapore is multi-racial, multi-cultural and yet all living in harmony, coming together as one, which, in a way, represents my products. The products also bridge a culture and tell a tale of love across the oceans. A Singaporean and Australian love story, representing the love between my husband and I. He, the true Aussie bloke, and me the all-Singapore girl. Using both Asian and Aussie raw produce and ingredients, the elements bind like a marriage to become one. I also custom-blend skincare to suit your skin's needs. Everyone's skin is different and needs different care. I start every enquiry I have with a simple skin consult so I get to know you and your skin better. Lifestyle, skin type, skin concerns, allergies, and the like all play a big part. From there, products are recommended and custom-blending takes place if I feel it is needed. It's a wonderful personalised experience!
KL: You also conduct workshops where you provide materials for individuals to craft their own potions and masks. Do you encourage people to create their own beauty products rather than purchase them?
LS: Oh, I definitely encourage people to make their own products. Think back to the old days when there was no lavish skincare available. People used what they had, they used the knowledge passed down from ancestors or grandmothers or mothers. There is something so delicious about making your own products! I always stress: know what you are doing, know what you are using, know your allergies, know your ingredients, be aware, and read, read, read. If you are ever unsure, ask. Natural ingredients are wonderful but they still can be harmful if you have an allergy, or can be very strong if not used in right amounts.
KL: How would you describe your skincare regimen, and what are your favorite products or ingredients to use?
LS: Favourite products to use? Mine of course, haha. I have my cult faves!
- I use my Mukha Clay Mud Wash daily. Mukha means "the face" in Sanskrit. It is a soapless clay cleanser, which doesn't dry your skin at all, yet the clays deeply purify and cleanse the pores. Oh, and it doubles as a mask.
- I use my own facial exfoliant, Gritty Geisha, which is based on an ancient recipe used by geisha and Japanese women from eras gone by. Once in a while I blend some other ingredients together from the pantry, too. I guess it depends on what my skin feels it needs or wants.
- I mask every so often using my Devi ("goddess" in Sanskrit) mask.
- I also nourish my skin with my serum, Amrita ("divine nectar" in Sanskrit). Then again, I play around with a lot of natural plant and seed oils to nourish my skin. I'm in the process of formulating a moisturiser or balm so I'm using that now, too.
- I also have an all-time favourite foaming cleanser I been using since I was like 12! Kao Biore: a Japanese foaming face wash. I love it. Thank god they still make it.
KL: If you could cultivate an ideal skincare and self-care regimen for yourself, what would it be?
LS: I think the best regimen is the one that works best for each individual. I believe in the beauty of simplicity. Create a regimen that is "you" and somehow you will stick to it. Cleanse, tone, nourish daily. Exfoliate twice a week and mask once a week. For me, using my Mukha cleanser is enough of a gentle exfoliation daily, and if left on a bit longer, acts as a mask. Sometimes a multi-purpose product like Mukha has its advantage. Again, I listen to my skin. It will let me know what it needs and let's face it, you see your skin daily in the mirror and everyone knows when they need a little extra pampering.
KL: Are there any new skincare trends or products that you've recently loved?
LS: Trends come and go on the daily. Every day there is something new! Do they work or not, I don't know, but I guess you will know if you try them right? The trend I like now which I have to say is sticking is natural skincare. Well, I hope for my sake it's not a trend and more a way of life now or I'll be out of business, haha. I love what Mother Nature provides for us to create amazing wonderful skin treats and it's amazing to see what is out there for sure. Myriad natural products are out there and there are some really amazing creative people behind them.
KL: How would you describe your beauty philosophy?
LS: There is beauty in simplicity. Self-love is the greatest love of all. Love yourself. Love your skin. Love who you are and be true to you. Take time to honour you. Take time to nourish your mind, body, soul, and skin. True beauty radiates from within.
KL: If you could pass down some beauty and skincare wisdom, what would it be?
LS: Listen to your skin. You will know what it needs and when it needs it. Take time, or rather, make time for you. Only when you look after yourself can you then look after others. This is the feeling I want to create with my products: a ceremony, a daily ritual, carried out in a moment of quiet, in a moment of peace, where you get time to truly honour you, your whole being, and to consciously make the time to do so. Skincare doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars to be good and sometimes, just sometimes, you might like to pronounce the ingredients you put on your skin, let alone know what they are, without having to Google it or be a chemistry ace. Keep it simple, don't overcomplicate. Beauty in simplicity. Less is more.
KL: Are there beauty/skincare "hacks" and misconceptions that you feel should be clarified?
LS: There are lots of beauty hacks out there, as there are misconceptions. First, there's a fear of using oils on skin, or using oil on skin will make it more oily. Oils are amazing for skin and if you use the right oils to treat your skin, the results are astounding. That includes oily skin. Yes, you can treat oily skin with oil and it actually helps balance the skin. The second is that you can skip toning your skin. Gone are the days of harsh toners and astringents. A mist of a floral hydrosol over freshly cleansed skin not only seals in moisture and preps skin for the next step: nourishment with a serum and/or moisturiser. A gentle mist over moisturised skin seals in the goodness you have just replenished and gives you a fresh, dewy glow. Mist sprays work wonders to set makeup or freshen your skin during the day, too. Not to mention the aromatherapy properties to elevate or calm the senses. Gentle floral hydrosols can also be mixed with masks or exfoliants as well. Even more benefits for your skin!
KL: Who is your beauty muse and why?
LS: I choose three. My grandmother, my mother, and my aunt (mum's sister). I watched them since I was a little girl until now with their own rituals and regimens. My grandmother at 90 still has her nail polish done before going out, even for her hospital appointments. She says no lady should ever be seen with open-toe sandals or heels without painted toes, and finger nails should be long, rounded and always painted: red or a light, silvery shell colour. She insists that every morning, a lady should powder her face, draw her eyebrows, and put on lipstick. She still sticks to this routine until today despite her failing eyesight.
My mum has always taken care of her skin. Her skin until today is impeccable, and she still takes the time every day to enjoy her beauty rituals. She is always trying something new and sharing her finds with me. I think sometimes she is way ahead of me with the skincare trends. She lives in London so I get spoilt for choice at times with some amazing ingredients, such as organic dried seaweed from Cornwall's rugged coastline, something which I have been experimenting with! I watched my aunt as a little girl, too, getting ready for work, prepping her skin, hair, and makeup. Along with my mother, she was always sharing her tips with me along the way. To this day I watch her getting ready, but now I get to do her makeup and hair for her sometimes. So much love for these amazing ladies!