I often receive messages from you thanking me for my authenticity and for being a “real” voice in the beauty industry.
I’ve been managing the company’s Instagram since the beginning. For these past two years, people have told me that I should manage my Instagram differently. I shouldn’t show this, don’t talk about that, say this, show that. For those of you who have only recently started following us, you’ll be surprised to hear that up until 6-7 months ago, I hardly talked about my acne. So many people told me that as a skincare company founder, nobody would want to see or hear me have those struggles. I listened, and I therefore hid the MAIN reason I have a skincare company.
But honestly, covering up parts of me didn’t feel that unusual. Actually, that was the norm, and not just in regards to my skin.
I’m 28, and unfortunately, I’ve spent the majority of my life NOT being the real me. I’ve been someone who has always needed validation from other people. Not just about my skin, but generally, whether I looked pretty, skinny, fashionable, or whether I was smart, successful, or funny…enough. Was I good enough? I always valued other people’s opinions of me more than my own.
In work, this came through in hiding my struggles with acne from you, or concealing my “imperfections” with makeup. I would talk about acne as if it was a thing of my past. In my friends and family life, this came through in lopsided relationships. In my dating life, this came through in being with the wrong person (not a bad person, but a wonderful person who clearly wasn’t for me). I ignored the basic incompatibilities in my relationships and adapted my personality to be liked…because all that mattered is how the outside world viewed me. Who cares what I think.
Over the past half year, however, in part due to some therapy, frustrating personal relationships, and a LOT due to you and cocokind, I was forced to change. For a long time, the world made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or that I didn’t have enough. I had so many failures trying to be good enough and being this girl that wasn’t even the real me. I was so tired of failing.
I woke up one day wanting to try a different tactic. One of the first things I did to rebel from “that girl” was share Instagram stories completely makeup-free. I was nervous about how this would impact my business, because I was basically revealing that I have less than perfect skin. (I know some of you message me saying I have “flawless” skin, but that is so far from the truth and please know that. I do have 100% healthy skin though.)
Going makeup-free is not easy for people who struggle with acne.
It’s not like goop-style-makeup-free, which is a joke to people with acne (one that makes you want to cry, not laugh). For basically 13 years, I trained myself to wake up every morning and immediately cover up my blemishes. I mean, imagine what that does not just to your skin, but to your mental psyche?
How could you feel comfortable being yourself if the first thing you do every day is stare at an imperfection on your face and then cover it up?
Do you see how having an unhealthy mentality about acne can contribute to a much larger psychological issue? Or maybe I already had a larger psychological issue that was making me have an unhealthy relationship with acne. Whatever it was, the relationship between my mind and my skin was extremely unhealthy – they perpetually made each other weaker. The real me became hidden behind all these “trying to be good enough” layers.
So when I first started talking about going makeup-free and not concealing my blemishes, it was representative of a much larger rebellion than what it may have appeared to be. It was a refusal to continue covering up not just my real skin, but who I really am as a person.
I shouldn’t need to cover anything up to be loved.
Another thing that became interesting about Instagram stories was that by showing off my flaws and my bare exterior, I was becoming more empowered to let my interior just be, too. I started saying whatever I wanted, in whatever attitude I felt like. Sometimes I’d be humorous, other times serious, but I was always real and compassionate to the problems that you’re looking to solve through cocokind. My friends and family started seeing these videos and were shocked. Some told me the clips were amazing, while others told me I “maybe shouldn’t get too real”. Nice.
But you guys! You guys. I started getting so many messages from you. You related to me, supported me, found me refreshing, and found me funny (what?). It turns out, that what most resonated with my customers is just being me. Not any of that beauty industry, marketing-to-perfection, glamorous, flawless BS.
We do not market to perfection, we market to you feeling SO loved…being exactly who you are.
Someone asked me recently what I was most excited about in 2017. I replied, “just being my badass self.” I wasn’t trying to be funny, I really meant it. Because of you and cocokind, I really feel like this is the first year in a long time that I will live my life being, persistently, excitedly, and stubbornly, the real me. This small and growing platform has given me so much joy and encouragement – I now refuse to be anything but who I am.
You guys tell me all the time that you are becoming more confident in your skin. The reality is, this all started with you helping me. My authenticity on social media has become so evident because I’m fighting for the real me every day, and you have encouraged me through and through. Today, you keep me accountable for being raw and true, and I’m so happy that attitude occasionally bounces back to you. We’re talking about so much more than skin, now.
Social media can easily foster unhealthy relationships – but not here on cocokind. Our platform – one that involves so many women empowering each other to be our real, badass selves – that is the new and greater mission for my company. It’s an outcome that is so personal to me.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me get back to me, and happy Women’s Day. I can’t wait to see how powerful our joint impact will be on women and wellness as this platform grows.