Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022
A Beauty Editor Turned Healing Guru Shares Her Product Swaps
Written by: Elizabeth Kendig
I was born with a beauty gene, mixing homemade face masks as soon as I was old enough to crack an egg. Breaking into my grandmother’s vast beauty closet to play with her Aquanet hairspray and Ponds cold cream. Before we had words for it, I craved self-care. The love I didn’t get from middle school mean girls I gave myself by spending babysitting money on lavender eyeshadow.
Later, as a beauty editor and blogger, I would make a career of guiding others toward the best moisturizer or perfect red lipstick. I subjected myself to bee venom facials, froze my fat, and welcomed pain—a sign that a treatment was working. I wasn’t striving for perfection or all that interested in trends; I wanted my readers to feel good.
I didn’t know then, but beauty was my first brush to healing. Taking care of myself was a gateway to wholeness. When a few years ago I was ready to go deeper, making a career shift to helping others heal themselves was a natural progression. Trading my minkies for mindfulness, however, did not happen overnight. I may be a hippie at heart, but my bathroom vanity would say otherwise. “Doing the work,” as we like to say in the spiritual world, does not mean putting down the GHD flat iron. If anything, I’ve become even more discerning in how I spend my time and what I put on and in my body, beauty-wise. Here are the products and rituals I’ve released, and the ones I’ll take to my next life:
Quartz, jade, gold. Gua Sha. Flat, frozen, roller, purchased directly from an Instagram ad featuring compelling before/afters. If it’s depuffing, firming, toning, lifting, detoxifying, I’ve got it and I use it often—usually in the morning before my makeup. It’s not only the most present moment in my day, but how I plan to age gracefully.
Mink Lash Extensions
I swore I’d sooner live in a van down by the river than give up of my fringe. And they were glorious for the 10 (!!) years I had them. But there was something about turning 40 and wanting to really see myself, and moving to Brooklyn where the look is practically makeup-free, that helped me part with them. There are days when I missing waking up like this, but I don’t miss feeling like I need to be extra.
Meanwhile, I’ve diverted my attention and disposable income to my brows. Having plucked them to oblivion back in college, regrowth has been next to impossible. And, now that we have proof that a full brow is face- and age-defying, I want them back. Annual microblading touch-up—and Kelly Baker brow pencils—are non-negotiable.
Hat + Sunblock + BBL
Sure, some of the brightening and lightening products on the market help. But only a little, especially when keeping sunspots at bay is like swatting flies on a summer day. Religious use of minimum SPF 50, a hat if I’m going to be out for more than a quick errand (Hat Attack has saved me from the ballcap), plus annual broad band light (BBL) treatments to zap any discoloration, better than any skincare routine or fancy facial I’ve tried.
Lipstick (Only less)
I still have a drawerful but wear the same 2-3 tubes, which are all essentially variations on the same rosy theme that I know flatters my skin and brings out my brown eyes. Whereas I used to experiment more, or try something new for a big event, now I’m reassured knowing that I can put less thought into looking put together.
It’s that other Botox that you don’t hear about, which happens to last longer on me. I get it between my brows to banish the 11s and never plan on stopping. It’s a small tweak that takes off YEARS.
I used to subconsciously think that if I hadn’t accomplished enough that day, I didn’t deserve to sleep and should keep working. Or, if I’d burned myself out, I should stay up late reading or binging Netflix to decompress. Now I know that putting myself to bed at a reasonable hour is the best thing I can do because EVERYTHING is better when I’m well rested. My fortysomething brain fog improves and I can focus. I’m less anxious, which makes me more productive. And, I’m more likely to take care of myself throughout the day.
As with fashion, I embrace high-low choices with haircolor. While I still fly to Minneapolis to see my beloved colorist, Mi Shaun—who, like any good stylist, is a sister to me—we have been keeping more closely with my natural medium brown. I always thought it was so boring but there’s something self-loving about working with what you’ve got.
I used to write about gel manis being the best invention in the free world, along with dry shampoo. I couldn’t imagine not having my nails done—always short, squoval, and one of three shades, depending on the season. Now, I limit them to special occasions or when I’m traveling, because who has time for that kind of upkeep? I’d rather be sleeping.