The skincare community is vast and complex — because people are vast and complex! Ohlolly talks with some of our favorite skincare enthusiasts, beauty influencers and boss women about the ins, outs, ups and downs in the beauty industry. We discuss their skincare journeys, what it means to be a skin/self-care forward, busy human, and of course, beauty tips and tricks.
Today we talk to Sandra Lee. Sandra is an entrepreneur, permanent makeup artist, and owner of Brow FX Studio in Orange County, CA. She tells the story of her pivot from a career in finance to work on her passion for beauty full-time.
Hi Sandra, please tell us a little about yourself and your skincare journey:
As a Korean-American from Southern California, I was exposed to the world of K-beauty as early as my childhood. From watching Shiseido commercials in between my favorite K-drama segments to observing my mom's nightly million-step skincare routine that I used to tease her for (of course, now I can confirm that it worked wonders for her). At around age 14, I noticed my sensitive skin would react to products with harsh ingredients, so I became very diligent in researching beauty products. I actually really enjoyed learning about the products, and would eventually start sharing advice with my friends and family!
Beauty and skincare became such a large part of my world for as long as I can remember. But if I'm being honest, I didn't realize it was my passion until much later in life. I worked a Finance job, and was focused on climbing the corporate ladder for so long that I assumed my corporate career was my passion. When the pandemic forced the world to go on pause, it allowed me to reflect on what gives me energy, and what takes energy away. This motivated me to part ways with the corporate world, and dive deeper into the field of beauty and skincare!
Fast forward to today, I am a 6x certified permanent makeup artist, and owner of Brow FX Studio! I am proud of myself for taking the leap those years ago, but more importantly, I am happy, energized, and grateful to do what I love!
What inspired or led you to your current career as a brow artist and a small business owner?
As a teen, I started with fun little makeovers on friends, and over the years, that sort of evolved into me becoming their unofficial makeup artist for special events. I remember the anxiety and anticipation of wondering if they’d like the results, but when they looked in the mirror with glowing eyes and a huge smile. It was the most rewarding feeling ever. And that’s how I knew I was hooked!
Then as soon as I turned 18, I got my first permanent brow tattoo, and it was a complete game changer. I loved how my brows looked, how much time I saved in the mornings, and even silly things like how I could go swimming worry free! This definitely kickstarted my obsession with permanent makeup.
Combine these experiences with finally finding the confidence to make the career switch from corporate, and here we are! Of course, as any of my fellow small business owners can attest, the grind is real and we put in 110% into our work everyday. But I absolutely love what I do, and I’m fueled by my happy clients! Choosing the path to becoming a PMU and opening Brow FX Studio was the best decision I could have made for myself.
What is your relationship like with the skincare community on IG?
There is so much inspiration, love, and support within the Instagram skincare community! I love being able to connect with other estheticians, dermatologists, and knowledgeable skincare experts from around the globe to learn and share the latest skincare trends and best practices. We're all in it to win together, and rooting for one another!
What is your take on the term “Skincare Influencer?”
I see incredible value in today's Skincare Influencers (the credible ones, of course!) I think back to the days when I was a teen spending hours researching different products. If we had social media and skincare influencers back then to make information readily available to the masses, that certainly would have saved me hundreds of hours in research!
What sort of changes to the beauty industry have you seen over the years (for better or worse)?
More and more skincare products are vegan, fragrance free, and in general, designed to be more conscientious of people with sensitive skin. It's great to see so many new products that I feel confident using for myself and recommending to others!
Who (if anyone) has anyone influenced your interest in the skincare/beauty industry?
My mother was the first to spark my interest in skincare! She always emphasized that skincare is as important for our overall health as nutrition and fitness. I learned so much just from watching her take such great care of her own skin through all of the creams, toners, masks, and more. In many ways, my mother was my first skincare advisor! Whenever I would ask her "what does this one do?" she'd smile and enthusiastically share the benefits of that product with me. Now I get to do the same for her, and that just warms my heart!
Which brands are you following right now that have been inspiring to you? Why?
In my journey to discover the most effective beauty products for my sensitive skin, I started turning to clean makeup brands. I currently follow brands like Dr. Ceuracle, Han Skin Care Cosmetics, Glow Recipe, Kosas, Ilia, and most recently Beauty of Joseon. Basically any brand that offers products free of synthetic fragrance, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, etc. Another benefit of using products from these brands is that many, if not all, ingredients are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. So I feel good knowing that the products I’m using are also supporting a larger cause.
And of course I follow Anastasia because hey, I’m a brow gal! ;)
Do you have a tried & true favorite product?
I was first turned on to Ohlolly years ago because of the Missha Essence SPF. To this day, this sunscreen is a staple in my daily routine! It's incredibly silky and absorbs beautifully into my skin. They now have a new formulated version which is even creamier than ever!
Do you have any too-good-not-to-share skincare hacks (could be for travel, daily routine, anything…)?
Keep your face sheet masks in the fridge! Not only does it help the ingredients in your masks last longer, the cold mask also feels amazing after a hot shower, and is great for tightening up those fresh-out-of-the-shower pores! I also never skip on SPF whether I’m staying home or traveling (make sure to apply and reapply plenty of SPF on daytime flights)!
How have you been taking care of yourself these past few months? What does your ideal day of self-care look like?
I truly believe that we must take care of ourselves not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. I make sure to schedule in time to workout and listen to personal empowerment audiobooks or podcasts 3-4 times a week. An ideal day of self-care would be a day out in nature playing golf followed by a deep tissue massage!
Thanks for chatting Sandra. We love your passion for helping others to light up and feel like their most beautiful self. We're calling to make our next appointment with you ;-)
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