The skincare community is vast and complex -- because people are vast and complex! Ohlolly talks with some of our favorite skincare enthusiasts and beauty influencers about the ins, outs, ups and downs in the beauty industry. We discuss their skincare journeys, change in the industry, and of course, their beauty tips and tricks.
Today we talk to Genie from @e2beauty. Genie is co-founder of E2beauty Lounge, a salon based in Santa Ana, California, that represents “Beauty with Purpose.” As an entrepreneur and beauty lover, she promotes confidence, self-love, and community. Hi, Genie!
Tell us a little about yourself and your beauty/lifestyle journey.
Hello! I go by Genie, but my full name is Eugenia. When I started college, Eugenia was too long to keep introducing myself, so I started to go by Genie and now many people don't even know my full name!
I was always fascinated by beauty and style. I remember looking through bridal magazines with my mom for hairstyles and dresses, and teen magazines like Seventeen for makeup tips and products. My friends would come to my house and we’d wear our formal gowns. I’d do their hair with my mom's hot rollers and their makeup with whatever I had, and my dad (a photographer) would take our photos in his garage studio.
In college, I studied art and wanted to do art therapy after I graduated. I applied to one program and didn't get accepted, so I decided to make hair accessories, teach art to kids, and do hair and makeup. I did a little bit of everything at that time, but I guess that's what the 20s are all about. I started doing bridal hair and makeup because one of my college church friends got married and asked me to do her makeup.
Fast forward five years, I decided to go to cosmetology school and make hair and makeup my full time job. I interned at a salon for six months and opened my first salon suite right after. Four years later, we moved into our current salon space in Santa Ana. Now I do all things hair with a little side of makeup, while managing my business and team.
What keeps you going and inspired as a small business owner?
I remember all the significant moments that have shaped me as a business owner. Many of those significant moments were difficult experiences, but I am reminded of how God has picked me back up and brought people around me to support me and push me forward.
2020 was a rough year, but after losing my business partner in 2017 and rebuilding our business, I feel like I was trained to navigate uncertain situations. That was probably one of the hardest things I had to do, even though I was definitely not alone.
I love that through my job I can bring people together, listen and talk with them, and provide a place for self-love and care. We have the privilege of being a part of many significant moments in a person's life.
What is your relationship like with the beauty community? What draws you to the beauty world?
The beauty community is so important to me! I feel the most fulfilled when I can connect people to each other and to themselves.
My current team is made up of 15 freelance artists and many other artists have come in and out of our team. E2beauty has become a place for artists to grow. The beauty world needs to connect with each other because it's easy to get burnt out while serving others. We need to lift one another up instead of bringing each other down.
Comparison and competition was always a weak spot and insecurity for me, but through the years I’ve learned to embrace the phrase "community over competition." There is truly enough room for all of us and having a relationship with one another and our clients is what's important.
What sort of changes to the beauty industry have you seen over the years (for better or worse)?
I think there’s just a lot more choices/competition -- just more of everything. It’s harder to stand out and keep up or find your place. But if I think too much about that, I can get overwhelmed, so we are just trying to do our best with what we have.
I have confidence that we’re meant to be here, and if the door must close, I will also be confident in that decision when the time comes.
Who (if anyone) has anyone influenced your interest in skincare and the beauty industry?
Probably my mom. I will always remember the nostalgic scent of her skincare and all the various toners, essences and creams that she would slap into her face. I don’t think she ever missed a day of cleansing and removing her makeup. That routine almost looked like a ritual to me.
I think being Korean has also influenced me in skincare and beauty since Koreans are known for their “glass skin” and no-makeup makeup. We have many clients who want Korean-style hair or makeup looks for their weddings, first birthdays, etc. Even our non-Korean artists know “hanbok hair” or ask for “Pony” makeup.
How has social media changed or impacted your work?
I mostly use social media to document our day-to-day life in and out of the salon so people can stay updated on our current events and connect with us on a personal level. I find it easiest to use Instagram stories, but if I feel like I have more significant things to say, I’ll post and share our work.
Social media definitely makes it easy to get the message out, but we still mainly get our business from referrals, word-of-mouth, and the face-to-face experiences we have with our clients and other artists.
What do you look for in a good skincare product?
I like products that have clean and simple ingredients. I like Pyunkang Yul because they use less than seven ingredients and eliminate useless ingredients in all their products; it’s really nice! I also appreciate when there are no added fillers and additives that can clog pores or make a product less effective.
Do you have a tried & true favorite product?
It's so hard to stick with one because new products always keep coming out. A product that I have repurchased many times is actually a hair product: Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt.
My favorite sheet mask is the Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Mask -- I love that it absorbs into my skin and gives it that supple feeling.
Do you have any too-good-not-to-share skincare hacks (could be for travel, daily routine, anything…)?
When I want a spa experience, I love to use my Foreo Luna for a deeper cleanse and my jade roller to smooth in my serums and oil.
How have you been taking care of yourself these past few months? What does your ideal day of self-care look like?
When we were forced to shut our business down, I was also forced to slow down. I started making soap as a new hobby (although I had to stop because I'm back to being busy in the salon again!). I get excited about learning new things since it's rare for me to sit and make something.
If I can get myself to wake up before sunrise, I would start by picking up a yummy latte and then go to this spot I went to in college -- a large rock/cliff overlooking the beach -- and watch the sun come up. Then I would have to get a massage for like 90 minutes; I’d feel rejuvenated and disoriented at the same time because my body was beaten up in the best possible way. I like walking through outdoor malls or farmer's markets too and just exploring and eating yummy food! Maybe this is what I’ll do on my birthday!
Your focus on community and connection within the beauty world are inspiring to us, Genie. Thanks for chatting! (And Pyunkang Yul is one of our favorites, too!)
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Photos courtesy of E2Beauty, Joy Theory Co. and Jennifer Sosa.