Dedicated to empowering modern women through powerful skincare formulations inspired by ancient beauties, luxury Korean brand The History of Whoo is put to the test by two of our recent 40 Under 40 inductees.
Lionnel Lim speaks to these dynamic businesswomen about their beauty philosophy and favourite products.
Serene Chua, private banker and co-founder of Wolf Burgers and Carvers & Co
Serene is a successful private banker, entrepreneur, and mother who relies on iron discipline to keep her hustle going. Time management is of the essence for her, and her workdays begin with a morning workout followed by breakfast with her three children, before she spends time catching up on news. “The day is filled with internal and client calls, clearing emails, some face-to-face meetings and business lunches,” she says. Juggling multiple work and business commitments is no easy feat, but she makes it a point to end her busy day with dinner with her children, or, at times, meals or a cocktail with her friends. To keep mentally alert and physically energetic, she exercises four days a week. For Serene, the secret to her healthy, glowing skin is thorough cleansing.
How important is looking good in your daily life?
Looking good is important as the first impression makes a difference. It takes only seven seconds for a person to form that initial impression, and building trust and rapport is essential in any business. Being a banker, I meet quite a few people in my job, and looking positive, confident and organised is critical. In my daily life, I like to be groomed, fit and healthy. I believe in eating well, using good skincare, exercising and dressing up. This is especially important now when the lines are blurred between work and play, because [so many of us are] working from home.
What are your personal ideals when it comes to looking good?
Beauty is confidence. When you feel confident, you radiate positive energy, and both your inner and outer beauty will shine. I believe that skin should be healthy, soft and clear with fine pores. Silky and gloriously smooth hair is also important in framing the face. Makeup should highlight your best features and enhance your natural beauty. Personally, I have a soft spot for smoky eyes with winged tips. I like to keep my lips soft and neutral to balance out the attention on the eyes.
What is your skin type and main concerns?
I have normal skin. One of my main concerns is hydration as I sleep in an air-conditioned room every night. In the office I’m exposed to air- conditioning as well, and that can be very dehydrating. The other concern is ageing. As I get older, I want my skin to retain its volume and firmness. I also want to minimise fine lines and wrinkles.
Your beauty routine?
No matter how tired I am at the end of the day, it is a must to thoroughly cleanse and moisturise my face. I use a four-step cleansing method. After makeup removal with a waterproof makeup remover, I do a double cleanse by using an oil-based product, then continue with a water cleanse. I finish with another round of water or exfoliating cleanse. Once my face is squeaky clean, I apply an express mask by massaging a vitamin-filled hydrating or firming mask onto my face. After washing it off, I will gently dry my face. I apply some eye cream, followed by a toner, serums and moisturiser.
Any beauty secret you would like to share?
There is no secret except to keep my face extremely clean so pores are not clogged, pimples are prevented, and skin can breathe. My secret to shiny hair is to have a cold rinse at the end of a shower. Cold water seals the hair cuticles, making it smooth to reflect light and enhance shine.
How do you refresh yourself in the midst of a crazy day?
Coffee, and a generous spritz of The History of Whoo Bichup Moisture Anti-Aging Mist.
What’s your verdict on The History of Whoo?
The Gongjinhyang: Soo Vital Hydrating range has an amazing scent and its formulas are easily applied and immediately absorbed. I use this in the day for maximum hydration. I apply the Gongjinhyang: Soo Vital Hydrating Balancer and the Hydrating Emulsion, then finish with the Gongjinhyang: Seol Radiant White Tone Up Sunscreen. For night, I use the Cheonyuldan Ultimate Rejuvenating range to address signs of ageing, and maintain a clear and bright complexion. This is great as it has cell-regeneration properties and features the Gongjinbidan complex comprising many potent natural and herbal ingredients. What’s special is the dendrobium orchid concentrate, which is highly prized as only 1g can be extracted from 100g of Dendrobium Candidum flowers. I apply the Cheonyuldan Balancer, then the Cheonyuldan Essence, followed by the Cheongidan Illuminating Rejuvenating Eye Serum, and complete my regimen with Cheonyuldan Cream. After a week’s use, I notice that my skin has become more hydrated and slightly firmer.
Christel Quek, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of BOLT Global
As the co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at BOLT Global, a software platform that focuses on live media experiences delivered by hardware, it’s little wonder that Christel has an intense schedule. Couple this with working across multiple timezones with her partners and teams around the world, and you would understand why she says her days can “get crazy”. Despite being a night owl, she is also an early riser and kicks off her early mornings by settling personal administrative tasks, working on projects which require intense focus, and meditating. Christel also enjoys a wide range of hobbies, and those include being an aspiring raconteur, home chef, saxophonist and a “student of fermented beverages”. She’s also an avid reader, and sees that books help us inculcate empathy in different ways. Christel believes beauty comes from within so she practises meditation to relieve stress and swims to stay fit.
How do you recharge your mind and body?
I enjoy long swims and going to the beach. What truly relaxes me is being able to cook, paint and spend time with my loved ones. I have a furkid – a goldendoodle called Toby – who enjoys his time with me on the weekends. While I do spend some weekend evenings out, I prefer to have at least one quiet evening in to unwind and prepare for the week ahead.
How do you present your best face forward at work?
It is crucial to look healthy and exude good energy. I have always believed that the best kind of beauty comes from within. Positive energy and good thoughts create natural beauty. I prefer using organic products for my skin, hair and makeup, and I usually don’t wear foundation on most workdays to let my skin breathe.
What is your skin type and key concerns?
I have a T-zone issue and I used to have really dry skin, which isn’t helped by the fact that I love spending time in the sun. I have since become a lot more religious about using sunblock.
Share your beauty routine.
I am a minimalist when it comes to my routine. My regular skincare items are sunblock and moisturiser, with the addition of an eye cream at night. I use cream for the décolletage if I am feeling particularly diligent. Sunblock is necessary for me and I can’t live without my moisturiser.
Is there any beauty tip or secret you’d like to share?
An ice-cold metal spoon to depuff eye bags. I meditate a lot and it has done wonders for me, particularly in high-stress situations and the various challenges that crop up in the high-intensity environment of running your own company. Meditation is like sending your mind to the gym. It’s also important to exercise your brain by learning new things, reading widely or staying open to new ideas and conversations. I love a good swim as well since I am saving my knees for more skiing in the future.
How do you perk yourself up in the middle of a hectic day?
I don’t drink more than two cups of coffee a day and I stop drinking coffee by 2pm. Sometimes I will just go for a walk and feel much better after.
How do you like using The History of Whoo products?
In the day, after cleansing, I use the Bichup First Moisture Anti-Aging Essence to prepare my skin to better absorb the other skincare products that will follow. My skin is relatively healthy but as I am quite the outdoorsy person, I don’t use much makeup so sunscreen is very important to me. After using the essence, I follow up with the Gongjinhyang: Soo Vital Hydrating range. I particularly like the Gongjinhyang: Seol Radiant White Tone Up Sunscreen with SPF 50+ PA++++, as it is very lightweight and doesn’t have a sticky finish. To complete my routine, I use the Cheonyuldan Signature Cushion Foundation with SPF 35+ PA++ to seal in the UV protection.
To prep and calm my skin in the evening, I use the Bichup First Moisture Anti-Aging Essence before my Cheonyuldan Balancer. Next, I apply the Cheonyuldan Essence, Cheongidan Illuminating Regenerating Eye Serum, and finally the Cheonyuldan Ultimate Regenerating Cream. I did not feel like I was overloading my skin with excessive product. In fact, the products were so lightweight that they left me with a second-skin finish after layering them on. They also have a very light and beautiful scent. After using it for a week, I believe the brand’s claim that the products have been tailored for Asian skin.
(Product images: The History of Whoo)