Natalie Lim Suarez
Our series featuring the daily routines, expert advice, and beauty tips of industry insiders (read: those who’ve got it down to a science). Because we should all have a Protocol.
“Less is always more for me.” Natalie Lim Suarez's beauty ethos might apply when it comes to her skincare routine—which naturally revolves around U Beauty's essential heroes—but she takes a "more is more" approach to following her passions. The model, singer, dancer, editor, and mega-influencer of Chinese, Spanish, and Mexican descent is as well-known for her directional personal style (which she describes as "eclectic and unique") as she is for her unofficial status as a veritable Renaissance woman.
Natalie began her modeling career at the age of 15 and counts brands like DKNY, L'Oréal Paris, Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, Levi's, and Nordstrom among her clients. But it's been through her popular blog, Natalie Off Duty, which she launched in 2009, that's served as a popular platform showcasing her myriad interests, including photography, creative direction, design, music, writing, modeling, and fashion.
Now with nearly a million Instagram followers, she's cultivating a burgeoning music career (in addition to singing, she plays piano and guitar), while continuing to inspire with her effortless spin on getting dressed and her unabashedly enthusiastic outlook on life.
Here, Natalie shares why she loves a certain overnight mask in the morning, the importance of prioritizing fun, and her steamy skincare secret.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
When I first wake up, I like to let in all the natural light and open all the drapes and windows. When I'm not in a rush, I like to start my coffee machine, light a candle, and do a five-minute meditation. Slow mornings are my absolute favorite, even if that means I have to wake up a little bit earlier.
Describe your morning and evening skincare routines.
I am all about a morning mask. I love a little extra hydration as I'm preparing for the day. The BARRIER Bioactive Treatment is something I can leave on as I'm making breakfast.
My evening skincare routine definitely has a few more steps, but it's still quite minimal. A great cleanser is key, like The MANTLE Skin Conditioning Wash, followed by a serum and cream. The Preface Set has the Resurfacing Compound, SUPER Hydrator, and SCULPT Arm Compound—which I like to apply all over the body.
Do you have a fitness routine? If yes, what are your objectives/goals when you work out?
I like feeling my strongest. Workouts clear my mind and help me focus. Pilates is my go-to and I try to fit in a workout every day. The best workout for me will be at Equinox. It starts with 15-20 minutes on the stairs, a floor-mat Pilates class for 40 minutes, followed by arm and leg weights.
I always end a really good gym session with 10 minutes in the steam room. The steam room has worked miracles on my skin. On days when I am extra-busy, I might just do a 30-minute Pilates session in my home, either in the morning or at night. Movement is so important to me for the mind and soul.
Have you tried any in-office cosmetic procedures (lasers, fillers, microneedling, etc.)?
The only thing that works for me is a deep chemical peel. It's amazing at removing pigmentation and just keeping my skin in top shape.
Which procedures do you love, and which would you never try (or never try again!)?
I have learned how sensitive my skin is. Less is always more for me. As long as I cleanse, moisturize, and protect with an SPF, my skin feels glowing and healthy.
I have tried microneedling, but my skin didn't need it and instead, it reacted. Light chemical peels and the occasional deep peel is all I really need. Those are the best after a really long trip away from home.
What’s your diet like on a typical day?
During the week, I try to eat quite simply because I feel the most balanced and energized that way. It's so important for me to get my greens in throughout the day. I alternate between an egg scramble with spinach and simple oatmeal in the morning throughout the week. Dinners are usually an easy stir fry of vegetables and fish or tofu if I'm cooking at home.
Living in New York City, I do get to try some amazing restaurants and I eat out all the time! I like to find my balance, but honestly, eating home-cooked food is what makes me feel best. Just add on the hot sauce.
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Drink a lot of water. I find drinking out of a refillable water bottle around the house helps me get enough water throughout the day. And I always tidy up a bit before bed. I love waking up to a clean, organized home. It just relieves so much stress!
Who’s your beauty idol?
My mother. Mama Suarez's key to looking her best at any age is to live life with passion and to have as much fun as possible. She always taught me that beauty and happiness are seen through your eyes. As long as you feel amazing on the inside, you really shine. It's all about how you feel, and I'm so glad my mom taught me that from an early age.
What’s the most high-maintenance aspect of your beauty protocol?
Sleep and lots of sleep, and just living life with purpose and happiness. That's my beauty secret!
What’s the best piece of beauty advice you’ve gotten?
Wear sunscreen every day of the week, no matter the season.
What’s your 24-hour plan for getting ready for a big event or photoshoot?
The best plan for something big and exciting is to take a deep breath and do what feels most effortless. A good night's rest, workout, and steam-room session are the best ways to mentally prepare and feel best in my skin. The rest is about having fun with a great team and knowing that at the end of the day, I gave my heart and soul to that project.
What do you do when you want to reset, regroup, or detox?
I love being by the ocean. For me, a couple of nights away by the sea is the best way to reset and come back feeling better than ever.