Today we chat to Edward Avila also known as Panda101 on YouTube. Edward is based in Seoul, South Korea and has a fantastic channel, reviewing Korean cosmetics as well as current style trends for men.
Edward’s videos are lighthearted and fun but always incredibly informative. He has his finger on the pulse of what’s hot in South Korea and what is going on globally in men’s skincare, fashion and style.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how your interest in men’s cosmetics, fashion and style has come about?
Growing up I wasn’t very concerned with how I looked or how I dressed or how I did my hair because honestly, my grandmother or mother would do that for me. They would tell me what clothes to wear, how to cut my hair, etc.
With fashion I would just wear whatever clothes I got and follow whatever small fashion trends that would come about at the time.
In terms of cosmetics, it all started in high school when I noticed dark circles beginning to form under my eyes. My mom would tell me how dark they were and it sort of took a toll on my self-esteem. It was then when I came across a video Michelle Phan had posted about covering dark circles for men and this is what inspired me to go out and purchase my first cosmetic item; a concealer from Maybelline.
Strangely enough I wasn’t concerned about covering my horrible cystic acne that had inexplicably popped up in high school much before my dark circles. It was when BB creams became a sensation that my friend helped me jump on that bandwagon and it was from then on that I began to pay attention to my appearance; be it my face or how I dressed.
A huge amount of fashion and cosmetic influence came for me from Asian pop culture. Specifically Jpop and Kpop. These cultures are very style conscience and I felt because I was Asian, I had to follow along. Over the years I’ve refined and tuned my style to a good medium between current trends and my own sense of style.
You have lived all over the world. Can you tell us what effect this has had on you and your outlook in general?
Because my stepfather is in the army I’ve done quite a bit of moving. My biological father is in the navy and in his case he does the moving, which may have contributed to the divorce of my parents. It did however lead to the opportunity for myself to travel the world. I’ve lived in several states in the US, the Philippines, South Korea, and Germany. All of these places my stepfather has been stationed to and we followed. I think moving to so many places and going to school with such a diverse range of people has really helped me open my eyes to other cultures and appreciate them. I am rather happy I have had the opportunity to travel as I feel it has made me much more of an open person.
How do you find living in South Korea?
I absolutely love living in South Korea. I am from San Diego, CA so I’m very much a city person. When my family was in South Korea we did live in a very quiet part of the country near the North Korean border, however after living on my own I moved into Seoul to be closer to the hustle and bustle of the capital city.
The transportation in Seoul is quick and very accessible, there is shopping everywhere you go (not as cheap as people believe it to be; it depends on where you look and the quality you’re going for. I love shopping on Korean Internet sites because things are extremely affordable and shipping is super quick), and food is insanely expensive and delicious (again, also depends but generally, legit Korean food is on the cheaper side unless you’re going to fancy restaurants or the area you’re in is more affluent).
I don’t experience that many negatives living in South Korea, but I also believe it might have something to do with how I blend in. I will be completely honest and say that from my experience living here, there definitely is discrimination against people from overseas. Of course not every Korean is like this and it completely depends on each person, but Korea is a very homogeneous society and they can be quite insular.
What made you want to venture onto YouTube?
It began with posting random videos that were supposed to be “funny” and I would show them to my friends and family. I then began to watch more beauty and style videos which eventually made me want to do so as well. So I then started posting hair tutorials and it eventually evolved into posting skincare, makeup, and review videos.
So Korean skincare has become massive in Europe and the US in the last few years. Can you tell us why you think this is the case?
I think many people are beginning to realize that as they get older their skin starts to give in because of the lack of attention it has been given. Also people just want to look good!
I do believe it is due to the increasing influence South Korea has had on the Western world. Fans of Kpop are aware of Korean people and their beautiful skin as well as the efforts they put into taking care of it. Also, the fact that Asia is much more developed in terms of technology in skincare compared to that of the Western world and is much more accessible for everyone in Asia.
What is your current skincare regime?
Currently I am traveling in Europe for the holidays so I’m trying to keep it simple, but not neglecting my bare minimums. In the morning I cleanse with my all natural Kojie San Whitening Soap just to remove the oil and sweat from overnight but without stripping my face, I then acid tone with Etude House Skin mal:gem smoother Exfoliation Toner, I use Nature Republic The First Eye Cream, then Nature Republic Snail Solution 90 Skin Booster skin toner, Nature Republic Original Power Argan Oil, Skinfood Royal Honey Cream as an intense moisturizer. Then FINALLY Innisfree Eco Safety Daily Sunblock SPF 35 PA++ sunscreen. So much for simple!
The winter in Europe and Korea is very harsh on the skin so I try to keep it well hydrated during the day. At night I always use a cleansing oil if I have worn sunscreen or makeup and I follow up with a cleansing cream.
At night I concentrate more on repairing and treating my skin so I’ll use my exfoliating acid toner, eye cream and just an essence/serum. I do occasionally use any face masks if I feel my skin needs it.
Do you have any ‘Hero’ products you can recommend to us?
Definitely the Etude House Skin mal:gem smoother Exfoliation Toner. I believe EVERYONE should exfoliate with acid toners because it removes any dead skin cells without harsh abrasives and preps the skin for everything you’ll put on afterwards.
Also, Argan oil is an amazing moisturizer. I use Nature Republic’s Original Power Argan Oil Ampoule. This is one I believe everyone should use because I notice so many people have incredibly dehydrated skin (even if it is oily, it can still be dehydrated) and they have very tight or very porous skin.
So many people try to slap on more and more moisturizer but they’ll notice it doesn’t help. Facial oil really does help to maintain the skin’s moisture levels even in the harsh cold wind or switching between heated and cooled environments. Argan oil especially, helps with acne scarring and wrinkles.
Finally are you working on any exciting upcoming projects you would like to share?
Right now I have some fashion look book videos I’m planning and want to shoot soon after my trip and finger crossed I put out some vlogs where I finally take my camera outside of my room into the city. So stay tuned!