By: Pooja Bindingnavele Photos by: Lillian Reitz
I am at a stage in life where I play many roles, and typically all at once. I am first a wife to a busy plastic surgeon, and the mother of four strong, intelligent, brave girls and a sweet, adventurous baby boy. I am up late at night with my teenagers, typically offering moral support or a late-night snack; in the middle of the night nursing my 10-month-old; and early to hang out with my husband before he goes off for the day. In addition to being a wife and mom, I also run a real estate business, “do the books” at my husband’s plastic surgery practice, and sit on the boards of many organizations. My beauty routine depends upon quick and easy. My makeup and hair typically take less than 5 minutes total, so I rely on my skin and hair products to get me through the day looking like I did indeed sleep the night before.
The easiest thing I can always wear is a smile. The past year of COVID-19, though it has been exceptionally difficult in many ways, has reinforced to me that we need to find and express happiness in our lives. Life is not about what you do, it’s about how you do it. The smile is really only for me. It’s an expression of how I want to live my life: in a state of contentment.
My non-skincare skincare tips are three-fold: Nutrition is so very important. Your body puts out what you put in. My breakfast is typically a home-made yogurt and berry smoothie. Most days I am fortunate enough to be able to pack a hot lunch for all the kiddos and my husband. Everyone’s snacks always include fruits and nuts. We are vegetarian, so many different varieties of lentils and legumes find their way into our diet. Meditation is also paramount to feeling good about yourself; you will never “look good” to yourself if you don’t feel good. I try to take some time every day for meditation and self-reflection. Finally, hydration – you can put all the creams and lotions you want on your face, but if you’re not drinking plenty of water it’s all for naught.
You will note that many of the products mentioned are available at local retailers, with the exception of Plump & Pout and Total Eye Rescue, which are exclusive to the Corpus Christi Institute of Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery (CCICPS). I encourage you to buy beauty products from locations in town for two reasons. First, it is so very important to our local community that we shop and support local. Second, all of these products work for me and most of them will probably work for you, but it’s best to consult with a professional to make sure you’re getting the right products to help you. On a final note: Chocolate is an amazing anti-oxidant. From my research thus far, there is no upper limit on chocolate consumption and skin health.
Skinbetter Science Alto Defense Serum
This is one of my absolute favorites – it was an “Allure Beauty Breakthrough” winner in 2017. Skin magic in a bottle for sure. It’s by a line I love called “skinbetter,” and it’s full of antioxidants. Three days after using it for the first time, I turned to my husband and said, “Three days and isn’t my skin better?” I use it in the morning after showering/skin cleansing and at night after skin cleansing but before moisturizing.
Available at Skinbetter Science or local retailer
D•E•J Eye Cream
This is one of my two “She looks like she slept through the night” secrets. DEJ stands for the dermal-epidermal-junction, and this does an amazing job rejuvenating the eye. It’s the only eye cream I’ve found that can go on the top of the eyelid and doesn’t irritate my eyes or skin. All of the eye creams I have used prior to this have been restricted to only lower eyelid use, but this cream is meant for both upper and lower lids. I use half a pump for both eyes, so it lasts forever.
Available at Revision Skincare or local retailer
Plump & Pout
I have two of these – one in my purse and one in my vanity. It’s a lipstick wand that hydrates and plumps almost instantly; it makes my lips look good and makes me feel good. If I am having a busy day and need to look nice, this is a super quick pick-me-up that makes me feel confident about myself.
Available exclusively at CCICPS
Total Eye Rescue
This is my second go-to for under my eyes, an area that I’m sensitive about – literally and figuratively. It has an applicator that fits right under the eye and conceals and de-puffs at the same time. I was skeptical at first because one color cannot fit all, but the formulation blends to match over 90 percent of skin tones, and mine was included. I put it on in the morning just before a little bit of powder. It blends well and helps de-puff my eyes and hide any dark circles that may be lurking.
Available exclusively at CCICPS
Skinceuticals- Metacell Renewal
They call this IPL in a bottle, and because my skin tone doesn’t allow for IPL, I was intrigued. It is a super moisturizing facial cream that I use twice a day after the Alto. Before I forget, extras of the Alto and Metacell always go first on the neck and then on the hands. I love the feeling of having moisturized skin, and this definitely makes me feel luxurious while hydrating and healing at the same time.
Available at SkinCeuticals
This amazing green goop is a pot of magic for your hair. It is a thick green conditioner that smells amazing and is full of natural goodness like coconut oil for my curly hair. It helps decrease the frizz and keeps my curls happy. The first few days after using it, people around me kept asking me what smelled so good … it was my hair. Fun(ny) fact about this: After I used it several times, I read the ingredient list in detail. It contains Okra Gel – yes, you read that correctly. I absolutely abhor okra in all forms, and even now I grimace just the tiniest bit as I apply it to my hair. My family finds it hilarious. It is a testament to Glory that I still use it even though it has okra … it’s just that good.
Available at Lush
Chemical Peels and Lasers
These are clearly not products, but they are by far my favorite skin care essential. Laser genesis is a quick and easy laser facial – literally every day for a week after these facials, I feel like I look younger and more relaxed. Chemical peels do the same thing for longer, but there is some downtime involved. I visit my Licensed Aesthetican Carissa Horalek at the CCICPS (@corpusplasticsurgery) once a month for a facial and dermaplaning. She’s helped me find these products that help me achieve my skin goals easily. It’s important to have someone experienced who will listen to what you want and help you get there.