I love skin, I really do. I didn’t always, and that was probably the culmination of sheer (teenage) ignorance (which, for the record, is not bliss) and a supreme lack of self-confidence. As a teen, I remember slinking through Target’s beauty aisles with my poor father, grabbing every spot treatment I recognized from Teen Vogue ads. That was the closest thing to a skincare regimen I ever got; I promptly gave up on it all one week later out of frustration.
Here’s the thing: little girls have memories of rifling through their mother’s stash of lipsticks and smelling every little pot and potion atop the bathroom counter, but anything beauty related was foreign to me. My mom is a simple woman: warm water and soap are her tools of choice. On occasion, I’d see her face glazed over with a makeshift egg white mask – it was meant to lift and tighten the complexion, something she learned from her mother – but that was as complicated as her beauty regimen ever got.
What was skincare, anyway? To me, my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world, and if soap and water was good enough for her, then they’d be good enough for me. Skincare seemed extraneous, and save for the brief acne stint, I never gave it much thought until fairly recently.
I’m not sure when that mindset shifted. I don’t know if it was because I matured or because I started working at Mario Badescu, or because I was actively trying to make changes in my lifestyle. Perhaps it was all three, I don’t know. But somehow within the last few years, my perspective on skin and skincare has completely changed.
I’ll say it again, however weird it may be: I love skin, I really do. It’s beautiful, human, holistic, worldly, sensual. I’m a firm believer that skin is always most beautiful in its natural state. Naked, bare, nude, without a drop of makeup to conceal, taking pride in its own state of perfect imperfection. This philosopy is one that grew from a combination of minimalism and a holistic approach towards beauty and health taken from my mother. After all, skin tells your story. It’s a reflection of how you treat yourself, what you do, how you feel, what you eat – essentially all that you are.
Finding the right products for my skin and learning to follow a regimen twice daily made it alive. Skin was no longer just a thing that happened to be there; it became radiant. When I learned to care for my skin, to take the time to exfoliate regularly, to moisturize head to toe twice daily, to invest in serum concentrates, it was almost too easy to step out from behind the physical and emotional mask. Look! This is me, all of me, the real me!
It’s incredibly liberating to not just feel comfortable, but beautiful, in your skin.
When I learned to be at peace with my complexion, with or without makeup, I learned to love my skin, imperfections and all: that was what skincare gave me. (It must be said, however, that we’re our worst enemies and our harshest judges: what looks horrific to us is barely noticeable to the general public.)
So yeah, this is my story so far; I’m only 21 anyway, I have a long way to go. And while I’m not sure what the moral is, here’s the takeaway: for one week, forgo all makeup (fine, I’ll let you slide with mascara!) and focus solely on caring for your skin.
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Check out this video on one of my absolute favorite Mario Badescu products, the Vitamin C Serum: