She also shares how she overcame a tough battle with hormonal acne and why her friends call her “Mask Queen”

Dealing with Singapore’s humid climate is something that most of us have grown accustomed to, especially if we grew up here. But the tropical weather has always been a boon and bane—especially when our skin's condition is directly affected by it.

With that in mind, many of us have had to source for our own solutions to cure some of the most common skin problems, from eczema to acne. 

And homegrown entrepreneur Quinn Chen is one of them. She used to have acne-prone and sensitive skin that struggled in Singapore’s humid climate, but these problems cleared up after applying products by Ice’s Secret, a local beauty brand that was—luckily for her—founded by her mother, IceMichelle, back in 2012.

“Taking care of one’s appearance is very important in our society. Everyone has something about themselves they’d rather hide. Because acne usually appears on your face, acne has a greater impact,” says Chen, who is now the director of Ice’s Secret. 

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Following significant improvements in her skin, Quinn challenged herself to find a way to share Ice’s Secret’s solutions with others suffering from acne, inflammation, bacterial infections, excessive oiliness, and other skin concerns caused or aggravated by humidity.

Although her background was not focused on beauty (she has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Media Analytics as well as jewellery designing experience), Chen managed to transform Ice’s Secret from a professional use-only brand in her family’s boutique spas into an e-commerce company that launched in April 2020 with the aim of helping people achieve a radiant and healthy skin.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic last year, Ice’s Secret successfully penetrated the skincare market with its strong digital presence, including a livestreaming platform hosted by Chen—attracting new and younger customers through its unique approach to skincare.

We speak to Chen to find out more about her journey towards achieving glowing skin and her best beauty product recommendations.

How long do you typically spend on your skincare routine?

Quinn Chen (QC): It takes about five minutes twice a day. My routine consists of a simple cleanse, tone, and serum. Singapore is too humid for moisturisers or face oils.

What is your skincare routine like for the day?

QC: It is so simple and enjoyable that I look forward to it every single day! I begin with Oligopeptide Milk Cleanser, which always makes my skin feel soft and supple. Then I tone with Oligopeptide Activating Essence and finish with my favourite Brighten & Repair Oligopeptide Complex Serum.

Under my eyes and on my eyelids, I apply Oligopeptide Dark Circle Complex Serum gently upwards. On days when I want to give my skin an extra boost, I apply Miracle Secret Serum. Otherwise, my skincare regimen is just four steps.

Before I head out, I need to apply Everyday Moisturising Sunspray (SPF 30). Sunblock is essential because those sun rays can penetrate windows, whether you are in a car or building. Also, SPF 30 is perfect for Singapore. 

What is your skincare routine for the night?

QC: Despite this pandemic, I have been very busy at work and sometimes have to leave the house. Now, whether I’m going out or staying in, I always double cleanse with the same milk cleanser: first to remove makeup, then thoroughly clean my skin. Then, I apply Brighten & Repair Oligopeptide Complex Serum and a skincare mask.

I use a mask almost every day, whether it’s an eye mask or a face mask. My absolute favourites are Miracle Secret Mask, which works wonders for dryness or sensitivity, especially now that we always wear surgical masks; Acne & Purifying Mask, which minimises acne and soothes inflammation immediately; and Super Mask.

Working late almost every night usually reflects in my skin. I use Super Mask to refresh my tired and dull skin by pumping up its hydration levels, blurring signs of tiredness, lightening pigmentation and brightening my complexion.

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What was the last skincare product that you bought?

QC: As co-founder of Ice’s Secret e-commerce platform, I feel blessed. Finding the right products is no longer an agonising trial and error process. Developed for the humid climate of Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia, Ice’s Secret cares for your skin no matter the weather.

The humidity, of course, is the most challenging aspect of skincare. It wreaks havoc on most skin types, especially oily, combination, and sensitive skin, causing inflammation, aggravating acne, and increasing sensitivity. 

When did you start paying extra attention to your skin?

QC: I started experimenting with skincare products when I was 16, but it wasn’t until I developed hormonal adult acne when I was 20 that I became more serious about it. Those were the darkest days of my life. I saw dermatologists, went to salons, and took oral medications to treat my condition.

The acne would disappear for a while and then return, angrier and more uncomfortable than ever. I felt as if my face was a time bomb, and I was anxious about getting painful cystic acne since almost every pore was clogged.

In late 2019, after starting its skincare routine for acne, Ice’s Secret, originally a professional use-only brand, saved my skin. Within days, the condition of my skin improved and kept improving. That’s when I joined the team to introduce our comprehensive range of fuss-free, effective products on our website.

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What’s one skincare must-have you’ve influenced others to purchase?

QC: I have never recommended just one product! It's no secret that I love Ice's Secret Treatment Face Masks that target different skin concerns. I am known as the Mask Queen by my friends.

You can use more than one type [to] get immediate and lasting results. If I had to choose one, it would have to be Miracle Secret Mask. The advanced oligopeptide repair mask has healed my skin and the skin of others from sunburn, acne flare-ups, and even eczema-related sensitivity.

What’s a skincare product you can’t live without?

QC: Ice’s Secret Oligopeptide Acne & Pore Complex Serum from the series. This product helped clear up my hormone-based adult acne. Even if I am not experiencing acne, I still use it to support the skin's natural ability to unclog itself and treat any early signs of acne. In general, I use Ice's Secret Oligopeptide Complex Serums to maintain my skin, my other must-have is the Oligopeptide Brighten & Repair Complex Serum which prevents and treats scars, uneven skin tone.

What’s the most important skincare step to you?

QC: Cleansing! Poor cleansing habits are often responsible for breakouts, dehydration, and early ageing. In addition to being the first step of all skincare routines, it offers several benefits. It removes dirt, makeup, dead skin cells, pollution, excess oil, and toxins. And it gets the circulation going.

I believe that anything we apply afterwards will not work efficiently if this step isn’t done correctly. It may surprise you, but many people are unaware of its importance. My team and I have made videos to discuss this issue and demonstrate how to clean properly. I also emphasise it on livestreams.

Where and what is your go-to facial?

QC: Supreme Q.X. Beauty Spa offers a Signature Bojin Facial that is based on the TCM theory that meridian channels improve Qi and blood circulation while unclogging knots.

I enjoy a good face massage that energises my skin, improves its elasticity, lifts my cheeks, and sharpens my jawline. I always enjoy a good sleep during and after the treatment.

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Is skincare the new self-care? What are your thoughts on this?

QC: Yes, without a doubt! Since the pandemic, more people have had the time to properly care for their skin, realising that it doesn’t have to be an arduous 10-step process.

Practising simple habits and choosing the right products can make a world of difference when it comes to achieving your skin goals. As a result, I enjoy engaging with our community during live streams twice a week to share all the information Ice’s Secret has to offer.

Being around experts and in laboratories has made me quite an expert myself, and I am proud that my passion is helping more people find comfort and confidence in their skin.

What is one piece of skincare advice that you live by?

QC: Consistency and good habits are key. It includes cleansing properly, using products that are right for your skin type and weather, and applying masks up to three to five times per week, or better yet, daily! If you're looking to get started with a skincare routine or treat a skin problem, these key points will prove helpful.

What is your beauty tool of choice?

QC: Honestly, it’s my hands. When you use great products that work, you don’t need a beauty tool.

What is the most unique beauty treatment you tried overseas?

QC: I’ve never tried one! I’m extremely particular about what goes on my skin, and I find it quite uncomfortable to let a stranger touch me.

Have you tried out aesthetic treatments? Why or why not?

QC: Sure. Laser therapy was one of the many methods I used to treat my acne when it was at its worst. However, I realised that many of these solutions are temporary and will not prevent future breakouts. The downtime and side effects can also be problematic.

A good daily skincare routine makes a huge difference to a person’s complexion. Using high-quality, results-oriented products can help manage problems like acne and sensitivity.

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