Hello, My Age Is: 69
Eye Cream and Qigong Forever
Anna Lam |
founder of GingerChi spa, New York City
It’s easy to assume that the founder of a clean skin-care spa and boutique looks so impossibly dewy because she’s regularly kicking back on her own treatment table. “I wish I had more time for that, but this is a one-woman band,” laughs Anna Lam, whose clompy boots, silky skirt, just-dyed blue hair (her 28-year-old model daughter helped—a few days after the above shot was taken), and mellifluous Australian accent cut a strikingly youthful silhouette. “Running and marketing a small business is a lot of work.”
GingerChi, the single mom’s Chinatown skin studio (its Henry Street storefront is inconspicuous in the way of all cool downtown enterprises), somehow feels at once chic and intimate, and it’s the place to go for dewy skin. The facials, massages, and acupuncture, not to mention gua sha breast treatments (for toning and tightening) and abdomen treatments (for supporting digestion and tackling constipation), are amazing, as is Lam’s line of skin-boosting oils and serums displayed in front.
Her own skin care—as well as all-star products from other brands—keeps Lam’s skin in shape, along with morning Qigong practice, acupuncture, and shoe shopping with her daughter. “Having balance in your life makes you beautiful. No matter what products you use, if your lifestyle or what you eat isn’t serving you, the products won’t do a thing,” says Lam, who was born in Micronesia, in the tropical island country of Nauru, after her Chinese parents emigrated there; soon after, the family moved to Melbourne, where she mostly grew up. “Being a mom, working, meditating, taking time to breathe—that’s my balance.”
GingerChi is focused on helping people achieve balance, too—in their skin as well as other parts of their lives. “In traditional Chinese culture, qi is the energy that runs through the body,” she says. “For example, when you give birth in Chinese culture, you’re supposed to eat and bathe in ginger to help rebuild your yang energy, which is associated with the sun, heat, and masculinity. After the rigor of birth, your yin energy, which is feminine, cooling, and associated with water, takes over. That imbalance—any imbalance—can lead to problems, no matter your stage of life.”
Here, what she’s learned so far about skin, hair, movement, and more.
Eye Cream (Instantly) Wakes Up Your Whole Face
This is so good. I pat it on, and it’s almost like I see the lines instantly disappear. I just want to put it all over—and sometimes I do! I smooth it over my frown lines around my mouth, too—why not? I use it with my own eye oil, which I also love.
Ancient Traditions Work
I’ve been getting acupuncture from Dr. Ming Liu—Dr. Liu was a surgeon in China and now takes his patients here at GingerChi. He made a concoction for my daughter for her eczema, and when I had an itchy scalp, he made me something. We take a lot of herbs to balance out our systems in Chinese medicine.
And humans have been using plant oils and essential oils for thousands of years, so I believe in their power! I massage on body oil, then smooth on this body butter to seal it all in. I love it (it’s also amazing as hand cream).
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At-Home Facials Are Easy
I massage on my cleansing oil before bed and steam my face with a hot muslin cloth before smoothing off the oil. Every few nights, I mix in goop Microderm, which is beautiful—it makes my skin look so good.
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After washing my face, I apply either my vitamin C serum—I really believe in the brightening power of vitamin C—or hyaluronic acid, which plumps up my skin. I layer my regenerating serum—it’s a blend of essential oils and antioxidants—on top, then spritz on chamomile-rose face mist. When I feel like my skin is off, I treat it with retinol, and the next day it looks so much better.
Love Your Hair
I’ve always had wild, frizzy, dry hair. Once I asked my brother, “Is this a piece of wire, or is this just my hair?” I love scalp and hair oils for softening it. I also just bought the G.Tox Himalayan salt shampoo. It’s amazing—what a great idea for a shampoo.
Share Clothes with Your Daughter
When my daughter or I go shopping (for clothes and shoes), we make sure we’re getting something the other one can wear, too. I’m not trendy; I tend to go for simpler and more classic. I look at old photos, and I’d wear what I have on today. How you dress and what you want to pull off are all about your attitude.
Start Strong and Don’t Snack
I chug down a big glass of warm water every morning before having my coffee. (I never really understood the American tradition of having orange juice in the morning.) Everyone should do it—warm water doesn’t shock the system like cold water does. I mix the goop marine collagen powder into my water sometimes. It’s tasty—nice to have, because I’m not really a morning-eating person.
I don’t snack. I failed my daughter that way when she was growing up—all the moms had snacks, but we didn’t! I don’t really do packaged foods either, just cooked meals: veggies, protein, rice. I can’t live without my rice; I crave it. I eat very little meat, as it doesn’t bring me joy.
Get Moving Every Morning
I do Qigong in the mornings. I do what are called the Eight Brocades, which are eight movements coordinated with the breath; they can be done in half an hour, or you can do them in longer repetitions if you have time. I feel the qi literally being activated and flowing through every joint, muscle, and tendon. I love it! My knees and back feel better, and it keeps the body trim, too. Dr. Liu hosts Eight Brocades classes at GingerChi. When the weather gets warmer, we do classes outdoors to gather qi from the environment.