Entrepreneur, businesswoman and Founder and CEO of GLIST, Kary Cheng tells us how daily deep cleansing, managing stress levels, wearing sunscreen (and sheet masks of course) are the secret to radiant skin - no matter your age
This week, we will be featuring three of the most successful women in the world of beauty in the UAE. First up is Kary Cheng. The 31 year old entrepreneur, businesswoman and the Founder and CEO of GLIST, which is the first premium skincare brand in the Gulf that specialises in East Asian quality sheet masks. In 2022, Kary decided to leave the corporate world and pursue her dream of being an entrepreneur in skincare, and since then, has taken the industry by storm.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually spend an hour each morning dealing with our laboratory in Taiwan as they are 4 hours ahead of Dubai. Afterwards, I take an hour to get ready for the UAE working day (I usually have a banana smoothie and meditate for 20-25 minutes.) I try to not fill my calendar with too many meetings each day and believe that it is important to take regular breaks throughout my day to keep my mind fresh and focused. I regularly take a quick walk, read or do something that isn’t business related.
I finish my day no later than 6pm, unless there is something urgent that I need to work on. I used to live to work, but this took its toll on my physical and mental health and now I am a big believer in having a good work-life balance.
What do you love most about your job?
I love learning new things and I believe that education is the foundation of life. I have never worked in the beauty industry before, there is so much for me to learn so I can continually improve and take the business to the next level. I’m extremely driven to keep learning as much about the industry as I can – from how the industry works, to what the latest trends in skincare are.
How do GLIST sheet masks work differently than regular face masks?
Sheet masks and face masks are essentially the same thing. When I first started telling people that GLIST sells face masks, people associated it with the medical masks we used to wear throughout the pandemic. That’s why I now refer to GLIST as sheet masks so people don’t get confused.
You use sheet masks 6 times per week. Do you think we all need to apply sheet masks as often as this?
The more you use sheet masks, the better results you will see on your skin, so naturally you will want to incorporate them more frequently into your skincare routine. Each night after cleansing my face and applying toner, I put on a sheet mask. 25 minutes later, I add a night serum, eye cream and then I seal my pores with a mix of moisturiser and rose oil. This is my nighttime skincare routine and one that works for me. The products I use are definitely not the same as the products everyone uses, but as you can see, I don’t use that many products. This is because I frequently use sheet masks which feature calming and hydrating ingredients. Using sheet masks can easily replace the need for two bottles of quality serums/essences in your routine.
I encourage people to incorporate sheet masks into their skincare routines because they are convenient, and the results can be long-lasting if you use a quality one. They are also a form of self-care, after a long day it is nice to pamper ourselves.
GLIST products feature natural ingredients and are halal, paraben free, gluten-free, vegan and cruelty free which you don’t find in most sheet masks in the region. Because they are non-toxic and suitable for all skin types, they are perfect for people with sensitive skin and can be used every day if people want to. I know it sounds like a lot of effort to incorporate sheet masks into your routine at first, but once you do, you won’t regret it.
GLIST was ‘developed exclusively for the Gulf region.’ Can you please elaborate on this?
Even though I believe that the GCC is the best region to live in, the weather conditions haven’t changed, and we are living in extreme heat and fluctuating humidity, as well as air-conditioning which strips the skin of essential moisture.
I often hear people complaining about having oily skin, but, their skin is not oily, it is dehydrated due to the conditions they live in. When the skin is dehydrated it naturally produces more oil to try and lock in the remaining moisture. Also, most people live a hectic lifestyle in this region, and they drink a lot of coffee but forget to drink enough water. These factors all add up to people having different skin concerns.
In East Asia, we use sheet masks to keep our skin hydrated, but for the past decade I haven’t been able to find any sheet masks that truly keep my skin hydrated for a long time, and the range of products here in the region is very limited.
I also realised that a lot of people are always hunting for East Asian quality skincare products because of their effectiveness but it is challenging to retail them over here, due to language barriers, shipping, customs, etc. This is why I created GLIST especially for the region. I come from a place where quality East Asian skincare products are available anywhere, so I thought to myself, why not offer this to my second home?
Is there a best time of the day to apply sheet masks?
You can use sheet masks anytime you want as long as you make sure you cleanse your skin before applying the sheet. I always use sheet masks in the evening because I like to let my skin enjoy a mini spa before I go to bed, and I know that when I am sleeping the serum is absorbed deep into my skin cells so I will wake up with a glowing complexion. However, if I know that I’m going to be out for the whole day and I don’t want my makeup to melt on my skin in the middle of the day, I will use a sheet mask in the morning to prep my skin prior to applying makeup.
At what age should we start using sheet masks?
I grew up watching my mum and aunts using sheet masks and started using them myself when I was 12 years old. The skin is our body’s largest organ which means we need to take extra good care of it. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be an age limit on when you should start looking after your skin. GLIST sheet masks are suitable for anyone above the age of three because they are formulated with non-toxic and natural ingredients.
Should we apply our usual serum or moisturizer after the sheet mask application?
It is ok to just apply a sheet mask, but I recommend that you continue with your normal skincare routine after applying a sheet mask. If you want to reduce the number of products, you normally use after using a mask that’s fine but I would encourage the use of a moisturiser at the very least. Moisturiser is a naturally thicker product that helps to lock products into the skin so this will help the serum from the mask be absorbed deep into the pores.
Other than applying GLIST sheet masks, what are some of the other things we can do have great skin?
In Chinese culture we have something called face mapping. What this means is that different parts of your face represent different organs in your body and if that organ is acting up, acne will show in that area of your face. I do want to put a disclaimer here that this is a 3,000-year-old practice and has limited medical research proving that it is 100% accurate. However, the concept of this thousand-year-old practice is that if you are unhealthy, it will show in your skin. Eating healthy and nourishing food, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing your stress levels are all things we need to be mindful of daily to ensure the health of our skin.
Your top 5 tips for great skin at any age are?
1. Deep cleanse your face daily. Even sunscreens can block pores and can cause problem skin and acne
2. Keep your skin hydrated. When your skin is hydrated it is a lot less likely to react to other factors like stress and weather conditions
3. Manage your stress levels
4. Choose the right skincare products that work for your skin type
5. Always wear sunscreen
Kary's Nine to Five...
· My alarm goes off at: I don’t set alarms, I wake up naturally at 07:30
· The first thing I do is: Check my phone
· For breakfast I like to eat: Fruits
· My daily wardrobe always consists of: Lounge wear
· Every day I always log onto: Instagram
· My daily exercise regime is: To just move the body
· I always eat lunch… At home. I love making egg sandwiches
· In my downtime I… Call my close friends
· Every day I always… Spare an hour just for myself
· I spend my evenings: Reading a book or watching TV shows
· Before I go to bed I: Stretch for 15 minutes
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