Merry AB Friendsmas: Why a Community of Beauty Lovers Leaves Me Feeling #Blessed
Dec 24, 2018
Today we’re taking a moment to count our blessings — and in particular the blessing that is the Asian Beauty community. It’s rare to find a more generous, more encouraging, more passionate online community than the AB community. Whether it’s through subreddits, Twitter, Facebook groups, blogs, or even here at Beautytap, the AB community is where we share, grow, and learn not just about skincare and routines and makeup but about how to become our best selves. Here, writer Tracy Teel takes a moment to reflect on her AB family.
Gifts — check.
Goodies — check.
Gratitude — check.
December can be a tough month. There’s the financial aspect of buying gifts for everyone from your boss to your friendly K-beauty delivery person (who probably knows more about you than your mom). Then there’s the hopelessly overloaded social calendar that requires baking or buying goodies to share. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but my favorite holiday event isn’t an event at all. In fact, this celebration rarely happens in person. I’m talking about thanking my online AB (Asian Beauty) family.
Unlike the holidays that show up on traditional calendars, Friendsmas brings me a type of joy the other days can’t. To be honest, I don’t have many close friends, and my circle has diminished over time. It’s not surprising, though. Friends disappear as you get older. It’s normal. Life is hectic, interests change, and people just fall out of touch.
The blessing of online communities
Social media gets a bad rap. It can be a time suck and can kill your productivity if used mindlessly, but the online AB community is something I’ve grown more and more thankful for over the years. On any given day, despite the weather or hour, you can tap into the collective wisdom of K-beauty fans around the world. Sometimes I’m a voyeur, just reading along and pondering what’s being said. More often, though, I find myself sharing my opinion, scavenging links for products for other people, or asking for advice about an ingredient or a brand. The knowledge base is varied, and what makes it special, at least for me, is the willingness of others to share without strings.
In 2015, I was new to K-beauty, so I turned to the internet for guidance. As luck would have it, my timing was great because these lovelies had just released Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup. At the time, I didn’t know an essence from an ampoule, nor did I know how connected this community was. Along with Kerry and Coco’s expert guidance, they introduced readers to a host of other K-beauty bloggers.
Wait. Back up.
What was this strange magic I’d found? Authors promoting others? It was a Miracle on 34th Street moment (think Kris referring Macy’s customers to Gimbels). These lovely women were genuinely directing readers to other potential sources for tips, and in that moment, I learned how uniquely special the K-beauty community was.
Network turned family
The interconnectedness I experienced initially has repeated itself hundreds of times over. Oh sure, we share experiences, opinions, and advice, but the online K-beauty friendships I’ve made rival the best in-person ones I’ve ever had. And in many ways, they’re superior. Just ask one of your co-workers to swap a sleeping pack for a cushion refill, and you’ll know who your friends are.
Your AB family knows how to cheer you up without even knowing you’re down. Sheet mask selfies and packaging porn will fill your feed with love and laughter. And, of course, let us not forget the friend(s) who shared EXO's latest video “Love Shot.” Seriously. Who knows you better?
A heartfelt “thank you”
To all those dedicated AB fans who share their time and experiences — big or small — Merry Friendsmas. You’ve helped us avoid skin tragedy and guided us toward the light, which isn’t glass skin but a damn fine approximation for a human being without a roving Instagram filter. You are family. When you have worries and woes, we send you our strength and whatever else we can spare. Through your trials and tribulations, we send likes, hearts, and “emergency kittens” via Twitter.
And if you fall down for no reason, don’t be quick to dismiss it. Cyberhugs have a way of multiplying and taking on physical form — at least I believe they do.
Happy AB Friendsmas! May your holidays and the new year be filled with love, laughter, and loads of skincare advice!
Tracy Ann Teel is a full-time freelance writer and the owner of Finesse Writing and Editing LLC. She’s a tutorial writer for San Francisco Globe’s beauty platform, FierceLeague.com, covering everything from skin and hair care to makeup and nail art. She writes for skincare companies, dermatologists, and cosmetic surgeons, and proudly taught at her MFA alma mater, the University of California Irvine, as a member of their adjunct faculty in English. She’s been a textbook reviewer for Prentice Hall, been recognized three consecutive years in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and has written professionally for 30+ years. Her poetry chapbook Such Dust was published by Finishing Line Press, and her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Rattle, Pearl, Kaleidoscope, and Lake Arrowhead Life.