Amy Chang Talks Transforming Her Skin and Hair Through Clean Beauty
At first glance, you would never guess that Amy Chang used to deal with acne and hair loss because her skin is flawless and her hair is abundant and beautiful. However, the reason why she’s such a skin and hair expert today (check out her beauty website Bond en Avant) is precisely because she dealt with inflamed skin and a receding hairline in her 20s. In search of a solution for both, she discovered an array of products, ingredients, and treatments developing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things beauty. Recently she’s parlayed that wealth of information into videos on TikTok where’s she’s amassed a huge following in a matter of months with video beauty tips.
I spoke to Chang about how she managed to completely turn around her skin and hair, why she thinks microcurrent is one of the best ways to help your skin and the beautifying foods she loves.
Talk to me about your journey with hair and skin. What was your experience with acne and hair loss?
Amy Chang: Where do I begin? My skin was a mess for ten years. I grew up in Minnesota and the climate there is very humid and there’s no pollution. I moved to Manhattan and the air and water were a huge shock to my system and my skin started to break out. At that time, I wasn’t that knowledgeable about skincare. For example, I would use a foaming cleaner and there would be remnants of foundation on my towel, and I would be like “okay, my face is washed.” Clearly, I wasn’t washing my face enough! I started getting acne and going to dermatologists, getting topical treatments like antibiotics, Accutane, you name it. In hindsight I don’t think I needed all of that, I just to take better care of my skin.
That journey led me to research what was going on with my skin. I founded a blog so I could talk to aestheticians, skincare founders, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons to learn as much as I could about ingredients and products. That knowledge really empowered me.
My hair journey paralleled that. When I was 27 or so, I started getting a receding hairline. My hair was thinning all over which is actually so common in women. There are two routes that deal with hair loss for women — hormonal or green beauty. Clean hair brand Rahua reached out to me, and within 30 days of using them, I had a lot of baby hairs growing. I started to examine ingredients and I learned that traditional shampoos contain foaming agents that are extremely drying for your hair, causing it to be weak and have premature damage. So I simultaneously got into green skincare and then green haircare.
What eventually helped clear your skin?
I recommend having a really diligent cleansing routine if you have acneic skin. Use an oil cleanser or balm, ideally, something pH balanced. I’m meticulous with my cleansing because if there’s makeup or sunscreen on my skin it gets irritated or inflamed. I rarely break out now.
I love Dr.Jart Micellar Water and also Bioderma. Dr.Jart is a little more hydrating. I also love the cleansing oil by Julep which contains rosehip oil with. Pai Skincare also has a great one. Rosehip is very high in beta-carotene, which stimulates cell repair and brightens skin. It also contains linoleic acid — people with acne are typically deficient of linoleic acid which helps balance skin and fade acne marks.
HoliFrog also has great cleansers and it says the pH on the back. I love their milk cleanser and also Allies of Skin. Omorovizca, their products are serious and thoughtful and very effective. I feel like it’s an under the radar spa brand. There’s also a new brand called Tower 28, the founder has dealt with eczema her entire life and came out with skincare that’s specifically for people with sensitive skin and doesn’t contain any irritants. They have an SOS spray, I tell anyone if they have acne, dermatitis, rosacea or eczema, you need this spray. Hydrochloric acid is something that our body produces naturally and when applied topically to the body, it recognizes it so it triggers a healing response in skin. It’s a phenomenal ingredient. People use it for wound-healing, after plastic surgery, breakouts, it speeds up the healing process.
CBD oils are fantastic and I wish they would have been around when I had my acne issues. They’re anti-inflammatory and CBD is such a smart ingredient. I love Flora & Bast – you can buy it at Sephora, it’s fantastic to help get rid of persistent redness.
5Yina makes the best sheet masks, as they don’t have any exfoliating ingredients like citrus oils just hydrating ingredients. If your skin is inflamed or you want something nourishing you can use these. A lot of sheet masks are made of flimsy cotton and these are vegetable pulp, they stay damp. All of my friends love them too!
What are your tips to grow hair?
Scalp care is really important. When I shampoo, I massage it and oxygenate then I use a natural hair growth serum. Vegamour uses mung bean and turmeric stem cells or Reverie which uses apple stem cells — I love those serums. I also love using rose water on my scalp as it’s anti-inflammatory, I love one by Tammy Fender. Briogeo also has a great detox shampoo.
I used to not apply conditioner to the crown of my hair because I was very concerned with it becoming greasy. Now I use leave-in conditioning sprays because I want to keep my hair hydrated and prevent breakage. If you want your hair to grow, you need to prevent it from damage around the crown, and if you want it to grow long you need to prevent it from breaking at the hair shaft. I like Pai Shau leave-in conditioning spray and Innersense. Then my hair is hydrated without feeling being weighed down.
You had a funny video about previous skincare mistakes, can you tell me more about that?
I used to use Clarisonic like a sandblaster on my skin morning and night which is what they recommend. That’s a lot of physical exfoliation and I got a lot of redness on my skin. That’s not saying the product doesn’t have a place but you should use it maybe once a week. Twice a day was a huge mistake for me. It’s easy to over-exfoliate, brands are putting active ingredients in all types of skincare products and it damages your skin barrier. St Ives is another product, you can get microtears in your skin. If I use a physical exfoliant nowadays I’ll use jojoba seeds which are perfectly round and not damaging to the skin. They’re also biodegradable.
What role does diet play for in skincare? What are some foods that are good for skin?
Alcohol, sugar, and processed food cause inflammation and imbalance for me. I try to eat a lot of whole foods, kale, chard, bok choy, and berries. I used to eat a lot of sugary fruits – bananas and mangoes but my body just does better with low sugar fruits like berries.
I also love bone broth, it’s so rich in collagen and chicken feet. After I had my baby, I had a Chinese nurse come live with us. It was so interesting what she taught me, she had me eat food rich in collagen, seaweed soups, for example. Also, organ meat like liver or kidneys, with a lot of iron. I also try to eat food that is high in Vitamin C because your body produces collagen with it.
Talk to me about your experience with the microcurrent device NuBody. How did that work for you?
I think microcurrent is like retinol or Vitamin C, it’s proven to work. It mimics the electrical current in our body and stimulates elastin and ATP, which generates cellular energy so our skin is more efficient and better. My skin becomes plumper and tighter when I use microcurrent. Recently NuBody asked me to use their body device which is stronger and is supposed to help with cellulite and dimples because it tightens and smooths your skin. I used it for 30 days on my butt and on my stomach where the skin was a little looser from having my daughter and it really worked.
How do procedures like microcurrent and facial massages help skin in ways that skincare can’t?
The muscles in our face are such a big component of aging. The fat, muscle, and bones are like scaffolding, like the tent poles of your skin. Having muscle tone in your face is so important. That’s why I’m so against Botox because it’s quite extreme. I think things like microcurrent and facial massage are fantastic for toning, draining lymph, and giving skin a sculpted look. I’m excited that women are gravitating towards these more natural options.
You’re huge on TikTok, why do you think you resonate so well there?
I think I’m authentic and I think that in itself is why people are gravitating towards TikTok. People are sick of the glossy, perfect look of Instagram. It elevates people who have something authentic and interesting to say. A lot of influencers come over from IG and they try to flex with their material items but if you don’t have something funny or interesting to say, people get bored quickly. I like to be informative and funny.
During these quarantine times, what have been some of your favorite products and beauty rituals to stay sane?
Hot showers and my microcurrent device while I watch Netflix. My nighttime routine has gone from 45 min to two hours [laughs]. What’s been keeping me sane, however, is reading, journaling, and being outside. I’ve been struggling with being home since I’m extroverted, I’m a people person so this is a challenging time for me.
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