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.
We were so excited to talk with Julia Vaughn for this month’s Beyond the Beauty interview. An LA-based entrepreneur and mom, Julia is an inspiration of hard work, class, balance, and absolutely glowing skin. How does she do it?!
Tell us a little about yourself and your beauty/lifestyle journey.
I’m a proud Asian American mother of two wild, WILD girls, Ursula (8) and Holiday (2). I’m also a jewelry designer and vintage-everything enthusiast. I was introduced to the wonderful world of beauty at a very early age. I remember being enchanted by my mother’s vanity table, which was always covered in beautiful glass bottles and jars full of potions, lotions, creams and intoxicating perfumes. I was so mesmerized by how extensive her routine was; she was clearly in the zone, soaking up and enjoying every second of it (and with four kids, I can’t even imagine how much she cherished her me-time). She’d take the time to explain the benefits of Vitamin C and E, sunscreen, even fresh fruits like avocado, lemon and papaya.
I think by the time I was in high school I was already using sheet masks regularly. I was a Patricia Wexler fanatic and used everything from her line until I was in my early twenties, and it’s really just snowballed out of control since then!
Your collection of jewelry is stunning. What do you hope those who wear your jewelry feel?
Empowered and sexy! I like to pretend it’s ornate armor for the everyday woman.
How do you manage balance between running a business, family, & self?
The juggle is so real and every day is different. Some days I feel like I’ve totally got it in the bag and other days I just want to throw my hands up and crawl back into bed. And honestly, that’s OK. Especially now. I think after my first marriage, I walked away knowing how crucial it is to make YOURSELF a priority. Be present with your own thoughts, your own feelings, your needs and wants… and gravitate towards them. I feel like women (moms especially) are put into these boxes and expected to put everything and everyone else before themselves. That’s a mold I want to break.
Be present with your own thoughts, your own feelings, your needs and wants… and gravitate towards them.
My business thrives because I love what I do and make it a priority. My skin is healthy because I make self-care a priority. My family is happy and healthy because we’re in-tune and make our time together a priority too. It’s really just a matter of listening to yourself, pin-pointing what’s most important and not getting distracted by all the noise.
What is your relationship like with the beauty community? What draws you to the beauty world?
I love how wide the reach is within the beauty community. From my experience, it’s been a very loving, creative, engaging and supportive community. It’s like a never-ending brunch with everyone spilling the beans on all the latest and greatest, the hacks and steals, the ins and outs.
I think what really pulls me in is the practice of self-love, the rituals and how wonderful of an outlet this industry is, creatively speaking.
What sort of changes to the beauty industry have you seen over the years (for better or worse)?
I’m ecstatic to see how much this industry has grown in just a few short years. It’s literally exploding. I remember the looks I got in college (a lifetime ago) when I told my friends I was using placenta masks and snail mucin to keep my skin hydrated… the horror! I felt like I had to keep my self-care rituals to myself, with the exception of a few fellow beauty-obsessed Asian friends.
The availability and quality of clean beauty on the market now brings me so much joy and I really think it has a lot to do with the community coming together and using their voice.
What I appreciate the most is how the online community has been able to hold these huge beauty companies accountable in terms of efficacy and ingredient transparency. The availability and quality of clean beauty on the market now brings me so much joy and I really think it has a lot to do with the community coming together and using their voice.
As far as changes for the worse, I do feel like the market is oversaturated with a lot of nonsense, which can be expected with an industry that’s doing as well as the beauty industry is. I’ve seen a lot of companies who have no business making and promoting beauty products, putting them out there just to ride the coattails.
Who (if anyone) has anyone influenced your interest in skincare and the beauty industry?
I have to credit my mother who flipped that switch so early on in my childhood (thank you mom!), but aside from her, the influence is everywhere. I mean… who isn’t a beauty influencer these days, amiright?
The consumer in me is a skeptic and I know a lot of how our skin looks has to do with what we’re eating, our water intake, alcohol intake, sleep… and most of all genetics. With that being said, I appreciate honesty when it comes to beauty content - I love @stellasimona’s ritualistic approach, @honeynsilk’s devotion to clean beauty and @bondenavant’s brutal honesty.
How as social media changed/impacted your work?
Everything I do is online. Like most online businesses out there now, my small business depends on social media platforms wholeheartedly to survive. It’s also gotten more and more competitive, which can be very daunting, but I try to put my blinders on and just focus on where I’m going.
As an influencer, it’s a fantastic creative outlet, but like any other job, it can be exhausting, frustrating and overwhelming. I feel like I’ve hit a point where I say no more than I say yes, which is huge for me because the over-achieving Chinese daughter in me wants to say yes and deliver for everyone. It might sound silly, but that took a really long time to learn and embed!
Do you have a tried & true favorite product?
Um… for each category? How much time have you got because this could take a while!
I’ve been consistently using Skinesque’s Enzyme Powder Cleanser for years now - I love how gentle the exfoliant is, it’s clean/vegan/cruelty-free and the price point is fantastic. I’m also a huge fan of Vegamour products (also clean/vegan/cruelty-free across the board)… their products have literally brought my sad, life-less, almost nonexistent brows and hair back to life. I’m hooked.
Klur’s body oil is a must (I love putting a few squirts into the tub before I bathe and then lathering more on after.) Gah this is hard, I have SO many favorites! Surratt everything but their Auto-Graphique liner is an absolute game changer for anyone looking to perfect their wings.
Do you have any too-good-not-to-share skincare hacks (could be for travel, daily routine, anything…)?
WATER! DRINK LOTS OF WATER! Keep a stash of sheet masks in the fridge and throw one on first thing in the morning while you’re making coffee or checking emails… thank me later.
Also, invest in facial oils (I love Tata Harper’s Beautifying Face Oil and Augustinus Bader’s Face Oil) and give yourself a facial massage - even if it's just two minutes - every day. I think people underestimate how amazing the benefits are, sculpting, lymphatic drainage, relaxation/tension relief, toning and circulation stimulation are all key benefits!
WATER! DRINK LOTS OF WATER!
Also, never EVER go to bed with makeup on… if you’re too lazy/tired to wash your face, make sure you keep facial wipes in or on your nightstand.
How have you been taking care of yourself these past few months? What does your ideal day of self-care look like?
With all the extra time at home, I can confirm that my skincare routine has become quite extensive (we’re talking 18-20 steps on some days) and just like my mom did, I enjoy every second of it.
I made a commitment to make my health a priority this year, by starting with a 30 day challenge which includes clean eating and working out 6 days a week (even if it’s in the middle of the night). I’m making the time to read more, something I haven’t been able to enjoy as much after both my girls were born. An accumulation of a lot of little things make all the difference in the world and they feed and nourish my overall wellness and mental health.
Making holistic self-care a priority is SO necessary to be able to show up -- thanks for the encouragement, Julia! And who doesn’t want to wear ornate armor?! You can find all of Julia’s gorgeous collection of jewelry here.
For more conversations Beyond the Beauty, sign up for our newsletter here.