Even as a beauty director who spends much of her time obsessing over skin care, products, and a slew of experts’ best tips, I am no stranger to bad skin days. I regularly wake up with a blemish (or three!), dark circles, and the occasional rosacea flare-up that leaves me feeling less than ideal. On those days, I reach for a skin care treatment—or my trusty concealer to cover up whatever I’m feeling self-conscious about.
But according to holistic esthetician Hayley Wood, there’s another item I should be reaching for: a photo.
In a recent episode of Clean Beauty School, Wood shared with me her go-to trick on her own bad skin days. And it has nothing to do with products, quick fixes, or treatments—it all has to do with your perspective.
A skin care expert’s feel-good tip for bad skin days.
In the moment—like, say, when we wake up to a new zit—it’s only natural for us to be overly critical of ourselves. Zeroing in on a problem and seeing nothing but the problem is human. You may even be tempted to go overboard and attack the issue at hand—be it with harsh treatments, picking, or simply doing too many steps. So here’s an easy trick to pull yourself out of your self-sabotaging spiral.
“When you’re outside of a situation—like when you’re a couple of years, months, or even days down the road—you are not going to remember that zit. So I always tell my clients they should have a visual to hold on to so they can start applying that shift in perspective for themselves,” Wood explains. “For example, I ask them, ‘Isn’t there like a photo of you from like five years ago, or even like a month ago, where you know you didn’t feel good when you took the photo—but now that you are removed from it, you realize you were way too harsh on yourself, and actually you look great?'”
Wood goes on to use herself as an example: “There are a lot of photos of me in my 20s where I know at the time what I was thinking: I don’t like the way I look. But I am perfect, radiant, and as I was meant to be in that photo,” she says. So now on days where she doesn’t feel her best? She doesn’t let it get to her. “Even if I don’t fully believe it, if I can just know that my future self will appreciate me taking the route of being a little kinder and being a little bit more loving to myself. That usually helps me break through.”
So that’s it: a feel-good beauty tip, not a single product required. Even if it doesn’t put an end to every pang of self-criticism, as Wood says, “It’s so fun to look back at a photo of yourself and be like, but don’t I look hot?” Couldn’t agree more.