As an impressionable twelve-year-old girl trying to figure herself out amidst loads of peer pressure, self-doubt, and narrow media influences in the early 90’s, I was sucked into the classic infomercial scheme.
1-800-CALL-NOW and low monthly installments were the closest thing to instant gratification before the internet. Yep, they somehow convinced you that you wanted, needed, HAD to have it...whatever “it” was in the moment.
And in this moment, “it” was a skincare line promising to fix even the most skeptical, ordinary woman (who had supposedly neglected herself during the entirety of her existence as a wife, mother, and human).
Obviously as a young girl I wasn’t in the market for wrinkle-erasing skincare that had you clinging to a miracle in a shiny bottle to undo all of life’s doings.
But my mom, however, was the ideal candidate.
I tried to convince her she should buy it – but not because I thought she needed it to improve her looks. She was always the most naturally beautiful woman to me. She also epitomized self-sacrifice and humility. Her appearance never took priority over any thing or any one else. And while this may seem like a noble, normal, motherly trait, it somehow…bothered me. I wanted better for her. I wanted to see her realize, own, and celebrate her beauty and strength as a modern super woman who managed to juggle it all. I wanted more -- not only for her, but from her -- as my mother.
What I really wanted, what I truly needed, was a role model that gave me permission to feel beautiful too. At this tender age, I was internalizing it all in a way that would haunt me throughout my adult years as a mother, wife, and woman.
I instinctively felt like there was something wrong with feeling self-empowered, feeling attractive, and feeling like I was worth “it”.
Fast forward 30 years.
Here I was, age 42, modeling in a studio shoot for an up and coming all-natural Korean cosmetic company, playing with creams, masks, and makeup products while channeling my inner tween delighting in a full-blown makeover session. Only this time, I am being photographed and marketed as a representative of the company’s target market.
Having to pretend that I know how to use the products? Humorous.
Having to pretend that I feel beautiful? Kinda sad.
The truth is I never adopted a skincare regimen. Pinky swear. The closest thing -- brace yourself -- is my daily routine of slathering coconut oil on my face (and possibly remembering to take off my drugstore caked on waterproof mascara in the process).
There, I admitted it.
I was a skincare virgin.
But something happened when I pumped and patted that eye cream and felt it gently glide over my skin like a silky kiss. Another tingly sensation came when I effortlessly drew the eyeliner on.
But the real *gasp* moment came when I experimented with a magnet mask -- which, might I add, you remove with an actual magnetic device that pulls it from your face in a mind-boggling etch-a-sketch-style fashion.
My skin felt luminous, my eyes popped, and my self-esteem was instantly boosted.
It sounds dramatic, I know, but in that moment I realized that I had crossed a beauty bridge and there was no going back.
The insecure girl was gone.
I felt like a woman. Finally.
If I were to indulge in some slight self-imposed banter, I would say that up until this moment, I had been subconsciously internalizing what my mother inadvertently taught me not to do: don’t pay much attention to my looks, and certainly not to invest in any vanity products. Basic drugstore makeup, sure. Specialty items? Nope. Not practical. Too expensive. It’s selfish.
As a health specialist and advocate for unapologetic oxygen-first style self-care -- and as a mother of a 23-year-old daughter -- I have to practice what I preach. Thank God.
Because embodying beauty from the inside out is key to healthy living and aging. What we eat, our lifestyle, and our beliefs are just as important as what we put on our skin in terms of how we look, feel, and experience life.
Putting effort into feeling beautiful is empowering. No, it isn’t a negative selfish act, it’s a form of insurance so we can care for everyone and everything in our lives with genuine joy and authenticity. Because when we feel whole, full, and radiant, everyone in our life benefits.
And a killer skincare regimen only enhances that inner beauty, ladies.