Find out beauty and lifestyle YouTuber Amy Lee’s, AKA Vagabond Youth, best tips for skin care, trying out new products, and acne.
Amy Lee, who you may also know as “Vagabond Youth,” is known for creating an eclectic mix of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle videos on YouTube. Amy is also recognized for being open and honest with her followers and being free and experimental in style of her videos. We talked to her about how her upbringing influenced her interest in skin care, finding balance in her life, work, and social media, and finding confidence in going foundation-free.
Where did the name “Vagabond Youth” come from?
I had an online vintage store under the same name. It was supposed to represent how when you’re young, you feel free, kind of without a home, roaming free like a vagabond. It’s a bit cheesy, but at the time, I thought I was so cool for knowing the word “vagabond.” I like the name even though people really have no idea what it means.
Who first taught you about makeup, fashion, and skin care?
My mother jumpstarted my interest in skin care! She had me using Clinique moisturizer since I was nine. I started using eye cream at 15 because of her. Fashion and makeup, though, I learned everything I know pretty much from perusing the internet until my eyes bled. I’ve always considered myself a kid who grew up on the internet. I actually started watching YouTube videos because I didn’t know how to do makeup for my monolids. I learned so much from YouTube at an early age and am so grateful for it.
What is one thing that you mother taught you about skin care?
Always wear eye cream and to never tug your face or apply products the way gravity falls!
What does your current skin care routine look like?
I currently use COSRX’s Low PH cleanser for my morning, Kate Somerville AHA/BHA Gentle Cleanser for the night, Josie Maran Argan Oil, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream, and that’s it! For acne treatment, I love COSRX’s pimple patches and La Roche Posay’s Effeclar Duo Acne Treatment.
What is your best acne tip?
Stop wearing foundation and get comfortable with wearing no face makeup most of the time. I only wear face makeup when I have to (ie. work, events, filming) but I never wear makeup to the gym, the grocery store, or when seeing close friends.
What are some of your K-beauty favorites?
I love any type of oil cleanser balm, such as the one from Banila Co but I’ve been recently loving Heimish’s! I love the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream because it moisturizes without breaking me out or making me too dry. And I can’t live without COSRX’s pimple patches.
In your videos, you do a really great job of balancing beauty based videos with speaking videos and talking about other topics, especially ones submitted by followers. How do you find that balance? How do you continue to stay true to your own brand?
I think the balance is something that honestly came naturally for me. I always thought I had more to say than just about beauty products, I was just for some reason always afraid to. I think now my channel is more of an accurate representation of me—beauty with substance.
How do you try out new products?
I typically will watch a bunch of videos from my favorite trustworthy YouTubers, and whenever I see there’s an overlap of favorite products from all of my favorite creators, I usually go out of my way to buy it. It’s a sign! I also read a lot of beauty articles from The Klog, Byrdie, and Into the Gloss, so whatever I see interesting on there, I will usually research and buy. But I never try something without some referral!
What’s your top skin care tip?
Less is more. Whenever my skin breaks out, I notice the more products I use, the more it exacerbates the situation. I try to just cleanse my face and moisturize when it’s at its worst. It always works to alleviate my acne.
You went foundation-free for a while, how did that feel?
Since I started YouTube, I had always been foundation-free because all my life, I had perfect, flawless skin! But when I turned 20, I randomly started breaking out! I still don’t use foundation (only BB creams and tinted moisturizer), but foundation or not, with or without acne, I feel beautiful in my own skin. And that’s what I think is important!
Do you think that growing up Korean-American influences your interest in beauty?
Oh yeah definitely! My mom has always been huge into skin care and always had a minimal but effective make-up routine. She was the first person to influence me that way. I also think Korean culture is very much about the external appearance and what you look like, so it was always important for me to maintain my appearance. As I get older, I get more and more appreciative of Korea’s innovative skincare technology and products.
Social media is an integral part of being an influencer and being a YouTuber, but you decided to give it up not once, but twice. How do you think that affected you as a person vs your brand?
I think as a person, everyone needs a detox and a reality check. Social media is not real life, and it’s not at all an accurate depiction of what life is like, and so it’s so important to take a step back from it. I would recommend a day without having Instagram being the first thing you check. It’s liberating.
As a brand, you would think it might’ve hurt my business but I think people really enjoyed hearing that someone who makes a living from social media is even sick of social media herself. It made me seem more authentic and genuine and more vulnerable. Overall, I think people really got to see me in a different light and I’m happy for that, even if my engagement might’ve been down those few times I was gone. It was well worth it.
What’s the beauty trend you’re most looking forward to in 2018?
Always rooting for the undone natural eyebrow! I use the Glossier Boy Brow to create unruly brows.