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Hannah English on ‘making sunscreen fashionable’

You’d be mistaken to think Hannah is any old “beauty blogger”. A scientist by day working in clinical research, she is on a serious mission to make sunscreen fashionable; and rightly so. Learning the products and ingredients that resonate with her has been a journey, and along the way she has built a personal ethos around what connects most with her skin and how she is able to truly feel herself.

This interview is part of our ‘Lessons in Loving Your Skin’ series, where we sit down with friends of Alpha-H to understand what ageing authentically really means to them.

 

Give us a little insight into YOU; where are you right now, what are you doing, what are you passionate about.

I live in Melbourne with my partner and loads of plants. I work in clinical research, and I’m obsessed with beauty – how it inspires self-love and self-expression, but also the science of course. I care very much about sunscreen. My public health mission is to make sunscreen fashionable. Every single day! 

Tell us about your earliest memory of looking after your skin?

My mum isn’t really a beauty girl, but my sister and I would stay at our Grandma’s in northern VIC and she had a glam vanity and skincare and makeup, so we would get up early before Grandma and just put on whatever potion we could find. I was maybe 7, and my sister would have been 5 or 6. We would come to breakfast in full makeup thinking we were so slick… we had NO idea!

Was there a defining moment or product that changed your approach to skincare for good?

I went for a facial, and my therapist told me that I should think about whether a product gives back to the skin or takes from it. I’m mindful of this every time I shop, every time I decide which products to use, every time I have skin trouble, I just come back to this. It’s grounding. 

Be kind to yourself! You don’t have to fit others’ ideas of beauty, those are impossible. You can build your own, from the inside.

How has your approach changed to looking after your skin from a bright-eyed teenager?

I don’t try to attack my skin anymore. I had acne as a teenager and through my early twenties, and everything changed once I stopped loading on harsh products in the hopes of killing off everything. Now I support and respect my skin’s barrier, which also cleared my acne!

What does “ageing authentically” mean to you?

It means looking after my body and mind, and supporting it to be as healthy as possible. And it means representation. I don’t want to see a teenager as the face of a skincare campaign targeted at 30+ age groups. That’s a lie. I want to see someone like me, and for that to be okay.

When you are looking to add a new product to your routine, what changes do you look for in your skin?

My skin is very reactive, but otherwise pretty normal. I love a product that hydrates, feels soothing on contact, and reduces redness. I can see the hydration in a few ways – expression lines are smoothed and plumped, pores look smaller, makeup sits nicely.

Why is keeping and maintaining hydration in your skin important?

Hydration is everything! On a superficial level, when dehydrated my skin will eat makeup and leave it looking patchy, which is not as polished a look as I’d like. On a more holistic level… like any system in your body, skin needs water to function at its best. Over time, dehydration will contribute to skin wrinkling and loss of elasticity, dullness, flatness, and impaired barrier. Impaired barrier means susceptibility to pathogens and skin conditions. That’s not what we want!

When you think of Hyaluronic Acid, what comes to mind?

I studied science so… loads of things, all of them super cool. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the human body. It has a gel-like texture, it’s a glycosaminoglycan which can vary in size. Different sizes work in different parts of the skin, but hyaluronic acid is also present in other body systems. It grabs water and holds it.  It also turns over in the body quickly, which means it needs daily replenishing! Especially after the late 20s! To keep that plump, bouncy look in the skin, and to keep it hydrated. It’s also involved in cell signaling, wound healing, and free radical scavenging. I’m a fan.

What is something you wish every woman knew about herself?

It’s corny but, you are magic. You really are! 

Take us through your routines – what Alpha-H products do you reach for or elements of your routine you must follow (i.e. double cleanse with a cream cleanser, serums every second night, etc.)

Here goes!

AM

Splash of warm water in the shower

Mist

Hyaluronic 8 serum with Vitamin C serum on top

Eye cream

Moisturiser

Protection Plus Daily SPF50+

PM

First cleanse (balm), remove with a washcloth

Second cleanse (cream in the winter, gel in the summer), remove with a washcloth

Once per week exfoliate with Liquid Gold

Mist

For serum, I cycle through 2 nights Vitamin B serum, one night gentle retinol serum.

Eye cream

Moisturiser

 

Skin is more than just…

Appearance. The way you see yourself is your connection to your true self.

 

You can connect with Hannah on her Instagram @ms_hannah_e and join in her very insightful and fun daily conversations around skincare, ingredients and all too relatable posts. She also writes for Mamamia!