Tessa Lin Burton on Creativity & Coping with Acne
British-Singaporean model and content creator Tessa Lin Burton shows us that the first step to feeling comfortable in your own skin starts with yourself.
Tessa Lin Burton has never been one to stay still. The British-Singaporean model and content creator was born and raised in the UK, before moving to Asia to pursue her modelling career in 2015. Since then, she has worked in the Philippines and Thailand, before her roots called her back to Singapore.
These days, she lets her creative nature guide her into different hobbies that range from photography to modelling to content creation, documenting it all online like a true digital native. We caught up with Tessa to find out what a typical day looks like for her, how she copes with hormonal breakouts and what she is working towards.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I don’t have a typical schedule at all, in fact, my days really vary from day to day—but they usually revolve around shooting content, castings, photoshoots, events, coffee dates and my little dachshund, Ziggie.
My boyfriend Mack and I have been trying to cultivate a new habit on Monday mornings, where we wake up before sunrise and shoot content for our page @alifeofattraction. We are 100% not morning people but we’ve found it’s a great way to set ourselves up for the week—the morning light is truly worth getting up for! Other than that… I really live day by day!
What do you love most about your work?
I just love creating images, whether that be in front, behind the camera, or both. It’s amazing when everything comes together and I love when I get to dress as a character and take on a new persona for a little while. Also, meeting and working with talented creatives is definitely one of the best parts of the jobs—I feed off their creative energy!
In terms of content creation, I’m an extremely visual person (I have a Pinterest board for everything!) and I get so excited when those boards come to life. Sometimes you have an image in your head and you don’t really know if it’s gonna work, but when it does, it reminds me exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing.
You’re constantly exposed to the newest collections and trends. Does that influence your style in any way?
I used to shoot a lot more editorial fashion—the more out there the better! I guess that was reflected in how I dressed as I was a bit more eclectic and adventurous with my style then, and I used to shop a lot at thrift stores. Since moving to Singapore, I primarily shoot commercial and for e-commerce brands, where I feel the fashion is a lot more conservative and ‘safe’. I’ve definitely noticed myself opting for a more neutral palette these days, but I’m always open to and inspired by new trends, particularly on social media.
How has your perception of beauty changed through the years?
I’ve always been a fan of natural beauty, but I think as the beauty and fashion industries adapt to change and become more diverse, it has allowed me and many others to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
I love that the industry is learning to embrace different shapes, sizes and skin colours and celebrate uniqueness, differences and imperfections. Even ten years ago (when I first started modelling, gosh!), I was told I wasn’t tall enough to sign to an agency, and yet with passion and perseverance I’ve managed to build my career as an international model—I’m so happy I was able to work through this shift!
“Through the years, I’ve realised beauty isn’t about being ‘perfect’ or fitting a certain mould—the most beautiful people are happy people and beauty comes with being confident in who you are and embracing yourself!”
Talk us through your favourite beauty products and your typical skincare ritual.
Whilst the last year has been really tough, it’s been an opportune time to practice more self-care and I’ve been busy trying out a lot of new products!
I absolutely love Fresh Beauty! Besides the fact that every product smells good enough to eat, I find that they are gentle on the skin and never drying. The Soy Cleanser, Rose Toner and Kombucha Treatment are my go-to’s. I also started using the Fenty Skin line at the start of this year. I’ve been using the Hydra Visor SPF sunscreen moisturizer daily and I’m completely obsessed with the Total Cleans’r because it literally melts off makeup.
I must admit, I get a bit overwhelmed with the number of serums that are out there sometimes, but I’ve been enjoying Fresh’s Vitamin Nectar Glow Juice Antioxidant Face Serum—it gives me a burst of energy in the morning and boosts skin with nutrition (I think of it like skin vitamins). I also just started using Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum, which is supposed to be amazing for skin hydration!
Face masks are always a part of my self-care routine. My current fave is the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, which smells absolutely heavenly. As for makeup, I generally think less is more given Singapore’s insane humidity, but for everyday wear, I love the Fenty Pro Filt’r Concealer and Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque.
How has your skincare routine evolved to cope with acne breakouts?
I went through a period of trying a bunch of products at once as I was so desperate to find a solution, but I realised overloading my skin was making it worse. I’ve found that using acne medications that include ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide can help but I’ve learnt to use them very sparingly.
I knew that my acne was definitely hormone-related as it was mainly focused around the jawline, but it got to the point where I was so fed up, I no longer wanted a ‘quick fix’ but to get to the root of the issue, without the use of medication involving hormones. At the beginning of the year, I started drinking Your Tea’s Fertility Herbs Tea to balance my hormones naturally. I have also started eating cleaner, which has definitely helped—although I definitely still have cheat days!
I now stick to just a few products that I know work for me and also started going for regular monthly facials—cAL does an amazing ‘Vita C Facial’ which I highly recommend!
Any advice to those struggling with acne?
I’ve really struggled with my skin over the last 18 months or so because of hormonal imbalance and I know for one, how stressful it can be (which of course doesn’t help!) but rather than just relying on topical solutions, I think it’s also important to pay attention to what’s going on internally too.
Finding a solution can involve a lot of trial and error, but know you’re not alone—be patient and know that it will get better eventually!
What’s the best skincare advice you have?
Listen to your body. For the longest time, especially when my skin was particularly bad, I was constantly trying so many different products because I’d read reviews about them. Just like you, your skin sometimes needs a break so don’t be afraid to take one. Once you find the skincare that works for you, then you can work on building your own routine.
I’ve also learnt that you should always hydrate your skin because dry skin can trigger excess oil production which can actually make acne worse. Don’t forget to drink lots of water too—I’m working on this myself!
What are your goals in the future?
I would love to work further building my personal brand, continuing to create and build relationships with beauty, lifestyle & fashion brands that I believe in—I see these brands moving towards a more conscious and sustainable future and I solely support this.
At the beginning of last year, I also started up @alifeofattraction with my partner Mack, which through images and videos, aims to inspire others to travel the roads less travelled and experience more beyond the obvious. Of course, we can’t travel just yet—but we’ve been using this time to explore and rediscover Singapore!
We are also in the process of setting up as a business so we’re really excited to collaborate with and create for brands on more creative projects in the near future!
Tessa’s Beauty Picks
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, SGD63
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, SGD63
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Moisturizer, SGD54
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, SGD45
Fenty Skin Total Cleans’r Remove-It-All Cleanser, SGD38
Fresh Vitamin Nectar Glow Juice Antioxidant Face Serum, SGD45
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, SGD380
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, SGD34
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer, SGD38
Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Still, SGD54
Your Tea Fertility Herbs Tea, AUD54.95
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