The best social media accounts are the ones created with heart. And that's exactly why we are such big fans of Renée Chow AKA Gothamista. A skincare expert with a meticulous approach to content creation, Renée has built a cult community of fans who look forward to her information-packed posts and videos. With a background that includes working on the beauty buying and product development sides of the industry, Renée is a self-proclaimed “Professional Treasure Hunter" who tries and reviews products, giving her unique insight through a relatable, knowing voice.
It was Renée's own experiences with problematic skin when she was younger that lead her to dive deeply into the skincare world. To wit, she is constantly on the hunt for latest and greatest cosmetic formulations, seeking out products that she believes will be loved by many. Because she has worked with chemists in her career, she approaches beauty from a scientific perspective, and talks frequently about self care and life balance. As one of our founder, Alicia Yoon's favorite YouTubers, we caught up with Renée to learn more about beauty, self care, and how she gets that glow.
1. What is your personal beauty philosophy?
Beauty is not about perfection or achieving unattainable appearance goals, it’s about self care, self-respect and self love. It’s wellness.
2. What is a beauty product that you can't live without? And why?
At the moment it would be any one of my oil serums for a few reasons but first and foremost, that glow though. My skin has been completely balanced out since introducing them into my life but the sensory gain during application has become something my mind craves.
3. Any beauty hacks, tips or tricks you can share?
I love to add a few drops of oil in my favorite hydrating toner and put it in a small mist bottle to throw in my bag. This adds another dimension to my daily spritzes: refreshing the makeup and adding radiance to the skin while treating it.
I often layer a hydrating serum 3 times in place of toner and essence. This is something I do when I travel to simplify my routine and the products I bring and I actually like this method. I don’t always use a different product for each step/layer.
4. When it comes to handling stress, do you have any go-to strategies?
This is when my ritual becomes more important. Self-care is always sacrificed during times of stress when it can make the biggest difference. This is where I feel like a good mask can be effective because not only is it forced down-time, but quite soothing to the soul. You feel like you’re doing something special for yourself beyond the usual routine you may not have time for. They are also flash treatments and can have an immediate effect on the skin.
5. Can you share your thoughts on the Peach & Lily skincare collection? Which is your favorite and why?
I know how much has gone into creating the products in this line. The years, attention to detail, the many trials and reformulations. Knowing this has definitely given me not only a greater appreciation for the products, but a great deal of trust in them. Knowing Alicia personally adds tremendously to that. She will never rush a product to meet a launch deadline. The skincare is really, without compromise. It’s difficult to choose 1 favorite but it would have to be the Resurfacing Mask. It’s such a complete, all-in-one product. It's high-impact but gentle and seriously beautiful to look at!
6. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Put the kettle on and make tea.
7. What is a movie you can watch over and over again and not get sick of it?
Ah, just saw this again recently - When Harry Met Sally.
8. When it comes to skincare, what is your daily routine?
The one consistent thing in my daily routine is that I ask myself beforehand, “What does my skin need today?”
9. What is your spirit animal?
10. How did you approach becoming a digital influencer? Any learning lessons you can pass on?
I never thought of becoming a ‘digital influencer.' My interest was simply to share which products I love, my knowledge and experience with my friends, and whoever else might be interested. I now find myself a part of this wonderful community of skinthusiasts who are always influencing me too. I believe anyone who shares their passion or interest is an ‘influencer’.