4 hard truths everyone needs to understand about skincare
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4 hard truths everyone needs to understand about skincare

Stefanie Grant-Cassel

Fun fact: I NEVER intended to have a skincare brand. I'm not sure what happened here - I really wanted to have a fragrance business! Now, I've got a ton of perfume and matching body care items that are just taking up space in my studio while I'm scrambling to make enough cleanser, toner, and facial oil every week because I can't keep it in stock. I actually got into making skincare by accident. I'm not a scientist or a dermatologist or an esthetician or an aromatherapist. I'm just a curious consumer (i.e. I will literally stand in the middle of the store with my phone and look up the ingredients I don't recognize on every single product that I'm considering buying,) who got tired of seeing products that sounded good but were actually mostly made up of water, fillers, and preservatives. The more I learned about natural ingredients, the more I thought... "Hmm... wouldn't it be more effective to use ingredients that didn't need their natural texture modified, or a ton of preservatives to keep them from spoiling?" Then one day, after learning about some old folk skincare remedies that used the same ingredients as my deodorant, (I already had them on hand and figured, why not?) I experimented with my first facial care recipe - a powder cleanser - and I noticed a HUGE positive difference in my skin immediately. I haven't washed my face with anything else since. After getting some good feedback from family and friends, and about a million experiments later, I also had a toner and a facial oil. Then an acne spot treatment and an eye serum! Today, my products are the only things I ever put on my face, and I feel like my skin has never looked better. Whoops?! 
It seems like a lot of natural beauty brands are on a mission to rid the world of potentially toxic, harmful ingredients, and I think that's great. I think we absolutely should be questioning and getting familiar with everything we put on our bodies. But, that's not really my mission with Twinkle Apothecary. My decision to work with natural ingredients really just comes out of a desire to get back to nature and simplicity. As a vegan, I need to know that all of my ingredients are cruelty free and not tested on animals, so when I start to look at lab created substances, that gets a bit more hairy. It's easier to skip it and work with what I know. I'm also just obsessed with plants. I think they're totally magical and joyful and lovely. They make my body feel good when I eat them, and they make my skin feel good when I apply their extracts to my body. There may be some amazingly effective synthetic ingredients out there, but I'm perfectly happy with what I've got. Finally! For the first time in my life, (I'm 34, btw) I feel empowered when it comes to my skin. I know how to make myself look and feel good, and I know how to treat my own skin when issues arise, which leads me to the whole point of this article. More than anything, I want my customers to feel empowered by their skincare choices. It's why I created my DIY line! Because if I can figure this stuff out, so can you.
twinkle apothecary diy masque add ins
I get SO MANY questions about skincare every single day, and despite my lack of technical knowledge I try to answer them as best I can, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that there's a big portion of the equation we're missing out on when we talk about taking care of our faces. Unfortunately I'm afraid it's not what people who are shopping for skincare want to hear, but here it is anyway - my 4 (hard, inconvenient) skincare truths I wish more people understood:
1. There are no shortcuts, no miracle products, and no overnight cures. 
We are being fed bold-faced lies by cosmetic companies every single day. Don't buy into that crap you're hearing on television commercials! There is nothing you can put on your skin that will "cure" it overnight, unless we're talking injecting your wrinkles with fillers and botox. Botox totally works. But, even that's not permanent. Skincare is a lifelong process. You're never going to be "done." Every day, your skin is a reflection of the products you put on it (or not,) your diet, how much sleep you got, how well hydrated you are, your menstrual cycle... It fluctuates, just like the rest of your body! If you want to glow, or at least learn to love your skin, you've gotta buckle up for the long haul. It takes discipline to stick to a routine. I realize that probably sounds like not a lot of fun to most of you, but it can totally be fun! I love my skincare routine! It feels like I'm treating myself every time I go in my bathroom, and I get to like what I see in the mirror too - which is kind of why you're here reading this, right?  
2. You cannot compare yourself to celebrities. 
I guarantee you, anyone even remotely related to Hollywood that you're following on Instagram (or seeing on these lie-filled television commercials) is getting botox. Unless they have openly discussed their stance on cosmetic procedures and have said that they aren't doing it, just assume that they're getting a TON of shit done. If a woman in her late 20s, 30s, 40s doesn't have any lines on her face, it's because she is getting injections every 6-8 weeks. It's not natural you guys. I don't care how healthy they appear to be - wrinkles happen to everyone eventually. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with getting botox - you do you - but, just please don't look at their faces and assume that there must be something wrong with yours, ok? We live in a patriarchal society that is trying to convince us that we are only as worthy as we are young and sexually attractive to men, which is of course, total BS. Don't feed that effed up machine. Learn to love yourself. Know your worth outside of your appearance. And also, PHOTOSHOP. Assume that everything is photoshopped. 
3. It's more than about what you put ON your skin. 
SO much more. I say this all the time (see #1) but I will keep repeating it until I feel like people are actually hearing me. Your skin is a reflection of your diet, your water intake, your caffeine intake, your alcohol intake, your supplements and medicines... your exercise routine... how clean your pillow case is... the bacteria on your hands and your phone... I can go on and on... and it's for better or for worse. If you're having chronic skin issues, you could be low-key allergic to something you're eating everyday and you won't find out what until you do an elimination diet. (This is where doctors come in handy, because they're trained to diagnose diseases. I am SO not!) For me, I know that a vegan diet is best for my digestion and skin, but sometimes I eat too many peppers and tomatoes and carrots and it makes my already pinkish skin even more red. Lately I've found that avoiding alcohol, getting more sleep, and meditating to reduce my stress has made a HUGE difference. For you, it could really be anything! I don't know! I don't know your life! I can tell you everything about about my products and why you should buy them, but I can't refill your water bottle for you. Or make you eat a big salad for lunch. Or force you go to bed an hour earlier every night. That's all on you. You've got to figure out what works for your life.
4. Perfection does not exist. 
Again, I say this all the time, but I'm also soooo guilty of beating myself up over not being perfect. (Like, trying to run a skincare and wellness business over here with a giant pimple on our neck, are we now?? YOU FAILURE!) I realize it sounds ridiculous once I write it out like that, but I know we're all doing this to ourselves in one way or another and it needs to stop. I get so many emails from people like "HELP! My skin is such a wreck, I've tried everything and I don't know what to do!" And then I see you guys in person or on social media, and I'm thinking... "Um... what?? She's so gorgeous!"
We have to stop scrutinizing every single pore. We have to learn to accept that our skin is going to fluctuate. We have to try our best to take good care of our whole selves everyday and not sweat the small stuff. We have to understand that celebrities get pimples and wrinkles too - they've just got very expensive entourages of dermatologists and makeup artists and photoshop experts to cover that shit up! Banish the thought of having "perfect" skin from your mind. Focus on literally anything else. Do not waste time chasing down every new product that promises perfection. You've got better things to do. Take good care of yourself, yes, but don't stop yourself from living a full life and indulging every once in a while, because your face is never going to be perfect anyway! Also, don't be afraid to have your picture taken when you feel like you're having a "bad skin day." That's what filters are for, am I right? 
Oy... 
It would be so great if I could come up with a line of products that transformed your skin from the outside in, but I'm afraid that's just not the way it works! Sometimes I worry that my business is doomed because I refuse to sell people lies and indulge in fear based marketing tactics. And because I'm not a scientist (not that people what to hear about science either) I have no way to back my product claims up with facts. I don't have any kind of budget for lab tests or clinical trials. You just have to try it for yourself and see - maybe it will work for you, maybe it won't! Either way, I feel a lot better having gotten all of this off of my chest and I hope that you appreciate my honesty. Haha. Also, I do hope that I've inspired you to rethink your approach to taking care of your face (not to mention your whole body and mind) just a little bit... 
I have kind of a crazy idea that I'm toying with for the month of August. I'd like to write a daily skincare diary on my personal blog, complete with notes about my diet and lifestyle choices and makeup-free selfies. I feel like it might be a bit boring and difficult for me to keep up with, but considering all of the questions I get about skincare, I think you guys might be into it. I think it also might be interesting to document how my own skin fluctuates on a monthly basis... see if I can prove my point here maybe... in an unscientific way, sure, but I think the proof will be in the pudding. Or, the pictures...  
Okay, let's do it! You are more than welcome to join me over there to see how it goes, and I will post a recap here too at the end of the month.
I'll get things started with this lovely, un-retouched, makeup free picture of myself that I snapped just now sitting at my desk in my pjs:
stefanie twinkle apothecary
(Yes, that is a Spice Girl poster behind me... and, yes, I am wearing my "I'm With Her" HRC campaign T-Shirt again... sobs... GIRL POWER WUT UP?!) 
Let me know your thoughts! (You always do anyway... lol... jk... love you guys!) 
-XO- 

 

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