Gavin O’Neill, HelloGiggles
Cleanse, moisturize, sleep, repeat—or not. From the 18-product maximalists to the one-and-done movers and shakers, everybody's skin care routine differs. In A.M. to P.M., we explore the morning and evening routines of people with different skin care concerns, from targeting acne to embracing vegan beauty.
Skin type: Normal, more on the oily side
Skin concerns: Pigmentation
With over 365,000 Instagram followers, a slew of celebrity clients, and dozens of contracts with skincare and makeup brands, Nam Vo is a well-established name in the beauty industry. Over the years, she's skyrocketed into viral success thanks to her #dewydumplings, aka, her followers who look to her for glow-boosting advice. Helping people look their prettiest has always come naturally to Vo; during a phone call with HelloGiggles, she shares how her family raised her to love beauty.
"I grew up around Vietnamese women, and in my culture, it's instilled from a young age that you should have flawless skin and hands," Vo says. "My mom never wore sunscreen—she grew up poor in Vietnam—so when I was little she would sit me down and ask me if I wanted to have brown spots like her. She'd tell me to slather on sunscreen, stay out of the sun, and invest in skincare."
As a makeup artist, Vo believes that to get that radiant glow, the most important thing is to invest in skincare over color cosmetics. "People always ask me how to get the dewy dumpling glow—what foundation, concealer, and highlighter to use," she says. "Rather than creating the illusion of good skin with makeup, you should work for the real thing. I always tell them that instead of buying that $80 foundation they should invest in their skincare."
Apart from a good skincare routine, Vo's four pillars of success for healthy, glowy skin are microneedling, microcurrent, radiofrequency, and LED light. "Do those things and you'll never age," she says, adding, "I'm super high maintenance when it comes to my skin—there are a ton of things I do, such as dermaplaning." She explains that while she's only been doing it for two years, Asian women have been doing it since the dawn of time. "It helps your products penetrate better," she explains.
To learn how Vo gets her natural, makeup-free, #dewydumpling glow, we asked her to walk us through her skincare routine. Here's what she does:
The first thing Vo does when she wakes up is wash her face. "A lot of people say not to cleanse your skin in the morning, but I can't imagine waking up and slathering on sunscreen or makeup—I have to wash my face," she says. "I'll do a single cleanse in the morning. Right now I'm using the Allies of Skin Molecular Cleanser. It's a cream-gel texture, does a great job at getting everything off, isn't stripping, and is wonderful for sensitive skin."
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Then, she uses Versed's Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution over her face, dabbing some product on a cotton pad and gently sweeping it across her face. "It has kojic acid, azelaic acid, and AHAs, and I love that it doesn't make my skin feel tight or dry and makes me feel like I'm giving my skin a clean sweep," Vo explains of this gentle, chemical exfoliant. "It's only $18 but I think it's worth $100—it's a great product."
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Once her face is cleansed, she'll follow up with her serums. "I always go back to Sunday Riley Good Genes," she says of the cult favorite lactic acid serum. "It absorbs so nicely into the skin, it feels hydrating, and I love the texture." After her serum has been absorbed, Vo follows up with a daytime cream that tackles pigmentation issues. "I'm obsessed with my pigmentation—I spend the year in between lasers," she shares. "I just started using a daytime cream from Biologique Recherche and I love the texture. It looks kind of pearly, and I'm a huge fan of the brand; it can do no wrong."
Finally, she wraps up her morning skincare routine with an SPF. "I always, always, always, wear sunscreen," she stresses. "If I'm going to work outside, I wear the Shiseido SPF 50+ WetForce—it's so hardcore that you have to double cleanse to get it off. If I want to look pretty, I wear the Supergoop! Glow Screen."
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Vo says she loves her nighttime routine and sees it as a luxury. "I usually mask every day, whether I use a peel, a sheet mask, some booster, whatever," she says. She starts her routine off with the Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm. "It smells like a dream," she says. "I don't wear a lot of eye makeup, but when I do, it takes everything off."
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As part of Vo's double cleansing routine, she follows up with the Peach & Lily Super Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser: "It takes everything off—it's a good, no-frills, basic cleanser." Then, once or twice a week (or right before a photo shoot), she'll use Versed's new Instant Gratification Dermaplaning Tool. "It makes my skin look so glassy, silk, and tight," she explains. "A lot of people think dermaplaning is only for people with a lot of peach fuzz, but I have zero hair, and it's a great exfoliating tool and makes your skin texture look so glassy and beautiful."
She adds that while a lot of people can be intimidated by dermaplaning tools, they're easy and safe to use when done correctly. "I like to test it going up my neck, and once I have the flow going, I'll do small, slow strokes on my face," Vo says. "I put my hair up in a ponytail to prevent chopping anything up, and I'll hold my skin back with one hand as I make the gentle, airy strokes with the other."
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Next up in her skincare routine is the Biologique Recherche Placenta Serum, Sulwhasoo Time Treasure Cream, and the Clé de Peau Enhancing Eye Contour Cream. "It's all very bougie and expensive," Vo says, laughing. The serum was recommended by her esthetician who had been telling her about it for years before she started using it. "It's rejuvenating, calming, brightening, and has a water-like texture," she says, adding that the face cream uses red ginseng, which has a ton of antioxidant properties and studies say has anti-aging and hydration benefits and has "the most beautiful texture in the world."
To seal it all in, Vo adds a few drops of the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil on top of her cream. "It has great ingredients, isn't greasy, works well with other products, has a good price point, and is just an overall very good oil," she says. She likes it so much, she even mixes it in with her foundation sometimes to make it extra glowy.
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Growing up with her Vietnamese aunties, Vo says she used to spend a lot of time in Vietnamese nail salons in San Jose, California, and there, it was instilled in her the importance of having good, healthy hands. Nowadays, she has a few favorite creams, but says that the one from La Mer is especially impressive. "It grips onto the skin and instantly coats it without leaving any residue," she says. "When you put something thick on your hands it has to be the right texture. It has to moisturize but it has to absorb, and it has to leave a coat of something without being sticky—this one is so special."
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