Skincare is a part of an individual's journey to protect one's skin from harsh chemicals, polluted environment as well as obstructions of our hormones. Moms specifically have trouble balancing work, family and their own needs. Thus, making it difficult to pick out the best skin care product as well as skincare regime. And Coreenna Ong is not an exception. Passionate about all-natural skincare and with the help of natural remedies plus blend and herbs, Coreenna decided to start her clean skincare, aspurely. Let's #BreakTheBias with Coreenna Ong and her story about her expertise in R&D, starting a skincare empire and diving into the business world since 1998. 1. Mamahood: In every business, you are bound to face challenges and obstacles. What challenges do you face as a women-led business in the skincare industry? And how do you overcome that?\u00a0 Image credit: Coreenna Ong & aspurely When I first started out in the skincare business in 1998, made-in-Singapore skincare products were virtually unheard of. People tend to trust established European, US or Japanese brands. It was an uphill task trying to get people to understand that made-in-Singapore skincare is no less superior. I was even advised by many close associates to just label our products as Made-in-France\/USA\/Japan, etc, for the sake of gaining easier consumer acceptance, especially in our case for a new, unheard-of-brand. However, be it national pride or personal conviction, I refused to do that. Hence, it was a big challenge to overcome people\u2019s mindsets. However, I\u2019m glad to have stuck to my guns because eventually, people come to accept our skincare products as they found that they really deliver what they promised. Today, more than 20 years later, it is heartening to see many other made-in-Singapore skincare brands making their mark on the global stage. 2. Mamahood: Your own skincare company is personal to you as you experience a severe breakout during your teenage years. Can you share your experience and knowledge while you were experimenting with the different blends of herbs from back then up until now? One of the most important things I have learnt is skincare is not just about throwing together any impressive-sounding ingredients one can think of. It\u2019s about understanding the nature of each ingredient and putting together ingredients that would complement and expand one another\u2019s \u2018virtues\u2019 so that the end result would be optimized. We call this the principle of synergy. Synergy amongst the ingredients and herbs is ultimately more important than any single herb\/ingredient per se.\u00a0 3. Mamahood: You stand for clean ingredients in your skincare. Can you tell us a little bit about what is the process and ingredients involved in clean skincare?\u00a0 First, we eliminate ingredients that are potential allergens, ingredients that are potentially comedogenic and ingredients that will either exhaust the earth\u2019s resources by causing over farming, emit a lot of pollutants in the production process and\/or use up too much energy. As far as possible, we also use sustainably grown materials that will help with the native communities and environment from where the materials are sourced. This is because clean skincare is not just about the product per se and the product's impact on our skin and overall well-being but also about the external environmental and humanistic impact.\u00a0 4. Mamahood: Skincare has been a prominent topic over the years. What is your skincare routine and how having the right skincare is beneficial for us, women?\u00a0 Image credit: Coreenna Ong & Aspurely I do my skincare routine twice daily: in the morning when I wake up, and in the evening after my shower. For both morning and evening, I will start with cleansing with our aspurely Natural Amino Acid Cleansing Foam, followed by Restorative & pH Balancing Toner. After this, I will apply our Anti-Aging Revival Serum while my skin is still damp from the toner. This is a good time to give my face and neck a mini massage because my skin will be still damp and slippery with the application of toner and serum. This massage lasts only about a minute but it's good enough to drain away excess fluids and improve circulation. I\u2019ll end the massage once my skin has fully absorbed the combination of toner and serum. After this, for the morning routine, I will apply our Anti-Pollutant & InfraRed Hydrating Sunscreen as the final step. For the evening routine, I will apply our Anti-Aging Sculpting Night Cream.\u00a0 Besides topical skincare, I believe it is important to feed our body with good nutrients so that our skin can look its best. So in the morning, I\u2019ll mix 2 scoops of our Anti-Oxidant Skin Brightening Powder with water and drink it before I head out. At night before bedtime, I\u2019ll take our Collagen Amino Acid powder.\u00a0 5. Mamahood: When people see business, they are scared of the risks that we need to take in order to grow the business and be successful. What are the secrets to your success? I guess it is a strong personal conviction about what I\u2019m doing and lots of persistence, patience and hard work. 6. Mamahood: Now you have built an empire of skincare, what do you want to achieve next? Or what is next for Aspurely?\u00a0 We believe that beauty is more than skin deep. True beauty is something that radiates from within our innermost being. That means the health and well-being of our body and mind plays a big part too. Hence, besides our topical and edible skincare, we would like to develop health and well-being products that are clean and free of additives and fillers. We will also be working with aesthetic clinics and wholistic well-being centres as we feel these would be good channels through which we could hopefully share and spread our message of clean beauty and well-being in a systematic, interesting and educational way.\u00a0 7. Mamahood: What is the thought process of starting Aspurely? Helping other people who experience severe acne breakout etc.\u00a0 We want to develop and deliver formulas that are truly clean and high performance. There is this misconception that clean skincare, being \u2018too natural\u2019 is not as effective as conventional skincare. Hence, we seek to dispel this misconception and we would love people to experience how our clean and pure formulas could deliver great results for their skin regardless of the skin concerns they may be facing. 8. Mamahood: You must hear this a lot, but how do you divide your time as a businesswoman, wife and mother? Is there a certain schedule or timetable you created in order to stay organised?\u00a0 Image credit: Coreenna Ong & aspurely I\u2019m not a wife or mother yet at this stage but since I\u2019m in the midst of preparing for my wedding, I do need to do a lot of advance planning. So I can imagine probably how heavily the different roles can weigh on a mother. I guess, having a planner helps. I\u2019m still using the old-fashion way of drawing up my schedule with pen and journal by the way.\u00a0 9. Mamahood: Mom\u2019s at Mamahood would love to know, what word of advice do you have for other mommies who wish to dive into the business world themselves? And from experience, how skincare can empower a woman?\u00a0 For start-up businesses, there are lots of personal hands-on involved as most start-ups cannot afford to hire sufficient full-time staff. Therefore, it would help tremendously if you could get support and help from your husband or other family members in terms of either day-to-day routine business matters or taking turns to look after the kids and managing household chores.\u00a0\u00a0 10. Mamahood: Lastly, how would you describe \u2018women empowerment' and how skincare plays an important role in empowering a woman? To me, women empowerment is all about accepting and loving yourself for who you are and standing by the right values and principles even when it is challenging to do so. It\u2019s also about having healthy self-respect and extending the same respect towards others. I have always believed good skin is more important than perfect make-up. Skincare helps to keep a woman\u2019s skin looking its best. When we look good, we feel good and vice versa. Also, when we are doing our skincare routine, it is also a precious pocket of \u2018me-time\u2019 where we get to pamper and care for our skin. So to me, the skincare routine is a regular reminder to ourselves that we are important enough, regardless of what is happening in the world around us, to just take a moment for ourselves.