Renée Chow aka Gothamista on the beauty of aging
May 12, 2021 – minute read
May 12, 2021 – minute read
If you’re really into skincare and you haven’t watched Renée Chow (aka Gothamista) yet, drop what you’re doing and hit subscribe!
It’s been my pleasure to know Renée for the last 4 years, and she’ll also be at YouTube’s first-ever Beauty Festival on May 14, which is taking place on YouTube.com/Fashion starting at 1 p.m. PT.
It was so good to chat with her ahead of the live event. We talked about the beauty of aging, being “skintuitive,” and her five holy grail products. Renée is an absolute inspiration and a true beauty guru in every sense. As you can tell from our conversation, I could go on talking to her forever.
Let’s get into it!
Renée: When I first started watching beauty videos on YouTube, it was nice to see myself represented. Something I didn’t see much on TV at all. Especially with makeup, I loved seeing what works for people who have similar features and with my skintone. This is also important in skincare because we all age differently and have skin issues unique to our ethnicity. I think it's so important to be represented.
Renée: I never thought of myself as an AAPI creator, especially when I started. It was never a thing. I just talked a lot about my own skin issues and preferences, but then realized that these are similar issues that many other AAPI, as well as women of color, share -- ones that aren't addressed much, such as hyperpigmentation as a sign of aging or just a concern in general. Also, finding sunscreens that are more wearable, comfortable and that don’t leave a chalky cast. There is so much focus on wrinkle prevention as “anti-aging,” but for me, it’s more about pigmentation than wrinkles, and I discovered this was the case for many.
Renée: There's so much disrespect and fear towards aging. … It boggles my mind because I truly feel I’ve become better with experience and beauty comes with that. This isn’t something one could understand until they’re there. I don’t think I even started to get interesting until my late 30s. A valuable skill that evolved is learning how to preserve my energy. I learned how to put it in the right places, which doesn’t involve negativity. I don’t engage in drama because I have no interest in spending my energy on that.
Renée: It makes me really uninteresting on social media! I just have no ability to be bothered or curious about things that have no consequence. I would rather stay focused more on positive things. Appearance-wise, the way people become obsessive over any sign of aging can be unhealthy. This leads to overdoing it with skincare or expecting miracles, rather than embracing the concept of aging, gracefully.
Renée: The only reason why aging in appearance is so terror-inducing is because we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s a negative. This is mind-boggling: that growing older could be considered a negative rather than a privilege. Gotta love different cultures where it's not. Look at France, for example. Older actresses become goddesses.
Renée: It’s just getting to know your skin and listening to it rather than being legalistic or following rules. It’s about meeting your own personal skin needs and knowing what will get you where you want to be. For me, listening to and then becoming an expert of my own skin was transformative. Sometimes, that meant breaking rules or whatever rules that I perceived existed for beauty. You think that you should do exactly the same thing every single day. That didn't always work for me. Sometimes I have to mix it up. With my videos, I want to help people make informed choices, but also just feel good about the choices they make. I don't want anyone to feel like they're being scolded or shamed for their routines. The only person who can make the decision for your skin is yourself. To me, “skintuition” is about meeting your own personal needs. I know what gets me to the glow that I want at this point, and it's not going to work for everybody.
Renée: Sunscreen. You’re supposed to put half a teaspoon on your face, which is a lot of product to apply and work in at once. There have been studies that show us that the more we’re working sunscreen into our skin, the more we end up removing some. And with sunscreen, it’s all about even coverage for even protection. So I do it in two layers. So you’re applying two thinner layers that are easier and quicker to apply, but will also give you better coverage and sun protection. So after the first layer dries down, apply a second one. Easier and more insurance!
Renée: It gives you better coverage and, hence, protection. You can do it in two layers rather than just one big globby one.
Renée: One oil-based cleanser, vitamin C, vitamin A, and a hydrating something. (It could be anything: toner, serum.) And a very moisturizing sunscreen.
Renée: Thank you. Good luck with everything. Seriously. See you on the other side.