Melissa Leong needs her sleep. For the writer and television personality, working on Masterchef means working long days – often 14 or 15 hours to be exact. As a result, she’s had to get her wind-down routine down to a fine art.
“I think that a night-time routine is that time to just be able to relax and to just do whatever the hell you want to do,” she says. “So, whatever is going to help you unknit your brain and help you rest I think is really important.”
We asked for her tips on settling down before bed, doing her skincare and getting alone time.
Wash off the day (and brush up on some history)
The first thing Leong does is to take of her makeup. “I double cleanse with oil just to make sure everything’s off,” she says. “[The reason why] I like oil is because it does help to dissolve makeup really effectively and very gently.” She removes this with a flannel and warm water, as hot water can be dehydrating. (Though she does like a hot shower before bed “to decompress and let the muscles loosen up”.)
The next step is her skincare routine, which she does while listening to a podcast or a YouTube video – Leong’s current obsession is a channel called Biographics – “It’s history told through the context of a person’s life, from Joseph Mengele to Catherine The Great” she says.
Never skipping steps
Sometimes things are even busier or it’s too exhausting to do the full routine – the one thing Leong never skips, however, is taking the time to look after her skin. “Skincare has always been something that's been really instilled in me from a very young age. My mother is religious about skincare, especially cleansing at night-time. I would watch her as a kid and I think that's just something that has become part of my inherited way of being of an evening.”
Over the years her skincare routine has changed. “As you get a little bit older there are different concerns that the skin has and that's all perfectly natural,” she says. Currently she has two main concerns, the first being pigmentation. “I'm consistent when it comes to wearing SPF 50 every single day even if I'm in the studio,” she explains. The second is hydration. “It’s super important, so at the moment I'm loving the Absolue Serum because it just has a beautiful luxe kind of cushy feeling to it that makes the skin feel really plump and hydrated and dewy which is something I think you want at any age.”
After washing her face, she’ll “go in with a serum or two – depending on the night, I might alternate between using, say, a retinol serum or a glycolic-based exfoliating serum that sits on the skin overnight,” she explains. After that, it’s “vitamin C and the Absolue Serum for hydration – and then if my skin feels great at that point, I will stop.”
Being attuned to her skin’s needs is important – some nights need more, others less. “I don't feel the need to go a full 20-step Korean beauty process if I don't want to, but if my skin is feeling like it needs a little bit of extra love, I might pop on a nourishing moisturiser or an oil over the top just to seal everything in.”
Straight to bed
“Then pretty much I just go to bed because there isn't really much time for anything else – and I've usually eaten far more than enough through the day so dinner is not usually required,” the Masterchef judge adds with a laugh. “If I'm having trouble sleeping I like to use a guided meditation.” Then, it’s using a good hand cream and lip balm before lights out. “It needs to be a pretty tight ship during filming.”
For Leong, the key is getting your head out of what’s going on in the world, to give yourself a break from work or thinking through what you’ll be doing tomorrow – to looking after yourself physically and mentally. “What I like about a night-time routine, whether or not that’s skincare or all of the other things, is just it's a nice way to have some you time.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Lancôme.