From Greece to India to Southeast Asia, investigative reporter and celebrity journalist Lisa Ling has no doubt seen the world. Here, she tells SheKnows about some of the beauty secrets she’s picked up, the makeup and skin care products she absolutely can’t live without and what we can learn from all the gorgeous women across the globe.
SheKnows: You’re known to travel around the world quite a bit. How would you compare women of other cultures to those in America?
Ling: No matter where you are in the world, women (economically challenged or not) have the desire to look beautiful and to be healthy. They just practice those things in different ways. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, and I try to live my life in the most natural way possible. I’ve found that in the world, you can find less processed stuff, as opposed to here in America.
SheKnows: In all your traveling, have you picked up any crazy beauty tips specific to other regions?
Ling: I first tasted Greek yogurt when I went to Santorini, Greece and fell in love with it right away (although I do like to sweeten it with Nectresse Sweetener — a new all-natural, no calorie sweetener derived from the monk fruit, a green melon from Southeast Asia). Using a plain Greek yogurt mask is super hydrating and moisturizing for your skin, particularly if it’s dry like mine. I love coconut oil as well, which women in Belize have long used to ease their fine lines and wrinkles and to soften dry skin. I apply it all over my body and even put in my hair as a conditioner.
SheKnows: As an ethnic woman yourself, how do you take care of your skin?
Ling: I use aloe vera wipes, which I first heard about in Paris, because I’m really prone to dry skin in general. To remove my makeup, I like moisturizing wipes, and I’m really into AmorePacific products because they use a lot of green tea extract. I never leave my house without sunblock either!
SheKnows: What is the best beauty advice you received from your mother or grandmother?
Ling: [laughs] Well, my mom is quite obsessive about her beauty regimen. I think Asian women tend to be. When they laugh, they laugh with a pouty mouth so they don’t get laugh lines. My mom always tells me when I apply my moisturizer to pat my skin and to apply it in an upward direction, not downwards, otherwise I’ll pull my skin down.
SheKnows: When it comes to makeup, you seem to take a less is more approach, so what are your go to products?
Ling: There’s this amazing product, it’s American but by a Japanese woman, Kimiko Hydrating Tint SPF 20 Moisturizer. I never wear foundation during the day, so it’s terrific because you get that tint, but it’s also a sunblock. I love Make Up Forever black liquid eyeliner as well. But if I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have a few products, I’d have an eyebrow pencil and an eyelash curler!
SheKnows: Do you recall any women from your travels who taught you anything specific about skin care that has stuck with you?
Ling: My Korean relatives are really into facial exercises; Asian women have strong, tight skin and take it very seriously! The most important thing anyone ever tells me though is to stay out of the sun and to wear sunscreen. I always tan my body during the summer, but when I’m laying out I make sure to cover my face with aloe.
SheKnows: How do the values that women of other cultures place on beauty differ from those in America?
Ling: I think that many Asian cultures in particular really try to stay out of the sun. Not only do they think it doesn’t look as good, but they realize it has a devastating impact on your skin. That’s why Asian women often look a lot younger; they don’t have a sun worshipping culture like we do. I’m an American so I love laying out. I’m just very cautious about the sun on my face.
SheKnows: Out of everywhere you’ve been, which culture of women were you most intrigued by and why? How do you think we can all learn from each other?
Ling: It’s hard to give an example of just one culture. However, I’ve been really impressed by the women in India. It’s so congested there and there are so many toxins in the air, but they’re able to maintain such a natural beauty. From a health perspective, I’m a yoga practitioner, which has been practiced for centuries in India as a way to free the mind, body and spirit. What I love about it is that it’s a total body workout that also allows you to have a mental clarity. I think we’re predisposed to thinking that our culture is the best, and I’ve always benefited so much from really learning from other cultures and being open minded about different people’s approaches to living and beauty regimens.
SheKnows: America is very much a youth obsessed society. How would you say other cultures compare when it comes to anti-aging?
Ling: I definitely think that America and Asia are pretty high up there in terms of paranoia about aging. Plastic surgery is rampant in China because there’s so much pressure on women to look younger and to be beautiful. We all fall victim to it because pop stars and celebrities are young, but I think it can become detrimental. When I go to Italy and Greece, I see so many women who haven’t had work done and that’s really refreshing. They’re not as afraid of it as we are. Aging is actually appreciated in other parts of the world because with it comes wisdom.
SheKnows: Long hair is often considered a symbol of beauty. From your experience, is this true in other cultures?
Ling: I think there gets to be a point when long hair isn’t as flattering as you get older. I feel like I’m getting to that point. I always have the same hairstyle because it’s so easy! Like right now, my hair is soaking wet. I do appreciate in America though that people are willing to take more risks with their hair. My best friend switches up her hairstyle like, every few months! I wish I was more daring, but I do think long or short hair is beautiful. It all just depends on your face shape.