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by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Stacey Manoharan on Her Acne Journey & Guide to Feeling Your Best

At 14, Stacey Manoharan was the youngest starting pitcher for Singapore’s national softball team. After some detours, taking gap years and graduating from UCLA, she realised that school and the typical 9-to-5 wasn’t what she wanted in life. Now, the LA-based digital creator is the founder of Collab, a marketplace platform that is geared toward serving local restaurants and content creators.

We caught up with Stacey as she shares more on her career, acne journey and beauty picks.

What are three things people should know about you? 

I’m always down to try something new, I love it when people are their genuine self unapologetically, and I have no patience for nonsense.

What keeps you busy every day? 

Finding ways to stay out of my comfort zone and challenging myself—in my personal life, career, and fitness!

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

It’s a long one! I was as a camera girl at Abercrombie & Fitch and then got into modelling after that for a bit. I also really enjoyed baking so I apprenticed in a few restaurants before opening my own catering business. Then I went to UCLA for college and did a bunch of internships in marketing, non-profits, consulting. I also worked on campus as an ambassador, tutor, and in the dining hall (laughs)!

Right after I graduated from college, I started a full-time job in management consulting. I wouldn’t say it was a career but I enjoyed trying out many different things. Eventually, I realised that a 9-to-5 wasn’t for me and here I am, starting my own business!

What is the best career advice you can offer to someone who wants to pursue their dream job? 

Always say yes to opportunities and then figure out how to do it later! It’s daunting and I struggle with it sometimes still, but I know that I’ve never regretted trying out something new. Be solution-oriented, instead of problem-oriented.

You travel a lot! Has the pandemic affected this at all? Where’s the first place you’d travel to once the pandemic is over? 

I love travelling and exploring new places! You’ll see most of my photos are of when I was on vacation. The pandemic definitely affected this but it was a blessing in disguise—the quiet gave me time to reflect and work on my various projects. I’d travel to visit my parents the moment this pandemic is over.

What’s your fitness regimen like? Do you follow a strict diet plan? 

I used to follow a strict diet plan, but now I think consistency trumps intensity. I try to hit weights maybe just two times a week but I try to walk for an hour a day and getting around 4 to 5 miles of walking in. 

Let’s talk about your beauty routine. What does it look like?

“I follow two general rules—my morning routine is vitamin C-focused and my night routine is retinol-focused.”

In the morning, I cleanse my face first. Then, I use a mix of the 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder from The Ordinary with the Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, also from The Ordinary. This creates a super-potent vitamin C serum that works really well on my skin. I let that sit for a while and move onto the eyes—I use the Caffeine Solution from The Ordinary followed by the Super Eye Energy Peptide-Infusion Cream by Beauty Pie. If I’m breaking out, I’ll use the Effaclar Duo from La Roche-Posay. If not, I’ll go straight to a hyaluronic acid serum. Then I’ll layer the Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream from Beauty Pie and Vitamin C Face Oil from Naturium. Lastly, always sunscreen! I love this SheerZinc physical sunblock from Neutrogena; it’s light, doesn’t leave a white cast and is so inexpensive.

At night, I melt off my makeup using the Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm from Beauty Pie then go in with my SK-II cleanser. Depending on what I’m feeling that day I’ll use either a light mask, scrub or chemical exfoliant. Then, it’s the niacinamide serum from The Ordinary. I’ll let that sink in and apply the Super Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream. Next, I’ll apply the Granactive Retinol 2% Emulsion from The Ordinary. The Ordinary has many options for retinoids but this is my favourite because it doesn’t leave an oily or sticky feeling after.

I’ll then put a thin layer of some prescribed medical-grade retinol all over. No matter what anyone says, medical-grade retinol is still the most effective. Then I’ll layer the Plantastic Deep Nourishing Moisture Balm from Beauty Pie and the Retinoid Face Oil from Naturium. That’ll give my skin a ton of hydration overnight as I sleep.

My favourite beauty product isn’t really a product but a device—I love the NuFACE facial toning device. It’s really worth the investment and I saw results after a week. 

Any skin struggles you’d like to share with our readers? How did you overcome them? 

I struggled with hormonal acne even up till college. I take a prescribed medication every day called Spironolactone that helped ease it. If you’re struggling with severe acne, you should visit a dermatologist. No single beauty product is going to save your skin.

Also, drinking a gallon of water a day does wonders for your skin. I carry a giant gallon bottle with me everywhere I go and it has time marks on it that keep me accountable.

When I hit 25, I did a huge purge of all the makeup I had and invested heavily in skincare instead and that made a huge difference!

Most of us feel most confident when our skin is healthy. What else helps you feel your best? 

Getting my morning routine done—meditating, skincare routine, drinking tea and journaling—without checking my phone, helps me start my day well and feel ready to take on the day. Also getting that hour of walking in really gets the endorphins going.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? 

Running my empire and empowering others to live their truth and be their authentic selves!

Stacey’s Beauty Picks

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder, SGD8
The Ordinary Resveratol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, SGD9
Beauty Pie Über Youth Super Eye Energy Peptide-Infusion Cream, GBP65
The Ordinary 5% + EGCG Caffeine Solution, SGD11.50
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Corrective Unclogging Care, SGD42.90
Beauty Pie Super Health Skin Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream, GBP100
Naturium Vitamin C Face Oil, SGD47
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50, SGD31.90
Beauty Pie Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm, GBP100
SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser, SGD100
Super Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream
The Ordinary Granactive Retinol 2% Emulsion, SGD10.90
Beauty Pie Plantastic Deep Nourishing Moisture Balm, GBP50
Naturium Retinoid Face Oil, SGD47.20
NuFACE Trinity Facial Toning Device, SGD592.50

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