Kathleen Hou On Her Beauty Essentials

Kathleen Hou's Sunday Sessions Shelf | Space NK

With access to the industry’s top experts and pretty much every product you can imagine, New York Magazine’s beauty director Kathleen Hou knows which formulas and techniques are worth their salt. From a six step skincare routine to why she side steps sheet masks, Kathleen shares her ultimate beauty hacks.

On Sunday Morning Dance Classes…

No Sunday is ever the same. If it’s going to be a productive one I’ll go for a workout at around 11am at DanceBody. A few years ago I started working out consistently and I love DanceBody, where you learn a routine for three months, because it’s a great mix of cardio and coordination. Plus, it’s really fun and you jump around a lot so it doesn’t feel like traditional exercise. 

Kathleen Hou | Space NK

On The Wonders Of Head Massages…

The first thing I do after coming home is to get comfy and then tie my hair up in a Slip Silk Scrunchie. It’s the bathrobe equivalent of a hair tie. If I feel really tense I’ll go to ChinaTown and get a head massage. I’ll take my own shampoo and they just massage for 10-to-15 minutes. It really helps to ease out tension you have in your head.

On Taking A Bath…

I’m a big bath person and take one at least two-to-three times a week. I don’t have a fancy tub though. For me, it’s about relaxing in the water and reading a book. I’ll add some Epsom salts if my muscles are feeling achy or some of Susanne Kaufmann’s Bath Oils. I don’t like sweet scents in the bath or anything that’s going to leave a ring stain around the bath, so her oils are perfect.

On The Soothing Sounds Of Frank Ocean…

Generally speaking, I find the bath relaxing enough with the water and the scent of the bath oil. Occasionally I’ll light a candle. I love Byredo’s Tree House scent, it smells like you’re outside without being overtly ‘woody’. When it comes to my playlist, I listen to a lot of Frank Ocean in the bath because he’s super soothing.

Kathleen Hou's Sunday Sessions Shelf | Space NK

On Bar Trivia…

At 6pm on a Sunday you’ll usually find me at bar trivia. My friends and I decided to try it out a few years ago and now we have a team and go regularly. It’s a great way to de-stress – unless we’re losing and then it’s quite stressful. We didn’t take it seriously until we learnt there were championships every three or four months. It’s really taught me how much information I don’t retain. 

On Obama’s Reading List…

I try to put down everything digital, including screens, at 10pm and read a book. Usually I read a lot of fiction books, but I’m trying to up my non-fiction reads. I’ve just started Seven Brief Lessons About Physics and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is on my list after seeing what’s on Obama’s book list. In New York the library has a great e-book reader where you can read an excerpt to see if it’s your kind of thing.  

On Six Skincare Steps…

My approach to beauty is curious, but with a sense of timeliness. I don’t try something new all of the time, instead I try to keep most things constant and add in one product at a time to see how it works. My routine has about six steps on a normal day: toner, essence, serum, eye cream, moisturiser and SPF. Whatever is leftover I splash on my neck. I’m currently trying to build my NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device into my routine and make it a morning and evening habit because I’ve heard amazing things about them.

Kathleen Hou | Space NK

On The Makeup Essentials…

I’m one of those people who wears a BB cream to the gym. It’s usually just a light formula to help hydrate and even out my skin tone. I’ll also wear a little bit of under eye concealer, otherwise people think I’m ill. I also curl my lashes using Surratt’s Relevee Lash Curler everyday to make my eyes look brighter and more awake. It is the product I use every day of my life, the coffee of my beauty routine. 

On Breakout Remedies…

I tend to be more oily when I’m premenstrual. I’ll use salicylic acid to help lift off the top layer of dead skin cells or a clay mask – I love Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask – because they dry out the spot without drying out the patch of skin. 

On Low Key Bodycare…

I’ve been really resisting giving a routine for my body because my face routine is enough work. I know Madonna likes to sheet mask her butt, but I’m ok, I moisturise. In the summer, I’ll exfoliate, but really for me it’s about body oil and moisturiser. 

Kathleen Hou's Sunday Sessions Shelf | Space NK

On The Unknown Benefit Of Perms…

I’ve been told I have classic Asian hair and it’s prone to waves and frizz. My mum was very keen on perms when I was growing up, so between the ages of six and 10 I had a perm twice a year because she saw it as mother-daughter bonding time. It took three hours at a time. Although I think that’s why my hair holds a curl better now.  

On Mix-And-Matching Shampoos…

I wash my hair every two to three days. Depending on how it feels, I’ll use Oribe Serene Scalp Balancing Shampoo as I have an oily scalp and it’s the chicest anti-dandruff shampoo you’ll ever find. I also like Philip B’s Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo; it’s pricey, but after one use it makes your hair look 30-to-40% better without doing anything except washing it. 

On Hair Colour Revival…

I go to David Mallet for my hair because they do French-style cut and colour, so it’s natural and grows out without terrible roots. I go every four to five months and in between appointments I’ll use Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care to revive my colour. 

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