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The Woman in the Mirror: My Unexpected Journey into the Beauty Industry

Initially when Joanne (owner of Colors Beauty and Wellness) approached me about working together in the skin care industry, I was thinking, “but I don’t know anything about beauty! ” As a Naturopathic doctor, I was used to working with skin conditions and anti-aging, but from an internal perspective. However, the idea of working with a like-minded individual who believes in a natural approach to beauty was tempting … Let me think about that.

Well, it took one bad, yet enlightening trip to a medical aesthetic clinic to change my mind and jump in with both feet!

How Two Wrinkles Started This Journey

My research into the Skin Care industry started with a visit to a local medical aesthetic centre, where I booked an appointment to discuss my 11’s, aka the 2 wrinkles between my eyebrows that have become deeper, reflecting the level of worry in my life, and making me look permanently angry.

I was greeted by the doctor’s assistant; a lovely woman, who used an extremely animated voice to help me gauge her emotional state, as her face was frozen in time with Botox treatments. She immediately attempted to bond with me over my desire to soften my “angry lines” and sympathized with my concerns around the upkeep with Botox and fillers. The doctor then came in and delivered the bad news … Fillers were not likely going to be enough to hide these bad boys (11’s); likely a combo of Botox, fillers and some take home gels. This totally made sense to me, as these lines didn’t form overnight, and I wasn’t about to stop making my “worried face”, so the lines would only continue to form. So, botox to paralyze the muscle, and fillers to plump up the skin so the lines appeared less deep. It made sense. So far my expectations were met.

Illustration of a beautiful woman looking into a mirror and seeing a less beautiful version of herself.

After this initial assessment however, my whole face became a target for deep analysis, even though I had only expressed concern about my 11’s. I had never really considered the age spots that had appeared, or the large pores on my nose. Suddenly she was in utter dismay that I was not concerned about those horrendously deep smile lines and poor skin texture … and while we’re at it, might as well attack those unsightly crow’s feet … BREATHE. Suddenly I felt hideous, old, flawed, broken! How could I go on subjecting my friends and family to this horrific face?!! How did I become so flawed? Within a matter of minutes I had become intimately acquainted with every little “flaw” on my aging face. Suddenly the proposed initial spend of $3000 felt so justified … but why did my chest feel tight and my throat so dry? I started to panic, so I took the next logical step.

I ran.

I said I had to go NOW, and I ran. I exited the building as quickly as I could, the cold air hitting my face, penetrating into every ugly line in my face as I bolted to my car. Breathe. As I drove home I could feel my shoulders rolling in, and my mood sinking lower, as I attempted to hide. How had my self-image gone from “Hey, not bad for 40-something” to “Deeply flawed, wrinkled up, defective. Old.”?

Who was this woman in the mirror?

When I got home, I immediately went to the mirror, and I avoided looking at my face; it was too much to take in. Instead, I looked deeply into those green eyes that had been looking back at me for over 40 years. Phew, SHE was still there. I stared and I breathed for 5 minutes. I cried for another 5 minutes.

I was getting older, how did that happen and why didn’t I see the signs?! And why didn’t I feel old until today?! I’ll tell you why. For two reasons: One, I was too busy “living” to notice AND two, up until this point, my experience with the beauty industry was blessed. I was held gently by numerous experts in the beauty industry, who made me feel beautiful at every age. They saw ME, each and every time I got my hair cut or my toes done. And now as I stared into those green eyes, I saw ME too, the same beautiful mother of 2, naturopathic doctor, friend … who walked out the door this morning. She is still there. I am still here, and I am beautiful, wrinkles and all.

When I actually “experienced and felt” what women were being subjected to by this industry, I thought, we have to provide something better! Women shouldn’t be shown what’s wrong with them, they should be reminded of their beauty each and every time! - The catalyst that started Pür GLō Natural Skin Rejuvenation Centre.
An inspirational quote that reads, "You were born to be REAL not to be PERFECT."

The Slippery Slope of Perfection

It’s not about perfecting what society wants to see. It’s about guiding people to see who they are, in all their beauty. I’m sure many of you can relate to walking into the hair salon, feeling bedraggled and tired, and walking out an hour later, feeling like you can kick some ass! A truly remarkable feat for a hair style!

And let me be clear: I am NOT against Botox. I think it’s a wonderful tool in this industry, if used wisely. But have you ever noticed how a woman often starts with one injection. Just the crows feet. They make me feel old. And then suddenly the WHOLE face is paralyzed, the lines are filled, the lips are plumped … now where did that woman go? It’s a slippery slope when we are aiming for some state of perfection defined by society.

Pür GLō: Where You Define Your Beauty

I know we, as a society, can do so much better in providing women with a safe place that lets them define beauty for themselves. This experience has guided my involvement in the skin care industry, as I provide women and men with options in the Natural Skin Rejuvenation world. We have created a team of Naturopathic Doctors and Skin Care specialists who know and appreciate real and genuine beauty, as they see it reflected back at them through the eyes of their clients.

My journey into the beauty industry was eye-opening, but it is these defining moments where great things are created. It catapulted me into making it a goal to help prevent others from getting the confidence knocked out of them as they look to navigate change. We need to uplift and help each other and I am proud and excited for our team to help everyone that walks out of our Centre to feel more confident and alive than when they first entered.”

Author: Dr. Mary Anne Hembroff ND is the Co-Owner of Pür GLō Natural Skin Rejuvenation Centre in Winnipeg, MB. She is also the co-owner of The Nature Doctors where she is a Naturopathic Doctor.


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