i {heart} skin, The Beauty & Fitness Industry and Me.

Hello to my favorite faces! Your friendly neighborhood skin care guru is here to talk to you about something a little more serious today. I promise you're not in trouble. (Unless you are still using apricot scrub, then you are in trouble.) But I do hope you'll indulge me in a little soapbox moment and maybe join me in a new conversation.

At the beginning of this year, I made only one resolution for myself. I devoted my 2017 (and beyond) to combatting negative self-esteem. Particularly negative self-esteem in women. It is my new personal mission. And trust me, I know it's a lofty goal. Even figuring out where to start has been rather overwhelming. It's not gonna be a perfect thing by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm ready to give it an honest go.

I work in the fitness and beauty arena. I teach barre classes and and I treat skin as an esthetician. My customers are about 99% women. More days than not, I am privy to hearing what women really think of themselves. Summary report: it's not good.

In barre class women eagerly tell me which body parts need work. I know which aspects of their physical being they most want to shrink or disappear altogether. I meet brides-to-be convinced they need to be basically a different person before the big day comes around. I've never once heard a woman brag about how hard she rocked a plank pose that day or applaud herself for the fact that she made it to class at all. In spite of being a mother with a full time job. But I hear all about the overindulgent holiday dinners that need to be atoned for now.

In the treatment room, it isn't much better. I've noticed that the women who have the most beautiful skin are usually the quickest to point out the things they don't like about it. Women use words like "disgusting" to describe common blemishes. Other times they just gesture toward their entire pretty face and say, "can you just fix all this?" One time, a woman sincerely apologized to me for the size of her pores.

Trust me, I get it. I'm a girl too. My time in the depths has been extensive. I'm not here to cast stones, but I am here to tell you that I'm tired of this. I want better for us, ladies. It breaks my heart to see so many amazing, talented and intelligent women hating on themselves so freely. It makes me believe that this (among other reasons) is why women can't quite seem to get ahead in the world. Too many of us are too busy getting in our own way. Wrapped up in minutiae of our own flaws when we should be out celebrating our talents and showing the world what we are really capable of.

So what does any of this have to do with this post? I'll bring it back around. I work in the fitness and beauty industry. I am super aware that these are two industries that don't necessarily play nice when it comes to targeting women. Nothing fuels a multi-billion dollar industry quite like our insecurities.

We know how it works, but it doesn't always stop the messages from getting in does it? Flatten this. Conceal that. Erase something or other. Most of us have been hearing it since we picked up our first teen magazine. We've been well-briefed on what society expects of us in order to be deemed beautiful. A good lot of us have been working our butts off to try and meet that expectation ever since.

In thinking about this way too much, I began to examine my own part, as someone who operates a beauty business and works with women in a fitness studio. I feel these roles carry some responsibility for how women are talked to and/or marketed to and I want to express that I take that responsibility seriously. However limited my platforms may be, I am committed to using them for good rather than evil.

I've begun to look even harder at the things I can do do have direct influence. Some actions I've implemented thus far are: ending every single barre class by reading a positive body affirmation to the class, incorporating some gentle reminders of your general awesomeness on social media and as of this week, I'm introducing something I call "Heart Notes." at i {heart} skin. Every single appointment, clients get to draw a Heart Note from my basket. Think of it as a beauty fortune following your facial. Here is what a Heart Note looks like:

These are just a few of the baby steps I'm taking, but I have a long term goal of making this an ongoing campaign. I call it Positive Beauty Image. Stay tuned as I figure out more of what this project looks like. And by all means, don't hesitate to reach out if you have input, ideas or just want to be part of any of it. This is obviously bigger than me, and I welcome any companionship on the journey.

Additionally, my commitment to you as a business owner and as a practitioner is that I will never market to my clients from a place of judgement or shame or a demand to change anything about you. i {heart} skin was created from the get-go, to be a place that empowers. I believe in empowering my clients by teaching them about their skin and helping them find their confidence in that skin. I believe in treating the skin to make it happier and healthier. I believe in positive change as opposed to perfection. I believe that skin care is self care and that self care is important for everyone. I believe in loving your skin so much that you don't feel the need to cover it up. I believe in believing in yourself.

So that's what's going down these days in my neck of the woods. I'm excited to share more as it happens and reiterate that all are welcome to chime in here. It is my sincerest hope that this can be the start of another kind of positive change.

<3 Jenny

About the blog:

This is a blog about everyday skin health. As an esthetician I strive to provide comprehensive skin care advice and knowledge to anyone who wants to know more.

Read on and please don't hesitate to reach out! I love educating people about their skin and am always happy to respond to questions.

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