IVY AND NATASHA CHIAM
It is not unusual for daughters to look like their mothers, but in the case of Natasha Chiam, 29, and Ivy Chiam, 58, the likeness extends far beyond appearance.
Apart from glowing complexions, which they credit to years of using sunscreen and moisturiser, the mother-daughter pair share an infectiously sunny disposition.
The younger Chiam used to be a beauty writer for Female magazine, but left journalism in 2013 to focus on her own food business here, the Ice Cream and Cookie Co, a gourmet ice cream sandwich company. The elder Chiam dedicates herself to "home duties", splitting her time between Singapore, where Natasha is based, Los Angeles, where her son is a student, and Australia, where the Chiam family has lived for 20 years.
They laugh generously at themselves and at each other, showing that a mother is often not just a caregiver, but a best friend and confidante.
When did your mum allow you to wear make-up?
Natasha: She was always quite liberal, but I started wearing make-up only when I went to university.
Ivy: What was more important for me was teaching her how to clean her face. How to cleanse and moisturise rather than how to apply make-up.
N: Yeah, when I was 13, my mum gave me my first proper moisturiser from Clarins.
What is your skincare routine?
N: A lot of my routine is based on what my mum does. She uses Cetaphil, so I use Cetaphil. She doesn't use toner, so I don't use toner. We both use lots of moisturiser and sunscreen because when we were in Australia, the sun was really strong.
Both mother and daughter use serums and sunscreen (above) as part of their daily routines.
That was the one thing my mum was insistent on. Regardless of whether it was raining or sunny, we always had to wear sunscreen.
I: I tried Cetaphil when I was younger and found that it worked, so I kept with it. Even until today, I use Cetaphil facial cleanser, though I do alternate it with Bioderma.
During the day, I also use CE Ferulic antioxidant serum, which I follow with a Clarins moisturiser and sunscreen from SkinCeuticals. At night, I use La Prairie eye cream and serum.
N: Our routines are more or less the same - cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream, serum, sunscreen. Every dermatologist I have ever met recommends vitamin C serum so I put one in my routine.
At the moment, I am using a moisturiser from Estee Lauder, but my skin tends to get used to products very quickly, so I try to alternate the Estee Lauder with the Lancome Hydra Zen.
I: Sometimes, we share skincare products, but not make-up because she is more adventurous and has a whole palette of items that she experiments with. At my age, I keep to the things which I know work for me.
Did you inherit any make-up tips from your mother?
N: Yes, she has this method for applying lipstick.
I: I always tell Natasha "less is more". Just keep it simple.
N: Yeah, but you also do the blotting thing.
I: Oh, right. Apply a first layer, blot it with tissue or dust it with powder, then apply another layer. This way, the lipstick stays on for a longer period.
My own mother did not wear much make up so I learnt everything I knew from books, magazines and years of trial and error.
When Natasha was younger, I was the one telling her what to do, but when she grew older, and especially when she became a beauty writer, the roles reversed. Nowadays, I am the one pinching ideas from her or asking, "do you think this looks good?", "is this too much for my age?"
Do you have any beauty secrets?
I: We drink a lot of water, don't we Natasha?
N: Yup. Growing up, we never had soft drinks or sweet drinks around the house. Even now, the only drink I have in my refrigerator is water.
I: Diet is very important for good skin. We do indulge occasionally, but most of the time, we eat at home and eat lots of greens. We also drink juice.
N: Yes, lots of fresh juice. Lately, we have been using a lot of pomegranate. We mix it with everything - broccoli, kale, lemon and celery. We do not follow a recipe so, sometimes, it turns out good, other times not so good.
I: Exercise is another thing. I play tennis and do hot yoga, which I believe is good for the skin.
N: I try to run or do yoga as well but it's hard now because I have a busy schedule. When I was in Australia, I swam quite a lot.
I: Yes, she is a very good swimmer.
What is your idea of beauty?
N: It's a mix of personality and outer appearance.
I: I agree. The ideal beauty has both inner and outer glow. In fact, how a person interacts with other people can often be more endearing than how they look.
Do you disagree over any beauty issues?
N: Dying my hair. She does not like me to do it, but I do it anyway.
I: It will spoil her hair, not because she does not look nice.
N: She thinks my hair is going to fall out.
I: Yes, you are going to be bald by the time you get to your 40s.
I suppose when she was younger, there were also times when she thought she was fat and I would ask, "Where? Where is the fat?"
N: Mothers are always so supportive. They are blinded by love, so even if anything is wrong, they will say "it's okay, it's fine".
I: That's true. To us, our daughters will always be the most beautiful girls in the world.
~ REBECCA TAN HUI SHAN