Monday 25 January 2016

Interview: Su-Man Hsu


What inspired you to work in the beauty industry? And how did your career journey begin?

I am not a beautician or a therapist. All my experience and skills come from being a dancer, shiatsu practitioner and pilates instructor. Merging these experiences together made me who I am as a facialist. It's a craft and it took me 10 years to perfect, so I see myself as a skin artist. I’ve always had a passion for the body and a desire to maintain beauty. It was only when I created my skincare brand, Su-Man, that I realised the beauty industry is a totally different world to what I was used to! There were so many hurdles and difficulties that I had not expected, especially regarding the business side of it. Luckily my husband, who is also my business partner, is a creative with great business skills and he helped me navigate my way through the commercial pressures without compromising my creative instincts.

What is your career highlight?

When I received my first order for my skincare line. I was also Juliette Binoche's personal facialist during the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, which was another big highlight for me.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in the beauty industry?

I grew up in a mud hut in my native Taiwan, so ending up as a leading international facialist is like a Cinderella story to me. So I've always kept my passion, dreams and core values. However, as soon as I entered the retail side of the industry with my skincare products, I encountered a hugely competitive and frightening new world. As a start up brand, you are vulnerable and people can feel it. Doubt and insecurity creep in as you lay everything on the line to fulfill your dream. As the armies of consultants (many of them good) tell you what to do, it's easy to get lost and lose your identity. So my advice is be resilient, patient, have tons of endurance and stay truthful to your core values. Know who you are and stay authentic and don't don't don't cut corners for quick fixes and short term gains!

Who is the ultimate beauty icon?

Audrey Hepburn, for me she is the epitome of grace and beauty.

What are your makeup bag essentials?

I love Surratt Beauty and haven't been able to live without the brand since discovering it in Australia. I love the eyeliner and mascara. The eyeliner is so easy to apply without smudging and the mascara instantly gives length and volume to my lashes, without making them stick together.

What is the biggest beauty crime a person can commit?

We all know the skin’s primary function is not to make us ‘beautiful’. It is the largest organ in our body and protects our internal systems from environmental aggressors. So the better we take care of it, the safer our body will feel.

As a facialist, I see how people are concerned about the effects of extreme weather and how they (wrongly) use rich and heavy products, thinking it gives their skin better protection. But our skin is a living organ that needs to breathe. This is even more important during extreme weather conditions, so I would always avoid heavy, rich products that can clog your pores, suffocate your skin and (surprisingly) cause premature ageing. Instead, choose your products wisely and apply them correctly, as this will not only protect your skin but also keep it looking healthy and radiant.

What is your top beauty tip?

Physical beauty begins with a well-cleansed face. If you could wave a magic wand and have a perfectly cleansed face, I wouldn't need to do my facials. Unfortunately there is no magic fix, so the best advice I can give is to be patient, disciplined and consistent, with the correct massage technique.

The purpose of cleansing is to remove dirt, oil and grime from your skin. It's the foundation of any skincare regime because you need to start with fresh skin for the rest of the programme to function properly. A good quality cleanser not only helps the skin to breathe better by removing dirt but also helps retain the skin's natural moisture. My Purifying Cleansing Gel-Oil is an ideal cleanser for all skin types and a wonderful preparation for your skincare routine.


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