We’ve all seen it: Some sort of self-care along the lines of, “Take a deep breath and do a face mask.” In a world where face masks mean more than just a relaxing skincare step and taking a deep breath isn’t always enough to center oneself, skincare as self-care might need a deeper dive.
Not only is skincare a great way to wake yourself up in the morning or unwind at the end of the day, it’s also an essential part of a health and wellness routine. With so many products on the market, skincare concerns, varying budgets and levels of knowledge, it can be hard to know where to start outside of simply washing your face and moisturizing. To help demystify this process, we spoke with some local experts to help you put your best face forward this year and beyond.
In the past, grabbing the latest trendy skincare item as seen on the Internet might have been an automatic reflex when looking to amp up your routine. And as the ongoing pandemic has changed our priorities big and small, it makes sense to simplify your skincare, too. Everyone’s skin is different, as are the products that will work for them.
“My skincare motto for 2021 is #beyourownskingoals,” says Kimberly Smith, co-founder of The Brown Beauty Co-op in Dupont Circle. The boutique offers skincare, hair care, makeup, bath and body products from Black- and brown-owned beauty brands, in addition to a beauty lounge offering makeup and facial services.
“I recommend finding essentials that meet you exactly where you are,” Smith continues. “We are entering a minimalist period when it comes to skincare. We’ve realized that it doesn’t necessarily take 10 steps to have healthy skin you love. Don’t pressure yourself to commit to a routine that doesn’t work for your lifestyle or interest. Find a routine that works for you.”
Sarah Akram, board licensed master esthetician and owner of Sarah Akram Skincare in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, wants you to know you have options to make your best skin a reality. At the same time, a personalized routine – both with at-home products recommended by Akram and the experts on her team or treatments in her boutique – doesn’t have to be complicated.
“I don’t want to overwhelm people,” Akram says. “We offer free consultations, and the reason I do that is because I realized my place could be kind of intimidating. I really care about educating the consumer on what their options are. So, come in for a consultation and let’s figure out what your goals are, what is going on with your skin now and what will work for it.”
Now that you know skincare can be approachable, simple and effective all at the same time, take a deep breath and move on to the next building block of your skincare routine: patience. While it’s natural to desire instant results and gravitate toward harsher ingredients or treatments you may think will be a quick fix for skin concerns, Akram points out that that’s not always the case when forming sustainable and effective skincare habits.
“Healthy skin is a process, just like being fit is a process,” she notes. “Losing weight the right way takes time, and it’s the same thing with your skin. It takes time for cell turnover to take place and for those cells to eventually start becoming healthier through healthy habits like nutrition, getting sleep and putting all the right ingredients into your skin.”
Don’t let the prospect of your skin goals taking time to become a reality dissuade you from getting started or kicking your routine up a notch. As Smith points out, reframing your routine as a way to commit to yourself and not just a hygienic chore can offer much-needed solace and anchor a daily routine.
“I look at my skincare routine as a treat,” Smith says. “On a daily basis, at the beginning and end of my day, it’s guaranteed time just for me. It’s so important for us to be kind to ourselves, mentally and physically. Changing the mindset of washing your face as just another routine task to it being an activity that promotes your overall well-being contributes to building a healthy relationship with yourself.”
Smith recommends coming into The Brown Beauty Co-op for a facial and picking up body scrubs and body butters from Earth Elements Soapworks, along with bath soaks by Urban Serenite, to show your skin some extra love and continue the relaxation process at home. And in Alexandria, Akram recommends building a relationship with an esthetician to help guide you through the best in-person treatments and at-home products that can be used at different stages of your journey.
So take care of yourself and your skin, trust the process and enjoy the ride. It’s worth investing in your body’s largest organ – even if the results are only visible through your computer’s webcam for now.
The Brown Beauty Co-op: 1365 Connecticut Ave. #100, NW, DC; www.brownbeautyco-op.com // @thebrownbeautyco_op
Sarah Akram Skincare: 125 S Fairfax St. Alexandria, VA; www.sarahakram.com // @sarahakramskincare
Other Local Skincare + Beauty Spots (Virtual + IRL)
Bellacara: 1000 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.bellacara.com // @bellacarava
Bluemercury: Multiple locations; www.bluemercury.com // @bluemercury
District Batch: www.districtbatch.com // @districtbatch
Ivy Wild Beauty: www.ivywildbeauty.com // @ivy.wild.beauty
Veer & Wander: 1260 5th St. NE, DC; www.veerandwander.com // @veerandwanderdc
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