Amy Chang has set a big ask of herself. As founder and editor of BOND EN AVANT, a luxury beauty and lifestyle blog that was launched in 2016, she has assigned herself the task of “empowering women to lean into their vanity”. And having gathered almost 20k Instagram followers to date in such a short period of time — where she posts photos, videos and Stories of everything from her latest beauty finds to her daily life in her home base of Los Angeles — Amy is undoubtedly on the right track to achieving her goal.
Our paths crossed online — as it does with many people these days — when Amy started ‘liking’ our photos around the same time that we discovered hers. What drew us to her feed before her website was the fact that in the sea of (beauty) bloggers, BOND EN AVANT was a) Focused on clean beauty; b) Thoughtfully and consciously curated, and c) Authentic in its reviews. It also helped that much of what Amy was a fan of were items that we loved too, and so we found a kindred soul in her.
The blog also puts the spotlight on inspiring female stories and showcasing brands that uplift women. “I think there’s power in a woman’s right to choose for herself how she wants to look, age and be, and that’s what BOND EN AVANT is all about,” Amy says. By the name she chose for her blog, which translates to “leap forward” from French to English, we can safely say that Amy has taken one small step for herself, and one giant leap for women everywhere.
“I’m learning to be patient with myself, take deep breaths and not stress over little things, and to be patient with the growth of my blog.”
What was it like at the beginning when you started BOND EN AVANT?
At the beginning, I didn’t know what I was doing. I mean, I still don’t, but back then I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to learn, read as much as I could about WordPress, blogging, SEO, photography, editing etc. I don’t have a photography background, so I had to learn those skills.
I knew how to write from working in PR. I knew a little about social media/marketing, but at the beginning there was a lot of research. I spent six months planning and writing content. I knew I wanted to have at least 20 articles up on my blog before launching, so I had to figure out what to write about, what products to test etc. It was fun! I just did what I do now, which is take everything as a new learning experience one day at a time. As long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing, then I keep doing it.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced, and how have you emerged stronger from it?
One thing that has been a constant struggle is managing my stress and my expectations. I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. I want the photos to look just right, the blog posts to be exactly a certain way, and it isn’t possible to have everything end up exactly as I see it in my mind. So, the biggest road bump has actually been myself. I’m learning to be patient with myself, take deep breaths and not stress over little things, and to be patient with the growth of my blog.
Tell us about some beauty brands you love.
There are brands that, with each new product launch or new product I try, I am always impressed with the quality and efficacy. There’s Maya Chia, Susanne Kaufmann Organic Treats, Marie Veronique, Luzern, and Lotus Moon, to name a few. But there are so many emerging brands in the organic/green/non-toxic beauty space. I am excited to be a beauty blogger during this exciting time where brands are thinking consciously about creating clean, healthy products that enhance our skin, don’t harm our bodies and are safe for our planet.
The Rahua Voluminous Shampoo – one of Amy’s favourites for scalp dermatitis and outbreaks along the hairline
What are some of your current favourite products?
Hair: The item I am loving right now isn’t actually sold as a hair item. It’s the January Labs Restorative Tonic Mist. It’s a lactic acid hydrating face mist, but I use it on my scalp after I shower when my hair is still damp. I part my hair, mist, part a different section, mist and do this all over my head. Then I massage the product into my scalp. It balances my scalp pH and helps to get rid of flakes, itchiness and irritation. I can’t live without it!
For shampoo and conditioner, I’m a big fan of the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Conditioner. I used to get scalp dermatitis and little outbreaks along my hairline, but since switching to green shampoos, it has completely cleared up.
Body: I’ve just discovered this cute little brand, Meow Meow Tweet at my favourite non-toxic spa in Los Angeles: Natural Feeling Spa. Meow Meow Tweet has this amazing Cinnamon Coffee Body Soap. I don’t drink coffee, but I love the smell of it! And this bar smells like a decadent freshly made latte. Plus, the thick granules embedded in the bar are a great exfoliant while you wash!
Face: It’s so hard to just pick one favourite for face! There are so many beautiful products I am loving right now. Susanne Kaufmann’s whole organic skincare line is divine. Her Eye Cream Line A is the best eye cream I’ve used for dark under eye circles. It’s expensive, but it works! I also love her After Sun Gel. It has three different sizes of hyaluronic acid that penetrate various levels of your skin, and it has cardiospermum, a botanically derived anti-inflammatory ingredient that reduces redness and dehydration. I don’t go out in the sun much, but it’s good for soothing everyday inflammation caused by pollution or stress.
I also have to add the YOU Skincare Clarifying Glow Serum. It was created by a skincare chemist who was dealing with horrible cystic acne and post-acne scarring. I’ve found it to be one of the best serums for fading red acne scars and helping to prevent acne breakouts in a very, very gentle way. It can be a tad drying for me (I have normal/dry skin), so I have found that using it every other night or every third night produces all of the benefits without the dryness.
Amy’s makeup recommendations which are suitable and gentle enough for perioral dermatitis
What about makeup?
I like to keep my makeup pretty basic. I prefer to reach for makeup products that do double duty — enhance my skin and look good — which is why I always start my makeup routine with the Dr. Barbara Sturm x Monika Blunder Anti-Aging Primer.
Dr. Sturm is a legend in the beauty world. With a team of other orthopaedic doctors, she created the orthokine treatment, which was used on one of her patients, Kobe Bryant. She also created the vampire facial 10 years ago and is a pioneer in the aesthetics world. Her new skincare line is so wonderful. It’s expensive, but you are paying for amazing quality. When she came out with this primer, I was so excited! It doesn’t just cover redness or uneven skin tones — it actually corrects it with hyaluronic acid and a powerful antioxidant, Purslane. After I apply it, I wait for two to three minutes, and I can visibly see my redness start to soften. It’s also great for extending the longevity of my makeup (though, I don’t wear a lot).
I’ll then layer it with the Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation, which has been a staple in my makeup drawer since I first tried it almost a year ago. I recommend using a blending brush to apply it as finger application can be quite heavy. Sometimes I’ll just use this foundation as a concealer on certain spots, like around my mouth or my nose, and then blend it out with a brush if I don’t want to apply it to my full face.
For highlighter, I love Maya Chia’s The Highlight Of The Day Golden Hour and After Hours. Both are made with the brand’s signature chia seed oil. They nourish, hydrate and give the most amazing glow! I do recommend applying the highlighters underneath your foundation/powder for the best application.
I was a long-time fan girl of Diorshow, but have recently switched over to this mineral makeup brand called Mineral Fusion. They are sold in health food stores here in the US and their Lengthening Mascara is relatively inexpensive and does double duty thickening and lengthening lashes. I also love the line’s Blush/Bronzer Duo for subtle bronzing and blush.
For lips, I always reach for my Henné Organics lip scrub first before applying anything. Their Lavender Mint Lip Exfoliator is my current favourite. It has tingly cooling peppermint in it and I love the lavender smell.
If I’m going for a light, daytime look, I’ll reach for one of Henné Organics’ lip tints for subtle, natural colour. And if I want to make a bold statement, I reach for organic lipstick brand, Y et Beauté. Their highly pigmented lipsticks give an intense shot of colour that lasts me through a meal, or two. Their packaging is better than other luxury brands on the market now, including (dare I say it…) Tom Ford. They have a magnetic closure and an almost bulletproof sleek black casing you’ll want to show off.
Clockwise from top: Y et Beauté’s lipsticks, Henné Organics’ lip treats and Maya Chia’s Illuminating serums
Perioral dermatitis is something you openly struggle with. What advice would you give to someone going through it?
My advice is to be patient — with yourself and your skincare products. Perioral dermatitis is tough. There’s no “cure” for it and medical professionals don’t know why it happens. All they can tell us is that they think it’s a confluence of factors: hormones, topical antibiotic/steroid use, age, skin irritants etc. personally, I’ve found that eliminating harsh surfactants/preservatives, essential oils (for a short period when it was at its worst. I can now use EOs in small amounts), fragrances, sodium lauryl sulphates, fluoride (in toothpaste), and following an anti-inflammatory diet/lifestyle (since PD, like rosacea and acne, is essentially an inflammatory skin issue) helped tremendously. I also cut out harsh exfoliants, acids and thick creams.
With perioral dermatitis, the skin barrier is compromised, allowing for fungal infections to develop on the skin, resulting in a rash-like appearance. The skin needs to heal and the barrier needs to be repaired. Using products that have pre/probiotics to help balance the skin microbiome; vitamin B5 (niacinamide) that prevents trans-epidermal water loss and hydrates the skin; hydrating ingredients like Aloe and hyaluronic acid; and anything that contains soothing ingredients, like green tea, calendula, or Rose is what I would recommend.
Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique have developed a series of three serums that address and contain all of these components and were key players in helping me manage my PD outbreaks. They are organic and best when used all three together. I highly recommend them for anyone dealing with perioral dermatitis and rosacea.
I’ve written extensively about what I’ve found to work on my PD journey, so for anyone going through it, feel free to check out this article.
What can we expect from BOND EN AVANT?
In the beginning, BOND EN AVANT was primarily focused on plastic surgery, non-invasive in-office treatments, and skincare in general. But with the diagnosis of PD, I’ve had to become very selective on what I apply on, or do to my skin. This means almost all of the products I review now are green, non-toxic and/or organic; and the treatments are suitable for sensitive skin types. This is the biggest shift that has taken place the past few months on my blog and this will continue.
I’ve also started to incorporate more lifestyle content that revolves around my other passions: healthy living, sustainable/conscious fashion brands, and travel.
Finally, what does the idea of conscious living mean to you?
To me ‘conscious living’ is about treating your body with kindness, giving it what it needs in terms of nutritious food, sleep, daily exercise, healthy relationships, and self-reflection. And it’s about being aware of how we treat each other, animals, and nature on a day-to-day basis.
Images courtesy of BOND EN AVANT