In the first part of our interview with skinfluencer and scientist Hannah English we went deep, covering how she navigates through her mental health ups and downs, all while dealing with the tricky landscape of a career largely played out across social media. Now, in the second part of our interview, we’re going light… literally. Yes, the lady with perhaps the most luminous skin to ever beam out of a Zoom meeting is finally sharing the exact products and treatments she relies on to get that gloriously glistening complexion.

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @MS_HANNAH_E

“I am very much a proponent of the ‘real skin movement’… although of course all skin is real skin, isn’t it?

I definitely don’t want to feed into the zeitgeist of people feeling the need to say ‘look at me with my perfect face, ooh except for this one tiny pimple, look, I’m so normal’. It’s like diet culture but for skin care.  I prefer to exist with a pimple and not say anything. Just like the real change in fashion will come when people can be any size, without comment or labels, I don’t think the beauty world needs another essay on it being ‘so hard’ to have a single pimple. Let’s just have the pimple and crack on.

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I was a teen in the early 2000s, and ‘the kids today’ don’t appreciate what we went through back then, haha!

I love to see the good products coming through now, that are also very affordable. Back then, we would have killed to have the sorts of brands that exist now.

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @MS_HANNAH_E

With my job I am constantly testing products, but I do have favourites I come back to.

No matter which cleanser I’m trialling, I use microfibre wash cloths to remove it, which aren’t as harsh as cotton. The static in microfibre attracts all the particles sitting on your skin, and it works just by adding water. My favourites are from a Melbourne brand called Press Beauty, but they’re always out of stock. I also like the ones by Whipd Skin, too, but they’re a little bit smaller.

In terms of actives, I like the Ursolic Acid & Retinal Overnight Reform from Sachi States of Skin, which is a Singaporean brand. It’s a retinaldehyde, which is a gentler derivative of vitamin A but still does the job. For help with pigment, I have had really good results from La Clinica Intensive Correction Serum – Level 2. I also  like Biologique Recherche μ-Fill PIGM 400 patches, which are a sort of pimple patch but for pigment inhibition. Most serums only go a little way into the skin, whereas these patches have tiny needles in them to help it penetrate further. I do like normal pimple patches, too. They’re basically wound care, which is exactly what a pimple needs.

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A stronger product is not always a better one.

For instance, I find derivatives of vitamin C are good for me, and give me the brightening effect I want without the reactions the purer versions can cause. I generally like my cleansers to be gentle, so plump for milky formulas. Biologique Recherche’s Lait VIPO2 is lovely, and Holifrog’s Tashmoo Water Lily Milky Wash is incredible. Some gel cleansers are formulated really well and are gentle and not at all harsh, like the Biossance Squalane + Elderberry Jelly Cleanser, which is great. I will go for an exfoliating cleanser every now and then, like Holifrog’s Shasta AHA Acid Wash Cleanser. If you’re too sensitive to use acids in leave on products, using them in a cleanser can be a good option, like maybe post-workout when you really want to feel clean. Plus, they can help prevent breakouts. And of course, I can always rely on Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Cleansing Water. You live and you learn trying so much skincare, but it’s nice to have the trusted products you can always fall back on.

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Before I will try a new product, I need to know about the brand’s reputation, technology, and the ingredients they use.

Glo Skin Beauty is a clinical brand that includes some really brilliant ingredients in their line, like glutathione, spin trap, carnosine, stable vitamin C… I could go on. This is all well and good, but you still have to actually try it to know if that specific formula will work for you. After I tried their Hydra-Bright AHA Glow Peel Kit my skin was incredible – super smooth and bright. I have a hard time targeting sun damage and freckles with my skincare, and the peel kit really helped things along, I’m obsessed now! It’s so lovely to find a product that really aligns with what you’re trying to achieve with your skincare.

Truly, my skin hasn’t been as good as it is now in a couple of years. I had some trouble with it last year, I think mainly from all the stress we’ve all been under, and this peel has really helped me to maintain it since then, and get to having a consistently smooth texture. It gave me the glassy forehead I always crave, haha! Being able to get results like you can in-clinic from home is super convenient for me. And you can do it whenever you want… you don’t even have to get dressed. I love throwing on a mask and then getting other things done at the same time.

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For daytime makeup, my number one tip and my starting point is sunscreen, of course!

You have to get the skincare right to create a good base for your makeup to go on top of, and the key player in your skincare is sunscreen. There are so many great sunscreens that look gorgeous under makeup, from Ultra Violette, Mecca Cosmetica, Naked Sundays, Cancer Council, La Roche-Posay… what I choose on any given day really depends on what kind of finish I’m after. Lately I like it to look hydrated but not too shiny, so I’m reaching for Mecca’s To Save face SPF50+ Superscreen or La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible, both of which have a skin-like finish.

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If I’m prepping for something special, the night before I’ll use the Glo Hydra-Bright Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant to make sure my skin is nice and smooth.

Then when it’s time to get ready, I like a sheet mask. My favourite is the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast B5 sheet mask, which is so calming and hydrating. La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast B5 Balm is a classic for a reason, and is one of those products that’s good to always have on hand, and the sheet mask version is incredible, too. If I’ve had a laser treatment, I’ll pop one on afterwards, and it leaves you hydrated for days.

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When it’s time for makeup, I’ll choose from my collection of Pat McGrath Labs eyeshadow palettes. They’re like jewellery for your eyes; there are so many special colours and the sparkle is on another level!

I’m very into eyeshadow and I like playing with different shades and placement. There’s this one Wayne Goss video called “HOODED EYE HACK /TIP TO LIFT YOUR EYES! – BEGINNER FRIENDLY!” that will teach you everything you need to know about eyeshadow placement – I’ve followed along with it so many times!

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My hair is long, dry, quite coarse, and has a natural wave, so it’s the sort of hair that can get pretty frizzy. I’ve had the Goldwell Kerasilk in-salon keratin smoothing treatment before, which is a total gamechanger! It really controlled the frizz and saved me time styling my hair.

Otherwise, to control the frizz I’ll use a heavy hair mask in place of conditioner, like the Olaplex  No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask or the Davines Nounou Hair Mask. I also love a leave-in conditioner like the Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream, or a hair oil or serum like those by Eleven Australia and Olaplex. I’ve just discovered the R + Co Bleu Smooth & Seal Blow Dry Mist, which is lightweight, controls frizz, helps hold in the style, and really shortens my blow dry time (very important!). I have a problem scalp which is prone to flaking, so I make sure to wash my hair every two or three days, always double shampoo, and alternate a scalp scrub with a scalp serum. The scalp is skin, too, and not washing it for days on end is just asking for trouble for me.

I’ve been dying for a haircut through all of the salon closures. Natalia Humphrey at Edwards & Co cuts my hair and has done for years, and she’s incredible. We joke that it’s both of our longest relationship. For colour, I see Clare at Boda in Malvern. The only other regular thing I get done are gel manicures, every two to three weeks at Buff Nail Studios. I find it much easier and quicker for me to spend an hour there every now and then, with no chips in between visits, than it would be to do my own nails every couple of days.

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Facials and skin treatments are more of an ad-hoc thing for me. I’m not super regular with them as I do a lot at home.

For a relaxing facial, I love Made By Self in Hawthorn, and for a more clinical facial, I go to Script Skincare. SOAK Bar + Beauty in South Yarra is great too, you can sit and have a cocktail and your your brows, nails, lashes and makeup done.

I love lasers. I have had Fraxel twice, on a low setting. After each session I needed five days downtime, so I had to plan it carefully in between meetings, haha. I mean, I was shedding! Going to that level really is a lot. For my skin concerns, it was kind of like bringing a gun to a knife fight. I did love what it did for my texture, but am not sure that I would do it again. My skin is very fair and quite transparent, so at the moment I am having a series of laser treatments that work on a special frequency to minimise blue veins, with Dr Ryan De Cruz. I’m excited to see what results that gives me.

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Ultimately (if we’re lucky!) ageing is what happens to all of us, so it’s important to have fun along the way. Experimenting with products and treatments is loads of fun for me, haha!

It’s definitely a journey, though, toward self-acceptance. It’s good to remember that having one fine line somewhere on my face doesn’t make me less of a person, but seeing that line day in, day out is a whole other thing. I try to just give myself a break. No one notices it but me, anyway.

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Relaxing? Hmm. What is this ‘relax’? Haha! Like all of us, I spend too much time ‘being busy’, even if it’s just with endless scrolling.

Social media can be a lot; we really do take on a lot of other people’s thoughts, energy, and feelings, and give ourselves minimal time to process it. I have a hard stop time on social media at 8.30 every night, then I read something I can really immerse myself in, or watch a calming YouTube video. I love Hung Vanngo and Hindash for that. On weekends, I try to take at least 24 hours off social media (with varying levels of success). I also take a ‘self care bath’ and take a book in with me. I find tidying quite calming, and researching for work, too – I could do that for hours. If things are really dire, I have my certain comfort movies I watch. I think that because your brain knows what happens in the end, it’s really relaxing for an anxious mind.”

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @MS_HANNAH_E

Interview and story by Zoe Briggs. Imagery, including main image, from Instagram @ms_hannah_e. Brand disclosures: Hannah has paid relationships with Glo Skin Beauty and Holifrog.

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