Sasha Mei Creates a Less-is-More Beauty Look With Her Favourite Canadian Brands

Sasha Mei is a Toronto-based content creator, On ambassador, and co-founder of Yu & Mei, a private dining experience which has partnered with brands like Pandora and Shiseido to curate intimate experiences through food and beverages. Mei, who is of Malaysian, Chinese, and American descent, began her content creation journey on Tumblr during high school. She soon transitioned to Instagram, where she quickly gained a following by sharing fashion, beauty, wellness, lifestyle, and travel content. On Instagram, Mei is known best for her minimal and sleek style and dedication to a clean lifestyle, prioritizing fitness through activities like running and pilates.

Watch the video below to see Sasha Mei create her signature less-is-more beauty look with some of her favourite Canadian Brands.

Ahead, we caught up with Mei to talk about her favourite Canadian beauty brands, her less-is-more approach to beauty, and summer travel essentials.

S: You’ve been open about your skincare journey. What’s made the biggest difference in your skin?

SM: “For my skin, there’s no one specific thing, but a few things that made the biggest difference. My acne in 2020 was triggered by several events, I was moving cities and going through a lot of changes in my personal life, and I had no coping mechanisms to help me get through each day. First, I went to one of those medical aestheticians and they extracted all of my acne with a needle which hurt like hell, but it started moving things in the right direction. Then I started seeing a therapist to sort out everything going on in my life. Stress management, in addition to really keeping my skincare routine to the bare basics, changed my skin completely.”

Who has influenced your approach to beauty?

“My mother! Clinique Bonus Time used to be my favourite time of year because that’s when she would buy a restock of their iconic yellow cream and I would get any of the gift with purchase products that she didn’t want. She was such a Clinique girl and used to work for them as an employee, she was gifted Irving Penn’Passage which I think is so cool (she has since passed it down to me). I loved playing with all of the products, which always maintained a very classic, effortless look. Clinique colours weren’t wild and took on a less-is-more approach, which I think I still maintain to this day.”

A number of the Canadian brands you’ve curated for this series, such as Living Libations and Nudestix, are beauty trailblazers in their own right. What makes Canadian beauty brands unique in your view?

“I think we face additional challenges as Canadians to be seen and achieve success when there is a huge commercial power neighbouring us. To start a brand is already a huge feat in its own right, but to be able to expand internationally is so admirable to me because it’s just so difficult to do. There’s a resilience that comes with that, and you can see it in the founders of brands like Nudestix and Living Libations.”

What is your beauty philosophy and how has it evolved over the years?

“Less is more! I wasn’t always like this. Makeup was something I used to mask and change elements of my face. For example, I remember drawing on an eye crease with eyeshadow because I wanted deep-set eyes so badly. The photos look awful. It wasn’t until I started to grow into my face and learn that I loved how I looked when I used makeup to enhance, rather than change, that I started to lean into that. I do love makeup artistry and how transformative makeup can be, but I don’t abide by that for my day-to-day. So all of that, and that I look healthier with a tan.”

As an avid traveller, what are your beauty must-haves and tips on keeping hydrated skin?

“I can’t say drink more water, because I already struggle with that one, but I’m trying to carry a water bottle wherever I go to establish the habit. I like keeping serum sticks on hand for when I travel, and Nudestix has a great one that also has bakuchiol to help brighten your skin. It also doesn’t have to go in your liquids and gels bag, which is key for me because I hate checking in a bag when I travel. I always keep a balm as well for more heavy-duty hydration, such as the Chanel Hydra Beauty nourishing lip care (I also use this for cuticles, and even securing flyaway hairs). The idea of putting a face mask on during a plane ride feels so gross to me, but I love to keep a sheet mask in my suitcase for when I first arrive at my hotel. I feel like it ‘undoes’ all of the drying effects of plane air.”

You’ve mastered the no-makeup-makeup look, what’s the biggest thing to keep in mind to get the coverage you need with makeup products, but still maintain a natural look?

“It sounds counterintuitive, but I always have to remember that any ‘imperfections’ are more evident and obvious to me than they are to anyone else. So the trick for me is not to over-conceal, I think over-compensating is so much more noticeable than spot concealing, so I try to only conceal where necessary. For my everyday makeup, I start with a base sunscreen that already has a very light coverage tint, so once I apply that I see if there’s any further concealing necessary. If I’m having hormonal breakouts or are looking a little tired, I add a little foundation over spots and under the eyes. But otherwise, I skip the foundation and go straight to blush!”

Where are some of your favourite places to travel in Canada?

“Montreal in the summertime is my absolute favourite! I lived there for five years, and the food, nightlife, and fashion is incredible. I also love visiting the trail areas surrounding Hamilton, those are great for runs.”

What spa treatments do you swear by and what are you currently obsessed with?

“After any travel I swear by lymphatic drainage massages. I think they get a bit of a bad reputation by being marketed as a sort of weight loss method, but I don’t think they help for that. I think they are beneficial for digestion, fatigue, and muscle recovery, which always helps after a long trip or flight. I also love microneedling, I’m new to it, but it completely transformed my skin texture. The recovery period is so long for me because my skin always peels, but after a week or two I am glowing.”

Get to know more about Yu + Mei, here.

Shop Sasha Mei’s beauty look below.

Brighter Days Red Algae + Avocado Biodegradable Eye Masks by Three Ships

Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum by Three Ships

Eye Oil by F. Miller

Face Oil by F. Miller

Lip Balm by F. Miller

Calm the Fuck Down Incense Cones by Persons of Interest

Satsuma Hand Soap by Persons of Interest

Active Relief Hand Cream by Persons of Interest

Hydrating Peptide Lip Butter by Nudestix

Nudies Bronze in Sunkissed by Nudestix

Cream Highlight Stick in Miele by 19/99 Beauty

Cream Contour Stick by 19/99 Beauty

Tinted Lip Balm by 19/99 Beauty

Raven Maven Mascara by Living Libations

Fire Lily Petal Perfume by Living Libations