I grew up
with girls . . . girls everywhere. There were my four
sisters, with their exponential network of friends, there was
grandma and her rowdy pinochle crew, and then there was my mom,
a "welcome-wayward-stranger" type who kept her home open to
women of all stripes who might need some kind of looking after.
So my young life was filled with - and surrounded by - girls and
all the things they seemed to be interested in. Even though I
was the designated 'spider-taker-outer' and could be counted on
to tell lies to out-of-favor boyfriends, this was indeed a house
o'girls. I am no stranger to pantyhose in the shower, bobby pins
in the drain, long hairs in the scrambled eggs and piles of
cosmetic goo crowding all possible horizontal surfaces in the
bathroom. So it's no surprise to me (or anyone else in my family
for that matter) that I ended up making skin care.
Given my life-long love and study of plants and this
general female ambiance that filled my developmental stages, I
seem to approach this odd field of skin care from more of a
'naturalist supporter of women' perspective than the 'innovative
chemist in the lab' stance. Perhaps, this has given me a little
leeway in examining this issue of effective skin care. I do know
that it has given me a fierce and protective posture, so it
could be that my views are extreme, unfashionable, or even
unpalatable to some. I guess I'm requesting clemency in advance.
I spent a while examining this word 'effective' and
have decided it's a little tricky. I'm sure there's some general
agreement on the meaning of the word; my dictionary says,
"producing, or capable of producing, an intended result or
benefit". But still there's a hazy area; this pen I'm writing
with is effective and the lamp illuminating my notepad is
effective, but what about this cucumber I'm eating? Is my salad
effective? Evidently, I would need to distinguish between
different types of effective. After a bit, I decided there was
an 'obvious effective' - where the results were clearly evident
& observable, and a 'hidden effective' - where results are less
perceptible but accepted with confidence. I started to look
around me and group things into obvious and hidden effective.
The bike leaning in the corner there, now that the tire is
fixed: obvious effective; my cat sitting on my book table
watching me: hidden effective, and so on.
It came to me that all makers of skin care claim their
products are effective. It would be silly to profess otherwise.
But what type of effective; obvious or hidden? This designation
seems to be the crux of the matter, for in this culture, at this
time, we are habituated to the obvious. In matters of consumer
goods of all kinds, we demand immediate and apparent results. An
'obvious effective' must be clearly built into product
marketing. The funeral gong will be clanging for all companies
foolish enough to manufacture a product that didn't somehow
soothe the consumer's unconscious need for an instant and
Anyway, back to my cucumber. This tasty, lightly
seasoned chunk of transformed protons is certainly offering me
subtle, but true results. I can rest easy knowing that in some
mysterious but instinctive way, my body is methodically pulling
some vital, life-giving substance from my garden fare. As nature
spins her fabric of forest, river and rock, one can see there's
a certain pace - the pace of life. A flower grows, a wave rolls,
the wind blows. All unfolding, all healing, all growing, all
transforming follows this mysterious pace of life.
But it seems that we are in some type of hurry. Rushing
around, dizzy with desires - it occurs to me that skin care
might be an enabling accomplice to this agitated lifestyle. So I
must ask myself, what am I getting into if I want my skin care
to be effective? What generally impossible standards of
appearance are motivating me? What kind of effective am I
talking about? What exactly are the results I'm after?
Rolling these ideas around in my mind and heart for a
while, I did come to some understanding of what is effective
skin care. In fact, it becomes exceedingly clear: effective skin
care nurtures an instinctive desire towards health and vitality.
Ineffective skin care feeds on my fear of aging and lack of
acceptance of myself as I am. Effective skin care honors an
encompassing life force of which I am part. Ineffective skin
care says to hell with earth, water and sky - my body, this is
about Me. Effective skin care kindles a remembering of something
right behind the veil, ineffective skin care reminds me of the
frightened face in the mirror. One is about the actual present,
the other about an imagined future. Using effective skin care is
no different from watering the garden, steaming the greens,
nursing the baby or washing the feet of our elderly mother.
Using ineffective skin care is no different from being in a
constant state of busyness and distraction.
When I was in grade school, I remember being corralled
several times in the play yard by a dozen or so wild girls. They
would dance around me, singing, "ring around the rosies, pocket
full of posies . . . It's a sweet memory and it reminds me that
I've always been surrounded by the healing power of women and
nature. And for that, I'm a Grateful Body.
Shannon Schroter is founder and formulator for Grateful Body
. . . following the intelligence of nature rather than the
intellect of the laboratory
Shannon Schroter - Owner/Formulator
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