SKIN SERIES | The Natural Evolution of My Relationship to Skincare
My relationship with skincare has been nothing short of tumultuous. I have gone through periods of extreme disinterest to the kind of obsessive that involves purchasing without thinking. Throughout high school and college (when my skin was relatively "healthy") I gave very little thought to the products I was using. Much like my husband today, if I found something I liked, I stuck with it. I rarely switched up my products. I used a Burt's Bees cleanser morning and night, an Aveeno moisturizer with sunscreen during the day, and a prescription retinoid and L'Occitane Shea Butter cream at night (I'm still trying to find a natural cream moisturizer that mimics the texture of my beloved L'Occitane one). I followed this formula for years, never deviating. At that age I gravitated more towards the makeup at Sephora, preferring to spend my money there. Skincare was very much an afterthought.
Then my skin changed and my relationship with skincare changed. Now I had a problem that needed fixing and I was absolutely convinced that I was going to find the cure in a cleanser or serum or moisturizer. So I tried them all. Conventional, green, prescription - anything and everything. Every unopened product held the promise of clear, dewy skin and every half empty, discarded bottle represented failure. And another blow to my self-esteem. Blogging and eventually opening my own green beauty boutique only served to feed this addiction. Even as I dove deeper into the internal workings of acne, I never stopped searching for the perfect skincare products.
Finally, enough was enough. I decided I had to rethink my approach to skincare entirely. Rather than seeking out the Bandaid, "quick fix," it was time to figure out which ingredients skin actually craves. I no longer thought about what I wanted, I focused on what my skin wanted. And then I committed to giving those products time to work. We don't expect dietary changes to magically fix us overnight so why do we expect the same from our skincare? It's the day in, day out practices that make the biggest difference. I found a line that shared my same ethos of skin health first and I dedicated myself to that line, ignoring all the other noise in the skincare industry.
Old habits die hard though and I still find myself itching to try new products every now and again. I haven't figured out exactly how I feel about this. Part of me thinks there is a happy medium where I can indulge my skincare whims from time to time and another part knows that the siren song of something new is just my old addiction rearing its ugly head. But at the very least, I try not to beat myself up for the half-empty products anymore.
Here's the thing with skincare - it can be fun, but it can also easily transform into something that drains our money and makes us feel crappier about ourselves. It's a fine line. And "Big Skincare" wants us to feel like there is always something that needs fixing and they hold the miracle cure. It's a messy business and it's incredibly tricky figuring out our motivation behind purchasing something new. Does it come from a positive skin-loving place or somewhere darker rooted in fear?
I'm still working on my healthy approach to skincare. I wrote this post mainly to shine a light on the fact that our approach to health, skin or otherwise, is always a journey, always evolving. The most important thing is to consume mindfully, giving thought to our ultimate motivation and goals behind purchasing. Because that's what really matters.
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