Brian Underwood is Oprah Magazine’s beauty director and a father of a beautiful 4-year-old girl, Parker. Being a parent at this time and age is not the same as it used to be. It’s about teaching important lessons to children and making sure that they’re growing up in a world that’s loving and accepting. It’s about setting that foundation to make sure they know that their voice matters and that they themselves matter. Brian is no stranger to this as a father of a little girl who is just finding her place in this strange world. In that light, our founder, Amy Lin got to have a little talk with Brian about everything from fatherhood and self-care to Black Live Matter and Pride all while doing a little buff mani together. We recommend you do a little mani yourself while you read!
Amy: Let’s get to know you a little more. Tell us about your self-care routine and how long you’ve been a beauty director of Oprah Magazine.
Brian: Tomorrow is my 3 year anniversary at O. Prior to that I was a beauty director at Dr.Oz magazine for almost 4 years. The job at Dr.Oz was my first beauty job. When I got the job offer, I was thinking but I’m a guy, can a guy be a beauty editor? I really love my job and I got to meet so many creative people and especially at this time creativity is super important-to have that outlet and ability to create.
Amy: Self-care, nail care is really about doing something for yourself, taking that moment especially during this time.
Brian: Yes, I agree! I wrote a piece for Oprah Magazine about how my skincare routine has helped me navigate challenges of the pandemic and doing something for yourself is important. While also helping me ground myself. So, I absolutely agree!
Amy: Can you share some of your beauty routines with our audience?
Brian: I am a man who chooses not to wear makeup, although I do a little bit of brow and sometimes a little bit of concealer. I really love skincare and playing around with new products. I use some form of retinol every evening after I’ve cleansed, then I’ll layer some oil over that and then some moisturizer over that. In the morning, I always use some exfoliating product, a chemical exfoliator like glycolic or lactic acid. Then I’ll put an anti-oxidant serum over that and of course sun screen. Best anti-aging product you can use is always sun-screen! Not only does it prevent damage, it can also reverse some of that sun damage as well.
Amy: I need a list of products that you’re using!
Brian: I use a retinol by Shani Darden, who’s a celebrity aesthetician, based out in the West Coast. I’ve used Neutrogena, Olay and I’ve loved those products too. So, you don’t need to spend a ton of money I think. Right now, I’m using a chemical sunscreen by Jafra. I love mineral sunscreen, but they get into my bread so I prefer chemical sunscreens.
Amy: What’s your favorite part about being a dad?
Brian: It’s a really hard question. My favorite moments are usually at night when I’m getting Parker ready for bed, I read her a story, we watch some YouTube videos. Just those quiet moments of being together and snuggling together. She’s at that age where she’s so active, that sometimes the days go by and it almost feels like a total blur. So those very quiet moments when we’re together are my favorite. Just seeing her grow and discover things and the magic of seeing thing from her perspective is very powerful. And the innocence of viewing things without so much baggage, we as adults have.
Amy: Yes, I found that we can really learn so much from our kids!
Brian: You realize the weight of things like work is not very important. It’s important to spend time together and you being present. Right now, it’s so hard to be just present, we’re all constantly on our phones. She even reminds me: “daddy put down your phone”. She’s really taught me to at least attempt to be a more present person.
Amy: What is it like being a dad during this time?
Brian: Being a dad, a parent right now has a lot of weight to it. My daughter’s young, she’s only 4. Up until now she’s only need kind of like her basic needs met: food, shelter and love. Those are easy things to provide for me, and I’m privileged that those are things I can provide to her. But right now, what parents are being called upon to do is to have challenging conversations with children. Like I said conversations they might not even fully understand. Parenting went from what seemed like this fun thing to a very weighty thing and trying to do the right thing. Your child looks to you to be that model, a good person. My daughter is mixed race and she’s starting to be aware that she doesn’t look like me, like someone else. But the way for me to approach that is to talk back with love, self-love and those important core values.
Amy: When I was younger. I definitely questioned why I was different too. Now I feel like we should celebrate the differences.
Brian: I hope we work to a place where everyone’s voice is valued and everyone feels heard. Those are the very important conversations we’re having now. Valuing everyone and creating a place where everyone feels welcome at home, at work, wherever. Creating a welcoming place and more of a kind space. That is what we’re hopefully working towards, so our kids can feel that they’re different but that they’re celebrated for feeling different, instead of feeling different as in an outsider.
Amy: Yes, and a lot about the movement is about celebrating being different and getting accepted for it.
Brian: For sure. My daughter is the only brown kid at her school. It’s a diverse group of children in other ways but not in that way. So, she’s becoming aware of that. For me as a white man that’s not something I ever had to think about as a kid, worry about as a kid. So I’m trying to figure out how I can relate to her about that because I can’t really relate to her about that. So I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing, I hope I’m doing the right thing, will continue to learn. Because my most important job is raising a little girl who feels, comfortable, confident and happy. The pandemic on top of everything, love is the only tool you need, and being a parent really reinforces that. All that these little people need is to feel loved.
Amy:What would be the best Father’s Day gift for you?
Brian: Honestly, I think these times have made us realize what’s really important in life and seeing the terrible injustices has as well. We all get so caught up in our day-to-days, this almost feels like a huge reset button and reinforced us to focus on the truly important things. I’m going up to Boston to see my family. That’s all I really want, to spend time with them, for my daughter to spend time with them. I love seeing my daughter spend time with my family. So that’s what I’m looking forward to.
Amy: Has your lifestyle, self-care changed after having your daughter?
Brian: Yeah, in a lot of the ways my life has become more scheduled. I’m in an interesting situation where I’m co-parenting so I have the luxury of having a few days off. So I have the time to focus on myself, do things for myself. Being a parent is being a lot more regimented about my time. And I do feel like it’s important to sometimes prioritize yourself and it models for your child that they should value themselves. Because I do think that it’s really important to model that for them.
Amy: If you’re not happy, they can pick up your emotions as well.
Brian: Yes! For sure. I’ve learned how much of a sponge she is. How much she’s taking in everything. It’s adjusting that part of yourself to make sure you’re modeling the best you can for them. This little person is looking to you for everything. Sometimes that can be scary, but you’re the first significant relationship for them.
Amy: Thank you so much Brian!
Brian: Thank you so much for having me! I can’t wait to come to the studio
Amy: Yes, we’re so excited to have our clients back to the studios! I hope we can bring more guys to our studio. They should do more self-care!
Brian: Yes! Now guys are getting hit to the fact that you should take care of yourself. So, it would be nice to have some company. I’ll be waiting outside your door when the studio re opens!
Happy Pride! Thank you for reading our interview with Brian and we hope that you discovered some new skincare products or found some important aspects of parenthood you can relate to!
Sending good vibes your way.