by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

THE SKIN WE WEAR: Embracing You with Mandy Madden Kelley

Beauty guru and entrepreneur Mandy Madden Kelley shares how skincare helped her cultivate self-love and her secret to achieving her signature glowing skin.

Image credits: @heathergildroy

In the series ‘THE SKIN WE WEAR’, BEAUBIT focuses on how beauty can be self-empowering and a form of self-expression, how women are not defined by the way we look.

Mandy Madden Kelley (@mandymadd) is an inspiration for many women; the LA-based working mom is not only a skincare expert and beauty guru, but she’s also a full-time content creator and creative consultant.

Her blog showcases her many tried-and-tested beauty tips, and how skincare as self-care has allowed Mandy to cultivate self-love. We love the fact that she aims to help women show themselves the love and respect they deserve and embracing what makes them unique. You may be surprised to learn that her skin wasn’t always a source of self-love for Mandy. Ahead, BEAUBIT shares her experience.

Tell us more about yourself. Where did you grow up, and what do you do now? 

I grew up in Romania and New Zealand, where I pursued a career in law at the latter. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have become a full-time beauty blogger and creative consultant; I create elevated content for brands and teach specifically women of colour how to feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. I am also getting ready to launch a company, Pagerie, in August 2020. 

You’ve been a ‘woman of impact’ for a good number of years now; what do you hope to achieve with your platform?

I genuinely care and love the people I interact with on my platform. It’s very important for me to cultivate real connections. Many of my followers have been with me for years, which is very important to me. I want women to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin, and to learn that they can have full control of the way they feel about themselves. 

You experienced racial prejudice throughout childhood; how did you overcome that? 

My skin was the number one aspect I was most ashamed of growing up. It brought me a lot of pain and suffering as a young girl. I spent most of my childhood figuring out ways to cover myself and try to blend in as much as possible. However, as I grew older and became a woman, I realized that in order to have a family, in order to love someone else, I had to first learn how to love myself and accept myself just as I was. That is when I decided to change my perspective on life.

I made an active decision to celebrate my skin and turn the art of self-care into a ritual of self-love for myself. Being able to spend this time alone with me and practice these movements and strokes across my skin and body, also allowed me to discover who I truly was. I learnt to sit with my thoughts and dive deeper into my consciousness in order to discover my true identity. Turning something I was most ashamed of into something I loved about myself was incredibly significant in my life.

“There is something incredibly powerful about finding your identity and feeling secure in who you are.”

Racial prejudice is really so complex and difficult to comprehend. I am thankful for the support systems I have and for my home here in Los Angeles. Despite the major problems here as well, it is still more diverse than my hometowns. 

Image credits: @heathergildroy

How did you discover your passion for skincare?

I have loved beauty and skincare ever since I was a young girl. I remember spending every weekend watching my grandma apply cold cream on her face and put on her makeup. As a teenage girl, I loved spending time in my bathroom, mixing up some homemade mask.

I personally suffered from hormonal acne and pretty bad pigmentation. It became a cycle of breakouts followed by dark spots that I could not escape from. So, I decided to not only fix the problem as it happened but really take the time to figure out what caused it, so that I could prevent it from happening again. This required some time for me to become in tune with my skin; which is why I discovered early on that good skin is a matter of discipline. This idea fuelled me to share my passion for skincare with other women out there.  

How has skincare as self-care helped you embrace your skin colour and cultivate self-love?

I have always believed that there is a real art to self-care. It’s a form of self-expression, a time for self-reflection, self-discovery and self-love, performed as a ritual. Every movement, every action should be intentional; it should be driven from within and it should be an act of worshipping the vessel that guides us through the journey of life—your body. Every time I perform my ritual, I take the time to meditate to practice gratitude and turn any negative thoughts that may arise into something positive.

“My daily skincare rituals have allowed me to accept myself, celebrate myself and love myself from within.”

How do you think people can mindfully practise self-acceptance and self-love?

We have been taught and programmed from a young age that we must move fast, we must be quick on our feet and we must perform our tasks in the most efficient ways. However, we have never been taught to slow down, to literally do nothing. To me, this is incredibly powerful and absolutely essential to personal growth.

“In order to begin accepting yourself and loving yourself, one must learn to sit with their thoughts.”

One must learn to enjoy their own company. I always recommend this to my followers and my entire community — no matter how busy your week might be, schedule 1 hour for yourself to do nothing. This could mean laying on the couch, taking a walk around the neighbourhood or meditating in the garden. Turn those critical thoughts you have about yourself into gratifying, self-loving comments. Practice this daily and watch your mind shift. It’s beautiful.

What does your daily skincare ritual look like?

My skincare routine is never the same. Think of me as a barman mixing up cocktails every morning and evening! I like inspecting my skin and figuring out what it needs in that every moment while taking into consideration the weather, the temperature in my home, my hormones, stress levels, hydration levels, etc. It’s great— and fortunate! — for me to be gifted so many amazing skincare products because I am genuinely curious and passionate about skincare, so I actually would like to try everything!

I like incorporating skincare tools, and once a week on Sunday, I’ll throw on a face mask while taking a bath.

Mandy’s Beauty Picks
Sunnies Face Airblush in Moon, SGD16.99
Biologi Bqk Radiance Face Serum, AUD125.45
Biologique Recherche Le Grand Serum, SGD265
Maison Louis Marie No.4 Bois de Balincourt Roll-On Perfume Oil, SGD79
Nuori Vital Foaming Cleanser, SGD59

Has your beauty regime changed much since becoming a mother?

I do have to admit that I have had to become somewhat time-savvy since becoming a mother. One whole hour to myself has now become 30 minutes. I have not had to completely cancel my beauty rituals, but I have had to compromise and learn how to balance my responsibilities. Especially now during this quarantine period, there are some days where I have to wake up at 5-6 AM, mist my face, feed my family and then return to my bathroom around 9 AM to get ready for the day. It can sometimes feel chaotic, but I always try to make an effort! 

How would you impart values of self-love and kindness to your daughter?

They say that kids learn best through play. While I want to help my daughter develop into a kind, caring and confident young lady, I have to remember that she is just a toddler and I need to imbed these core values in her through simple everyday activities such as playtime. I like to make sure that if she is ‘cooking’ for me in her little kitchen, she shares her food with her dolls and her daddy too. If we’re taking a bath together in the evening (I call this Girls’ Night), she learns to feel comfortable with her body around me. She knows how to take care of her body and feel confident in her skin.

My husband and I always like to ask for her opinion on things. We want her to think about what she wants and learn how to make her own decisions. Our whole family treats each other with respect and kindness. Children naturally pick up on these habits from a really young age. They truly learn by example.

If you liked Mandy’s story, there’s plenty more to come. Just hit the ‘Sign Up’ button at the bottom to receive the latest round-up.