Beauty Confidential: Beauty Tips From TV Host And Radio DJ Ann Nicole Ng

The ardent perfume addict reveals her most vital beauty secrets
Ann Nicole Ng, the ardent perfume addict, reveals her most vital beauty secrets to GRAZIA SG on Beauty Confidential
A.L.C. blazer, pants, available on Net-a-Porter; GENTLE MONSTER glasses, Ng’s own bralette, shoes, earrings, rings

I think beauty isn’t confined to a singular definition because we see all these images of what’s perceived to be the perfect bodies, the perfect hair, the perfect skin and the perfect features in the media. Then there’s the fact that standards of beauty are different across the world. But for me, how I think of it is, I’m born in this body that will take me through my entire life—and hopefully, that’s a very, very long time—so I should start accepting it for what it is and what it can bring to me.

I’m really petite and short—like Polly Pocket (laughs)—and I’ll never grow beyond 165 centimetres or have the flattest stomach ever. Recently, when I was on vacation in Bintan, my travel mates and I all wore bikinis, and I was so confident at first because I’d been working out. Then when I stepped out, I saw these girls with flat stomachs and I wondered if I should be working towards that type of physique or wishing that my body was like that. But then I realised those were just toxic thoughts because they weren’t adding any value to my life and in fact were making me feel worse. It goes to show how beauty can be a little bit of an insidious thing, but it’s all about your perception and how you rewire your brain to tell yourself good things about yourself. That’s the way to live. I have to also give thanks to the people around me, like my glam team and especially my stylist Kane Raynard Goh, who has dressed me countless times. Whenever I put on something more form fitting, I’d ask if he could see my pooch, which is the one thing I’m most insecure about. He’d often mention that I look good and remind me that my flaws are something that I hyper‑fixate on because I see myself every day.

When I was younger, I’d see my mum putting on makeup and thought that that act was what grown women did. I aspired to have that for myself. I’d sometimes go into her drawer and pretend I was getting
ready. Or I’d use my grandmother’s Hazeline Snow cream and pretend that I was putting skincare on, and here I am at 27 years old, wondering why I thought I needed skincare at that time, you know? The first time I ever put on makeup was when I was four, during my kindergarten years. There’d always be a performance at the end of the year and after my mum put lipstick on me for the very first time, I thought I looked so glamorous when I saw myself in the mirror. And it’s so funny to me because I wouldn’t think that kids at that age would care about things like this. It’s interesting that I started to realise what looked good on me and what didn’t so early on.

I’ve recently been going the more transformational route when it comes to makeup. I used to prefer a more natural look, but since I’ve recently been going to a lot more parties and events, I’m all about a smoky eye and even wear coloured contacts to completely change the way I look. It makes me feel so good because it’s like I’ve unlocked a different side of me.

I’d say that I’m an introvert at heart. In fact, I’m super introverted; my introversion on the Myers‑Briggs scale is at 90 per cent. So whenever I put on something, I always want to bring out the extroverted side of me as much as possible, like I’m stretching the 10 per cent into 50 per cent, where I’m sexy, confident and super sassy—It girl vibes!


The first fragrance I owned, Dalissime by Salvador Dali, was gifted to me by my grandmother for my seventh or eighth birthday and I hold it so close to my heart. It was purchased at a place where miniatures were sold. She told me to just pick one and when I smelt Dalissime, it reminded me of her, and I decided that I wanted a fragrance that smelt like her, since it was gifted by her herself. I think that kind of subconsciously kick‑started my love of fragrances and how their scents can be associated with memories. Fast forward years later, I still have the bottle of Dalissime and I found a full‑sized one on Amazon, which makes me so happy—I have the “adult” and “baby” versions. Both are too precious for me to use though (laughs).

Ann Nicole Ng, the ardent perfume addict, reveals her most vital beauty secrets to GRAZIA SG on Beauty Confidential
”To start collecting fragrances, I’d recommend having one from a different category and then building up the collection from there. You could have categories such as Day, Night, Date, et cetera, and then branch out from there—think Day – Fresh, Night – Fresh, Date – Night and such.”

The first Tiktok video I made was about four perfumes that you shouldn’t buy. I was trying to be shady and sassy at the time because I was still trying to find my niche, having tried everything from beauty to fashion—perhaps making videos related to perfumes made sense because they’re my biggest passion. I enjoy the debates in the comments section of the videos I post and I’m being very consistent with my content, as it comes from a genuine place of wanting to share more about my love of perfumes. I never let myself get into that trap of being in an echo chamber of what I should use, stop using or not try out in terms of perfume content. For instance, I used to really hate Dior’s Fahrenheit—and people would agree with my thoughts—but now, I think it’s a masterpiece, having tried it again at a later stage in my life.

I never rehearse before I make a Tiktok video because I feel like it sounds very forced if I do so—like I’m hosting a gig. I just want to tell you a story at a point in time and in the most authentic way possible. I recently reviewed this body mist from Bath & Body Works and I immediately said that it smells like sugee cake. How specific is that? (Laughs) And not just sugee cake, but sugee cake with dried cranberries. I have to say, too, that to a certain extent, your imagination creates the appeal of a fragrance you buy, so you have to let it run wild when you spray it on for the first time. You’ll have trouble doing so when perfumes have no personality or a redeeming factor—they’re usually money grabs and you can tell they are such.

I loved anything that smells like candy when I was younger and that was the era of celebrity perfumes. Examples would be Fantasy by Britney Spears and Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy, which walked so that other gourmand vanilla ones can run! We’re in a different era now and despite me growing out of wanting to smell delicious, I can respect that some people still genuinely enjoy such scents. I’m more into challenging scents now—they usually have animalistic notes that can smell a bit yucky or have ones that are spicy, such as cardamom and cinnamon. I’m currently also experimenting with men’s fragrances—I’m externally more feminine, so it’s fun for me to play up that dichotomy between what’s feminine and what’s masculine. Black Phantom by Kilian Paris is an example; it can smell unisex or masculine, depending on what you’re wearing.

Fun fact: I used to major in literature, so I read a lot of books from different cultures and countries from all around the world. Thanks to that background, I think I’m very drawn to reading prose that gives me a visceral feeling, like I can genuinely smell what’s being described. It helps me connect the dots when describing scents in my videos. I also love reading Victorian‑era stories such as Bridgerton and I actually did my thesis on Pride and Prejudice. I guess I just love reading things that are very romantic.

“To be honest, I’ve stopped counting how many fragrances I have. It’s probably close to 500?”

When I was in school, I used to do this thing where I’d purchase a perfume before a new school year started and would consider it the one that represented my year. I was wearing Amouage’s Sunshine during a particular year and it was during a period of time when I was done with exams. I felt so free and happy during this sunny period in Singapore, and my friends and I decided to spontaneously go to Universal Studios Singapore. We went to (hot pot restaurant) Haidilao after and it was one of the happiest days of my life (laughs). Amouage’s Sunshine smells so effervescent and a little bit like candy without being juvenile. It made me feel like a child again.

On the flip side, I was wearing Miami Glow by JLo when I was in a long‑term relationship that didn’t work out in the end and—no surprise here—I couldn’t stand its smell for a while. I hated its bottle and scent—even just smelling it made me want to throw up—for such a long time, but I didn’t throw it out because I had a gut feeling that I’d rediscover it again sometime later. Fast forward two to three years and I knew I’d completely healed because I no longer felt it was repulsive.

A fragrance I’m looking to purchase but is no longer available is Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson, which is so unabashedly 1980s. You can probably never ever find a bottle like it, with a literal spring inside. I’m such a big fan of ’80s culture and I imagine that owning it will bring me to an era in which I’ve never lived; a time where things were more innocent because our worlds were more closed off. Ignorance can be bliss, right?


My skin used to be on the oilier side, but as I grew older, it became drier—I think this is a very common
phenomenon. So I’ll say I have combination skin with the occasional bout of acne. I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy because I noticed that the more dairy products I consume, the more pimples pop out.

Ann Nicole Ng, the ardent perfume addict, reveals her most vital beauty secrets to GRAZIA SG on Beauty Confidential
“If you can believe it, I’m actually very relaxed about my skincare routine (laughs)—if I don’t have time to use a toner or serum in the morning, all I’d do is apply sunscreen.”

Fenty Skin’s Hydra Vizor Face Moisturizer SPF 30 is my current favourite product because it works as both
moisturiser and sunscreen—I’ve gone through so many bottles. But on days when I want something lighter with a matte finish, I use the Trader Joe’s Daily Facial Sunscreen SPF 40, which I buy from the US. I’m also a bit of a big fan of the SK‑II Facial Treatment Essence because it makes my skin so plump. It’s sort of an OG product to me because I always saw my mum and grandmother using it when I was a teen—though I realised I needed to grow up first before using it, because then, it’d have more visible effects on me. The brand was kind enough to send a bottle to me when I was interested in rediscovering it and I can now see a difference in how glowy my skin can look.

I’m also loving the Lancôme Advanced Génifique serum because the bottle looks so chic and sexy (laughs). Its consistency is a bit gummy, which makes it feel so soothing on sunburned skin, as it just glosses over it. I’m a fan of the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum as well. I’m currently getting more into the “icons”, if you will, because after all, they’re called icons for a reason: they’re so good.


I love to scrub my body and do so at least three times a week. I even use body scrubs that match the fragrance I’m wearing for the day—the Fenty Skin Cherry Dub Triple Action AHA Body Scrub is a good example; not just because of its scent, but also because it gently exfoliates to reduce pimples and smooth skin. I also use Tree Hut scrubs because there are so many “flavours” to choose from, such as Cotton Candy, Watermelon and Tahitian Vanilla Bean, which makes them such a luxury to use.

“I’ve been trying out the new Rare Beauty Find Comfort Hydrating Body Lotion, which I alternate with the Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Body Cream and another one from Laura Mercier when my skin needs more moisture.”

A good body wash to me is one that lathers up very well when used with a loofah and Lush does fantastic ones. I’m not too picky when it comes to ingredients. Honey I Washed the Kids, Sleepy and Flying Fox are some of my favourites from the brand.

I lift weights, which has been a regular hobby of mine since last year, after being unable to carry my luggage around when I was travelling. My friends could all carry it and so could my sister, who was the same height and size as me—I felt so disappointed that I couldn’t and realised that that wasn’t the way I wanted to be. I engaged a personal trainer whom I work with twice a week and the progress is very addictive to see. It’s not always obvious, but you can feel yourself getting stronger as you’re able to lift more weights and you feel more energised as well. I can now also hike a lot longer in terms of distance and elevation, but more importantly, I can now carry a very
heavy piece of luggage (laughs).

I’m also a DIY girlie now when it comes to body hair removal; I use a shaver that has a moisturising gel strip on it. Using wax strips and tweezers makes my skin bumpy and it looks so unsightly—just stick to regular shaving, but make sure the shaver has the strip on it! Best if it’s shea butter‑infused so that you don’t get razor burns.


Ann Nicole Ng, the ardent perfume addict, reveals her most vital beauty secrets to GRAZIA SG on Beauty Confidential
“I might go blonder to feel more like myself, but who knows if my hair can take it?”

I’m a dirty blonde right now and I love that because I previously had dark brown hair for the longest time. I had fire engine‑red hair between these two eras and while it was a colour that was surely very eye‑catching on camera, it wasn’t one that I think suited me. I kept my hair red for around a year and a half before it faded into some sort of rusty colour that was more manageable, but the amount of images and content surrounding Pamela Anderson and her Netflix documentary inspired me to try going blonde. But because I’m Asian, I was worried that blonde hair would look way too artificial on me. So I went to my hairstylist Junz Loke from 35A, told him my vision and asked him if it’d work. He recommended this specific shade of dirty blonde and added bangs, and really changed my entire vibe. I wash my hair every day, even though it’s a little dry, using a salon‑grade L’Oreal shampoo that Junz gifted me—I also use a moisturising mask from the same line, but as a conditioner—and make sure to use a heat protectant. I love using the Dyson Supersonic and in particular, the Flyaway attachment, which is magic. Magic! It straightens and smoothes my hair, and the effect lasts the entire day without the need for a hairspray—though I sometimes use the Fix Volume Hair Spray from South Korean brand Chahong, which is the best
in the world; it sets the hair for 24 hours.


My routine is actually very long (laughs). I use a primer first, like the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer, and depending on how it looks, I’d decide on wearing foundation. That said, I use the Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint foundation daily because it’s lightweight and doesn’t feel cakey. Next, I go in with the MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Concealer because just a tiny bit conceals everything; it can also double as an eyeshadow primer. I set everything with the Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Powder in Cherry Blossom Cake, as it brightens up my face.

“If I’m feeling a little more extra, before I go out, I’ll put on falsies that cost $2 from Shopee—I’m a high‑low girl when it comes to beauty products.”

I’m very minimal when it comes to the brows—all I do is touch them up a little with a brow pencil. And if I’m rushing out the door, I won’t even put eyeshadow on—I’d just extend a nose contour towards my eyes. But if I do have the time, I’d use the Patrick Ta Major Dimension Eyeshadow Palette before using the KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner liquid eyeliner. I’ll coat my lashes next with the Heroine Make Micro Mascara Advanced Film EX.

I was wearing Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution lipstick in Bond Girl for ages before she renamed it MI Kiss, as it transforms the lips into a beautiful berry shade. As for blusher, I love using the Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Blush—the brand is so good at launching products that are unlike anything in the market in terms of finishing or colour.


Ann Nicole Ng, the ardent perfume addict, reveals her most vital beauty secrets to GRAZIA SG on Beauty Confidential

I used to get my nails done professionally and would opt for extensions before pasting toys on them myself—that was a period when I wasn’t working with a stylist (laughs). Now, I just keep things simple; Kane mentioned that the cleaner the nails, the better because it also lends versatility to your look—even makeup artists said the same—but the more practical reason is that shorter, cleaner nails are less of a hindrance when I lift. I also do my nails myself now—I save a lot of money (laughs). I always start with a base coat from Seche Vite or OPI, depending on the vibe, before going in with a nude polish. I love lighter ones such as Essie’s Ballet Slippers, or when I’m feeling myself, I use a dark, vampy hue or even a gunmetal one—Dior does the best ones when it comes to the latter.

This story originally appeared in the March 2024 issue of GRAZIA Singapore