- Reflect back on your own experience with skincare throughout your life
- What messages did you receive from your family and those around you?
- Rewrite any unhelpful messages for a healthy, new perspective on skincare that aligns with what’s important to you today
Some of my clearest childhood memories are vivid recollections of my parents getting ready for work each morning. My mother would sit at her humble vanity blow-drying her hair, moisturizing her face and preparing for the day. My father, standing in his bathroom, had a full routine that ranged from shaving to sculpting his handsome hair. Both of my parents always had beautiful, glowing skin, and they moisturized unapologetically daily. I remember the way people would always comment on the flawless appearance of their features, even strangers.
During yearly visits to my grandmother, each evening involved an elaborate routine of heavily lathered face cream which appeared almost like a mask. When she would emerge from the bathroom with this gooey visage, I found it slightly terrifying. She would then apply this same diligent moisturizing technique to her feet and wrap them in cozy socks for the night. Each afternoon she put her legs up the wall and the vibrancy of a short rest would trickle down leaving her face radiant. It was the epitome of a southern beauty routine.
Even as my father and grandmother passed away their skin remained luminous and supple. And I’m proud to say that well into her 60s my mother has never capitulated to the pressure of aging in our culture and is surgery free, beautiful and natural as ever.
I learned early on that skincare was part of healthcare. It wasn’t out of vanity, although I’m sure that plays a part for all of us, but was instead a holistic approach to feeling healthy, vibrant, confident and alive. My mother spent a much of her career in the marketing and PR side of the spa industry. As a result, I was exposed to skincare in the form of wellness and self-care rather than as something cosmetic or surgical. She was always working with innovative spa directors who were evolving the latest techniques for healthy, luminous skin. I found their creative strategies and new potions made from exotic fruits or enzymes exciting and fascinating.
Over the years I evolved my own skincare routine through observation and osmosis of these various family and cultural approaches. I understood the importance of washing my skin clean of makeup each evening and applying a moisturizer each morning and night. I began getting facials in high school as a special treat, which continues to this day not as a treat but as an inherent approach to keeping my skin healthy and hydrated.
I adopted the healthy dietary approach of my mom and stepdad which helps nourish my skin from the inside out, naturally eliminating toxins and preventing breakouts. In college my roommate was curious about this routine and I began sharing my skincare techniques. I felt lucky to have learned so much about how to keep my skin balanced, blemish-free, and vibrant at such a young age and eager to share with friends to help them feel their best and most confident.
Like anything we absorb from our family of origin and culture, it’s always worth reflecting to make sure we haven’t unconsciously taken on habits we don’t actually align with or want in our lives.
So, here’s an assignment: Reflect back on your own experience with skincare throughout your life. What messages did you receive from your family? What did you learn by watching your parents, siblings, or caretakers? Were the messages kind or did they somehow suggest that your skin is something to be covered, hidden, or otherwise changed? Were you told that skincare was indulgent rather than a part of your overall health? What’s important to you today? What messages do you want to communicate to your children about their skin and overall health?
Take this opportunity to revise any misconceptions and rewrite any unhelpful messages for a healthy, new perspective on how to curate your skincare routine today.