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The right royal way to wash face


OVER the past couple of weeks, a famous family down south washed a lot of dirty linen in public. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Instead, I am going public with how I wash my face.

Before you roll your eyes in irritation, please allow me to make my case.

You see, the way I clean my visage is exactly the same as a certain royal person. And how she does it is big, hot news in the English-speaking world, I kid you not.

I am talking about Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, queen-in-waiting/training, hands-on mother of young royals and gorgeous fashion icon, which all together makes her a worthy successor to her late, great mother-in-law, Princess Diana.

Like Diana, the British media covers Kate in minute detail, so when her make-up artist Arabella Preston revealed her regal “beauty secret” last month to Kathleen Hou, a beauty journalist for the website The Cut, the news was widely picked up from Australia to the United States.

And what was the big secret? Kate uses a flannel cloth to wash her face.

That was it but when I Googled “Kate Middleton flannel”, I was amazed to see the frenzy over this bit of revelation with headlines like:

Kate Middleton’s key to a flawless finish is a flannel (Daily Mail Online), Americans can’t believe Kate Middleton uses a flannel to wash her face (, Kate Middleton: Duchess of Cambridge uses this 99p beauty SECRET to get her perfect skin ( and so on.

Preston sagely explained that washing one’s face with a towel with firm but soft fibres was “quite necessary” because it removes make-up and dirt as well as exfoliates the skin.

Well, if Hou had done a bit of research, she might have stumbled on a story about supermodel Qiqi’s own secret beauty weapon.

And yes, it’s a face towel, too.

Qiqi revealed that to me when I met her in Japan in 2010 during an SK-II assignment. She was in her early 40s and she looked sensational, as expected of an ambassador for the luxury Japanese skincare brand.

I wrote: “Everything about Chinese supermodel Qiqi turns heads: her height (1.8m), her long glossy hair, her elegant features and her to-die-for complexion.”

She was in Tokyo to promote SK-II but she had no qualms sharing se­veral simple beauty tricks, like using a face cloth.

This is what she told me:

“Ten years ago, I would wash my face with just my hands. At that time, I was working a lot in Tokyo and everyone thought that was the best way to clean your face. Then a make-up artist from Taiwan told me to use a towel instead. It removes dirt and it exfoliates and is cheap, too.

“A towel costs maybe HK$10. I use it to massage my face for a minute or two as well. It’s really that simple.”

Hong Kong actress Carina Lau, another SK-II ambassador who was also at the same Tokyo event, also mentioned using a face towel in her beauty routine to me.

So there you have it, British media, using a face towel for beautiful, glowing skin isn’t something newly discovered by dear Kate. Eastern beauties beat her to it ages ago.

Hou, the reporter, decided to try flannelling her face and after two weeks, she gushed how her skin “looks clearer and better than ever”, winning her compliments for her fresh-face glow.

Well, I did the same. It would have been silly of me not to try it when all it took was a cheap towel.

I didn’t use flannel but a plain old cotton washcloth.

Initially, like Hou, I had concerns about using a towel as I had read that, unless changed daily, a damp cloth could turn slimy and be a breeding ground for bacteria.

But my fears were unfounded. I don’t change my face towel at all. I use it till it dies on me. Instead, I give it a good rinse and it dries up completely in my well ventilated bathroom before my next use.

It’s been seven years since I added the towel to my face-cleansing routine and I have had very few breakouts and have dispensed with beauty salon facials.

What strikes me though, is how I, Hou and the rest of the Western media felt it was newsworthy to write about a duchess (in my case, a supermodel) using a mere towel to wash her face.

If Hou had only quoted Preston, it wouldn’t be as sensational a news item. That’s because Preston does not have an Arabella Effect, while Kate does.

The Kate Effect, like the Diana Effect, is the power to influence the public to follow what she does. It started with the announcement of her engagement to Prince William in 2010 and the regal blue dress she wore for that momentous occasion sold out within five minutes, or so it was reported.

In a world that idolises and breathlessly follows celebrities, their legions of fans want to believe they live fabled lives and try to emulate them as best they can.

So when someone like Kate is revealed to use a mere towel for her glowing skin and not expensive exotic creams or fractional lasers, it has a wow factor.

It excites us because it makes her a little more accessible and down-to-earth, without detracting anything from her desirability. I guess British stores must have run out of face flannels by now.

My celeb Qiqi may not have had quite the same effect but she influenced me well enough and perhaps a few readers who read my article back in 2010. So while I am at it, I might as well share her other inexpensive beauty tips.

Over to you, Qiqi:

“Every morning, I wake up my skin by running an ice cube over my face. My maid boils red dates in water for an hour and I drink that every morning.

“Sometimes when my skin is a little tired before I go to bed, I will soak a towel in hot water, squeeze it dry and cover my face with it for two minutes. I will do this three times and my skin becomes smoother and relaxed. It is very simple to do and it feels really good.”

And they must really work, too, because she’s almost 50 now but by golly she is still every inch a goddess! Let’s see if the duchess looks as good 15 years from now.Read more at:formal dresses uk | prom dresses uk