Writer: Misaal Irfan
Skincare. To some it may not seem too important, simply a few steps of their daily routine, but for others it's the pinnacle of self-care and beauty. For Nicole Baylock, a passionate Business student at the George Washington University, it has become one of her greatest passions and the basis of her social media platform called @Comfyskin. After talking to her over Zoom, I was able to get an insight into the great plans she has for @Comfyskin and how one day she wants to create her own Korean-based skincare brand.
When did you first get into skin care?
Nicole: One day, I was cleaning out a cupboard while watching Michelle Phan makeup videos. I immediately wanted to learn more about skincare. I had the realization that it was possible to make your skin look like you’re wearing makeup without makeup. I mean I initially stepped into the world of skincare and beauty because of makeup. Then, it transformed into skincare becoming a serious passion.
How do you educate yourself?
Nicole: Paula’s Choice is a really great resource. She has this book about debunking skincare products and explaining different products. For a more professional and personal experience, I have also been able to attend masterclasses in New York! But besides that, I am always watching Youtube videos and reading blog posts. A huge way to hear about new products and tips and tricks on skincare is to follow dermatologists and skincare specialists on Instagram and Youtube.
When did your interest turn into a platform?
Nicole: In my senior year of high school, I created my own blog and got my first internship with this social media marketing company. They helped me to officially and professionally create my own website. This gave me the confidence to post on YouTube. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time and was really only focused on myself. So that allowed me to manifest my @Comfyskin journey in a way. I posted a blog, and then did Youtube, and eventually wanted to do more. I promised myself to only make decisions in college to help make @comfyskin bigger and better. Also, fortunately, I had very supportive friends and family that supported my channel. Support or no support, it's hard to believe in yourself when you do something like this.
It’s undoubtedly easy to get lost in the numbers and get nervous about posting, but Nicole repeatedly emphasized that if you really are passionate about something, you should learn to be confident about putting yourself and your content on the internet. She has been so passionate about skin care for the past few years and has maturely been able to refine her taste and understanding for the field. Even though she is just a sophomore in college, she already has amassed over a thousand followers on her Instagram account and has plans to curate a team. Her dream is to transform @Comfyskin into her own Korean based skincare brand!
Now, you’re probably wondering how she came to be so interested in specifically Korean skincare, I had this exact question for her: Why Korean skincare? What is so special about it?
Nicole: I got exposed to Korean skincare through the Internet. I liked Korean music like RnB and K-pop and I’m actually also studying Korean. Just like getting braces and going to the orthodontist regularly is a norm in the States, consistently going to the dermatologist is the norm in Korea. I also went to Korea this past December, and high-quality skincare was being sold at drug stores. I was confused and surprised because you don’t have to be wealthy or have a lot of money to be interested in skincare there. It showed me such a culture difference-- no matter your class, you can afford good skincare at the drug store and there wasn’t a stigma. Those products are amazing and very well formulated; there is a lot of science behind what they do!
How do you use your platform to instigate change?
Nicole: I would say one of the things I am doing right now in response to the current BLM movement is investing money into buying black skincare brands. I am doing a brand series where each Sunday I post information about a certain Black skincare brand, my favorite products of theirs, and the founder(s). In addition to that, I’m currently working on a Youtube series right now. Also, this is all new to me and I am coming to realize how much underrepresentation there is in the skincare makeup industry for BIPOC. A lot of brands don’t make products for all skin tones. skincare reactions work differently for different skin tones and skin types. A lot of brands fail to study and understand how different medical conditions or different products react on different skin types. In America, sunscreen is considered a drug, but even in clinical trials we don't see different trials for different skin tones. I've recently learned this. That makes me more passionate about starting my own skincare line in the future-using different skincare to show different results on real people. Skin care is not colorblind at all, it sees color, but the industry is colorblind right now. I also have no problem calling out Korean skin care. They don’t feel attached to BLM, but they should.
What are your goals for the future (short term/long term) ?
Nicole: I guess my goals are to create my own skin care line and I want to make it with Korean skin labs. I want the blog to become a community and wish for people to be able to contribute and have a team that cares as much about skin care as me. A dream would be to have a line and live in Korea and be fully immersed there and have brand deals there. I want to go with the flow and be less rigid. For my skin care line, it's really easy to say I want to do that in future, but I really want to make it a reality. I don't just want to just do all this work and give up!
Nicole: With @Comfyskin I was definitely really small, and I still am, but I have these periods that I get into when I feel like I am putting so much work into something that I am not getting anything in return. I don't know how to explain how to support yourself but it's definitely easier to say than to do. I would notice how I don't get enough likes or stats, but I realized that it's important for someone who has a platform like this to identify themselves separate from your brand. Nicole is Nicole and Comfy Skin is Comfy Skin. If someone doesn’t want to work with me it is not because I am a failure as a person, but maybe I need to improve @Comfyskin.
Like all creators, Nicole is working hard everyday to create videos, write blog posts, interact with and create a community. It is definitely not an easy journey, but there are so many rewarding aspects. She is doing what she loves and her determination for the future is both exciting and inspiring!