Seoulfull Conversations with @thebeardedskin

This week, I talk to Jorge, @thebeardedskin, who I recently started to follow (I know! Where have I been this whole time??) I truly admire Jorge’s page and writing. He nails it with his posts; highly informative and cleverly and whimsically written at the same time. I only started following Jorge recently (I know, been living under a rock clearly!)  but I do remember spotting him at the Skinsider x Gothamista event over a year ago and the first thing that crossed my mind was ‘God, that guy has fantastic skin!’ Oh gosh. I cannot believe I just publicly admitted that.

Jorge recently celebrated a lockdown birthday, complete with cheesecake and a couple of vermouths! In this episode, we get a glimpse of the skincare potions he uses to achieve that glorious skin (it really is glorious, trust me!), he reassures us it’s ok not to be 100% productive everyday and we learn that Nigella was keeping him sane during lockdown.  I really enjoyed his interview and if you like his clever, signature style of writing in his posts, you will love this too!

Enjoy xxx

A little bit about myself…my name is Jorge, but since I’ve moved to London in 2012 I’ve been called everything from hor-hay to whore-gay. I’m a freelance graphic designer originally from Madrid, living in Camden for the last 5 years. I love the area, as much as I would love to take the tube right now and go somewhere else! My boyfriend is in Kent. My friends, all over the city. My family, in Madrid. And thank our Lord Beyoncé Knowles-Carter I have a flatmate because at this point I would be having conversations with my cactus.

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning…’morning’ is a relative concept in isolating times when you don’t have a job, but the first thing I usually do is taking a quick look at my Instagram and my email before breakfast… which is another interesting concept in quarantine. Everything, from pizza to chocolate cake, can be a breakfast these days. And who are we to oppose that?

My morning skincare routine…is all about protection: antioxidants and sunscreen. After washing my face -I’m really enjoying foam cleansers in the morning, especially the Make P:rem Relief Moisture Cleansing Foam- I go straight into my NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist and Timeless Vitamin C + E + Ferulic serum to protect my skin against free radicals. Then, it’s all about hydration. As I have oily skin, a good serum like the wonderful Apothaka Barrier Support is more than enough to make my skin look plumped, and it also includes Niacinamide for extra antioxidant protection, oil production control and collagen boosting. Now that the weather is getting warmer and my skin tends to be oilier, a sunscreen like the Klairs UV Essence can perfectly work as a moisturiser too. 
Also, twice a week after cleansing, I use Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Lotion on my T-Zone to exfoliate and flight blackheads. Some might think this is more of a nighttime step but I use retinoic acid at night, and this way I find easier to control any possible irritation.

What my days looks like right now…I’m not working at the moment, both forced by the situation we are living in but, also, I consciously decided not to look actively for any job for the next month. I’ve been freelancing since September non-stop, which now gives me the flexibility to take a couple of months off while things get back to normal. My concentration levels are lower than the subsoil at the moment and for the first time in my working life I decided it was time to take some rest.

How I’m keeping fit…If by keeping fit you mean the act of going downstairs to the kitchen, open the fridge, taking whatever is available to devour and making the effort to go upstairs back to my bedroom… I’ve been doing it every 5 minutes. Consider it Interval Training! My belly might be begging for help but my calves are in a really good shape!
I walk around the park one hour a day, unless it’s raining. If you see someone whose beard screams ‘you haven’t trim that thing in three months’, say hi. It’s definitely me.

My OOTD is…I have to be honest, and I know not everyone will agree with me. Life and a pangolin soup has given us the opportunity to chill for a bit and to give our appearance a secondary place. Why not take it? Your pyjamas are ok. That old Spice Girls t-shirt you got in the 90s is fine. Yes, I can’t wait to put my nice clothes on and I’m sure when I see my hairdresser is going to be like a Marian apparition. A miracle of magnanimous proportions. But I also appreciate the fact I can be way more relaxed about all these things, even if it’s for a bit. Your productivity is not going to improve just because you’re wearing mascara!

Some new things I’m learning…oh, I’m becoming an expert in the art of harvesting, chopping wood, building waterfalls, decoration, fashion design… like those artists from the Renaissance. Thank you Animal Crossing! 
I’ve been playing my electric guitar a lot too, but not sure if I can consider it a skill or my neighbour’s biggest nightmare.

How I’m feeling right now…all over the place! Who doesn’t? I’ve been like the weather in London, unpredictable and ready to be in 5 different moods in one day. For the last two weeks I think apathy is the only thing I’ve felt. I’m from Madrid, my life is being on the streets. Human contact. Busy places. I can’t stand talking by the phone or seeing my loved ones through a screen. It frustrates me. But on the other side, I could dedicate more time to Instagram and discover new accounts and very interesting characters. It took some time, but now I’m feeling the same excitement I had when I first joined the community.

I’ve binge watched...the impossibly silly Making the Cut on Amazon because you can’t say no to Naomi, and of course La Casa de Papel (so terribly called Money Heist in English), which is frenetic enough to keep me entertained. But mostly, I’m watching stuff on Youtube because it’s short enough to not lose my interest.
And Nigella. I’ve been watching a clip of Nigella making sticky toffee pudding more times I can even count.

My favourite youtuber to watch, podcast and book are…Spanish girl called Ter (tercosmicqueen), who makes videos mixing creativity (mostly architecture and structures) with popular culture. Totally my thing. And you’re going to laugh but I’ve just discovered Tati and it really relaxes me watching her doing her makeup. I don’t even use makeup but I love watching people do creative things. I don’t care if it’s nail painting or the Sistine Chapel.
I also love Jessie Ware’s podcast Table Manners. I saw her years ago in Brixton and she’s an incredible artist, but now she also has this podcast where she invites on every episode a different person from the world of culture, music or even politics to her mum’s house. She prepares a menu for them and they chat about food and very mundane things. It’s really funny.
And although I’m not reading anything at the moment, I’m right now waiting for the Tori Amos memoir to arrive. It’s called Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change and Courage, which pretty much summarises how amazing she is. Something to look forward to until we can leave the house and go straight to the pub.

Everyday I look forward to… a very simple thing: my one-hour walk to the park listening to music. I live relatively central so I can go around Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park, sometimes around the canal. The other day I got to a completely empty Camden Town and it was scary and fascinating at the same time. When I don’t go for a walk I feel as if I’m going to get ill. As I said, I’m not great at staying at home and this 2020 is giving me (well, all of us) a good challenge to deal with!

My guilty pleasure right now…I don’t believe in the concept of guilty pleasure. Nobody should feel guilty for enjoying what make them happy. Who owns the moral authority to decide what’s good (but not guilty) pleasure?

I’m grateful Nintendo Switch! hahaha And, on a serious note, of course the fact none of my loved ones, especially my parents, my aunt, my gran… are all safe.

My favourite ways to connect with friends or family I’m not seeing at the moment…Zoom, Whatsapp, Faceparty, Facetime, Facepalm… I hate all of them. I miss touching people. I feel like once this situation is done I’m going to be arrested for touching everyone on the street. And let’s go to the next question before people start to think I’m a weirdo.

My comfort food at the moment is…my favourite (and the easiest to make) thing in the world: a good Spanish Tortilla, with the egg still a bit runny. You just need potatoes, eggs, olive oil and some onion if you like it. Funnily enough I have the recipe on my stories under the highlight Recipes.

My night time skincare routine…is about one thing and only one thing only. retinoic acid. And everything else, it’s chosen to support it. I discovered the great benefits of double cleansing for oily skin and there’s no turning back. I love balms from Versed, I’m From and Deviant, and the Apothaka cleansing oil, while my water-based cleansers in rotation at the moment are the Jordan Samuel Matinee and the Stratia Velvet Cleansing Milk. My absolute favourite serum for great skin health, NIOD Copper Amino Isolate 2:1, goes after. I follow with Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 10% and a bit of soothing with the Dr. Ceuracle Royal Vita Propolis 33 Ampoule, because my skin loves propolis. Or the Jkosmmune Recovery Serum, which includes centella asiatica and it’s very calming too. After 20 minutes, I apply retinoic acid and seal with the fantastic Stratia Liquid Gold for the perfect ratio of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. It’s literally food for the skin.

One skincare product that I love right now…Apothaka Barrier Support Serum. The owner of the brand, Natasha, is such an incredible human being, so considerate and knowledgeable. You can see how much effort and care she has put on that guy. I love the texture, the finish, and how plumped but not overwhelmed my skin feels when I use it. A very solid formulation.

Little luxuries that I like…I like quality more than luxury (clothes, food, experiences…) but I guess “luxury” means different things for different people, and it also depends on the context. For example, when I moved to London, I was all day at the museums because they were free to visit and I had no money, so when I got my first payslip I treated myself with a Project Carbon Turntable, and amplifier, speakers and a couple of vinyls. I definitely shouldn’t have spent that money but it was a kind of “well done Jorge, you’re surviving the big city” kind of present. It was a luxury during that time!

Currently coveting…freedom! I mean, of course I would love to have a new good quality piece of clothing, a couple of art books and music vinyls I’m already checking online, or even trying skincare brands like DefenAge, Neocutis, Skinceuticals, Jan Marin… But I’m craving experiences more than objects at the moment. And the feeling of not being restricted by what I can do.

After lockdown, I look forward to…travelling. I love travelling. Every year I escape to a new exciting place and enjoy the culture, the food, the scenery and the people. But this year, after some cancellations, the only thing I really want to do is going back home, walk around the streets of Madrid in the sun and have an iced-cold vermouth with a tapa. 

What’s honestly keeping me sane at the moment…brownies.

Some advice I’d like to share with everyone…advice is a tricky thing, because it naturally tends to be about what we would do rather than what the person in front of us really needs. Something I’ve seen quite a lot these days, and that I’ve felt myself too, is how easy is to feel we’re not doing enough. Not enough exercise, not enough makeup, not enough healthy eating… I find the way people are communicating right now way too patronising, as much as I understand it’s not coming from a bad place. But if you’re not in the mood for all those things, you’re still doing the right thing. It’s great to take options into consideration, but I’ve always followed my mood and my instincts when I wanted to do (or change) something. Not every day needs to be an awesome productive day. That realisation has helped me enormously to keep me in a safe mental place. It’s your life, and the only validation you need is coming from you.

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