However, my skin was showing it all – the intense heat, daily sweating, constant stress, and heavy stage makeup were taking their toll. A jam-packed jet setting schedule and lack of proper sleep caused stubborn breakouts, persistent eczema flares, and an overall prematurely aged appearance.
A close friend, a doctor in dermatology, was a God-send during the years that followed. I was busy building a performing career and running a successful dance studio in the heart of New York City. My job depended on my looks, and I was willing to do almost anything to boost it. During those years, I learned plenty about peels, facials, fillers, and, yes, Botox. My eczema, though, thrived and flourished. I was only able to control it with ever more potent steroids, and I did not like that.
Fast forward through the next five years: life was beautiful, and I lived it to the fullest! I met the greatest love of my life while performing belly-dance atop a table in the city that never sleeps. We married, had three beautiful babies back-to-back, and business was booming. And then, my landlord decided to sell the property and I had to close the studio.On his second birthday, my dear son was diagnosed with severe autism. Life changed. It became a haze of endless therapies, treatments, doctor’s visits, sleepless nights, behavior management, and frequent collapses on the couch. One thing was crystal clear – my life as a dancer, performer, and successful brick-and-mortar entrepreneur was over for good.
My family needed me. My son needed me on an hourly basis if he was to improve. I learned how to chunk down life in little half-hour pieces so I could manage it. I learned to breathe and pray while rocking, bouncing, and swinging a toddler who was quickly regressing into a terrified, screaming mess. All the glamor was forgotten. I was lucky to take a shower. Supermarket visits felt like vacations. Many mornings I looked at my face in the mirror and asked: “Kristina, what happened to you? Who have you become? Look at yourself. Look at your face, look at your hair. How long since you put on lipstick, let alone a foundation? How long since you have laughed? How long since you have danced?” I simply didn’t care. I only managed to survive through the day. And yet, the human spirit and its power are a mystery.
By the grace of God, deep down, I fought to preserve a particle of my former self. I faced two choices – surrendering to a life of pitiful breakouts or taking this new “normal” by the horns and riding it. It turns out, entrepreneurship is in my DNA – sleepless nights could not amputate it. My brain was going a mile a minute. How could I create a business that:
Would generate the income we needed, taking into account the demands of the therapeutic and educational interventions.
As I kept facing my image in the mirror, witnessing the merciless aftermath of many sleepless nights, I kept wondering when I’d find time to go to the dermatologist. Couldn’t somebody just make a product to soothe the inflamed patches without steroids, preservatives, and irritating perfumes? Life with babies and autism had made me so acutely aware of the ingredients and chemicals in our household products and food, and I would have become an expert researcher. I kept reading and looking for a solution. To my disappointment, every time I would find a decent formula, there would be that pesky EDTA, phthalate, or “fragrance” in it. One day, it clicked. If I wanted a product I could trust, buy and use, I had to create it. Hence, Velv8 Skin was born.
I long for beauty amid the daily grind. Being a swamped mother of three children under five, including an autistic son who barely sleeps, makes it next to impossible to look or feel glamorous. I crave luxury. I want it delivered in an instant because I only have a moment to consume it. Velvet and silk are some of the softest, most lavish textures on earth. They often describe the perfect complexion.”Silk” was taken.”Velvet” was too.. But “Velv8” was available. “8” felt lucky and endless in a unique way: the business I wanted to create would be an infinite loop of win-win for everybody. So I took it.
Motherhood in general, the forced end of my career in the dance industry, and my son’s autism diagnosis fuel the most fierce Perpetuum Mobile one could dream of. I operate in a permanent high gear. It might seem extreme, but it makes sense to me. Everything I do begins and ends with one thought – how would it benefit my children? Will it help my son recover? I couldn’t ask for better motivation than that.
Chilling winter. Frigid winds are chapping cherished cheeks, hands, and lips. Welcomed heaters are blasting waves of comforting relief, if only less dehydrating.You feel that tug of tightening skin, but not in a nice way. Is your complexion getting drier? Or more dehydrated? Or strangely oily and dry at the same time? ~ CONFUSION, BEGONE! It’s […]View more
‘Tis the season to cuddle inside, sipping a sumptuous cup of hot chocolate, or head for the beach on a hunt for much-needed Vitamin C. Whichever one you opt for, there are important steps you can take to help your skin survive the Holiday Season: ~ During the winter months, dehydration, redness, and inflammation are much […]View more
… and why you should avoid it in your cosmetics, food and cleaning supplies. Cosmetic product ingredients accumulate in our bodies quietly and often go unnoticed until a sudden issue pops up. It is easy to glaze over a foreign acronym when we read the ingredient list. That doesn’t make the ingredient less harmful. Here […]View more