London Facialist Su-Man Hsu's 5 Tips For Healthy Skin


It's British Week right now on ITG. Why? Well, why not! But also to celebrate the UK launch of Glossier. Consider this a warm, editorial welcome to all our new friends over in Blighty. Starting with Victoria Beckham, we'll be sharing stories from our favorite Brits—plus a few discoveries we've made ourselves. Stay tuned... Cheerio!

When in doubt, phone a friend. Or more realistically, email them. Which is exactly what I did when I flew to London for the first time in a decade and was in need of a facial. (When every interview ITG does in the UK starts with "The pollution here is crazy," you know your skin is bound to freak out at some point.) Kelly Vittengl, Top Shelf alum and newly minted Londoner, came to my rescue. "Su-Man," she told me. "She is from Taiwan and is trained in shiatsu and acupressure massage, so the facial is out of this world delicious." Sold. Kelly—but more importantly, Su-Man—did not disappoint. I highly, highly recommend a visit if you're in the Soho area of London. But beyond the pitch-perfect massage, I was impressed by Su-Man's focus on ingredients all aimed at holistic skin health. Not breakouts, not anti-aging, not lift... Just healthy skin that looks and feels its best. The theory goes that if everything is in working order, all the rest (the breakouts, the aging, the lift) will sort itself out, no problem. I buy it—and not just because I was so blissed out after the facial that I would have agreed with anything she said. Here's a rosy-colored, endorphine-filled synopsis:

Really, cleanse with oil

The surge of cleansing oils to the market is not for nothing: They really are better for your skin, Su-Man says. "A common mistake I see in my clients is that they over-wash their faces," she explains. "It strips the skin’s natural oil which can lead to possible breakouts, dry skin, and irritation. It can also result in even more oil-production as the skin attempts to restore the lost oils." No good. Su-Man recommends her Purifying Cleansing Gel-Oil as an oil that absorbs excess oil on your skin but leaves behind enough hydration to keep the balance. Other fan favorites include the DHC version (one sells every second or something ludicrous like that) and the newer True Botanicals Pre-Cleanse Oil. All three also do a bang-up job removing stubborn makeup.

Watch your diet–and your skin's diet

Eat right—spinach, eggs, salmon, yada yada yada—and your skin will show it. You know that, you still eat pizza, live your life. But the nutrition you put on your skin can be just as important as what you eat for your skin. Su-Man recommends more oil—like rosehip, apricot kernel, and sea buckthorn—to up your topical doses of vitamins and essential fatty acids. Also Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend if you're looking for something to swallow.

Massage more

The best part. It improves circulation, helps products sink into your skin, and feels so damn good. But how??? Su-Man directs: "Always start by spreading enough moisturizer across your face and neck—you should never do facial massage on dry skin, so be generous with product! Work from the bottom of your collarbone up to the forehead, and from the center of your face to the sides. Don't forget your ears, too." That last part is my favorite.

Learn to layer

As the weather gets colder, "It is tempting to use heavy creams to moisturize," Su-Man allows. "But heavy creams will only suffocate the skin and leave it unable to regenerate itself. Don't overwhelm the skin with one heavy product—instead layer skin with moisture." She starts with a hydrating toner—I can attest to her Rehydrating Toning Essence as a soothing counterpoint to hard water and polluted air. Further steps include but are not limited to: hyaluronic acid serum, balancing oil, and a weekly mask. Basically an at-home facial, but every day.

Lay off the makeup

"If you can, go at least two makeup free days a week," Su-Man pleaded with me. "It's important to let your skin live in its natural condition. Then you can start seeing makeup as an enhancer instead of a concealer." Words to live by, for sure. But maybe easier said than done.

—Emily Ferber

Photos via Instagram.