Wellness warrior | 

With a ‘treat from within’ mantra, it’s no wonder beauty expert Ada Ooi has a star-studded clientele

Ada Ooi has over fifteen years of international experience in skincare

Ada Ooi has over fifteen years of international experience in skincare

Esther McCarthy

She’s the celebrity facialist whose unique techniques have drawn stars including Lily Allen, Ellie Goulding and superstar Jessie Buckley.

Now beauty and wellness expert Ada Ooi reveals how blending modern techniques with her Eastern heritage has been the key to helping the stars get red-carpet ready.

She believes a holistic approach — treating from the inside out — makes a real difference when it comes to having great skin.

Ada, who first learned about skin health as a girl in her grandparents’ pharmacy in Macau, believes celebs turn to her because the stress of being in the public eye can take its toll on the skin. It is often down to a hormone called cortisol, she adds.

“Celebrities and people with high profile lifestyles can experience high levels of stress from being in the public eye or working in demanding productions, press or touring schedules,” she explains.

“The relationship between stress, our overall wellbeing and skin is a complex one. A rise in cortisol can negatively impact our skin by disturbing our sebum regulation, elevating sensitivity and redness, or [causing] breakouts.

“Prolonged physical or mental fatigue can also cause our immune system to kick up eczema or hives accompanied by headaches, irregular menstrual cycles etc, causing further stress to the wellbeing, which then becomes a vicious cycle.”

That’s why the Hong Kong-born, London-based Ada has become celebrated for her unusual bespoke approach, which is anything but a typical facial.

She examines clients’ tongues, pulse, temperature and limbs while discussing their lifestyle, emotions and specific skin concerns with them. “Our clinic sees everyone as a whole.

So we apply different techniques and principles — be it from an Eastern or Western origin — to stimulate the Meridian system, to treat and strengthen the internal organ system, combined with the lymphatic and musculoskeletal system to release toxins, stagnation, fascia tension and its emotion memories.”

As a young woman, Ada spent a lot of time watching her pharmacist grandfather prescribing Western medicines, while also utilising remedies taken from Chinese medicinal principles, formulated and blended at his pharmacy in Macau.

“My grandfather had a pharmacy in Macau, and every weekend I’d go over to help him out before our big family meal,” she recalls.

“He’s trained in Western medicine but because he is also trained and he knows Chinese medicine, sometimes when prescribing something he might actually say: ‘Before you want to go into steroids or antibiotics, these are the things that you should be doing’.

For example, in Chinese medicine there’s a herbal paste for children with eczema.” The key, she believes, is to treat the root cause of the skin condition as well as the condition itself.

“The whole idea is very solution driven. We treat the symptoms, but we don’t actually treat the basis of why these symptoms are happening.

“For example, children who have suddenly got a lot of rashes across the body. When you see the doctor, there’s an expectation that the doctor will give you something and then you will be healed. But what my grandfather would always say is that actually children are growing up and also adapting to different environments, and you’re trying to find the zen balance, as we call it in Chinese medicine.”

While Ada does not speak about her famous clients, many of them — including the stars of Downton Abbey — have become converts to her ‘wellness warrior’ approach. And with her breadth of knowledge and stunning results, it’s hardly surprising


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