For Kathryn Khoo, the idea of a daily ritual devoted to self-care was just another part of family life. After adopting her own skincare routine at four years of age, Khoo, the daughter of a dermatologist and nurse, and the granddaughter of an avid sunscreen user, cites this multi-generational influence as the reason for her appreciation of skin vitality and her lifelong commitment to sun protection.
Those early learnings also sparked a drive in Khoo to carve out a career for herself as a Plastic Surgery + Cosmetic Nurse Specialist and Business Manager. It’s a unique profession that Khoo has defined over the past decade as she’s worked alongside Melbourne’s top plastic surgeons—and fostered her relationship with RATIONALE Founder, Richard Parker.
Taking her place in this year’s illustrious Luminary line-up, we quizzed Khoo about the positives of ageing, her weekly ritual for relaxing and her proudest achievement to date.
Tell us about your skincare routine—how did you first come to start using RATIONALE?
When I was doing my grad year in St Vincent’s Private Hospital almost a decade ago, Richard Parker came to give a lecture on active topical ingredients and their effect on skin. After trying the formulations, I purchased my first products and I’ve been using them ever since.
When did you first experiment with beauty?
My first foray into beauty and makeup happened at about age 12, when I experimented with the blue eyeshadow samples my mum received with an issue of Vogue magazine. I don’t think it was my finest beauty moment, but it definitely sparked something and helped me discover the love I have for beauty today!
When did skincare become important to you?
I’d day it has always been important to me—my father is a dermatologist and he educated me on the importance of taking good care of my skin from very early on.
My grandmother also had a big influence on my beauty outlook. She always had her hair and nails done, and with the little money she had, she managed to look after herself. She knew the importance of sunscreen back in a time when it wasn’t all that common. I learned a lot from her, and she keeps teaching me to this day.
What does confidence mean to you?
It means being comfortable in my own skin without the shield of makeup, and embracing my own genetic heritage. Looking healthy and having glowing skin makes me confident, but confidence also comes from being about to express myself through my appearance, words and intellect.
What’s the most rewarding thing about becoming a year older each year?
I learn. Each year, I grow as a person, as a professional, and as a friend. I’m very fortunate to have people who help me grow, and now I feel I can help other around me. That’s the best part of getting older.
Aside from your skincare routine, do you have any other rituals for taking care of yourself?
I always try to squeeze an hour-long, deep tissue massage into my week to help my body release tension and my mind relax.
What did you want to be when you were young? And what made you want to become what you are today?
I wanted to do exactly what I’m doing now—crazy but true! I always wanted to build a skin clinic around what I truly believe in and am passionate about. I always pictured myself working with women and supporting other women in my daily work, so I’m pretty happy to be able to do this in my profession.
Today I’m most proud of being able to choose my own team and to work with people who are aligned with my worldview. After ten years in the industry, I’m finally able to work with passionate, like-minded, driven, intelligent people and companies. I get to choose who I want to work with and filter out anything that doesn’t align with my principles.
And what’s the best career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?
You need to have grit, work hard, work smart and do what you love. With every day that passes, do something that helps get you towards your goal, even if it’s something small. Resilience and grit will take you a long way.