Sisters Sophia and Nadia Chan have always had an interest in beauty and skincare. Being the younger one, Nadia confesses that she is the “vain pot” who loved makeup, whereas her older sister loves knowing the science behind skincare.
Complete opposites in personality, the sisters somehow found their love for skincare to be something they had in common. Therefore, when a friend of Sophia’s introduced the beauty brand CANVAS to her, she and Nadia couldn’t resist the temptation of turning it into a business opportunity. Sophia was not only taken up with the fantastic quality of the Australian skincare range, but she also found it to be quite effective, too.
CANVAS aims to preserve our natural beauty and protect its very foundation—the skin, or the “canvas.” Organic and natural ingredients are the brand’s most significant strengths, with their aromatherapy and skin care products containing a minimum of 90% organic ingredients.
Given their passion for skincare, the sisters resonated with the prospect of marketing a high-quality skincare brand. However, this would be a second job for both girls. Sophia is a trained occupational therapist who spearheads the stroke rehabilitation team at a local community hospital in Singapore, while Nadia is the general manager at PR Communications, a PR firm based in Singapore.
In 2017, the sisters founded the company Maiko Pte Ltd to market CANVAS products to women in Singapore. Something they advocate through their company is that natural beauty is more than a routine; it is a lifestyle. They believe that the best and healthiest skin a person can live in is only achievable when all aspects of their life are in balance.
Therefore, living a balanced life plays a huge part in finding happiness. However, often we are pulled down by the pressures of our day-to-day lives making finding balance and happiness a bleak prospect. We asked Sophia and Nadia ways to make positive changes in your life and to shed some light on what they feel young women of today need to do to find balance.
Why is it that an average woman will point out at least five (most often more!) flaws when she looks at herself in the mirror? It is not just our appearance that we are critical about. Many women feel they aren’t acing it when it comes to their careers and their relationships.
Nadia feels this comes with a lack of self-confidence and self-love. “It all boils down to what you feel inside and what you think about yourself, “says Nadia, continuing, “I strongly believe that it is important to love yourself first before you can love others. To do that is to achieve fulfilment by looking after yourself and creating your happiness. Whether it is through exercising, pampering your skin, or spending quality me-time, self-love shapes our outlook on life and our relationships.”
Talking about self-confidence, Sophia adds, “Self-confidence is essential for women. A lot of the times because of social stigmas and expectations, we forget who we truly are. I think if you don't have self-confidence, even if you dressed in the most beautiful dress or have the most beautiful hair, you will never feel attractive!”
She stresses, “Ultimately it’s about not being so hard on yourself. For instance, If you have a pimple on your face, just leave it! It is a normal body function. I feel that people always think that you have to be perfect. Imperfection shouldn’t make you less confident.”
This point is closely connected to our first point and could even be a reason women are so critical of themselves. “We compare ourselves to a lot of the things we see in the media—especially social media. We feel we need to keep up with that,” Sophia points out.
Nadia joins in, “We need to remember that although a lot of celebrities are always camera-ready, it doesn’t equate to them being happy. I think that self-confidence is something that comes from inside and it needs to be developed.”
Nadia and Sophia agree that if women don’t compare themselves to societal norms and what the media portrays as “perfect,” they will automatically be a little more confident and have more balance and better mental well-being.
We rush from meetings to social engagements to more meetings with little time in-between spared for ourselves. “If we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? I believe the fundamental basis from which self-confidence is established, is to know that you are giving yourself the best that you can, and this is ultimately about looking after yourself,” Sophia shares.
Nadia knows what it feels like to have a fully scheduled day and no time for herself. “Besides CANVAS and my day job at the PR firm, I'm also a mother. Generally what happens is that we put everything else before us,” she comments. “ I wake up in the morning and get my boy ready for school and then the day job starts!
After work, we work on CANVAS as well. Then I put my little boy to bed. By then the whole day is gone, and I realise that I'm haven’t really anything for myself.”
If you’re wondering what to do in this time you set aside for yourself, Nadia shares that knowing what relaxes you helps a lot. That brings us to point #4.
Sophia tells us that given the varied nature of the work career women do, they have different ways of destressing. Taking the time to figure out what really relaxes you can do wonders to help you feel more balanced.
“Many women these days have so many different roles to play, and sometimes it is mentally tiring. I feel that exercising two to three times a week really relaxes me. To have at least 45 minutes to myself and get some fresh air in energises me as well,” shares Nadia.
“To relax and wind down I often use an overnight mask before going to bed as it moisturises and rejuvenates my skin. The luxurious scent helps me sleep better too,” she adds.
Sophia chimes in saying, “I am an occupational therapist, and I treat stroke cases, so my job is quite laborious during the day. So I'm quite exhausted by the end of the day. If yours is a physically strenuous job like mine, then you may find winding down to something that is a little more slow-paced, more relaxing.”
Many women turn to smoking and drinking to cope with the stress of a high-paced job. Although a glass of red wine can be good for you, copious amounts of cocktails and beer do no good to your body. We all know that that temporary buzz will lead to a throbbing headache the next day—not to mention the toll it takes on your liver and other organs in the long run.
Sophia and Nadia suggest that you need to be kind to your body. Plenty of hydration in the form of healthy beverages such as green tea and good old water is essential. “I’m always seen with a flask in my bag, as hydration is key to achieving healthy skin and maintaining good health in general,” adds Nadia.
Not just the ones on social media! It is true that social media has brought the world closer and you can reconnect with friends from various parts of the world with just a click.
However, not all the connections we make via social media are long-lost friends, are they? We all know that picture social media paints is at times far from reality. Nadia and Sophia feel that it is of paramount importance to make real and meaningful connections in life. For example make time to meet with your close friends and family, just to talk.
If your life is too busy, schedule it—it is that important.
“Apart from close friends, it is quite nice to have someone to speak to whether it is a mentor or personal coach. Someone who can give you a third party perspective about how you are doing personally and professionally,” suggests Nadia.
Meaningful connections could also be built by helping others. “It is evident to me that money isn't everything. A lot of popular people have money but are still unhappy. Finding meaning in life is important.
I'm in healthcare because I enjoy helping people. However if you can’t do it as part of your occupation as I do, then try volunteering. At the end of the day you feel that your life is a bit more fulfilled I think that is important,” says Sophia.
Money isn’t everything and happiness isn’t dependent on how much we have. However, financial planning is critical.
Nadia says, “As a young mum to a four-year-old son, I have started saving for his future, and the key is to put aside a sum of money every month. This is also a skill which I hope to instil in him, that we should always save and spend money wisely in the future.”
Therefore, evaluate your finances and start setting some money aside. Not just for a rainy day, but if you need to further your education, take a vacation or even start your own business in the future. Keep in mind that this may mean cutting down your spending—but hey, it is for you to give yourself a better, more secure future!
Sophia and Nadia advice young women not to take their skin for granted—even if it is quite resilient now. As we age various skin care problems such as pigmentation, wrinkles and adult acne can affect your self-confidence.
Although all these conditions are part and parcel of ageing, taking proper care of your skin when you are younger may help mitigate sometimes avert them entirely.
Being in the skin care business, Sophia and Nadia have some interesting pointers to share on this topic. They say your skin’s future health boils down what how you treat it now.
“One thing that is common amongst career women is that they want everything to be instantaneous. So, even regarding skin care, they look for things that give quick results. That’s not always great for your skin,” claims Sophia, who shares that she too is plagued with acne from time to time.
But she has learnt to be patient as this is merely a natural occurrence, and that the repercussions of using quick-fix products outweigh the good they do.
Nadia feels that a lot of women make the mistake of not cleansing their face correctly and there's always a little residue left. She points out that using cleansing wipes leaves a residue on the skin and that a gentle cleanser should be used to “double cleanse” your skin when removing makeup.
Sophia stresses another point adding, “Sometimes if you ask a lot of people who are very busy, they don't even put something as basic as sunblock, which to me is the most basic thing for anti-ageing. My number one tip for skin care is—use sunblock! Then comes moisturizer—even if you have oily skin.
Hydration, adequate sleep and nourishment in the form of healthy food are some other things that are vital.”
In summary, Sophia and Nadia say that we need to be in a constant state of self-awareness. We also need to be forward thinking, and that is why making these little switches in the present are sure to reap huge benefits in the future.
The Chan sisters continue to advocate living a balanced and happier life, stressing that proper skincare doesn’t need to be hard, and will eventually add to your overall self-confidence.
“To me, it comes down to planning. Most women are too tired, and sometimes this keeps them from doing any positive life changes. The most important thing is to slot it into your lifestyle and make the point to do it anyway!” Nadia says bringing our discussion to a close.
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