Skincare Tips from One of the World’s Leading Beauty Experts

Pin It
OrvedaArtwork by Dani Coyle

What Sue Y. Nabi doesn’t know about skincare isn’t worth knowing. As her new brand Orveda launches, we gather some essential insider knowledge

Sue Y Nabi is an undisputed beauty legend. Her new range of vegan and gender neutral skincare promises effects that rival make-up, providing an all-natural radiant glow from within, minus the need for tinted moisturisers or complexion correctors. Orveda, founded three years ago alongside friend and business partner Nicolas Vu, is a revolutionary skincare line bridging the gap between science and spirituality. A philosophy that turns the ‘anti-ageing’ rhetoric on its head by working with the skin and not against it meets traditional Ayurvedic principles; highly active ingredients, such as Kombucha, contained within gel-based formulations aim to feed the healthy bacteria found on the skin. “It’s about being in sync with your natural biology, not disturbing it. The future of the industry is all about bio-fermented ingredients: it’s vegan, it’s clean, it’s about happiness,” she explains, joyously producing forest-green bottles and jars of product attesting to this fact. 

Having held positions as the president of both Lancôme and L’Oréal Paris, subsequently gaining recognition as one of the most influential beauty experts in the world, one wonders how the buisiness woman has maintained such a positive outlook on life amidst the corporate chaos. As she emanated this infectiously warm energy around the ground floor of Harvey Nichols whilst talking through her new brainchild, we couldn’t help but ask. So, from stress management to the vital importance of thorough (yet gentle) cleansing, here are six insider tips for personal wellbeing and beautiful skin; two things that, for Nabi, are one and the same.

1. Avoid dairy (unless it’s Greek yoghurt)

“I have removed most of the animal protein in my diet and tried to increase the levels of fibre. Fibre is what you need to increase the good bacteria in your gut, and it’s my understanding the more you eat botanical foods – vegetables and fruit – you are helping to increase the levels in your system. I would also recommend eating fermented foods and lowering dairy intake, with the exception of Greek yogurt, because this actually feeds the good bacteria that live on the skin too.”

2. Glow is the new lift

“Stress and anxiety make you age faster. So I think that it’s very important to change the ‘anti-ageing’ mindset in skincare from looking younger to looking healthier – which is what Orveda is all about. This is of huge importance to me and why I always say ‘glow is the new lift’. Of course, the idea of lifting and pulling the skin is still on trend and many people love looking younger by any means. But I talked to a friend of mine, a very famous plastic surgeon in Paris, and I asked him what people are after today rather than five or six years ago. He says it’s all about this healthy glow. They have moved away from wanting super ironed and smooth skin, into something that’s much more luminous and healthy ­­– the kind of dream filtered skin which is all over Instagram.”

3. Relinquish control

“There are ways I deal with avoiding stress and anxiety, too. When I’m feeling anxious, I take very deep breaths from my gut for about 20 seconds and suddenly feel much better. I also always tell myself ‘I did my best. I did the maximum I could do’. I try to remove the idea – which is a very Western idea – of being able to control everything. You have to let the universe take care of things; you do your best and after that, the forces that surround you take care of the rest. It’s important to put everything into perspective: what’s the worst that can happen? Am I going to die? No! At the end of the day it’s just beauty products. I’m not trying to save the lives of children. This way of thinking is probably the best way to get rid of stress.”

4. If you do nothing else, cleanse

“Of course it’s great to put on fabulous creams, but cleansing your skin every night is the most important thing to do, if you do nothing else. If you don’t thoroughly remove makeup, SPF particles and pollution, this is going to accumulate and become like a poison for your skin. So for me, cleansing the face is like going to the bathroom – if you don’t do it, toxins accumulate, and this is going to make your skin age faster, look dull, produce blemishes, also the renewal of the skin will be slowed down. I recommend cleansers that do not contain sulphates, but contain botanical cleansing agents, anti-pollution ingredients and that come with a tool also – like a kabuki brush or konjac sponge. The mechanical gesture of using the tool on your face is going to remove anything that’s a little bit deeper in pores. Also, forget about squeaky-clean skin. Women especially in the UK and America have been aiming for this for years, and I think it’s the worst thing that’s happened to skincare. Because squeaky-clean means that you remove everything, including the good things. So you have to be more selective. You need to remove the toxins, maintain the natural oils and also the good bacteria that live on your skin.”

5. Be kind to problematic skin

“The main advice I would give to those with difficult skin is ‘please be kind to it’. As a teenager I had very severe acne, I even went on Roaccutane. I was washing with foaming cleansers and applying products that dried out my skin and this was a big mistake. The best thing to do is moisturise the skin. There is a misconception that oily skin doesn’t need moisture, but of course it does. Although, never use products containing mineral oils ­– they remain on the skin clogging pores and don’t do much else. So use something that contains botanical oils instead.”

6. Facial massage is the future

“I think self massage ­– next to probiotics and working with the good bacteria on the skin ­– is the future. Any pressure you put on your skin is going to send a signal to the cells and they’re going to react, either by producing more collagen, or if there is a pain somewhere, they’re going to produce anti-inflammatory molecules. So I highly recommend muscular massage for those who are trying to lift the features of the face. You start at the bottom of the face and move upwards, and then the middle of the face to the outer sides. Or, you do a lymphatic massage, which starts at the top of the face down towards your neck, draining out toxins and fluids. The first type of massage you can be quite firm, but the lymphatic kind is just a caress of the skin. I recommend that people do this as much as they can. It’s best to do it every time you cleanse, using an oil or balm.”

Orveda is available exclusively at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ.