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by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Alice Leigh Yuan Talks Passion, Style & Acne Skincare

One word comes to mind during our virtual interview with Alice Leigh Yuan: tenacious. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Taiwan, the social media manager and digital creator has dealt with major setbacks in her career and struggled with acne and eczema on her skincare journey.

Ahead, get to know Alice as she shares the ups and downs of her career, her skin struggles with acne and eczema, and her style and beauty icon.

Tell us more about your career journey. Are there any highlights so far?

Just like with most things in life, there have been major highs and lows over the span of my career. 

I majored in Communications in college, before I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to work in. It was also then that I realised social media didn’t just have to be a hobby—it could be my career path. To prepare for working in the fashion and beauty spaces post-graduation, I picked up minors in Marketing and Art History during my second semester. That was where it all began! 

My first internship—and later on, my first job—was at an agency called StyleHaul, Inc. Everything we did at Stylehaul felt beyond fascinating to me and put a twinkle in my eye. It was an incredible first job and led me to meet my mentor and close friend, Joellen, who was my then-direct report. In April of 2019, StyleHaul announced they were closing and I was out of a job for a month before I started working at Nasty Gal. 

I like to think my time at Nasty Gal enabled my passion for the art of content creation because that’s where I learned to produce and creative direct all of our social media shoots. Being on set is my favourite part of working in the industry because of the levels of energy and creativity.

One of the biggest highlights in my career thus far was working on set with Cara Delevingne and Zoey Grossman while we were shooting our holiday collection in Manhattan. The episode of Cara playing the guitar backwards on the Tonight Show had aired the night before, so we were able to witness that in real life and capture her playing for our social teasers. It was the perfect moment.

I got laid off in April 2020 when the pandemic hit—it was a hard pill to swallow, but I would eventually come to realise that that was a blessing in disguise and I ultimately found peace with it. A lot happened that year. I took a much-needed break from work and focused on spending time with family back home in Taiwan. At the end of the year, I started my current role at The Mayfair Group as the Social Media Manager. 

I think about this all the time, but the day Mayfair came into my life it lifted me up and changed my life for the better. As I rode the waves of depression, trauma, and anxiety after losing my dad, the team trusted me and gave me the opportunity to keep doing what I love—in an even greater capacity. I’ve learned worlds from working with my team at Mayfair and feel beyond lucky to be surrounded by so much talent and work with women who lift each other up. 

What is the most valuable professional lesson you have learned?

“Never forget why you’re doing what you’re doing, and who you’re doing it for. Let passion drive you.”

How would you describe your style?

A mix of romance, classic and casual with a flowing silhouette. I love a blouse with muted colours and feminine details like bows, puffs, ruffles, and lace paired with delicate footwear and minimal accessories.

As an only child, I grew up living in my parents’ closets. Every Saturday night I would hold a fashion show; I’d try on all of my parents’ clothes and come out for a catwalk to show them how I styled each piece. 

My mum is the epitome of a “classy woman”—she always looks polished and put together. She loves a matching set and always manages to find shoes and accessories that match perfectly or compliment her outfits. As I get older, I’m starting to appreciate those things too. I get giddy when I find sandals that match my dress perfectly!

What’s your go-to look for the day ahead? Do you plan your outfits ahead or pick randomly?

My go-to look for a day or night out would be a blouse with a pair of jeans and sandals. I typically plan my outfits ahead, unless I’m working from home and only running errands for the day. In that case, my go-tos would be my Mayfair sweats paired with a casual or graphic tee, and my Nike Air Forces. 

What is a typical skincare routine for you?

My beauty routine is very simple and always evolving! As someone who has very sensitive skin (eczema and other allergies), I’ve found that doing the bare minimum has helped my skin improve immensely. I started battling a bad case of acne in high school that worsened throughout the years. In 2018, I went through a 6-month of Accutane treatment—my skin cleared up but started worsening as soon as the 6 months were up. 

My current skincare routine is easy and simple—I remove my makeup, wash my face with Cetaphil’s Extra Gentle Daily Scrub, let my face air-dry for a bit (I never use towels on my face!), apply my Cetaphil moisturiser, and then Kiehl’s eye cream. If I’m starting my day, I finish up my skincare routine with the Supergoop SPF 50. I exfoliate 2 times a week using my Anese Papaya Exfoliating Mask and put on face masks a couple of times a week. 

As someone who suffers from dry skin and allergies, I use the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash and apply the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion as soon as I come out of the shower after I’ve dried off with a towel.

Any beauty tips you can share?

When I took some time off to go home to Taiwan last year, I had a revelation about my skin. I realised one of the best ways to clear toxins in our bodies is to drink a lot of water and sweat it all out. Starting birth control for acne, making sure I stay active or go to a steam room, and staying hydrated at all times has really helped my skin heal. I feel so much more confident in my own skin, literally. 

Keeping your skin hydrated is my rule of thumb for having good skin. Although I am constantly on the lookout for new skincare products to try, I believe it’s most important to figure out what works best for you and stick to it.

What’s your one ride or die product?

I always have a tube of hydrocortisone cream on hand in case of an eczema flare-up! I grew up with eczema and though it has gotten better with age, anytime I’m stressed, anxious, or sleep-deprived, I get flare-ups.

Who are your beauty icons, past and present?

My mum! I grew up with her stressing the importance of skincare. She always says: “Your skin is God’s gift to you—you’re only given it once, so take good care of it!” Every night when we are on FaceTime, she reminds me to take off my makeup and wash my face as soon as the day is over to let my pores breathe.

She also notices the blemishes on my face and rather than nailing me for it, we talk about why and where it may come from—she is the OG skincare guru. I aspire to be more like her and look as good as she does when I’m her age!  

How has your perception of beauty changed through the years?

When I was younger, my perception of beauty and how someone knew how to do their makeup was largely correlated. As I got older, having an established skincare regimen gradually took over makeup’s place. During the six months I was on Accutane, my breakouts were being suppressed so I felt like I could try whichever skincare products I wanted to. I slowly realised that wasn’t the case for someone with sensitive skin like me after my treatment ended. I was pretty lost for a while—I didn’t know what was working and what wasn’t because of how many products I had been using inconsistently.

The moral of my skincare journey is:

“There is value in taking a step back to reevaluate what you’re putting on your skin. Sometimes, less is more.”

I think I’ve now gotten to a point where beauty is figuring out what works best for you. We live in an age of endless media consumption. It’s easy to get lost in the sauce, and it’s okay if you do! When you find yourself in that situation, try to take yourself out of the situation and reevaluate what you have going on at the moment. Sometimes that helps us realign, and feel centred and more grounded. 

Are there any beauty tips from your culture that you can share?

Our family loves Snow Fungus Dessert Soup! It’s a light dessert that can be served after meals or just on its own. It is made with snow fungus, dried longan, black dates, red dates, lotus seeds, goji berries and sweetened with rock sugar. Although I am not the most well versed in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this soup has medicinal properties such as healing dry cough and respiratory problems and anti-inflammatory properties. People also love it because there is collagen in snow fungus. 

What are your goals in the future? What are you working towards?

I’m a water sign so I’m a big dreamer! I’ve always been. I’m working towards my dreams of designing the life and career path that I want and know is best for me. I love the industry I work in so I don’t see myself leaving fashion anytime soon. I love creating, so I’m going to keep doing that too. 

Alice’s Beauty Picks

Cetaphil’s Extra Gentle Daily Scrub, SGD18
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream, SGD31
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, SGD55
Supergoop PLAY Everyday Lotion With Sunflower Extract Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++, SGD34
Anese So Over It Papaya Enzyme Exfoliating Mask, SGD24
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash, SGD18.90
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, SGD24.90

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