Growing up, I was awarded the title “most likely to speak her mind” because that pretty much summed me up for the majority of my life. I had absolutely no problem sharing bold, strong opinions and never put much weight into what others thought of me. Confidence? I had plenty — until, well, puberty hit and my forehead, cheeks, and chin decided it would be a good idea to develop cystic acne (bummer, I know). For years, nothing quite worked to clear my skin — from the drugstore products my friends claimed were “miracle workers” to the higher-end, prescription stuff — and the acne in my teens eventually turned into regular, full-blown breakouts with some scarring.
While my complexion did take a major toll on my confidence, the older I got, the more I realized that stress — exams, societal pressures, life, you name it — was hitting me just as hard. Then, I graduated college and moved to New York City (aka the stress capital of the world). I struggled for nearly a year to find a job that felt like the right fit, and even now as an editor at Refinery29, I still battle with self-esteem issues both during and after working hours. Sure, social media is partially to thank — after all, what we scroll through and Like is hardly real life — but regardless, I knew something needed to change. So after taking a long, hard look at myself (and my daily routine), I decided it was time to go rogue and take action. For the next three weeks, I’ll embark on the ultimate self-care challenge: cleaning up my entire beauty routine, indulging in things I never considered (like infrared saunas and acupuncture), and, overall, attempting to live more mindfully. Here goes nothing.
Photographed by Patricia Lopez.
To kick things off, I decide to tackle a part of my routine that, frankly, I’m the most attached to — my beauty routine. On most days, I spend practically forever getting ready. 30 to 45 minutes? Nah, try upwards of three hours — especially if we’re talking head-to-toe glam complete with a full face of foundation, perfectly drawn on brows, and a punchy red lip. So in an effort to minimize my time at my vanity, reduce my use of the toxic ingredients that are normally found in makeup, and give my acne-prone skin some much-needed breathing room, I (gasp!) toss my beloved full-coverage liquid foundation — and the 12 other products I use on the daily — in favor of a cleaner no-makeup makeup approach. To achieve it, I decide to give bareMinerals’ Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer and Skin-Clearing Loose Powder Foundation a try. Ever since the brand launched its signature mineral powder foundation in 1995, its formulas have featured natural ingredients, so I’m curious to see if making the switch will help heal my acne. After a few days, it’s clear that the green tint of the primer does a great job at concealing signs of irritation …read more