Sunday, January 24, 2010
What's YOUR secret?
I'll admit, I get asked this all of the time.
As an "aspiring to be former" model (on a great big mission to switch to the other side of the camera and give healthy beauty a whole new meaning!), I do not always blend in with the scenery. I worked for years in front of the camera, quite often as just a face, a blank palette for cosmetics and the vision of makeup artists and photographers and art directors and so on.
Needless to say, my SKIN has been a full time project for years. It has always been imperative that I be in the best condition possible or risk not having food on the table that month. In an industry as fickle as fashion, this was not vanity - it was survival in the career path I was skipping along.
When asked about my personal regimen now, it is often paired with "well, you're a Model -of course your skin is perfect!" or "Genetics, right? I'm sure you've always had great skin", etc. etc. etc.
Let me tell you something.
I work at it.
It has most certainly gotten easier over the years as I've learned to be healthier inside which is reflected outside, to eat properly, get off artificial hormones (birth control, animal products), lead an active physical life, practice self love (I am a glorious and glowing woman!) and other hippy-dippy things, and entirely switched over my personal care items and cosmetics to the squeakiest side of clean.
It takes all of this. No compromises. You have to tell yourself that you are worth it and then follow through with what exactly that means.
I have not always been a model, or even considered beautiful in the traditional sense. I was an awkward kid like most I've found in this industry - Shy, introverted, socially inept, too smart for my own good and dancing clumsily to the beat of my own drum. In junior high I was the really uncool girl the popular guys would date as a joke to be funny. Oh yes, hilarious times.
And then at eighteen my family history of seriously awesome skin conditions decided to show me I was part of the crew - psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, mysterious rashes, blisters, scaling, itching, bleeding madness. I had always had little patches that hinted I too would have this battle to fight, but in 2001 all hell broke loose and I was covered literally head to toe with a hot, burning, itching, scaly rash that resembled red camouflage over nearly ever inch of my body.
In grocery store lines small children would point at my exposed alien arms and ask their mothers what was wrong with me. I would hide my deteriorating face and try not to cry because the salt would sting in my open wounds.
Doctors and dermatologists and expensive visits with specialists yielded no results and no answers. Finally, through a long process of blood and allergy tests (and rounds of antibiotics and steroids in high doses that provided immediate relief followed by a far greater return to an even worse reaction) and living practically in a bubble for a while as I learned through elimination, I discovered that the vast majority of my issues (beyond genetic predisposition) were largely environmental.
I was allergic to my life and the state of our planet. I had just moved to Los Angeles (from super green Minnesota) where my body was experiencing shock over the high levels of pollution and contaminants in the air, catapulting my immune system into a frenzy and sending my skin into a state of hypersensitivity where I was forced to become very aware of how all the little things in my world were contributing to my state of unwell - my cosmetics, cleaning supplies, shampoos and soaps and lotions and toothpaste, food I was eating, the paints I used when teaching my art class... Everything was making me sick, and giving due credit to vanity, making me feel and look far from pretty.
Over the next several years I switched out one product at a time, altering my lifestyle and slowly healing with each step along the way. Two years into the process, my once spiderweb patterned skin was unrecognizable. I still had red patches around my nose and mouth, occasional spots and flaking on my hands and tiny scars that whispered my secret... but I no longer looked or felt foreign in my own skin.
I started modeling as a celebration and as a way to move back into my body, to make peace with my skin and my outlook on my own appearance.
Now, fully healed and ripe with passion on this subject, I am on a mission to share what I know. What could be easily viewed externally on my skin is happening inside of yours. Just because you cannot always see it, does not mean it is not there. Direct links between an elevated risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, allergies, asthma, and so on and so on have been shown time and again with the use of standard cosmetics and beauty care items. This is no joke. It is no small thing. This is a terribly important subject that can no longer be ignored.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MY SECRET?
HERE IT IS:
IF SOMETHING CANNOT GO IN YOUR BODY, IT CANNOT GO ON IT.
IF YOU CANNOT EAT IT, YOUR SKIN SHOULDN'T EITHER.
I live by this. From my toothpaste to my mascara to my foot scrub, I only use earth and plant based products and ingredients that contribute to my well being rather than take from it. There are soooooo many good options available. There is simply no excuse to not make this transition.
I am absolutely amazed how many of my clients would buy organic fruits and vegetables, drink filtered water, work out in organic cotton yoga gear and then suds up with Sodium Laurel Sulfate, slather on paraben drenched expensive face creams and lacquer themselves in lead and mercury laden carcinogenic cosmetics. Seriously, you KNOW better. You do. So why the excuse when it comes to your beauty routine?
Please please please, I beg of you to take a closer look at why you continue to turn a blind eye to this. This is not ten years ago. There are safe cleaning products. There is a whole world of well formulated and decidedly non granola cosmetics. There are indulgent bath products with heavenly aromas and beautiful packaging. And as demand increases, the revolution rises and our options get better and better and better.
I have been researching products for years, testing and challenging and making demands with my dollar. I am still learning, each and every day. I make new discoveries about new companies, new brands, new innovative people coming up with truly delectable healthy beauty items on a constant basis. I got so excited about this whole process, I've even started formulating my own line of bath and beauty goodness (which I simply cannot wait to unveil sooooon)!
I was told recently that I light up when I talk about what it means to me to be a holistic beauty consultant and green makeup artist and eco potion mixing entrepreneur and overall natural beauty junkie on a happy healthy joy mission. (Phew. Big sentence!)
I was told I glow.
Passion fills me. I'm excited. I care. I'm invested in you and just as importantly, I am invested in myself.
Maybe that's my secret.
May it be yours too.
With all the love and gooey goodness in the word,