{GBF Life + Beauty} Face. Off.

While visiting MOCA Shanghai in May, this striking painting by Joyce Ho stopped me in my tracks and sent connective shock waves through every fiber in my body. The woman in the painting is suffocating underneath the smearing of yellow frosting topped off with cherries. She can't breathe much less reveal her true self because she's been programmed to hide buried beneath layers of monoglycerides and high maltose corn syrup. Over time, the artificial ingredients that sit on the surface of her skin clog up her pores causing a begrudging dependency to use more of it to cover up imperfections. It's a wicked cycle.

Perhaps you think I'm analogizing the frosting to makeup. Not really. When applied correctly and modestly, makeup will enhance your beauty instead of cover it up. For me, the frosting signifies the invisible yet sweeping societal pressure for women to conform to certain beauty ideals and to alter, cover, and hide their faces in order to present a calibrated public image. Effff that. Celebrate your features, your flaws, your individuality and let your beauty shine inside and out.

To keep it shining a bit more brightly, I incorporate these five facials into my life. They shed dead skin, tighten pores, and provide needed nutrients so my skin can live and flourish in its natural state.

{the torture facial} 
When I breakout, I go see Renee the Torturer. She gives my skin the ultimate beat down as every blackhead and whitehead are squeezed into oblivion leaving me swollen and red and teary eyed. But after a week, my skin is completely healed and completely blemish-free.

{the face lift facial}
Celebrity esthetican Nichola Joss performs her signature skin tightening facial using Sanctuary Spa products. Using advanced skincare and intensive hands-on techniques, the facial instantly lifts and tones the face. Deep facial massage relaxes the muscles while a firm lifting massage enhances the contours of the face, instantly toning and improving skin's texture. I get this facial before I attend a big event to ensure my face is bloat-free and photo ready.

{the all natural peel}
The ARCONA Enzyme Peel provides excellent cellular renewal for summer end sun damaged, aged and dull looking skin. This activating yet soothing treatment cleanses and restores skin to its natural and beautiful balance. Organic fruit enzymes dissolve dead skin and cleanse pores, thereby stimulating the dermis to manufacture more collagen and elastin. The peels produce new, strong, healthier and younger looking skin, without the harsh side affects of a chemical peel.

{the holistic facial}
Skin Care and Body Works offers an educational facial that will teach you the proper way to care for your skin and the importance of following a good skin care regime. Detailed explanation of your current skin health followed by products and methods to improve it is highlighted through a detailed action plan so you can closely monitor your skin's progress. I love the high level of engagement and open discourse with my esthetician about my skin health.

{the monthly facial}
 I go to Burke Williams and other neighborhood spas once a month for the popular European facial where my skin is cleansed, exfoliated, massaged, extracted, and masked. The monthly facials help to minimize pores and to keep serious skin problems at bay. It's a necessary monthly tune-up and check-up that will save you from future skin headaches.

Of course, sticking to an at-home skincare regimen is just as important. Most of the time, I buy my skincare, fragrances, and beauty products online to save time and money. Make sure to read reviews on sites like MakeAlley to make educated and informed purchases!

{live fabulously}