Aimee Song Gets Candid About Therapy and Why Skin Care Is the Ultimate Self-Care

Aimee Song Gets Candid About Therapy and Why Skin Care Is the Ultimate Self-Care
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.

As a kid, Aimee Song’s dream destinations were Paris and Italy. Growing up, the seasoned fashion blogger routinely watched her her classmates jet off to Europe for spring break or study abroad programs, a long way from their West Coast home. In short: she wanted a piece of the action, too.

“The only place I had traveled to as a kid was Japan, South Korea—because that’s where my family’s from—and Saipan, which is kind of random because it’s an island,” she tells StyleCaster. “I didn’t have the money to do study abroad. And when they came back from their trips, it was either Paris or Florence. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it sounds so magical.'”

If you’re one of Song’s 5 million Instagram followers, you know by now that she made it to both places. In fact, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her travels. So much so, that she recently culminated all of her trips into World of Style, an ultra-chic book that chronicles 500 (!!) of her all-time favorite looks and a blogger-approved guide to some of the world’s most captivating cities, some of which were especially inspiring from a fashionista’s point-of-view.

“When I went to South Africa, it was different from anything I had ever seen. The way they dress. The way they carry themselves. These girls, they would wear these beautiful African prints,” said Song. “A lot of them wear so much color, but in such an elevated, elegant way. And just the way they take pride in their culture..I just loved it. I thought, wow, I kind-of want to wear whatever they’re wearing.”

Sure, there are still a few places on her bucket list–like Turkey, Australia, Ecuador and Peru–but the nomadic lifestyle has also impacted Song’s day-to-day in unexpected ways. For instance, she’s learning the importance of alone time–especially with such a large audience–as well as therapy, something she’s didn’t believe in up until a couple months ago. Ahead, Song shares the major keys to staying grounded when you’re constantly moving.

Self-Talk Equals Self-Care

Just like every morning we wake up and get dressed, I think self-care is the exact same thing. You need to take care of it every single day. You can’t just not think about it, take care of everything else and not take care of your own self. A lot of the time, we forget about it. And then we realize, why are we so not happy and why are we so miserable? Why are we so sad?

So I try to tether to my inner emotions and mental state every single day. And to know that sometimes, not everything is going to be perfect. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to feel these emotions. But just always understanding, how do I feel today? What is making me feel this way? Why am I feeling insecure today? And nurturing my inner self so that I can be a better person.

I try to tether to my inner emotions and mental state every single day. And to know that sometimes, not everything is going to be perfect.

Alone Time

Apparently Obama—I don’t know the exact numbers—but for like every two hours, he takes 20 minutes off or something for himself. And I think a lot of us have to remember that we need to be able to be okay being by ourselves. A lot of the time, because of the job that I do, I’m constantly surrounded by people. But sometimes I just take a break. Even if I’m just in the bathroom by myself for 10 minutes and thinking; even if I’m not actually using the bathroom.

A Different Kind of Workout

It’s really hard, I’m not good at this but I try to…I try to meditate for at least 5 minutes on a daily basis. I’ve only done it less than 10 times, but I see that it helps. I use Headspace. It’s like working out. You have to constantly work out to have a healthy body. So with your mental, you have to constantly be aware of how you think, how you treat yourself on a daily basis. You can’t just do it once and be like, ‘oh I’m good now.’

Whenever I’m putting on skin care products, that’s my moment when I can’t use a phone because both of my hands are being used.

Skin Care as Therapy

I love skin care products. My grandma always had a rigorous skin care routine and I watched her just apply so many different products. So that kind-of taught me to take care of my skin.

And whenever I’m putting on skin care products, that’s my moment when I can’t use a phone because both of my hands are being used. Sometimes it really feels like therapy. I’m taking care of my skin. I’m breathing in essential oils. It’s not as crazy as a 10-step Korean routine, but I do have a rigorous routine where I use probably 5 products on a daily basis.

My only regret is that I hadn’t seen the therapist sooner.

The Routine

I use a toner, SK-II Essence, and then some kind of serum. The serum changes depending on what I need. Right now, I’m using a squalene serum from Biossance. It’s the Phyto-Retinol Serum. Then I use an oil. So if the weather is really, really cold, there are two brands that I really love. I love the Biossance Vitamin C Rose Oil. Or I’ll use this brand based in New York–Tulura. And it smells very herbal—kind-of smells funky (laughs)—but I use that. And just breathing in. If my face is really poofy, I’lll use a jade roller. Then I’ll put a cream on my face. I love Avene or Vanicream, which is really moisturizing for the winter. Then I put on sunscreen.

I usually stick to these things, but on a plane, I’ll do a face mask. I love Skin Inc’s Deepsea Hydrating Mask, which goes on clear. But I do love a good snail cream sheet mask.

I openly talk about it because I really want to inspire other people to seek help and know that it’s totally okay.

Therapy Versus Culture

I started therapy four months ago, and I had never done it before. In Asian culture, and even Asian-American culture, therapy is something we don’t do at all. We don’t talk about our feelings. You only see a therapist if you’re crazy or if you have a mental issue. That’s how our culture sees it. That’s why I never did therapy. I felt like I would not benefit because I don’t have a severe mental condition. But we all have issues. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made for my own good. And my only regret is that I hadn’t seen the therapist sooner. And I openly talk about it because I really want to inspire other people to seek help and know that it’s totally okay. I want it to be normal.

I think it’s important for people like me that have a large audience to speak up about for those who don’t have the means and access to that information. They can understand it’s okay to ask for help. It’s totally fine to feel sad. In this moment, it’s okay to feel that way because everyone else feels that way.

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