In Beauty Roots, Bustle chats with various creators in the beauty industry about how their heritage has influenced their activities and routines. Here, Chloe Flower shares how K-Dramas taught her about beauty and how eating and drinking ginger is a super important part of her skincare routine.
Every young Asian American child growing up in a predominantly white community knows this struggle: You bring an Asian snack — lumpia, kimchi, dried seaweed — to lunch one day, only to be mercilessly ridiculed by all the students afterwards. of your class. In this situation, there are two options: cry and beg your parents to switch you to Lunchables, or try to broaden the narrow perspective of your classmates. Chloe Flower has always chosen the latter.
“My mom used to tell me that if I ate seaweed it would be good for my hair, my nails and my skin,” the classical pianist, producer and composer tells me on Zoom. “So [whenever my classmates made fun of me for my seaweed snacks], I would say back, “Well, my hair has no split ends and is long and healthy.” Suddenly, all of her classmates wanted rice wrapped in seaweed. “It was a cool little thing that I was able to share with my community,” she says. (Kimchi, unfortunately, proved too difficult to appreciate at the time.)
Flower — who shot to fame after a jaw-dropping piano performance backing Cardi B at the 2019 Grammys — is undeniably glamorous. Her Korean mother and Mongolian father taught her from an early age to be proud of her Asian roots, sharing her native continent’s unique and holistic approach to beauty that uses indigenous foods and ingredients to improve skin and overall health. “Our beauty habits are defined by our heritage,” she says. “Not just in terms of what we put locally on our skin, but also what we eat.” This is why Asia’s influence on the beauty industry is so immense, often dictating trends and new ingredients years before Western culture took hold.
Below, Flower tells Bustle more about how her Korean background helped shape her approach to skincare and makeup, her mom’s top beauty tips, and more.
You talked about the beauty benefits of seaweed. Are there any other beautifying foods your mom cooked for you when you were younger?
Beauty comes from within; you are what you eat. My mom loved making us salmon, which she says she eats for her skin, and seaweed soup—we always ate seaweed and root vegetables.
What is one thing you love about American culture that differs from the Korean approach to beauty?
The one thing I love about American culture is the diversity. I used to watch Korean dramas so much and see a lot of white-skinned Asian stars. I’m much darker than the traditional actresses you see in Korean dramas. So when I started seeing more people outside of my community who are Asian and darker skinned like me, that was so awesome. I like bigger hair, curly hair and kiss it. It was a really positive aspect of me getting into the pop world: seeing all the different things people did with their hair and their face and being so proud of their darker skin color – there was so much diversity .
Where do you find inspiration for your makeup looks?
In fact, I get a lot of my makeup ideas from K-dramas. I love natural makeup. In Korean dramas, it looks like women wear very little makeup, but in fact, they wear a lot. It’s done to look like they’re not wearing makeup. I love this “natural” look.
I also have the best glamor team; my glamor is so much fun. I follow all of my glam artists on Instagram and I get a lot of inspiration from who I follow. I have three different saved makeup folders on Instagram. The MU1 file is for natural, MU2 is for intense and the MU3 file is for random. I think that’s the great thing about social media; I’m learning so much about beauty and fashion, and it’s really fun. I see more people with my face shape. I don’t have a traditional face shape; I don’t have that square jaw. I have a rounder face and darker skin tone, so Instagram and social media are great places for me to look for someone who looks like me.
How would you describe your favorite makeup when performing?
Every time I glamor for performance, it’s an opportunity for me to take risks. I can often be really bold or daring when it comes to glamour. I always tell my glam squad they can do whatever they want on my face, so I’m going to end up with these crazy liners and crazy colors. I’ll do fun things with my hair and makeup because, to me, it’s a performance. I’m extreme – I won’t wear makeup and just an eyelash and lip when I go out normally, but when I play it’s so much fun to dress up and wear feathers and crystals, and I love that my makeup matches that.
Which Asian makeup artists do you like to follow on Instagram?
I like Daniel Martin; he’s my go-to. He is the nicest. He is also Asian and really knows how to work with an Asian face. He works with so many Asian stars that I love. He made me up for my album cover.
Are there any makeup brands or tricks he taught you that you’re now incorporating into your routine?
Daniel actually introduced me to one of my favorite brands that I now use all the time: Tatcha. I love it because it’s super natural. This is one of the only brands I know of that uses rice water and rice products. It’s good. I feel like my skin eats when I put the products on. I have very dry skin and love Tatcha’s Indigo Night Repair Serum Cream Treatment. I have a whole skin regimen.
Let’s dive in. What does your skincare routine look like?
You need to use an oil cleanser first to remove makeup, then you need to use a second cleanser after that to really cleanse your face. People do exfoliation afterwards, but Asians often don’t like to exfoliate too much – I find it’s an Asian thing. I know a lot of my friends like to use exfoliating cleansers a lot more, but Asians use them very, very sparingly. We think it’s a bit harsh on the skin.
I always use a serum and an eye cream. For eye serums and creams, I use iS Clinical; I live by his Pro-Heal Serum Advanced Plus. I will be using iS Clinical Repairing Moisturizing Emulsion as my moisturizer. I have very dry skin, so sometimes I put Tatcha’s Gold Camellia Beauty Oil on top. In the evening, I will use the Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair Serum in Cream Treatment. If my face is still dry even after drinking water and tea, I will make this homemade ointment with vitamin E and camellia oil mixed together and put it on my eyes and under my neck.
I go hard and use eye cream on my hands and neck. People often forget to pay attention to their neck. My mother told me that the skin on your neck is the same as the skin under your eyes. So I would use eye cream on my neck.
That’s good advice from your mother. Are there any other beauty tips you learned from her?
Korean skincare has been central to Korean culture for so long. My mom really paid a lot of attention to skincare growing up. I have this photo of me holding my mother’s La Prairie products. I really remember that day. I always went to her skincare products and she showed me how to put them on.
Something I always do and my mom taught me is to do a double cleanse – it’s a very Asian thing. People wash their face once, but if you’re wearing makeup, you have to wash it twice. For anti-aging, my mother used to make me take dry ginger. I was drinking, like, hot, fresh ginger tea in the morning and at night. The seaweed is also very good for your skin and the warm water is so good for you internally and for flushing out toxins.
It can be difficult to choose just one, but I have to ask you: what is the best beauty advice you have ever received?
In addition to eating healthy foods, use sunscreen. Sunscreen was something I never used because I was always like, I’m dark; I would just like the way I looked when I got tanned. I was repeatedly told, “You have to wear sunscreen and you have to protect your skin from aging.” But I never thought about growing old when I was younger; I always thought about color. Now that I’m getting older, I try to put on sunscreen every day. Everyone should wear sunscreen.