An inclusive world: beauty in all genders
The 2020s is slowly but surely shaping to be a more inclusive world. We see more marginalised bodies and more diverse ethnicities represented in TV and movies, people proudly embracing their sexuality and gender expression on social media. In the world of K-Beauty we are also now seeing gender-neutral skincare. What a time to be alive, right?
Adam Bugeja, a 21 year old skincare, art, and fashion enthusiast, agrees that skincare isn't exclusive to a gender.
"Skincare is for everybody, treat it with love and enjoy it!"
The Maltese national shares that one doesn't need 10 steps in skincare routine, but an understanding of your skin and some basic knowledge of which active ingredients works for you is essential.
This process (and culture) of experimenting is a relatively new and unique feature of Korean skincare. This is probably because many of us grew up thinking about skincare (and personal care) products as pragmatic "treatments" rather than "care" products that you use for enjoyment versus just their practical benefits - and that mindset persists until today. Sharing from his observation, he says that in Malta, he noticed that people are still wary of trying new products. He encourages people to keep discovering and experimenting, until you find products and a routine that suits your personal needs.
"Don't be afraid to experiment and learn more! It's only going to help your skin for the best," he enthuses.
"A photo close to my heart." Portrait credit: Gabrielle's digital runway. Makeup by Lyanne Sawyer. Photo by Maria Galea.
Adam and his Shiba inu, Jupiter. "He's been part of my life for four years and I can't imagine life without him."
Adam in London, rocking a look that describes his style perfectly--black, faux, and gold
Adam hopes to one day find a career in the fashion industry, and openly shares his creativity manifested in his love of experimenting with makeup and fashion.
If you do get stares from others, his advice to other queer kids: embrace being comfortable wearing what you love. "People may stare, but that's because you're looking drop-dead gorgeous!"
Fashion and makeup became his confidence boosters. By expressing himself creatively, he felt more and more at home in his own skin. His advice to fellow queer kids: Always be proud of yourself no matter what, and don't let anybody doubt in you.
You have a place in this world. And the confidence and courage to own it is inside you - finding it is a personal journey, and even if it's not always easy, being true to yourself will always be the light that guides your way.
FINDING HIS TRUEST SELF
Adam glows with his confidence in his makeup skills and skincare knowledge. But that wasn't always the case. He confesses that at 13 years old, he had an uncontrollable breakout. He would always pick on in front of the mirror for hours. It caused his skin a lot of damage, and made him extremely self-conscious.
"I used to find it satisfying back then," Adam says, talking about his bad habit. "I was very conscious of my acne issue, especially when someone would point it out."
"Looking back, I would definitely have been more careful," he says, regretful of the added damage and scarring he caused his skin back then. It was at that time that he started getting interested in learning about skincare, desperate to fix his acne and improve his skin texture.
Besides fashion, Adam also loves showing his creativity through makeup. Self-portrait with makeup using goldleaf. Photo by Adam Bugeja.
Eventually, he became interested in skincare routines, particularly in K-Beauty for its advanced active ingredients that focus on treating irritation and moisturising the skin deeply. Sticking to this routine religiously and patiently helped his skin immensely, especially in relation to his interest in makeup: skincare does not only help keep your skin clear and prevent breakouts from wearing a lot of it, it also helps create a canvas that's evenly textured, smooth, and healthy - ultimately improving the way you do and wear makeup as well.
He shares that patience and consistency are key: give your skin some time to heal and trust that with regular use, your skincare's active ingredients would do their job. "The more you learn, the more you will find it exciting to treat your skin in the loving way it deserves, morning or night," says Adam. Here are some of his top advice.
- Wear sunscreen! Wear it throughout the day. Even if you're staying indoors, UV rays are still able to pass through windows, and this worsens the appearance of scars and marks on your skin.
- Beware of skincare myths. Never use toothpaste to dry pimples, and never use tools to manually remove squeeze out blackheads and pimples as these make irritation worse. Opt for pimple patches instead - they work wonders!
- Double cleanse. Cleansing oils/balms will change your life, especially if you wear makeup. Double cleansing makes sure that you thoroughly clear the skin and pores from dirt and blockage, and better absorb nourishment and hydration.
- Remember to give your neck equal love, too! Just like in makeup, you have to make sure to include your neck when doing your skincare to ensure that the money-maker stays even and gorgeous! 😋
ADAM'S BEDTIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
Adam emphasises on the importance of taking mindful care of our skin. This is especially important in the nighttime, because that's when your skin rests and regenerates. As someone who used to have troubled skin as a young boy, Adam keeps K-Beauty close to his heart, continuously exercising the mindful awareness and self-care that it encourages - and fully enjoying experimenting, layering, and discovering new things to try!
Follow Adam's bedtime skincare routine in this short but sweet video he has generously shared with us. (All items mentioned are listed below in detail, together with his review of each.)
Cleansing Oil. I always start off using a cleansing oil. This will break down and remove all the makeup and dirt without disturbing our skin barrier. I found a new cleansing oil: From Green Cleansing Oil by Purito. I'd been considering trying it out for a while now and I'm super happy with it.
Cleansing Wash. Follow with a cleansing wash to make sure all the dirt is gone, and to prepare my skin for hydration and more active ingredients. I'm using Brightening Pore Facial Cleanser by Innisfree. I go for this particular cleansing wash as it contains most of my favourite ingredients such as Niacinamide and Vitamin C-2 active ingredients that are great for brightening, together with other great ingredients.
Toner. My go-to toner for day and night is the Rice Toner from I'm From. Its star ingredients are Niacinamide and rice extract, and they help hydrate and brighten dull-looking skin. Additionally, twice a week I use the Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner, an exfoliating toner to remove dead skin cells to help unblock my pores and improve any pigmentation.
Mask. I wear makeup throughout the day so I like using calming masks. The one I'm using in the video is a Mugwort Mask by I'm From, and it helps to soothe any irritation and sensitivity (especially after shaving). Wait 15 minutes before moving to the next step!
Serum. Now that my skin feels more fresh and calm, I'm going to apply a hydrating serum like Hyaluronic acid or the Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule by Mizon. This product contains 80% snail mucin and it's going to help minimize the appearance of fine lines, blemishes, pigmentation, and acne scarring and leave my skin looking dewy and healthy. Thrice a week, I will follow my serum with Azelaic acid or Retinoid.
Eye Cream. I used to think that eye creams were not necessary until I discovered the Snail Repair Eye Cream from Mizon. This product is my holy grail, and it contains snail mucin and Niacinamide, which are going to help brighten the undereye area. Don't forget to apply it on your eye lids, too!
Moisturizer. I'm using the Innisfree Brightening Pore Priming Cream, which I loveeee! This one is going to boost moisture into the skin and it has active ingredients that help to brighten the skin. The scent reminds me of my forever favorite chocolate: chocolate and orange 🤤
Night Mask. As a final touch, once or twice a week I like to use a sleeping mask to lock moisture into the skin. I like using the Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask by Dear Klairs, as it has Niacinamide and Vitamin E active ingredients that help to brighten and soothe the skin.
Thanks Adam, for sharing with us your art as well as your unique experiences with discovering your most authentic self! More power to you 🔥🔥🔥