High Vibe Life: Ash Bonelli
This month I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Ash Bonelli, a Licensed Master Esthetician, astrologer, and photographer based in Seattle, WA. Ash describes herself as a blend of art and science as a medically-trained esthetician who also practices the creative language of astrology.
Although I am only on Instagram in a professional capacity, I still find myself getting sucked into the heavily filtered and Photoshopped faces of women who just “rolled out of bed” and I too often compare myself to an image that isn’t actually real at all. I was only in my mid-20s when a beauty professional told me where I could benefit from some botox and I’ve never looked at those spots on my face in the same way even though I logically knew that suggestion was fairly outrageous.
I love the message Ash carries because she is a big advocate of taking impeccable care of your skin early (read: SUNSCREEN) so you don’t have to resort to more dramatic and potentially harmful procedures down the road. Plus, she’s all about graceful but real aging--something I can absolutely get behind.
Sarah Farris: Self-care is a hot topic these days--do you think having a self-care practice can make a difference in the overall health of your skin?
Ash Bonelli: Absolutely. I think there is some confusion about that word though. I think many people use it as an excuse to over-indulge rather than sticking to practices that really promote overall health and wellness. For example, I love a good cocktail and some sugary sweets, but going overboard on those things in the name of "self-care" is really terrible for the vitality of your skin.
Feeding yourself healthy food, working out, masking during a nice soak in the tub, getting regular facials, buying the right skincare products for yourself, getting enough sleep, learning to say no and really taking time for yourself have a huge impact on your overall appearance. You get what you give. We literally wear our stress, so I think it's a good buzz word that everyone is into as long as it's the right kind of self-care!
SF: Top three biggest high-vibe skin sabotagers...
AB: 1. SUN. You will notice that I keep banging on about our solar friend but it really has a tremendous impact on the health of our skin. If you are concerned about wrinkles or sagging then you need to regularly wear SPF or limit your exposure to the sun. Hats and sunnies are our stylish secret weapons. Age spots that show up when you are 50 and over could be there from that bad sunburn you got when you were five years old. It’s so important to take care of your skin over the course of your entire life, even if you don’t have noticeable sun damage yet--it’s cumulative.
2. SMOKING. No hate or shame though as I'm totally open about being an ex-smoker. I loved it but, yeah, it stinks and it wrecks your skin. Smoking releases 100 trillion free radicals with every puff. Free radicals are radiance thieves as they steal electrons from our healthy cells. Sick cells equal a break down in collagen and elastin! Those two combine to make the fluff and spring to our skin. Deep breathing is essentially the same act as smoking but without all of the nasty stuff!
3. SUGAR. I know. With this one moderation is key, so I'm not saying never have it but it does impact the skin quite a bit. It creates inflammation in the body which breeds enzymes that break down our collagen and elastin. Our skin is our largest organ so this isn't just impacting your face but your entire body. Maybe keep the treats to a minimum and go for healthier options that help you radiate from the inside out.
If you are restricting yourself, you are causing yourself stress, so pick your battles. Have cake on your birthday, enjoy cookies during the holidays. Don’t overindulge, have small amounts. Sugar impacts your collagen because it makes your skin (and all organs, for that matter) stiff.
SF: I know that, regardless of how flawless my skin looks, I need to feel good inside to look great on the outside. What's your favorite way to harness inner beauty?
AB: People aren’t recognizing that these pictures on Instagram of women getting facials are actually models. We tend to create these imaginary flaws and see things that in reality aren’t real. I have female clients who are 40 years old and think their skin is covered in wrinkles but it’s absolutely not. Your skin is not as bad as you think it is!
Aging is not this horrible sin!
Botox weakens facial muscles over time so you learn to not make expressions as aggressively as you once did. This weakening can lead to blood and lymph circulation loss as well as muscle atrophy. Botox can also thin the skin over time which will make the skin look older, possibly grey, and more damaged. I like to go for effective treatments that may take longer to achieve at first but offer a more long-term benefit.
Don't compare yourself to anyone else. When viewing any sort of imagery, especially Instagram or fashion magazines, keep in mind that those images are usually highly manipulated, staged, posed and controlled to create a specific outcome. It's not reality and sadly we forget that and often feel bad about ourselves. My favorite quote about this subject is by Cindy Crawford who said in regards to images in magazines, "I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford." It's all smoke and mirrors. We all have flaws. I see beautiful women without their makeup all of the time and they have pimples, blackheads, wrinkles, broken capillaries, dark under eyes, you know all of that human stuff we are supposed to feel ashamed about, so focus on what you love about yourself. We are all perfectly imperfect.
SF: Any tips for people looking to elevate their skincare routine?
Most people are using the wrong cleanser. If you truly don't have oily skin (I mean seriously oily, with large pores all the way across your cheeks) then you should be using a creamy cleanser. We over strip our skin so much. We need that oil because it keeps our skin supple, protected, and soft.
Add in serums based on your skin issues or concerns.
If you're in need of some brightening, go for a Vitamin C which is a great choice for winter time. Use it at night so you have a nice amount of antioxidants in your skin to start the next day with.
If you are looking for more hydration go for one with hyaluronic acid or algae. Hyaluronic acid is amazing at attracting water to the skin so it creates a nice, juicy barrier.
If breakouts are your issue look for something with salicylic acid, just make sure you are not allergic to aspirin. If you are, stay clear of the salicylic. If you want a natural alternative, try using tea tree oil. It's a nice option thanks to its antibacterial properties.
A great aging skin (which is everyone on the planet) serum is one with lactic and glycolic acid in it. They both work to create new skin cells. As we age our skin cell reproduction slows down meaning we don't get a fresh face as quickly so using these acids will help speed up that process.
Lastly, use SPF! For our local readers, Washington State has one of the highest ratings for skin cancer in the country. Shocking because we have such gloomy winters but it's because we have such overcast cloud cover that we get tricked. Basically, when it comes to the sun if it's daylight out, you need sunscreen. Everyday. The number one cause of aging skin is the sun. Oh, and if you have an office window that you love, that glass window is magnifying the rays even if it's cloudy out. It's a fine line that we walk because we need a few rays of sun each day. Just remember to keep your sunscreen on and it will all balance out nicely.
SF: What's a skincare product or treatment that's a splurge but worth it?
AB: A microcurrent machine. It's a workout for your face! These machines create a gentle electrical current within the muscles of your face which stimulates collagen production. This bump in collagen then helps to firm and tone your skin. Hence when used during a professional session it has been deemed the "facelift facial." Having one at home is genius though because there is a compound effect that occurs by using it on a regular basis. The more you use it the longer your results will last. They can be pretty pricey but it offers really amazing results and it's a painless option that you can simply do in your bathroom. It's a win-win.
SF: For those of us located in the Seattle area, where can we find you for some high-vibe skin care?
AB: You can find me over at the House of Vartan where we offer facials, make-up applications, and brow services. Plus, the front of the house is a gorgeous shop filled with a nice selection of quality skincare, makeup, and hair care products. You can book with me over at www.houseofvartan.com.
Follow Ash on Instagram here
Connect with Ash via email here: email@example.com