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, changes in the industry, and of course, their beauty tips and tricks.
Today we talk to Sophia from @beautyunplugged. A physician and blogger, Sophia joined the skincare world a bit later in life. She shares an open and honest skin journey that makes self-care approachable for any age or lifestyle. We love it, and know you'll be refreshed by her too. Welcome, Sophia!
Tell us a little about yourself and your beauty/lifestyle journey.
I was born in Seoul and moved to California when I was five years old. I was always busy studying, working, or participating in extracurricular activities like sports and piano, so I never learned about skincare or makeup until much later in life.
After having my second child, I noticed that my skin was really struggling with severe dryness that accentuated wrinkles, extensive melasma and sun damage. I felt like a hopeless case and was prepared to just continue to let myself go. But in 2015 (when I was 41 years old), a friend encouraged me to explore skincare as a form of self-care. When I discovered that there are products and ingredients that actually improved my skin, I started researching and testing as many products as I could. I was encouraged by friends to document my journey on a blog, and that's how my IG page started.
After being nudged to share my experience with a broader audience, I made it public in January 2016. I have always been very private, so for the first few years, I never showed my face on my page. I also hadn't mentioned that I was a physician until last year when the spread of misinformation about the pandemic made it impossible for me to stay quiet.
I felt like a hopeless case and was prepared to just continue to let myself go. But in 2015 (when I was 41 years old), a friend encouraged me to explore skincare as a form of self-care.
How has being a physician influenced your beauty/skin care journey?
If anything, I think being a physician delayed my discovering the skincare and beauty world. The constant studying and working put outer/physical concerns on the back burner for me. I didn't care much about fashion, skincare, or beauty, but I did find creative outlets in traveling, dance, singing and photography. Now that I'm immersed in the skincare world, I am excited to help anyone interested in finding their confidence and their glow.
What is your relationship like with the beauty community? What draws you to the beauty world?
I have been so fortunate to have made many friends in the beauty world. I’ve learned so much from others. I am always so humbled by the kindness of the beauty community.
What sort of changes to the beauty industry have you seen through the years?
For the better, it's been exciting to see more affordable brands being more widely available and increased interest in skincare in general. It's also been so exciting to see how K-beauty has taken the beauty world by storm.
For the worse, the war between clean/green beauty and conventional beauty is problematic and complex.
Who (if anyone) has anyone influenced your interest in skincare and the beauty industry?
What do you look for in a good skin care product?
I have sensitive dry skin with rosacea, melasma, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. I look for focused/targeted ingredients. I love hanbang and fermented ingredients as well as hydrating and soothing ingredients. I prefer products that don't contain too many actives in one product, and I prefer products that don't have too many fragranced ingredients when possible. I like to think of how a product would fit into my routine and whether or not it would add anything new to my skincare goals.
I like to think of how a product would fit into my routine and whether or not it would add anything new to my skincare goals.
Do you have a tried & true favorite product?
I have faves in several categories: Banila Co Clean It Zero Nourishing, Celimax Fresh Blackhead Jojoba Cleansing Oil, Primera Miracle Seed Essence, Skindeva Vitamin C 20% with vitamin E and Ferulic, Azclear Azelaic Acid 20%, Sunday Riley Good Genes (with lactic acid), Swanicoco Biopeptine Eye Cream, and 107 Everyday Plump Hydro Cream and Cerave Healing Ointment. Sorry that's so many!!
Do you have any too-good-not-to-share skincare secrets?
Flying with a portable USB humidifier is a game changer! It keeps my skin comfortable and happy even on a 12 hour flight! I can't wait for the day when it will be safe to travel by air again.
How have you been taking care of yourself these past few months? What does your ideal day of self-care look like?
Spending time outdoors with a picnic or roller skating has been good for me. Watching (or re-watching) an engrossing K-drama always helps me feel better too. Doing my skincare as soon as I finish dinner always helps me re-set and forget the stresses of the day.
Self-care comes in all forms -- from roller-blading the streets to binging TV with a favorite sheet mask on -- so glad you agree, Sophia :) Thanks for chatting. We love your transparency with skin care and the time and research you put into finding the best products for you. It’s so inspiring!
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