Dare to Bare with Barbara Koh
With over 28 years of experience, publishing veteran Barbara Koh knows what women want, having seen the evolution of beauty trends over the years. We got bare-faced with Barbara as she talked about the embracing your natural self, the importance of understanding your skin’s changing needs and why age is just a number.
- What is the biggest beauty trend today?
It’s less about anti-ageing but more about ageless beauty. As I’ve grown older, I personally find the term “anti-ageing” a bit more difficult to accept. I’m happy with my age so I don’t necessarily want to “anti-age”. But I would like to look “ageless”.
- In your many years in magazines, how has the skincare scene changed and evolved? And how have women’s tastes and needs change as well?
During my grandmother’s time, in the ‘70s, it was a one size fits all when it came to skincare, like her jar of Hazeline Snow on her dresser. In the ‘80s, people started to talk about anti-acne and it was also when anti-ageing products started to gain momentum. Then it was the ‘90s where it was all about exfoliating. After that, skincare moved into brightening, and then we got the K-beauty wave with its “glass skin”, “mochi skin” and “bouncy skin”.
Today, skincare puts the power in your hands because things are customized to suit your skin’s needs. And that’s one thing Skin Inc has done from the very beginning. With regards to skincare, we’re so advantaged to be exposed to this whole suite of products.
- What is the one beauty trend/look that you wish would go away, and why?
I’m generally very accepting of beauty trends. I just don’t like makeup that’s too garish like there was an animal print eyeshadow print as well as the glossy eyeshadow trend. That’s something I personally cannot take. I don’t like things that are too Halloween-ish.
- When people think of ageing, they see women looking dowdy (in terms of beauty and fashion), but you’ve not let age hold you back. How do you keep your body, mind and spirit youthful?
Just because you’re older and/or a parent, it doesn’t mean that you have to be keep that mentality. If you’re parent, you should still continue to see what excites your kids. You don’t have to like what they’re excited about, but stay connected. Stay in tune with what’s happening around the world.
- Women are always concerned about anti-ageing, what are your tips for keeping signs of ageing at bay and ageing gracefully?
Like what Kpop group, BTS (they’re my favorite) says, you have to “Love Yourself”. And I think that’s really important when it comes to beauty these days. Being beautiful is not just having a beautiful face. But it’s also what’s in your mind and heart.
This is my personal equation: A + B = C
A is for Acceptance. To accept who you are.
B is for Belief. This refers to believing in yourself, and surrounding yourself with people who love you and support you.
C is for Confidence. If you have A and B, you’ll naturally have C. Confidence is key to looking beautiful.
- What’s your skincare routine like? How has that changed as you aged?
For my skincare, I’ve always made sure that I keep my skin well-hydrated. As I’ve gotten older, my skin has changed a lot. While my skin obviously got drier, it also got more sensitive. I’ve also noticed more age spots, which I guess is payback for the times in my youth when I just laid in the sun and baked.
My personal Skin Inc Custom Serum blend is Vitamin B3+, Vitamin A and Hyaluronic Acid. It’s brightening, strengthening of the skin barrier and moisture in one bottle, which is perfect for me. What I really appreciate from Skin Inc is the Skin ID Check because skincare isn’t about a one size fits all model. Your skin changes as you age and also because of stress, hormones, lifestyle etc. so the Skin ID Check allows you to find out what your skin needs are at any point in time.