Celebrity facialist, Ada Ooi, on quarantine skin, acupuncture techniques, and facial massages to try at home

Celebrity facialist, Ada Ooi, on quarantine skin, acupuncture techniques, and facial massages to try at home

At rest

Text: Emily Heng

It might feel counterintuitive to touch your face seeing how the World Health Organisation is telling you do just the opposite. Of course, we wouldn't recommend this if you're out and about — but should you be home, stressed, and sporting freshly cleansed hands, may we suggest a facial massage? To get you started on the right foot, we've enlisted celebrity facialist and founder of 001 Skincare, Ada Ooi, to share her expertise. With over fifteen years of experience in the beauty industry and a slew of star-studded clientele such as Rooney Mara, Ellie Goulding, and Lily Allen, she is a wealth of knowledge on all things skin. Below, she dispenses sage advice on dealing with acne, scarring, and stress-relief in the form of mien massages.

Have you always known that you wanted to be a facialist?
Nope. I was doing a lot of things at the same time. So, I was trained as a professional dancer. After seasons of European tours including performing in the West End, I found that I missed studying literature so much that I went back to university. Then, I stumbled into advertising and took up a job as a Global Strategist. Still, I knew this wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I've always been passionate about scent and skin so I enrolled in an aromatherapy course and one week later, opted for aesthetic certification training. Even after I was licensed though, I found myself studying a client and thinking about how they would benefit from a calf massage as water retention was showing through their skin, or how a neck massage would help this customer more than a facial.

It's pretty unique to combine both acupuncture and aromatherapy in treatments.
It has to do with my upbringing, helping out my grandfather who owned a pharmacy in Macau. I loved seeing how he treated clients combining both Western and Chinese medicine. It's how I learned that our skin is a reflection of the internal well-being; it is very important to treat the root of the problem than dressing and rectifying the surface. After I got my Chinese medicine and Acupuncture qualification, I combined it with aesthetical knowledge and never looked back!

What goes through your head when a client approaches you with a skin issue?
It's just intuitive to me, you know? The raw materials we use in TCM and aromatherapy are the same or if not, very similar. Take Siberian Fir Needle as an example –– in aromatherapy, it is a pine species that grows in the high alps, a "forest healer."  Its main chemical constituents are bornyl acetate, camphene, as well as alpha & beta-pinene, which contributes anti-inflammatory, analgesic, cognitive properties.

In the TCM sphere, on the other hand, Fir Needle is classified a spicy flavour that is linked to support lungs, expel the wind and cold, as well as to support the liver. People have been using it to treat respiratory issues and to calm the mind and spirit for years. So, when it comes to treating a client with stress-acne, for instance, I will do acupuncture on their face along the relevant meridian points, using the 'surround the dragon' methodology that helps boost the metabolism rate of acne while already stimulating new cells to grow for recovery. This prevents bad scarring.

Then, I'll massage the client's chest with a Fir needle blended oil to unblock her heart and lungs. This will help regulate her breathing. I'll then follow it with a cranial sacral tuina release, which stimulates the many nerve-related acupoints in the head, hence easing any tension caused from teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and a stiff neck.

Speaking of stress, a lot of people are feeling it since the COVID-19 outbreak. Could you show us how one can conduct a facial massage by themselves to relax?

Watch the full video here.

That's helpful. Do you have any other useful quarantine-related skincare tips?
Look after your mind, first. Try to keep things light and easy, and good skin will come along. Also, make use of your free time to develop a regular massage routine. Massage stimulates blood circulation which also means more oxygen and nutrient deliveries, which is beneficial for your skin. It also helps the lymph induce toxin drainage. Don't make picking your pimples a habit either!

What is the one skincare product you wish people used more of?
Toner, essence — however you want to call it. This is the step of skincare you do right after cleansing. It rectifies your skin's pH from your cleansing product as well as the water pH. It gives you a layer of hydration, creating water pathways for the ingredients in your expensive serum and moisturizer to disperse even further into your complexion.

Lastly, name the one skincare product you can't live without.
The 001 Skincare Alpha Glow Flash Facial 3-in-1 Serum. It's light but powerful. It helps treat loss of moisture, wrinkles, pigmentation and even chronic sensitivity. It can also be used as a primer and overnight mask. Every night, I'll apply it as my serum step, and then layer it on top of my moisturizer. The hyaluronic acids and phospholipids in its formulation creates water pathways for ingredients to penetrate while forming a seal to retain skin moisture. This leaves me a glowing, dewy complexion when I wake up.