Welcome to Soko Secret! Here, we shine a light on the people living in Korea who inspire us. Straight from the streets of Seoul, their approach to beauty and style will impress you. When Edward Avila came to New York City, we got the lucky chance to hang out with him and ask him all the skin care and makeup questions our hearts’ desired. Check out the video and highlights from the interview below:
Edward Avila is one of the most popular YouTubers in the K-beauty scene, attracting over 450,000 YouTube subscribers with his skin care reviews, makeup looks, and vlogs about his life in Korea. From replicating the looks of popular K-Pop idols to providing top notch advice on handling oily, acne prone skin, Edward has skyrocketed to K-beauty stardom, and paved new roads for men in beauty along the way.
When Edward was visiting New York for KCON last week, we stopped by his AirBnB to ask him a few questions. Read below as we talk to Edward about his favorite skin care and makeup and the difference between Korean and American makeup.
What are your skin care travel essentials?
Unlike makeup, I actually can pack my skin care pretty lightly. I normally have a full ten step routine, but I don’t bring it all with me when I travel—I just bring the essentials.
All of the skincare I brought is from Troiareuke. It’s a brand that I’m absolutely obsessed with and the one I always go back to. As a beauty guru, I’m constantly testing and trying new products and brands, and if something goes wrong I always come back to the Troiareuke. I use their ACSEN line that’s for acne and oily skin, because I know it will work and will always help me reset my skin.
What’s your travel skin care routine?
First is the ACSEN Oil Cut Cleanser. It helps control oil and break down makeup, so I use it in my double cleanse. Then comes my toner. To control my oil and acne, I always use an acid toner, or a toner that will help exfoliate my skin. For me, that’s the TOC (Turn Over Cycle) toner. Because I have such oily skin, I also use the Pore Control Mask. I use it every day after toning on my T-zone and it keeps me from having to use mattifying powders and things like that because it really controls my oil.
In Korea, there’s a trend where you apply toner seven times to deeply penetrate the skin as your moisturizing step. As long as you’re using a toner that doesn’t have alcohol and is purely moisturizing, it’s great. I’ve been using the ACSEN Skin Complex Formula and have been using the seven step method to moisturize during the day. It’s great for people like me with oily skin because you’re using a watery toner rather than a heavy, oily cream. Then at night, I use the ACSEN Recovery Cream, which helps repair damaged skin, because I have bad acne scarring. This product is loaded with centella asiatica, which helps fade scarring and repair my skin.
What makeup do you bring with you?
When it comes to travel, I bring only my favorites. I always have so many products from Pony Effect. For my base makeup, the cushions I have with me are the Everlasting Cushion and the Cover Stain Cushion. Both are full coverage and long lasting, but one is dewy and one is matte. I also have the Pony Effect Cover Pro concealer, which I love for keeping my dark circles under control.
For powder, I brought the Clio Nudism Powder. I love this powder because it’s very natural looking and I think it makes your skin look similar to the way it does after baking. It also helps to set the makeup under my eyes really well, which prevents it from setting into my creases and fine lines. I’ve also been really into contour and highlight lately, and have been loving the Etude House Personal Color Contouring Palette. The powders are like the consistency of an HD powder and the blush has a really nice brightening effect. Oftentimes I put on blush and feel like my face looks just as pigmented as before I put on my base makeup, but this Etude House blush definitely doesn’t do that. The color is really nice and it makes my skin look bright.
You’ve had your hair dyed multiple times—what products do you use to keep it healthy?
For hair, I use Daddy-O from Lush. It’s a purple shampoo so it helps maintain the color. It does have sulfates, so it lathers, but I don’t mind because I feel like it helps remove the hair wax that I use. For conditioner I use the American Cream, also from Lush, which I love, and apparently the smells work really well together. For hair styling, I use hair wax and hairspray from Black Monster Homme, which is an up and coming men’s hair brand in Korea that’s been getting a lot of traction on Instagram. I love the hair wax because it gives my hair shape but still leaves room for movement.
Men in beauty, especially makeup, is still a relatively new concept. When you choose products, do you feel like there is a major difference between men’s and women’s makeup?
In a way there’s a difference. A lot of people see my content on my channel and think, “Oh, so Korean men must wear makeup all the time.” But if we’re talking about real Korean men, they’re actually more toned down when it comes to makeup. So, they’ll have maybe a BB cream and an eyebrow pencil and that’s about it. Men’s makeup products are usually really simple and kind of dumbed down. I really think they take away a lot, especially in regards to coverage, because men don’t want it to look obvious that they’re wearing makeup. So they still have quite a way to go, because when it comes to the marketing there’s definitely still a mentality where they kind of dumb it down for men.
Seoul gets SO hot and humid. What are some of your go-to products and tips for keeping your makeup fresh in the heat?
One thing that I think not everyone knows to do is to prime your skin and then apply powder before applying foundation. If you’re applying makeup in heat, it can be harder to apply and blend foundation, but if you have a thin layer of powder already on the skin, it just kind of grabs it and makes the foundation stick to your skin much better. And if you have really oily skin like me, it’s powder, foundation, concealer, and then powder again. In terms of long lasting foundations, I can always count on the classic Revlon Color Stay and the Etude House Double Lasting Foundation.
What are some of the trademark differences between American and Korean products in regards to makeup?
I would say K-beauty is much more on the natural side. If you go into Sephora there are so many different colors, so much more saturation. Korean brands are stepping up now, but they’re still way more on the natural side. There are brands like Pony Effect that have come out with things like blue or black lipstick, but nobody really buys it—it’s more of an editorial type thing, so usually only makeup artists buy it. But honestly the makeup artists in Korea, they still use Bobbi Brown and M.A.C.
So, yeah, I think definitely the main difference would be color and how K-beauty is still more about the natural look. Even if you’re wearing a ton of makeup, it’s still natural looking, with lots of browns and beiges.
You just released a song with Trophy Cat. What’s in your future when it comes to singing?
I thought it would be fun because the music he makes is the kind of music I really like to listen to. But I don’t want people getting the idea that I want to be a KPOP idol, because I don’t want to be that guy. It’s definitely more of a side project. But last night he sent over the preview for the second single, and it’s pretty good. It’s a side thing for me, but its definitely more to help him out and support his music.