I am Cara, and I’m 28. I’m from the Philippines, and I’m third-generation Chinese. I’m a content creator who posts on skin positivity, skincare, and makeup. I began my page because I love the artistic and colorful aspects of makeup, and I wanted to show people that they don’t have to achieve perfection.
When I first got acne, I was in college. I was very stressed, I was eating a lot of fast food, and I got acne. I was so busy with school that acne stayed in the back of my mind, but when I got home and watched YouTube and social media, I became self-conscious. Getting targeted with content about fixing acne and blackheads played a huge part in making me uncomfortable with my skin.
It made me feel like I needed certain skincare products to be beautiful and accepted. Even as a young kid, I dealt with this. And while I didn’t have a lot of acne back then, it still put a lot of pressure on me that I wasn’t even aware of. It gave me anxiety, but I didn’t think too much about it. I grew up in an environment where you didn’t make your problems public. It was conservative. Growing up, I had to act a certain way, and I already had a lot of pressure applied to me, especially regarding school. Another thing was that I liked to play video games, but I was taught that this didn’t look good on girls. I also loved makeup, but that was looked down upon too. People said that I wanted attention. I was supposed to be prim and proper.
In social events, sometimes people would nitpick at me. People would say that I’m beautiful, but there was always a caveat. They would say - “You’re beautiful, but…” This left me feeling like I wasn’t enough. Plus, I was always getting compared to my sister. Also, a big thing people picked at me for was my hair. In the Philippines, straight hair is a big thing so I would wash my hair every day just so it would be silky. After a while though, the constant washing caused it to get wiry.
During that time, I was constantly doing skincare too. I remember watching skincare routines on YouTube, and it gave me the impression that I had to have a decadent skincare routine in order to achieve perfect skin. Before I started making my own money, I never realized how obsessed I was with skincare. When I had to pay for these products, I realized that I was really enslaved by my need for skincare. I was using way too many products for way too much money. Because I was so afraid of getting zits, wrinkles, and dark circles, I compulsively bought an unsustainable amount of products. And although I wore makeup, it wasn’t really my tool for perfection. My addiction to skincare routines was my crutch.'
As I grew more concerned about having imperfections, my anxieties were fueled. It was very unhealthy. I wanted my skin to be perfect, and of course, this is a very difficult thing to keep up with. Perfection was my compass. It guided how I viewed myself and how I measured my prettiness. I had clear standards in my head about how I wanted to look at various ages. All of these preoccupations nursed a shopping addiction inside me too. To be honest, maintaining my skincare regimen was more important to me than my financial freedom.
While skincare isn't all that bad, and there's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, society and particularly the beauty industry, has a way of making us feel like we need ALL of these things just to be pretty, or even sometimes normal.
It was only recently that I became aware of this. So, I partly started my Instagram to push against this. I started a whole campaign about normalizing real skin, showing my acne scars, and about conscious buying. I felt called to do this because I didn’t want anyone to go through what I went through. Using makeup and having skincare routines are wonderful and amazing, but they are not a necessary part of being beautiful and living well.