Raise your hand if you like to follow amazing skincare experts on Instagram. Well, I most certainly do -- and Bobby McInnes, the absolute genius behind Skintrovert, is the real deal. His reviews are spot on, and his conversational tone just draws you in immediately. I discovered his Instagram awhile back and I am obsessed with his honesty and ability to really tell you what you need to know about the products he tries. He's a refreshing change of pace from so many influencers and content creators who are just out there to sell themselves, rather than really help you find products that work for you. Read on to find out how he named his OG blog and Instagram, what made him fall in love with skincare, the exfoliator he can't live without and so much more.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I have to start by saying it feels a bit self-indulgent to be the interviewee for a change. And all of your readers are going to think I'm extremely boring, but here goes nothing! I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. When I was very young I used to tell people that I wanted to be an artist. I had no idea what being an artist entailed, but I knew I was artistically inclined as a child, and always asked for creative supplies (sketch pads, pencils, paint, wood, etc.) for birthdays and holiday gifts.
When I was in my early teens and the internet started to become a thing, I became more interested in digital media. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I could make a mean vector on what was then Jasc PaintShop Pro 7. I took art classes all throughout high school, but supplemented them with the hard sciences, because as much as I loved art, I didn't know if it was the kind of profession that would allow me to make a good living. In fact, when it came time to apply for universities, I chickened out on my portfolio interview with OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design). I didn't like feeling that kind of pressure as a 17 year old. Instead I pursued an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Toronto, which has absolutely nothing to do with my current job as the operations manager of a manufacturing company.
When I'm feeling reflective, I wonder how my life would be different had I gone ahead and pursued art as my career. Especially now that digital media is the way of the future (and my worries about not being able to build a life for myself look silly in retrospect), and there are so many university and college programs that blend science with fine art—biomedical communications, for example. But despite all that, I'm actually very happy with where I'm at. I'd be even happier if my student loans were paid off, but hey. I guess what I'm trying to get at here is it's okay to be unsure. It's okay to go with the flow and not be so prescriptive about everything. It's taken me my entire life to realize that if you just roll with the punches you will be a lot happier. Does that answer your question? *laughs*
I love the name of your Instagram and blog! How did you come up with it?
Thank you! I love a good portmanteau ... I think my favorite word of all time is mexicatessen. How fun is that? And for the people who hate the word moist, try these ones on for size: Undulate. Tendrils. Foul, right? Okay, sorry—focus, Bobby. Portmanteaus. Skincare plus introvert equals Skintrovert. I wanted my Instagram handle to be a portmanteau. I went through quite a few before I finally landed on this one. I can fake being an extrovert when I need to, but at the end of the day, I'm quite happy to be at home, alone with my thoughts, or with the people I love. The very definition of a Cancer, basically. The singer Jann Arden once said, "You have to know how to be alone without being lonely." And this really resonates.
How did you first become interested in skincare, and what led you to become a blogger and influencer?
I'm a methodical person, so I enjoy routines and things that become second nature that I don't have to think about. You brush your teeth and you wash your face, you know? Good habits. Skincare is something that I adopted at an early age from "inheriting" rejects and extras from my grandmother's skincare collection. I've always used a variety of products from a hundred different brands, so I like exploring everything a skincare range has to offer. Admittedly, I've become a lot more streamlined over the years, narrowing down the number of steps and always keeping my tried and true products to hand.
I first started blogging because a lot of people told me I had an interesting and honest perspective and that I should share it. My blog has definitely fallen to the wayside because real-life commitments keep me too busy (and tired). I was never a serious blogger and could never be a serious blogger. I have nothing but respect for those who maintain their blogs and post on a regular basis, because it's definitely a labor of love, and it's not easy. I like keeping things focused on my Instagram these days.
I wouldn't call myself an influencer. Does anyone actually like that word? To me, an influencer is someone who uses their clout to help brands sell "stuff". That's not me. I'm just a regular guy who takes mediocre photos of things he likes laid out on his bed or floor with his camera phone. Don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate beautiful photography. But I appreciate it even more when it's paired with meaningful commentary. If I want to see nice pictures with frivolous captions that exist solely to sell then I will happily thumb through a magazine. We may all be product junkies, but let's be very real: romanticizing excess is not good.
I have a big mouth and that gets me in trouble sometimes. Luckily God also blessed me with broad shoulders and a spine. If I see something I don't like, something that is morally wrong (selling PR products—umm, hello?), something that is damaging to the community ... I'm going to speak up. I don't give a flying fig if brands like me. I don't give a flying fig if perpetrators of said injustices like me (cheaters never prosper, anyway). I guess this is a quality that sets me apart from other bloggers, for better or worse. *shrugs happily*
What are your top 5 skincare essentials and why?
Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray. Spray-on thermal waters are genius. I use this before cleansing in the evening (to soften the surface layer of skin and begin breaking down the sunscreen and city gunk that's accumulated throughout the day), after cleansing morning and evening (to calm the skin but also to neutralize any harsh elements from the tap water), on angry/itchy skin, after shaving -- it's definitely my desert island product.
Cleansing balms. Cleansing balms are my favorite way to cleanse because they make you take your time. If you're looking for one for makeup removal, try CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips. If you're looking for a luxurious second cleanse, try Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleanser or Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse.
Exfoliants. If you want your skin to be in good shape, you absolutely have to exfoliate. This is a non-negotiable step. Do it as often as your skin can tolerate it. Physical or chemical, the choice is up to your preference. If you want a scrubby option, try the Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator or the Omorovicza Refinishing Facial Polisher. For a more chemical action, it's gotta be Biologique Recherche P50 1970, no questions asked. Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner is also good. If you're more into salicylic acid, try the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant. If you want to get your exfoliation through masking, my favorite exfoliating mask at the moment is the Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask -- it's bliss.
Facial oils. I'm an oil fanatic. Facial oils changed my life. There is an oil to tackle virtually every skin concern out there -- they can be balancing, decongesting, nourishing, brightening, endless possibilities. Use them under a moisturizer, in place of a moisturizer, over a moisturizer, or to indulge in a lengthy facial massage. My favorites are Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil, Vintners Daughter Active Botanical Serum, Jane Scrivner Skin Elixir, Leahlani Aloha Ambrosia and Champagne Serum, and more recently, Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil.
Blemish busters. Facial oils are my number one method of killing a blemish -- I like to drown the buggers in oil until they turn into something extractable or recede back to whence they came. Sometimes you need to bring out the big guns, though. If I'm being really hardcore I will use hydrogen peroxide and iodine. If you want a more traditional spot treatment, tarte Blemish Bully Acne Spot Treatment is good, as is Origins Super Spot Remover. TCP and Sudocrem are classics but don't work for everyone. My favorite blemish-killing mask is SUNDAY RILEY Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask, which uses sulfur.
What are your top 3 skincare tips?
1) The way you apply your products is just as important as the products themselves. I feel very strongly about this, and, as a result, recoil when I watch most skincare walkthrough videos. Don't scrunch your face up when you're misting a toner on, people -- you're not going to drown. Press products with lighter textures into the skin using lymph-draining movements. Caress your moisturizer over your face. I see a lot of aggressive pulling and smushing, and it's just not good for the skin. Everyone has two minutes to spare to sit down, breathe and apply their products correctly. We're not racing a clock here. You only get one face -- respect it.
2) Listen to your skin. If your skin is happy, don't mess with it. If you don't have blemishes, don't cover your face in products designed to banish them. If the texture of your skin is smooth as an egg, don't attack it with exfoliants. I cannot stress this enough. Your face will always bite you back for doing something it doesn't want you to do. Keep everything in balance, and enlist corrective products only when necessary.
3) Don't slate a product based solely on its ingredients list. Sometimes we forget that skincare is entirely trial and error. Something may look good on paper, but that doesn't mean it won't mess your skin up. Don't be discouraged if a popular product doesn't work for you. Everyone's skin is unique and will react differently to different products. Your skin is a mystery. Solve it. Find out what works and stick to it.
Being a skincare influencer/content creator must be fun, but what do you do in your spare time?
Not much, actually (I did warn you that I was boring). I wake up very early in the morning for work and don't get home until around 5pm. Then I'm scrambling to make dinner so I can eat at a half decent time. And a couple hours later I'm in bed, only for the cycle to repeat! I'm usually exhausted on the weekends and don't want to do anything but sleep. If I do happen upon some free time I love reading. Reading is the one thing I wish I had more time for. There is a Nintendo 64 somewhere in my attic that I'd love to resurrect, too.
How can The Beauty of Life readers find you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram or read my outdated rambling blog posts at skintrovert.wordpress.com!