For most of my life, skincare was a vague concept I saved for my sister. While there’s only eighteen months between us—I’m the elder—our complexions are worlds apart. Tanya inherited our father’s hummingbird metabolism and acne-prone skin; I got our mom’s creamy Irish skin and hips. During adolescence, my sister went to extremes to prevent, hide, and cure her acne, experimenting with everything from Retina to witch hazel, while the worst of my complaints was the smattering of freckles on my nose and the occasional mosquito bite.
I was blissfully unaware of what I was doing to my skin throughout my twenties, a decade that was defined by working hard and playing harder. Remedies for late nights, of which there were many, were a cup of coffee, a chocolate croissant, and splashing my face with water and Dial soap. Moisturizer was anything I could find on the run—Vaseline, hand cream, sample packets torn from Glamour—while I didn’t give sunscreen a second thought. I sunbathed on the weekends, my skin wet with tanning oil. I social-smoked with poets and bassists in cities around the country. I ate what I wanted when I wanted, often with a side of fries. And still, I somehow maintained the rosy, dewy glow of my youth.
Then my late thirties hit—and, with it, more turmoil than most people experience in a lifetime: Our parents’ sudden death. Divorce. A tumultuous move across country, a financial crisis, and the radical decision to upend my life and return to school for my law degree, which I set out to complete while working full-time. Happy hour became rush hour, Saturdays on the sea became whole weekends in the arid, windowless rooms of libraries, and first dates became study dates, often fueled by Hot Tamales, chips, and caffeine. By the time I turned forty, I was on my little sister’s doorstep with a suitcase, taking her up on her offer to stay at her home in Hawaii while I waited for the results of my bar exam. I was spent—wrung out, aggrieved, strapped for cash, and bone-tired.
And my skin reflected it.
My sister, on the other hand, was the picture of health and smart choices. She practically shimmered with beauty. Gone were the scars from her acne-addled adolescence. Vanished were the crow’s-feet she’d developed when she was pregnant with her twins. The drab tone she’d suffered in the wake of using so many products as a teen was replaced with an incandescent sheen. She looked like she walked around with a halo on her head she was so lit from within. It didn’t go unnoticed, either. The barista at her favorite cappuccino place complimented her skin and surfer boys whistled her way, while her neighbor, upon seeing me for the first time, said, “Oh! You must be Tanya’s mother!”—a comment that sent me flying to the bathroom mirror in tears.
In the unforgiving light from the sun outside, I inspected my skin with the scrutiny of a surgeon. My eyes were darkened by ashy rings. My forehead was the texture of wet clay; my cheeks colorless. The permanent frown between my eyebrows made me look stern as a schoolteacher, and there wasn’t anything remotely “fine” about my lines and wrinkles. How, I wondered, could I look like a grandmother if I’ve never even had a child?
Tanya has always been susceptible to trends when it comes to beauty, from Kale cleanses and barre workouts to bohemian hair and red lips. I figured the same extended to her skincare; that something pricey and exotic and soul-consuming made up her routine: Botox and Juvéderm, laser resurfacing and colonics, two-hour facials and creams so luxuriant they were flecked with gold. It didn’t matter that her refrigerator was packed with food from the Farmers Market, that she ran on the beach and did yoga, that her favorite cocktail was an elixir called the Green Goddess. There was no way she could not be cheating.
So it came as a joy and a surprise to learn that the only evidence pointing towards the revolution in her skin was a small jar of age-defying moisturizer called Eavara. Ever the investigator, I went hunting for the drugstore products I used on rare occasions to conduct a little analysis.
With Google as my companion and a dermatologist friend on the phone, I discovered that the main ingredients in my moisturizer and facial wash would make an esthetician weep. Butylene Glycol, derived from petroleum, is about as healthy for your skin as a hot dog is for your waistline—it won’t kill you, per se, but it certainly won’t send you searching for your skinny jeans either. Parabens, slipped in to keep products from going rancid, have been linked to an array of cancers, while sodium lauryl sulfate—in essence an industrial cleaning agent that’s used to degrease engines (like, in cars)—is about as soothing to the skin as an SOS pad drenched in bleach. And that cloying fragrance meant to make you feel refreshed? That’s thanks to a lengthy, complicated combination of synthetic elements that, together, have led to respiratory problems, migraines, and dizziness. In summary, these ersatz ingredients—used in the name of erasing damage—create more harm than help.
Eavara, on the other hand, had a list of ingredients so pure and enticing I was tempted to eat it. Each ingredient seemed painstakingly and lovingly selected from the land: Coconut. Avocado. Kukui nut. Shea butter. Its heavenly scent was wholly authentic as well, stemming from the inclusion of plumerias—the same tree that flourished in my sister’s front yard and was known across cultures to have curative powers. Non-invasive but potent, organic but affordable, exceptionally nourishing but entirely natural, Eavara was paradise in a jar.
Like practice makes perfect, consistency fosters results—and what results I had. Within weeks of using Eavara, the radiance I’d taken for granted as a young adult resurfaced. My fine lines faded, tautness returned, and my skin began to resemble the enviable complexion of my sister’s. Her neighbor hasn’t mistaken us for twins yet, but the likeness between our ages is once again undeniable.
What’s more: Eavara has integrity. I’ve long thought that the purchases we make are a direct reflection of our ethics. Buying a skincare product that’s locally made, promotes wild-harvesting, and is as friendly to the environment as it is safe for one’s skin, made me feel pleasingly empowered.
And empowerment was exactly what I needed as I started at a new law firm—because, yes, I passed the bar. To celebrate? My sister and I went straight to the bar.
The juice bar, that is.