Christine Han is our beloved staff photographer. Whenever we schedule a photo shoot, we all squeal “Christine’s going to be there!” because she is that much fun to be around. You might have seen her name a million times because she is behind so many of the photos on our site, and today she’s sharing her favorite skincare product and the number one way she feels most beautiful…
What was your relationship to beauty growing up?
I never fit the Korean traditional ideal of beauty, which is to be very thin and delicate with a small face and fair complexion. It was also ideal to have a double eyelid — where there’s a crease on your upper eyelid. Western ideals were already incorporated into Korean ideals by the time I was a kid. There’s also a Korean word — Chakeh 착해 — which is a word for someone who is good, obedient and doesn’t make trouble. I tried really hard to be chakeh, but that’s not who I was, and I’m still dealing with that. So, somehow, very early on, I soaked up the message that I wasn’t beautiful. I took to it so early that I am just now meeting the wild part of me that’s not compliant. I was taught that a good girl always yields to others and never shows “ugly” emotions such as anger or is ever god forbid, unpleasant. I always had this feeling that the “real” me was too selfish, but I know now that’s bullshit. I am excited to see who I really am.
From working with you and being in front of your lens, I’ve witnessed how great you are at making people feel beautiful and seen. What has your photography career taught you about beauty and how to find it?
I’ve realized that every single person is beautiful. It can sound glib but I’ve learned to encounter the inherent beauty in the moment with each person. I’m also very curious about people! I want to know who they are. I don’t want to just take their picture and walk away.
I remember when you were pregnant you said you felt really beautiful. How did becoming pregnant change your view of your beauty?
I had a really easy pregnancy. My skin glowed and my hair got thicker. I also became more aware of my body than ever before and realized how marvelous it is. In chiropractics, they say that your body is always trying to go in the right, divine order. For the first time, I felt that. My body wasn’t this ugly thing anymore. I was growing a human being!
Did those changes in your mind stick around after you had your baby, Coro?
Yes. Even though I have a pooch that goes over my C-section scar, and my breasts are different after breastfeeding, it doesn’t bother me. My whole life I had nitpicked everything about my physical appearance, and those thoughts still come up, but I don’t have time for that anymore.
Do you have a morning skincare routine?
I wash my face with Purlisse Lotus 4-in-1 cleansing milk. It’s the only cleanser that truly removes eye makeup and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean. Then I’ll use Marble & Milkweed Forest Facial Tonic. It makes my face feel supple and calm. My friend Briar makes it with organic, fairly-trade ingredients. If I’m feeling dry, I’ll slap on some Mad Hippie Face Cream, and then put on sunscreen if I’m going outside.
And at night?
I do the same cleanser, and then apply the Mad Hippie Vitamin A serum, which smoothes out the little bumps on your skin and makes it feel soft.
What do you like to do for makeup?
I use Purelisse BB cream in Light. My face feels naked unless I draw in my brows and I use the Shiseido brow pencil in called Natural Black, which is sadly discontinued. It’s an Asian shade of black that is the exact color of my own hair. After, I apply a thick base of eyeshadow — I like Lush Raven by L’Oreal. Afterward, I add Stila liquid eyeliner in Intense Black. If it’s an extra special event, I’ll curl my eyelashes and put on mascara.
What about for lips?
I love to wear lipstick, and my favorite is NARS Heat Wave. It’s a perfect orange-y red. Day to day, I use a tinted lip balm by Face Shop in a soft pink. It’s lovely because it makes the natural pink of your lips shine through. It looks like you’re wearing nothing at all.
How do you care for your hair?
The key for me is getting a great cut at Pelo Salon. My stylist, Luisa, has been cutting my hair for the past 15 years! She is so very good at her job — not just the hair, but caring for people. She’s special. I use Rahua shampoo because I love the way it smells, and most of the time I just let my hair dry because I’m with the baby.
Do you have any fun hobbies?
Traveling! Pre-pandemic and pre-baby, I traveled a lot. Being outdoors (hiking, camping, snowboarding, etc.) is my favorite. My beloved client, AJWS, a human rights organization, works in about 18 different countries around the world, and I have had the great fortune of traveling with them to many of these places to document their work. The people I’ve met through these experiences have expanded my worldview greatly and opened my heart.
Do you have a beauty philosophy?
I watch my 13-month-old daughter and there’s no question of beautiful or not beautiful. She just IS. She is always in her body, in the moment, confident, strong. She is absolutely natural, and hasn’t had all the conditionings put upon her yet. Beauty is getting back to that natural state, becoming aware of your thoughts and realizing you are more than your body.
Thank you, Christine. We love you!
P.S. More beauty uniforms, including a teacher and an illustrator.
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(Photo of Christine and her husband by Nadia Meli. Photo of Christine and Coro by Lisa Weatherbee. All other photos by Christine Han/Instagram.)