Hey Sarah! It's so lovely to have you in my interview series about Kbeauty bloggers on Instagram! Your IG page (@boxnip) and blog are such a great resource for beauty reviews.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I always find that question hard to answer as I think it will just sound way too boring lol
I think the majority of people know that I'm 48 years old, it was my birthday the end of January. I have 5 children - 4 boys and a girl. My two eldest sons also have children now, which makes me feel VERY old! So, I have a grandson and granddaughter also.
Technically I am still married but my 'husband' came out as gay a few years ago. That might surprise some people! lol Truly though, it didn't really come as a surprise to me and we still live together as best friends and he is also my carer too. We have a very happy, stable home and if anything, it's better than it's ever been. When he told the kids, they didn't bat an eyelid either - I think they already knew or suspected.
Some people may not realise that I have been housebound and bedridden for the last 8 years now. The only time I leave my room & the house is to go to hospital appointments; I have many of those.
I suffer with depression and have done since I was around 14 years old. It sadly runs in my family. After getting sick and ending up living life in my bedroom 24/7 I was feeling very down and that I had nothing to offer anyone.
I'd thought about blogging for a while as I had always loved to write. The thought behind it was that it would help take my mind off the daily pain I am in and I would also feel I was doing something worthwhile again. So one day, I just did it and here I am nearly 3 years later. Honestly, I never dreamt I would enjoy it so much or that anyone would even read my blog!
I'm actually very shy, so I find it incredibly hard to reach out to people and make friends. I am really friendly though and try to respond to any messages that I get. I also have a wicked sense of humour - probably inappropriate sometimes too lol but I haven't ever really let that side of me show.
I read that you first started Korean skincare in 2015. How did you first discover the world of KBeauty?
Yes, I have a very good friend who lives in the US. She is American Chinese and in amongst one of the many parcels she'd send me was a Tonly Moly gift set. The set comprised of their apple hand cream and cherry lip balm. I adored the packaging and was impressed with the quality. I'd never heard of Tony Moly, so of course I had to google and then I fell down the rabbit hole of Kbeauty and have never looked back!
What was it that got you obsessed with Kbeauty?
It was all three really, though I'd say packaging and quality first. Kbeauty products can be fun and yet they are still really high quality and actually work.
We're both based in the UK. Do you notice a difference between Korean and Western skin care?
I think Western skincare is still very rigid though I have noticed in the last year or so that they seem to be taking a leaf out of Kbeauty's book. That's not to say I don't like or use Western skincare because I do. I really like The Inkey List and The Ordinary, oh and Revolution Skincare - I was pleasantly surprised how good their products are.
I'm fortunate that I get to try a lot of different skincare. When I am buying, I won't buy expensive though. I can't afford to. lol Though for me the price point means nothing in how effective a product will be.
Korean skincare is a lot more innovative and they are not afraid to think outside of the box and I just generally think their products are a lot more effective. They're not afraid to have fun with it either. Which I love because it should be a fun experience. It's like the whole package with Korean beauty and whilst you can pay expensive for Kbeauty there are so many great products for people on a tight budget - myself included!
What's your everyday morning skincare routine? What are your go-to products?
In the morning it all really depends on how I am feeling. Most days I wake with a pounding headache & the thought of doing my skincare routine is like, ughh!! If it's a day like that, which to be fair is 99% of the time, then I will use one of the Heaven Skincare Ella Jane Renew wipes. I am NOT usually a fan of wipes but those are so so good! Best wipes I have ever used. They contain Neroli Orange Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Organic Peel Oil, Organic Bee Venom (Abeetoxin), Manuka Honey. I'll use one of those and then just some moisturiser. My skin honestly doesn't need anything else in the morning.
What's your everyday makeup routine like? What are your go-to products?
This one is easy to answer! I don't have one lol I adore makeup but given I am in bed all day, there is just no point in wearing it. Plus, most times I do not have the energy to put a full face of makeup on either. I will say that my favourite makeup brands are Makeup Revolution and Colourpop. Affordable and really good quality products.
What's your night time skincare routine? What are your go-to products?
Ah, now my night time routine l liked to take my time and indulge a little.
I cleanse, which is a quick job as no makeup to take off. Then I will usually use a chemical exfoliant. I'm a bit of a sucker for the 7 skin method as my skin likes a real long drink of toner. Then essences, several serums and then usually Rosehip oil because I have found that to be incredibly good for my skin. Then a sheetmask and eyemask, followed by eye cream, then a moisturiser and sleeping mask. If I think my skin needs it, I will also mist my face too, just for a final boost of moisture.
If you were to recommend 5 Kbeauty products for a friend who's never tried KBeauty before, what 5 products would they be?
Hmmm, that's a toughie but I think it would have to be Mizon's All In One Snail Repair Cream. That was the 2nd KBeauty product I ever tried and my skin loved it. I found it really good for breakouts, soothing any irritation & just healing the skin overall. My skin just looked great after using it.
Then depending on the person's skin type, I'd also recommend a good cleanser, toner, essence and sleeping mask or sheet masks.
Is there any Kbeauty product (skincare or makeup) that is currently on your wish list?
I've been itching to try quite a few brands like iunik, Urang, Aromatica, Beaudani and a lot more that aren't coming to mind at the moment - thank you brain fog!
I was reading your 'about me' page on your blog (boxnip.com). I found your story about how you started with your beauty blog really moving. Do you have any advice for anyone who's going through a similar experience who wants to start a beauty blog?
Thank you! I think the only advice I can really give is to just go for it. Wordpress.com is free, it's where I started but I quickly changed to self-hosted & bought a domain name because I knew I was going to stick with it.
Most importantly just be yourself, be honest and true to who you are and don't try to be like anyone else. When I review I try and write as if I am speaking to people. Hopefully then it doesn't come across as though I am speaking down to people or being preachy.
Oh, and also remember that you are not an expert (unless you actually are lol) so don't try and tell people what they should do for their skin or what they should be buying. You can say how the product was on your skin and what you thought of it. No one knows how someone else's skin will react to it though.
That's a bit of a sore point for me. Beauty bloggers etc that think just because they review a product, they are suddenly qualified to tell others what they should be using. It's just a HUGE NO NO.
We want to find out even more about you!
This or that
Skincare or makeup - skincare
Pizza or hotdogs - hotdogs
Netflix or Cinema - Netflix
Early bird or night owl - Night Owl
Summer or Winter - Winter as I cannot tolerate the heat!
Fill the gaps
Fav Korean dish - never tried any Korean food!
Fav Kpop band - Used to be Big Bang and Girls Generation but I like BTS too
Fav spot in the world - My bed lol It's the only place I am comfortable
Fav item of clothing now - That'd be my oversized T-Shirts I wear for bed - well, I'm in them every day, so yeah lol. I get too hot in pyjamas, otherwise I'd wear some.
Fav song - Hmm, I have such an eclectic taste in music, so this is really tough for me. Hurricane - Thirty Seconds To Mars, Sara Bareilles - Brave and Gravity. Honestly though, it really depends on my mood at the time.
Fav movie - Gosh, that might be a tie between The Shawshank Redemption, The Color Purple and Hacksaw Ridge - I can't pick just one!