Her Skincare Secrets: An Interview with Skincare Guru Michelle Wong of Lab Muffin

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Michelle Wong’s got your back. A skincare nerd with a PhD in chemistry, Michelle started her blog, Lab Muffin, to help women figure out what products are worth the hype and which ones are best left on the shelf, using science. She has a knack for breaking down science in a way that’s easy to understand… and makes it fun too.

Michelle believes that a good skincare routine starts with the basics: cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. Get those wrong and your skin will let you know it’s not happy.

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To help you get them right, Michelle’s just written her first ebook, “The Lab Muffin Guide To Basic Skincare.” I snapped up a copy as soon as it came out and absolutely loved it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read about skincare ever.

It tells you exactly what to look for and what to avoid in a skincare product, sets the record straight on what those sneaky marketing terms really mean (hint: don’t fall for them!) and answers every question you have about creating a skincare routine that works for you. By the time you’re done with it, you’ll be ready to step up your skincare game.

Talking about skincare routines, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle about her own skincare routine. Here’s how she keeps her skin in top shape:

1. When did you become interested in skincare?

I first got into skincare when my skin started playing up when I was a teenager, but I didn’t properly get into the world of science-based skincare until I was in university and had some money to spend on products! I was using makeup to cover up spots and they kept on getting worse… eventually it got to the point where there were too many spots to cover up. So the skincare obsession started.

2. What’s your skincare routine like?

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It changes quite a lot because I review a lot of products for my blog, but generally it’s:

My morning routine is very minimalist: I rinse my face with water, blot it dry with a towel, then apply sunscreen followed by makeup.

My evening routine is a little more complicated but not by much: Cleanse: cleansing oil then foaming cleanser Exfoliate once or twice a week with a peeling gel or hydroxy acid mask Hydrating toner Active: I usually only use one or two actives each night, right now I’m rotating through tretinoin, AHA, BHA and vitamin C Moisturiser or facial oil Overnight mask if the weather’s dry

3. If you could only use three skincare products for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Of course I have to say sunscreen! I’d also put tretinoin on the list since it’s been so good for my skin texture and pigmentation. And I think I’d have to add a moisturiser in there… maybe I can use it as a cream cleanser too.

4. What are your fave skincare brands and why?

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I’m not really a brand loyalist – I use lots of products from different brands in my rotation, and I haven’t really found a brand where I’ll love and consistently use every single product in their range. I really like the exfoliant products from Paula’s Choice, and I love how influential they’ve been in the industry, in making people think harder about their skincare products, even if I don’t always agree with their interpretations of the research. Ultraceuticals are another brand whose products I love, and I really like that they have proper scientists working for their brand and running their clinical trials.

6. What skincare treatments do you regularly have done?

None at the moment, although I expect it’ll go up as I get older! Although I’m hoping regularly using tretinoin is enough.

7. What lifestyle habits do you have that keep your skin in top shape?

I try to exercise regularly, and eat a healthy balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables. I also try to avoid stress and cramming too much into my day, although of course with a blog and a full time job and exercise there’s always a bit of stress in there! I should try to sort out my sleep but that’s always been difficult for me.

8. What’s in your makeup bag?

Eyeliner pencil, concealer, lipstick, brow pencil. Actually, more like 5 lipsticks. I try to minimise what I carry around, but the lipsticks always seem to pile up…

Thank you, Michelle!

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