Fann Wong on motherhood, relaxing her beauty regimen and skincare secrets

Fann Wong on motherhood, relaxing her beauty regimen and skincare secrets

Eternal beauty

Text: Renée Batchelor

One of Singapore's biggest beauty icons, Fann Wong, is now the face of Shiseido Ultimune. Here she shares her beauty tips and tells us how the spotlight has affected her view of herself

Fann Wong has always been known for her lily-white complexion and looking flawlessly beautiful. It's no wonder Shiseido tapped on her to be the ambassador for its Ultimune range. But as the actress has grown older and embraced motherhood, she has also relaxed considerably, both in terms of the number of products she uses and how fussy she is about her appearance. For example, when asked how she hides tired eyes, she says sanguinely that she either uses sunglasses or just lets it go — because, let's get real, she is tired! And if she's taking her son, Zed, out for a walk, she will even go barefaced. Learn more about her post-motherhood regimen and what Shiseido Ultimune has done for her skin below.

You're always known to have an immaculate complexion, do you feel the pressure to have to always look good all the time — especially in the social media age?
I love to look good all the time, actually, but it is not possible. Maybe because I'm fair, it might seem like I have good skin all the time. But people who know me will know that I have very sensitive skin. So I am very careful about the products I use and the treatments that I do. I always stick very basic skincare.

Do you have any beauty skincare or lifestyle tips?
I always believe that beauty is from inside out. So you have to take care of both the inside, and the outside. Drinking lots of water is very important. So is exercise. I always make sure that my things are clean — like my pillowcase. I make sure my hair is clean too. Of course using the correct skincare products is very important too. Some products might work for your skin in Singapore, but won't work when you are overseas (with the climate change). You have to know your skin very well.

Now that you are a mother and in a different stage of your life, has your definition of beauty changed?
[It is] more or less different. Now that I am a mother, my priorities have shifted. I used to focus more on myself  — I was dressier and spent more time preparing myself before a day out. But now, I have Zed to love and take care of, so the focus is no longer myself. His wellbeing and happiness is more important than anything.

Now that you are a mother and are busier than before, are you more selective with your projects? What would you be busy with in the near future?
I will be busy with some films in Singapore. Most of my projects are overseas projects, so I have to be very selective about what I do. Especially since it's also the same case for Chris [her husband] — both of us can't possibly be gone at the same time. What's more, a mother will always be more attached to her kid. Of course I also enjoy and treasure my time spent with Zed.

Fann Wong Ultimune

But the audience might miss seeing you on the screen...
Yes, I know! When there are suitable scripts, I will still consider taking on the roles. I think I have to ease back into working mode slowly, or I will not be able to handle the separation anxiety from my son. Like last year when I was based in Taipei for a movie and drama shoot, I made it a point to come back home every fortnight to be with my son for a few days. After the movie, I told my manager I need time to adjust to being away from my son periodically. Shortly after, I went to China for a shoot with my husband — that was not as difficult since I had my husband with me and the shoot was not for too many days. But still, I know I am really different now — my manager also told me so. I have heard stories about mothers and separation anxiety, but I never expected myself to be like that! I used to spend a lot of time on skincare — I would apply different products slowly, one by one. But now, I just want something that is convenient, good and fast, which is... Shiseido Ultimune, really!

You mentioned that your skincare regime has evolved, can you share with us how so? What do you cut down on if you have no time?
I used to enjoy facials and put a mask on every other day. I was also very patient and diligent when it came to applying products. But now I just want things done the simplest way. My skin is very sensitive and I have been very troubled by this. After knowing and trying Ultimune, even my makeup artist feels that my skin has seen a great improvement. I have cut down steps for my skincare regime, yet my skin condition has improved. It is because Ultimune preps my skin for better things to be absorbed.

Which is more important,  eternal youth or ageing gracefully?
I believe these two should be balanced. Ageing gracefully is important. You have to enjoy the different stages of your life, and you have to retain the child in your heart, in order to keep living with vigour and attain 'eternal youth'.

How do you maintain your immaculate figure and skin even after pregnancy?
I maintained my figure with professional help. I also take care of my diet, so I am not too worried. I am more concerned about my skincare — a lot of my time and attention is spent on my son now, so much so that I might overlook my skincare. To me, simplicity is important now. I used to spend a lot more time preening before going out. But now, I feel content as long as I get to bring my son out and spend quality time with him. Skincare wise, I also keep things to the minimal. Ultimune is especially beneficial for my skin in that, it improves my skin immunity. It makes skin maintenance a lot easier. Again, I mentioned I have really sensitive skin. Especially since my skin is fair, it is more susceptible to allergies. During pregnancy, it's easy for the skin to be neglected as it always feels like there is no time. Of course you still have to put in some effort, so, my advice is to simplify your regimen, but make it effective. I used to have this 12-step skincare routine, consisting of toner, skin acid, serum etc. But I have no time for that anymore!

Fann Wong Ultimune
How did your skin condition differ before and after pregnancy?
Before pregnancy, I was worried that I wouldn't have time to go for facials or care for my skin. But during the pregnancy process I was too busy to be worried about it. Now that my child is at a more manageable age, I have time to look at myself in the mirror. I was surprised that my skin's not half as bad as I imagined it to be. My husband told me that, maybe it's because I am happy and I use the correct products. So it translates on my face. It is important to lay a good foundation for your skin, to allow optimum absorption of nutrients, as opposed to just piling on product after product.

What is the beauty and life advice that you would give to your 20-year old self?
I would give her a pat on the shoulder and say ''well done", because she has been very hardworking. My beauty advice: Stop being so anxious about your skin. When I was young, I was obsessed with using the best products I could get, as I felt that many people had high expectations of how I looked and how good my skin was. But that was not good for my skin.

Now that you are a mother, and older, what is your biggest skin concern?
I do not really have one big skin concern. I feel that ageing is a natural process, so after you accept this fact and enjoy the ageing process, you will not be too concerned about how others see you. It is impossible to look young forever. Of course, my husband is a good 'backup' for my immune system, he has not said anything about me getting old — at least not yet...

Every woman hasbad hair days, what do you do to make yourself feel prettier on those days?
I think not going out is one good way to avoid feeling sucky about yourself! You also need to have good friends or co-workers who understand you, and know what to say to comfort you on days when you feel terrible about yourself. Everyone needs someone like that in his or her life.

Do you share your products with your husband?
My husband is always stealing my skincare products! Initially I did not suspect anything, as he is someone who is low-maintenance. But after we started cohabitating, I realised that my skincare products depleted a lot faster than before. One day, I asked him and he told me that he has been using them and agrees that they are really useful and effective on him, and that even his makeup artist agrees. I was quite amused.