By Lydia Wilson
If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, you know how important the after care is. A good artist will ensure that your aftercare experience is just as careful as the tattoo itself. Dr. Woo, the celebrity tattoo artist, (he counts Justin Beiber, Drake, Miley Cyrus and Frank Ocean as clients) and founder of the brand PROJECTWOO, takes great pride in his art and in caring for his skin. His personal beauty philosophy is that “everything comes from within” and he’s based his beauty brand on learning and loving yourself inside and out.
Woo grew up in Los Angeles and used to tag along with his mother to the beauty salons on the weekend. It was here that he started to pay attention to products that worked the best on Asian hair. Having suffered from skincare conditions such as eczema at an early age, his parents tried different lotions and creams to try and help, often to no avail. This resulted in loss of confidence in skin care products for Woo.
Creating a skin care product for sensitive skin became his interest and he took the time to study different skin types in order to learn how to formulate these products. Shopping his line, you’ll see items like the Woo Essential Set that includes a coconut oil based cleanser and a revitalizing body moisturizer that is fragrance-free.
All of the PROJECTWOO collection are made with clean ingredients and in small batches making them more sustainable. As a renowned tattoo artist, his line would not be complete without some aftercare products. The Tattoo Aftercare Kit is a fan favorite and contains an aftercare gentle recovery soap and a hydrating and calming moisturizer. Here, Dr. Woo describes his brand and the challenges and wins of the journey.
Get to Know – Dr. Woo
I was always fascinated by the idea of creating a skin care product based around sensitive skin. Having worked closely with skin from all around the globe I felt I had a niche understanding of different skin types and the relationship between the creative side and the health side of skin was something that I felt I wanted to explore further.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
Everything comes from within, our own strength and our own confidence. So we must take care of ourselves the best we can by using the best products suited specifically to us, and Learning more about the best way to take care of our inner self and outer self.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences? (family/relatives, culture, era, location)
I remember every weekend having gone to a specific salon that my mother loved because they knew how to handle Asian hair. We would get our products from there and I never really understood what the difference was between that specific shop and any other shop. My parents explained to me how even though we are all made from the same earth we all had different parts and functions that affected us differently, and sometimes certain places just knew which products were right for us. Early on I had really sensitive skin, eczema, rashes and my skin was easily irritated. So even then the journey to find moisturizers and lotions to help me was a tough one, so many products just didn’t vibe well with me and I lost a lot of confidence in skin products at an early age.
What does self-care look like in your life?
At this point I’m just focused on doing the best that I can in this busy schedule and making time for myself. Trying to do as much physically to reverse the daily damage that I do from working in the position that I do and also taking care of my skin. My routine has become a bit more extensive the older I get. Things I never really cared about when I was younger but now I have a newfound respect for my body and my skin so I want to take care of it the best that I can.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
I love the momentum and work journey that it takes to even build a brand In this arena. It truly is a mission to make people feel better, live better, and be more self-aware. There’s so many products and different stories and perspectives in the birth of these ideas and these companies they all inspire me and the hustle and grind of it is truly something to be in awe of.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
I would say learning about ingredients and the process from formulations and packaging and not compromising any ideals you had going into it. The balance of realistic timelines and the market side of making amazing products is a tough one. Also, the business side to normally working in a creative field is something that is challenging but also very exciting to me.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
Getting the recognition and respect of some very respected organizations in the beauty industry have been the biggest win for me. Letting people know that We are not just slapping logos on products we are not familiar with and that we truly care about what we are making and the story that we are telling.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
I would like to see representation in all these fields a little bit more as commonality rather than as a niche novelty part of the bigger picture. I don’t think diversity and inclusivity should be a trend and that we should set a standard about making this as normal for everyone from all backgrounds.