This is the third and final part of an in-depth three-part series on how I used beauty to heal myself and why I started The Lipstick Therapist. I figure if I am going to give myself this title, I ought to be transparent and back it up with my own story. Enjoy!
So much happened in between beauty school and now that I could discuss, I could likely write a book about it (and I just might!), but the highlights of how I have gotten to my current place are as follows:
For one, I landed a job as an esthetician at a local spa. During that time, I had the unique pleasure of working with clients of all ages, races, and genders with the common goal of optimizing their skin’s health while giving them space to decompress. Those three years were profound in the sense that I had many clients come in with skin that was acne-prone, irritated, dehydrated, or just plain dull and, with time, work, and a proper skin routine, they would transform before my eyes and with the help of my hands. The work in helping one reclaim their confidence was so rewarding.
Even so, not all transformations were merely skin-deep. My social work training would sometimes come out as clients came in facing all sorts of troubles and would, in the safe space of my darkened treatment room, unload their worries and talk through their issues. There were quite a few criers, and plenty of breakthroughs. In these cases, I knew that I was doing far more than just performing a facial. I was giving them a place to begin healing, to let go of their worries and, if only for an hour, give them the respite they needed so they could gather strength to face their challenges.
As for my own transformation, I made peace with myself in a number of ways. I commissioned my own private intimate photo shoot where I got to see myself through the lens of an immensely talented photographer who goes by Expressions Untold (seriously, his work is top-notch), which enabled me to finally make total peace with my body. Through changes in my diet and better stress management, my skin healed almost completely. Finally, by a few twists and turns of events, I ended up back in the beauty sphere, this time in the retail arena where I still get to help (mostly) women look and ultimately feel their best. As I have continued in this work, I have begun to wonder: what if I showed women how beauty can be inspirational rather than aspirational?
This is where “The Lipstick Therapist” comes into play. While working one-on-one with my customers is rewarding, it is also limiting. The conversations I have with my customers regarding their skin’s health, makeup choices, and ultimately their confidence and self-image are ones that should be had with a wider audience.
I suppose what I’m trying to get across writing this series is that I’ve been there. I have been that girl in the mirror literally picking apart her appearance and trying to shield herself from real and perceived criticism. I have been that girl who has flipped through magazines (or, in the modern age, scrolled through Instagram) and not see a single soul that even remotely resembled me. I have been that outsider on the fringe of the beauty industry looking in wondering if there would ever be a place for me. Ironically, it wasn’t until I stopped waiting for acceptance and began accepting myself that I stopped seeing beauty as something to achieve and saw it as something to enhance, as it was a quality that I had always possessed. Through “The Lipstick Therapist,” my hope is to give you the tools and the confidence to take the tool of makeup and use it as a means of empowerment rather than concealment. With lipstick tubes in hand, we are more than ready to stop using makeup as a mask and start using it to make our mark.