SKIN AND WITHIN
Combining 14 years in the advertising industry with a deeply perceptive understanding of Eastern and Western ways of life, Kim Ing is a brand development specialist and strategic marketing consultant. Born to Chinese parents, but brought up in the UK, her extensive experience in cultural nuances has lead to her specialising in the role behavioural psychology plays in helping an audience emotionally attach to a brand. We chatted to Kim about her serum obsession, how her mixed heritage has informed her work and why not everyone minds a rainy holiday.
"The foundation of Chinese herbal medicine has always been ingrained in me - that you should take care of yourself every day, not just when problems arise."
PS: How were you influenced by Chinese wellness growing up in London?
KI: My parents really inspired me to recognise my cross-cultural side and as I grew up, I really evolved in how I understood the cultures around me. The foundation of Chinese herbal medicine has always been ingrained in me - that you should take care of yourself every day, not just when problems arise. Something that my mum has just made habitual within the family home would be always drinking hot water, we never drink iced water.
PS: That's very reflective of the move towards a functional medicine approach.
KI: Yes, understanding your body and your system. As soon as I began menstruating, my mum would be boiling different types of soups or broth at different times of the month. It’s in my understanding to know what types of foods to eat at certain times of the month and what to avoid.
PS: What is your current desert island beauty product?
KI: I'm really into my serums. I was recently introduced to a vitamin B serum by Synergie that I only use at night after I've cleansed. My skin instantly feels so hydrated and then I put my moisturizer on top. When I wake up the next morning, it still feels really plump and moisturized.
"I go back to Hong Kong every two months for work and when I get off the plane, it's almost like a mini facial because all the humidity just makes my skin plumper."
I'm very careful with how I take care of my skin – I think because I'm very careful with my diet - so I like to go for a facial once a month. When I moved back to the UK, it was winter and central heating was on everywhere. My skin dried out instantly, so I started sleeping with a humidifier, which is kind of ridiculous, because in Hong Kong, we would sleep with dehumidifiers as it's too humid. I go back to Hong Kong every two months for work and when I get off the plane, it's almost like a mini facial because all the humidity just makes my skin plumper.
"My parents have always instilled in me a real curiosity for cultures and what makes them interesting."
PS: Your mixed heritage obviously plays such a significant role in the fascination you have for your work.
KI: My parents have always instilled in me a real curiosity for cultures and what makes them interesting. Helping a client understand how can they be most relevant, yet still be themselves in a foreign market is quite a challenge for them, because it often leads to a different product mix. When I moved to Hong Kong, I finally found sunglasses that didn't just sit on top of my cheeks - I didn't even realise, but there's such thing as the Asian fit when it comes to sunglasses. When I was in the U.K., it would it would be the hardest thing to find a pair that didn’t just fall off immediately, because I don't have a very prominent nose or bridge.
"In Hong Kong, the focus is on skin clarity and avoiding sun damage."
PS: What are the key differences you have noticed between the ways in which the Hong Kong woman takes care of herself versus the London woman?
KI: You never see anyone overweight in Hong Kong and I think that's for a variety of reasons, the first probably being genetics. Secondly diet. Thirdly everyone is very active and so after work you could be in the gym or at yoga in 15 minutes. A lot of Chinese people don't drink as well - I'm sure there are other vices, but as a whole, people appear to be fit and healthy. Smaller frames too.
"Everyone has a greater self-awareness and what they need to do to feel better."
PS: When it comes to beauty, what do Asian women care about most?
Ki: Skin looking as healthy and naked as possible with minimal make-up. I think with Western women, there's much more focus on make-up, and how to achieve the perfect look. In Hong Kong, the focus is on skin clarity and avoiding sun damage.
When I lived in the UK, the highest sun block I used was an SPF 20. As soon as I moved to Hong Kong, I noticed you could only buy factor 50 and up. When I when I came back to Hong Kong with a little bit of a tan after two weeks in Europe, people came up to me in the office and asked me what happened and if I'm okay - because ‘you look so awful,’ kind of thing. They have a completely different association with the sun.
If we went on holiday to Thailand and it rained the whole week, we really wouldn't mind because we’re not there for the sun. The spiritual element of wellness is very ingrained in everyday culture. Everyone has a greater self-awareness and what they need to do to feel better.
Kim's Beauty Tips
- Drink warm water (never ice water, especially not first thing in the morning when you wake up), work with your body not against it!
- Moisturise; the best investment is in the hydration of your skin. I also have humidifiers going 24/7 at home, especially in the winter months when the heating is on.
- Prevention not cure; wear sunscreen everyday! Think about the daily maintenance of your skin and body dependent on the weather outside and the time of year, I change up my moisturiser and serum depending on the season and the humidity.
- You are what you eat; nutrition for me is everything and the secret to feeling and looking good. I eat a 80% vegetable rich diet, with a little bit of oily fish and seafood when I can buy it fresh.
- Make the time to make your own food; home cooked meals are far better for you than restaurants or pre-packed. It’s also so therapeutic and a great relaxant