Love Your Skin Love Yourself Q and A with Rachael Pontillo

Shannon Smyth
Love your skin, love yourself author Rachael Pontillo My friend, fellow blogger, and holistic skincare expert, Rachael Pontillo has a book coming out on September 3rd: Love Your Skin, Love Yourself: Achieve Beauty, Health, and Vitality from the Inside Out and Outside In. It'll be available on both Amazon and Kindle. Considering that her skin is absolutely flawless and nothing short of amazing, I needed to find out all I could about what she is dishing in her new book. Women with skin issues often feel like they have to hide or that there is something wrong with them. Whether the condition starts as early as adolescence, or develops later on during a pregnancy or for other reasons, it affects much more than just the skin. Sometimes issues that accompany a skin condition are physical such as weight gain, digestive issues, systemic infection, chronic inflammation, etc. Other times, however, the issues are emotional and even spiritual. This was the case for author and coach, Rachael Pontillo. After living the majority of her life with acne, she cleared up her skin for good (and simultaneously lost 80 lbs) once she cleaned up her diet and upgraded her lifestyle. Though she looked and felt better on the outside and was healthier on the inside, she still had issues having to do with self-image and self-love. These are issues common to many women, especially those who have experienced a visible skin condition, and many feel misunderstood, alone and insecure because of it. By incorporating simple practices into her daily routine, Rachael was able to feel beautiful, confident, and empowered—that’s what she wants her readers to experience after reading this book. By reading Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, women with skin concerns and self image issues will discover how to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Love Your Skin Love Yourself Book Q&A Shannon: What is holistic skincare? Rachael: I define “holistic skincare” a little differently than some other practitioners who use the term. Many aestheticians and spas consider themselves "holistic" if they use all-natural, organic products and provide non-invasive and wellness oriented services. While this is a piece of the puzzle, it isn’t the complete picture. Other practitioners like health coaches and nutritionists define holistic skincare simply as "beauty from the inside out." Again, this is an important piece of the puzzle, but after my years of education, personal life experience, and professional experience as a health coach, aesthetician, and health and wellness writer, I’ve come to realize that both are necessary to ensure the best results. So my definition of holistic skincare is “caring for the skin from the inside out with proper nutrition and lifestyle choices and from the outside in with safe and healthy products, proper hygiene, and the right skincare regimen. ShannonWhy did you decide to focus this book and your career on holistic skincare? Rachael: I've lived more than half my life feeling ugly and insecure because of acne. I tried everything from prescription medications to over-the-counter medications, chemical peels and microdermabrasion, drugstore products, department store products, mail order products, and professional strength products. Some things worked, and many didn't…and those that worked usually had side effects and only worked until I ran out of the product. I knew I was missing something. When I changed my diet and saw the quick and dramatic improvement in my skin, I knew I was onto something. However, based on my knowledge of the body as a whole and the skin as its barrier, I knew that the skin needs hydration and nourishment on the outside too. Plus, there are so many harmful chemicals and toxins in products and in our environment that the skin takes quite a beating. My own experience changed my life and I've had clients with similar life-changing experiences, and I knew that this message needed to be brought to a larger scale with this book and in my other work. Shannon: Is holistic skincare as effective as expensive and high-tech spa and cosmetic treatments? Rachael: Holistic skincare and conventional/medical skincare are completely different modalities—it’s like comparing apples to oranges, and the efficacy in this case is subjective. Some people consider quick and dramatic results to be effective, even if those results fade quickly and require numerous ongoing treatments to maintain and come with risks and potential side effects. Others consider long-lasting, sustainable results that can be achieved at home over time to be more effective. The efficacy of holistic skincare varies per person, since each person’s condition, current diet and lifestyle, and physical and emotional constitutions are so different. Some people do achieve quick and dramatic results like I did, and these results continue to last and my skin continues to improve years later. Others see a more gradual improvement over time, but also experience improvements in other areas of their health and lives—all of which become part of a permanent lifestyle. That being said, holistic skincare is not a quick fix for everyone…but the results are long lasting for everyone. Because of that and the fact that it doesn't come with a laundry list of risks and side effects, I’d say it’s more effective than conventional aesthetic and cosmetic treatments and procedures. Shannon: How is this book different from all the other skincare books out there? Rachael: There are many great books covering the nutritional aspect of skincare, with certain diets and detox regimens that really do focus on the "inside out" piece. There are also many wonderful books covering the importance of natural skincare products, with recipes for handmade products as well as information about the effects of the chemicals in conventional products. And of course there is a myriad of self-help books that talk about transformation, lifestyle, self-esteem, finding one’s true self, and more recently, the concept of self-love. However I haven’t seen many that encompass all aspects—nutrition, lifestyle, topical skincare, and self-love—and really tell the whole story. Without all of these components, my own healing would not have been possible or sustainable. I've also noticed that many holistic skincare and diet books out there tell people what to do and why to do it, but not necessarily HOW to do it—meaning how to incorporate these new changes into their existing lifestyles without feeling completely overwhelmed. Many also insinuate that these changes are easy for everyone, and I think that this message is part of the reason why so many people have a hard time keeping up with diets or lifestyle changes. In Love Your Skin, Love Yourself I tell it like it is—some of the changes I made were easy for me but some did not come naturally at all; and there were times that I almost quit completely. I discuss how I came through those challenges and also share tips for how readers can get started and what to do if things seem overwhelming or challenging. Life is not always sunshine and rainbows and most journeys of true healing and transformation have areas of shadow…but the shadow passes and then the sun returns. That being said, we can’t ignore the shadow. Too many books don’t talk about the parts of the process that are hard for people—I wanted to present my own journey as well as the changes I recommend honestly and authentically, and for me that means telling the whole story—the triumphs but also the challenges and how I dealt with them in that moment. Shannon: Was this book hard to write? Rachael: Yes and no. A large amount of this book came to me in spurts from my muse late at night. I’m a very creative person, and I've learned that when the muse wants to work I step out of the way and let her have at it. However a lot of these late night musings didn't transition well from one thought to another. I decided to get some help and work with a book coach as well as a very talented editor to help me organize my thoughts. Though I've been writing for nearly half my life, writing blog posts and magazine articles is very different from writing a book since they are more condensed and one doesn't necessarily have to flow into another. The thought of writing an entire book on one topic was very scary to me. This book is also much more personal than my more fact-oriented articles and even most of my blog posts. Piecing together the manuscript and going through the editing process was very emotional for me, since I didn't realize when I initially wrote some of it how raw my own thoughts and experiences still were for me. That’s the part of the process I was expecting the least—feeling vulnerable. Writing has always come naturally to me, as has expressing myself in other ways, so the actual writing part was not hard—it was the feeling of vulnerability that was more difficult. The process of going through the editing, design, formatting, proofreading, and getting the book published was challenging at times but was an incredible experience at the same time. I am so blessed to have consulted with my incredible topic matter experts: Dr. Ben Johnson from Osmosis Skincare, Dr. Georgia Tetlow from Philadelphia Integrative Medicine, Sharonah Rapseik, PhD from Spa Holistica, and Christine Arylo, bestselling author and Queen of Self-Love. My editor, Daniella Thoren, designer Michelle Fitz of Hat Trick Strategies, and publisher Sennin Group also really helped the process run smoothly and helped me create something that looks more amazing than I ever could have imagined. Overall it’s been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life and I look forward to doing it again! About Rachael: Rachael Pontillo is a holistic health and image coach with more than 15 years in the beauty and healthcare industries. Following her own challenges with acne and weight, she has helped many women overcome skin conditions and self image issues in her private coaching practice. She is also a published author whose work has been featured in the top aesthetics trade journal, Dermascope Magazine, the international magazine Complete Wellbeing, as well as on several blogs and websites such as Spa Week Daily, Holistic Vanity, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, and WholesomeOne, in addition to her own popular blog, Holistically Haute. She is a recipient of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s prestigious Health Leadership Award, is a featured skincare expert for NeoCell Health, and spoke on a national stage before the Association of Holistic Skincare Practitioners Conference where she educated aestheticians about the benefits of offering nutritional counseling services to their clients. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+

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Everyday Heroes Beauty Transformation

Courtney Smith BSN2 comments

Two Everyday Heroes Translate their Inner Strength into their Outer Pow!

Makeover Sherona McFadden of Harleysville, PA and Keara Ramos-Coles of Greenlane, PA are two women who define what it means to be everyday heroes. Sherona is a wife, a mother of five children (two are affected by a disability and a serious medical condition), a friend, a working-woman, a singer/songwriter, and a community/church volunteer. Sherona emulates creative flare to the point where she seems to breathe it with every idea she speaks and song she writes. She is a natural visionary, but with much of her time spent caring for her family and/or living between frequent doctor appointments and hospital visits, Sherona struggles with a sense of zapped energy. She longs to reconnect with her keen sense of artistic allure when it comes to makeup, and shared with me that she is looking for some products/looks to reignite this flame. Keara is a wife, a mother of three children (all of which have a learning disability), a friend, a professional caregiver for the elderly and those affected by disability, and also volunteers in her church and community whenever she is able. Keara so poignantly shared her struggle, which so many caregivers face, with balancing taking care of her self vs. others. Her compassionate heart for others wins in weight, but with that she said, “I am now at a time in my life that as much as I love taking care of everyone else I am also learning that I have to find ways to take care of myself.” They’re inner strength and love has an overflowing glow, and I think that Keara hit a key note in understanding that it doesn’t have to be about choosing to care for someone else vs. yourself, but rather finding the delicate balance and boundaries to care for both. Keara further shared that she has come to this balance by “Placing God first and trusting Him with all I have.” It’s the spiritual aspect of beauty we so often forget, as it is this peace that has allowed her to rest assured that she doesn’t have to combat her struggles or that of others alone. There really is a beauty in peace. Harnessing the power of their wow factor during our self-created mini-caregiver retreat was no trouble at all! My awesome husband kindly took the children out for a swim while we started our evening with some good conversation, a homemade dinner, and quenched our thirst with water-enhanced Stur (of course)! We followed up dinner with hysterical laughter while striking the before shot poses. Boom! Then these gorgeous ladies took a seat to discuss what they wanted for their look. Sherona wanted to flesh out her creative nature with some bright colors on her already exotic-looking eyes, while Keara opted for an elegant glamour that she could recreate during her daily routine, more then just what she said, “Is my once a month dress up night.” Before applying their makeup both ladies cleansed their faces with Kaia’s 100% biodegradable juicy bamboo cleansing cloths. Keara commented, “Ooooh I LOVE the smell!” and Sherona joined, “and it feels so good on my skin…doesn’t dry me out.” I informed the girls that the cloths were also vitamin rich, packed with 8 purely plant-based essential oils, alcohol-free, sulfate-free, and awesome for so many other reasons. Kaia Juicy Bamboo Cloths Next, I moisturized both ladies skin with Delivre. I decided that since I only tried it on myself I wanted to see if they felt the same as I did about it (Read: 5Products That Will Help You Transform and Revive.) Ding, Ding, Ding, just as I had felt in my last post, Delivre delivered! Sherona and Keara have dry patches on their skin too. Hydrating with water and using topical hydration like a moisturizer are imperative elements in maintaining the health of one of your most important, and definitely the largest organs in your body (yes it is an organ!), which also happens to be one of the primary defense systems of your body too…so treat it especially well. *Note: it is also essential to have a smooth base for the application of great looking makeup. Then I applied the makeup mediums to create the elegant and innovative look that each woman aspired to produce. As always, eyes first when applying makeup, so you can clean up the rest of the face later. For Sherona’s eyes (Creative/Innovative look), I used MAC’s Back to the Beach Collection Sweet & Punchy, TIGI’s Posh Quad, and Smashbox’s Nocturnal and Nude, e.l.f.’s super affordable liquid eyeliner, and I intertwined her lashes with Butter London’s Wink Jaded Jack with Kevyn Aucoin’s Rich Pitch Black The Curling Mascara. Makeover Before and After (Sherona)purple-green-makeup For Keara’s eyes (Elegant Glamor Look) I used AVEDA’s petal essence Ginger Root, TIGI’s Posh high density quad eyeshadow, and Smashbox’s Bark from their Studio Pop eye palette, e.l.f’s liquid liner, and Kevyn Aucoin’s Rich Pitch Black The Curling Mascara. Let me just add that I LOVE Kevyn’s Mascara, I have had countless people ask if I was wearing false lashes…that is how good we are talking! Before and After pictures #makeover gold-purple makeup Finally, the rest of their resilient canvases were finished off using Mally’s Pro-Tricks correcting palette, the variance in Mally’s palette allowed me to create just the right combo to match each of their skin tones. Mally Beauty Concealing Palette I added a natural looking shimmer to their skin using e.l.f.’s baked blush peachy cheeky, and accentuated their cheek bones using MAC’s In the Groove collection: Mineralized blush duo, New vibe. For the lips I used AVEDA’s lip liner Plum Petals coated with their rehydrating lip glaze on Keara, and on Sherona I used AVEDA’s lip glaze by itself. Check out the final results and drop our awesome heroes a line of encouragement! Everyday Heroes Makeover Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooCourtney on G+. *Disclosure

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