Poh: I always do my own make-up for TV. Always.

December 15, 2015

I used to think I could pick healthy people from miles away. They were the ones in the tights and joggers, clutching a giant green smoothie and eating an acai bowl while running. Being healthy is about so much more than posting a #fistpo photo on insta – it’s about looking after your skin, your mind and your whole body.

Poh Ling Yeow is a person who does just that. She’s famous for being on Masterchef but she’s also a graphic designer, illustrator, painter and a former makeup artist. She knows loads about skin and eating well which is why I wanted to feast on her thoughts about all things face.


Q: Poh, you have excellent skin. Tell me exactly what you do to your face morning, noon and night.

A: Every morning I use a natural moisturising lotion on my entire body and face after a shower. At night I use a cleanser with a face cleansing brush my mum gave me when I was as a teenager – yes, I’ve had it for 27 years. If I have to step out of the house, I will always put on makeup because I’m a vain git. I never use foundation, even for special occasions, because I hate the way it feels and looks on my skin, but I do conceal EVERY blemish. My look is pretty fresh and natural but it takes about 30 minutes. I like to do it well, then I rarely touch it again except to top up on gloss and maybe some powder to reduce shine.

Q: Do you use a particular sunscreen, moisturiser or skin care range?

A: I use sunscreen everyday. No particular brand – I just make sure it’s a sensitive skin product or a ‘for children’ formula. When it comes to moisturiser I prefer a lightweight, natural all over moisturiser.

Q: Tell me about your health regime – what do you do each day to look after your body?

A: I’m not going to lie. I do nothing in the form of exercise but running Jamface. My two market stalls have become a full-time affair – I’m always moving and very active in our commercial kitchen. It’s rare for me to sit down during the day. I eat like a horse without denying myself anything but I naturally gravitate towards lots of veggies and I try to make sure I drink a very large pot of green tea a day, and no alcohol.

Q: As well as being a chef, an artist and a graphic designer you also have experience as a makeup artist. What did touching so many faces teach you about skin?

A: Skin is 90 per cent genetics. As a makeup artist I learnt nothing about caring for skin – most makeup abuses it, to be honest. I’ve always stuck to what I’ve known instinctively works on my skin – it’s vastly different for everyone. I have no belief or interest in magic tonics or expensive brands. In my experience natural products are the way to go.

Q: How do you get your dose of nature each day?

A: Gardening is my all-time fave outdoor activity. Growing my own food from a tiny seed is so gratifying and convenient. I love pottering around the garden and munching on stuff around me knowing it’s utterly chemical free – organic at its very best. Also, taking the dogs for interesting walks.

Q: How do you prepare your skin for TV makeup (which is notoriously heavy)?

A: I don’t believe in TV or film makeup. It’s a really dated concept that it needs to be heavier. Whatever you see in real life gets picked up on camera. I always do my own makeup and I literally don’t change a thing.

Q: Do you stress about strong chemicals on your skin?

A: Yes. If I feel my skin needs rejuvenating I’ll buff it with something mildly abrasive like a skin polishing glove, using my ring fingers only and a teensy bit of natural cleanser – for me the results are better and safer than anything chemical.

Q: As a chef, what’s your personal meal plan?

A: Lots of fruit, vegetables, tea, very little red meat and no alcohol.

Q: How have the products you use on your skin changed in the past 10 years?

A: It hasn’t at all. Brands have changed, but it’s always been about natural products, a facial cleanser, and then a moisturiser that covers both body and face.

Q: If you could recommend one thing to your younger self about skincare – what would it be?

A: Don’t listen to what others might suggest is best for you, trust how your skin feels and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. At some points I just wasn’t convinced about my very basic routine and invested in some more expensive skin care with disastrous results.


By Mia Freedman

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