Skin care is something that is an important self care activity. Most of us have memories of our mothers and grandmothers doing something to their face: moisteristing, getting a facial, plucking out facial hair or putting off taking of make-up. And personal memories of all the things we have done to our own skin over our lifetimes – some of it kind and some of it very misguided.
Skin care as self care is a concept that appeals to me because it deepens “taking care of my own skin” from superficial fear-based activity to something that nourishes me.
I wanted to have a meaningful conversation about skin care as self care with another woman and the stars aligned for me to share this conversation with Ana Velouise.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ana, she is a witness writer and feminist activist. She is a woman’s woman. She is on a mission to usher in a new era of humanity through helping women remember their divinity and elevating women’s stories. Her vision is justice and liberation for all people through the rise of awakened women. She writes literary fiction and contemplates what it means to be an awakened woman during this time in history. Ana is based in Los Angeles, California.
Tell us the story of how you developed the habit of attending to your skin in an intentional way.
It was only in my 30s that I started to attend to my skin in an intentional way by investing thought, time, and money into skin care. Before that, I didn’t have much of a routine beyond washing my face if I was wearing makeup! Everything changed for me when I started getting facials in my 30s. I had a patient esthetician who explained what my skin was craving (moisture! Which was a surprise as a combination/oily skin person) and introduced me to organic products and healthy routines. Now my skin care is my favorite part of my self care—it feels so good to slow down and be gentle with my face.
What is your skincare philosophy?
Do what feels good, follow your intuition, and less is more. (This is my life philosophy, too!) I also gravitate toward organic ingredients sourced sustainably with no animal testing. Bonus points if the company is a woman-owned business.
What is your skincare routine? (We love details!)
In the morning I wash my face with cold water. After patting my face dry, I spritz a gentle toner onto my face. Then I mix a Vitamin C serum into a moisturizer and apply to my face. After waiting about five minutes to let it soak into my skin, I apply sunscreen.
My night routine starts with double cleansing—an oil cleanser followed by a foaming cleanser. Next I run a cotton ball soaked in moisturizing toner over my face. I do an exfoliating mask or a sheet mask about twice a week. Then I put on my nighttime serum, let it soak into my skin, followed by moisturizer.
I build it into my morning and night routines. My skin care rituals don’t take more than 10 minutes each morning and night. Of course, I can take more time, and sometimes do. But I’m already at the sink to brush my teeth or in the bathroom to get ready for the day, so taking the time to perform my skin care rituals doesn’t feel like an extra step. Actually, it’s when I’m busy that I tend to spend more time on my skin care—making sure I lay down with a mask for 20 minutes in the evening. My favorite new thing is to put on a guided meditation and lay down while I’m using a face mask.
Do you view skin care as a way to chase away fears of not being young enough, beautiful enough or trendy enough, or as a way of supporting yourself as a woman?
Just like with any self-care routine, one brings their perspective into the activity performed. I view skin care as a way to signal to myself I’m worthy of being cared for, of spending time and money on. Skin care is not going to stop me from aging or change how I look. I don’t have misconceptions about that. Rather, it’s about the affect on my confidence and general outlook on life that comes from taking care of myself in ways that feel good—in this case, with serums. ☺
Taking care of my skin has also positively influenced my other self-support activities. Once I started to take care of my face, it pushed through a block I had about skin care—and by extension, self care—being a waste of time and money, indulgent, and unnecessary. It has helped enhance my self-worth, feeling worthy of being taken care of.
Since you started on your skin care as self-care journey, what are the three top things you have learned that you can share with us?
The first would be to use your intuition. Your skin will tell you what it needs based on what’s happening with it. For example, acne along the chin is a hormonal issue, so instead of attacking it with drying products, visiting a doctor to speak about your hormones. What I eat affects my skin, so if I go through a period of consciously avoiding dairy, I notice my skin looks and feels more healthy.
Second, moisture moisture moisture. The skin is a living organ, and the majority of us could stand to give it more moisture. I always thought because I had combination/oily skin, along with cystic acne as a teenager, that moisture was my enemy. It’s completely the opposite!
Third, give each product time to do its job. Sometimes I’m impatient or in a hurry and can’t wait between layering products. But the more I let each product take the time it needs to soak into my skin (three to five minutes is fine), the more the product gets to “work” on my skin and deliver the necessary ingredients.
Have you discovered any standout products everyone should know about?
If I want to learn more, what places would you recommend?
Gothamista has an amazing YouTube channel where she does all kinds of reviews. I like organic, natural products, so the Natch Beaut podcast is fun, along with shopping products (skin care and makeup) at Credo. The Forever35 podcast is my current obsession—it was everything I didn’t know I needed to hear about skin care and self care. Finally, while I don’t do the full Korean skin care routine, I do incorporate aspects of it and find Korean products to be very reasonable price-wise. My favorite websites for Korean skin care are Soko Glam and Ohlolly.
It really struck a chord with me when Ana said, “Skin care is not going to stop me from aging or change how I look.” Women are constantly given the message that the way our faces age is a problem that we have a responsibility to resolve. It feels like radical honesty to accept aging and I feel empowered by viewing taking care of my skin as a way of showing myself love, rather than trying to prevent something.
How about you: What did you learn from Ana’s interview?