Here at SeoulofSkin, we take our moms seriously. We love and respect our mothers, most of us happen to be mamas ourselves, we have friends who are mothers, and we’re also raising daughters who will one day become moms. So instead of shining a spot light on the upcoming holiday of Mother’s Day for a single day, we’ve decided to dedicate the entire glorious month of May to all of our moms and fellow moms out there. I’m kicking it off with a Q+A on skincare I shared with my mom!
It’s pretty clear I wouldn’t have the skin I live in today if it weren’t for my mom. To knock out the obvious, I have her genes. More importantly though, I don’t think I would have the skincare habits and rituals I stick to today if my mom hadn’t influenced me early on. At age 73, she still flaunts a vibrant and radiant complexion…seriously, she has this weird magical glow when it comes to her skin and she’s maintained it though the decades of life’s many ups and downs. As much as I’ve admired her skin throughout the years and gotten tips from her here and there (including the sake glass face massage and LED skincare device she bought me!), until now, I’ve never sat down with her to have a comprehensive discussion just on skincare habits and secrets. Better late than never, and below is a summary of what we discussed:
- When and how did you discover the importance of skincare?
My dad was a doctor and had amazing skin. He used to make his own lotion and shared it with me and my 6 sisters and brothers since I was too young to remember. You and your sisters used it for the longest time and called it “grandpa’s lotion” too (of course I remember grandpa’s lotion!). I can’t remember the exact ingredients, but think it was a mixture of loofa plant water, glycerin and soju. He instilled in us the importance of good health habits, which extended to skincare. In addition to applying grandpa’s lotion every day, he exercised and ate healthy which I believe contributed to his glow, and later mine.
- What is your skincare routine these days and how has it changed over the decades?
Until I reached my 40s and 50s, I mainly focused on exercise, nutrition and really basic skincare steps – trying to keep it chemical-free and natural as possible. Raising four girls, I just didn’t have the time to indulge in a lavish skincare routine like the other ladies around me in Seoul. I don’t think I really had time to even look in the mirror until I hit 40! Once you girls grew up a bit, I had time and finally started going for regular facials and using a few additional products.
- What do you think worked well for you, and what were some skincare blunders?
In terms of skincare mistakes, I would say not protecting against the sun enough. I had big issues with melasma and hyperpigmentation in my 30s for a while and I wish I had developed a sunscreen habit earlier on. These days, not only do I wear sunscreen regularly, but I have a hat, sunglasses and even a mask on. So the issue sometimes becomes not getting enough natural vitamin D – I try to combat this by wearing hats that have an open top and rolling up my sleeves to catch some rays!
In terms of things that have worked well, I would put facial massages at the top of the list. I love both the gua sha tool and sake glass too. I massage my face with the homemade face oil you gave me (love this product so much!), then the tops of my hands and feet too – starting from the nails towards the wrists and ankles. I believe nothing beats good circulation when it comes to good skin. As you know, I use a wooden body roller for the rest of my body as well every time I have a spare moment.
- What is top of mind these days for you when it comes to skincare?
I’m concerned with wrinkles and skin elasticity mostly. In addition to a daily at-home facial massage, I believe in making sure I walk at least 20,000 steps a day and go hiking on the weekends. Walking a lot is key to boosting the circulation in my body and my face to prevent these issues. Lastly, I’m focused on stretching out my body. My body needs to be flexible and supple in order for my skin to glow from the inside out.
- Last bit of advice you might want to give to all of us?
Spiritual health is above and beyond the most important element for your overall health and skin too. Life is impermanent and full of surprises. If you don’t put in the effort to work on your inner-self during your early years, it will become more difficult as the years go by. You’ll suffer inside, which will show on the outside, including impacting your skin in negative ways. It’s also important to remember to be generous and kind to the people around you - the older I get, the more I realize we’re all interconnected and need the help and support of our community.