“I’ve been licensed for 25 years now - that makes me feel a little old, but my kids do that to me! I’ve just always wanted to help people feel good, and I knew I could do that if I helped them with their skin. I really love what I do.
When I first started, I approached a few well-known aestheticians in the Portland area, and asked if they would train me privately because I didn’t feel like the local beauty schools would give me the education & hands-on training I was looking for. So I did apprenticeships first in Portland & then L.A. Over the years, I’ve done various certifications, plus ongoing training for product and ingredient knowledge, and keeping up with the ever-changing market of skincare.
I’ve worked at both spas and medical spas over the years, but I developed rheumatoid arthritis and didn’t treat it as well as I should have. In 2015, I left the esthetics world but I’ve always been one of those Reddit nerd lurkers, so I just started posting about what I knew on Instagram and built my business that way.
There was actually a time I thought I wanted to teach. My son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism early on, which sparked my interest in education & the ways people learn. I ended up getting a PhD in Educational Technology because I learned that the use of technology in the classroom was highly beneficial to students with special needs. I love special education and pedagogy, but for now being an esthetician is keeping me busy.
As I’ve been aging (I’m 45 now), I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my own intimate skin health, but I’ve been asked throughout my career and to this day what to use and what not to use. I get a lot of questions about vulvar care, dryness issues, itching issues, but there’s so much misinformation out there and it’s frustrating to me. I was once told by an OBGYN to use coconut oil or Crisco down there but I know for the skin and the sebaceous glands in the pubic area, coconut oil can be too heavy and can lead to folliculitis, eczema, and all sorts of issues.
I use all SweetSpot Labs products - I love the Unscented Wash in the shower. If I’m not going to be showering that day (I don’t shower every day because my skin is super sensitive & dry right now), I go with A Clean S-Wipe. Then I’ll put Rescue Balm on every other day or every two days because I find that’s the perfect amount to tackle what I need to tackle. I love Buff & Brighten - I just stocked up last night because I go through them all the time. I use them mainly on my underarms, but also on my bikini line because I can get some really bad ingrowns in that area. As someone with sensitive skin, I appreciate that it’s super gentle but it’s still effective. My daughter recently started shaving, and I’ve been letting her use Buff & Brighten because I know it’s safe. She gets ingrowns and has a darker skin tone (my husband is Japanese), so she’s also prone to hyperpigmentation.
I definitely feel that when you’re looking for intimate care products, you should look for certain ingredients like naturally-derived and certain keywords. That’s what drew me to SweetSpot Labs. When I first started working in this arena, I liked that it’s clean, contains certain ingredients, eliminates certain ingredients, cruelty-free - that sort of thing. But it goes further than that. I pH test everything I use, and Buff & Brighten has a great pH level for that area to keep the acid mantle intact. For Rescue Balm, I like that it doesn’t contain coconut oil and that it’s water-free because I know when there’s water in a product it’s usually at the top of the ingredient list, which means the product is mostly water and you’re not getting the potency of the other ingredients.
I love that there’s transparency in the brand and a message behind it. I’m seeing my 12 & 14 year old daughters struggle with the stigma of, ‘Can I talk to you about this?’ They attended the sex-ed talk at their school, but it wasn’t in great detail so they still have a lot of questions - even about anatomy. I want my daughters to grow up & be confident about their knowledge of their own body. My mother didn’t really even talk about it - it was like, ‘We just don’t talk about that.’ We need to break the cycle.”
- As told to SweetSpot Labs