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Skincare as Self-Care, Navigating Grief + Starting a Business with Ada Chen

3 Things We Dive Into In This Episode:

  1. Important tools for navigating loss and grief.

  2. The major gap that Ada found in the skincare industry and how she started developing her natural + sustainable skincare brand.

  3. How developing a basic skincare routine and prioritizing it in your life is self-care and healthcare.


📌Episode Highlights

[03:52] Ada Pre-Chuan’s Promise

  • Ada had recently moved to a new state and didn’t have a job at the time.

  • The pandemic hit and the mandatory lockdown began.

  • Her father became gravely ill and Ada became his main caregiver through his last year.

  • Ada managed all of his care remotely because she couldn’t be in the hospital with him.

[05:05] Why sustainable skincare?

  • During the stress of taking care of her father and COVID, Ada did not take care of her skin and it was suffering.

  • She bought products at retail stores but had no clue what the ingredients were or what she was putting on her skin. They also didn’t work.

  • Through this process, she realized how much plastic packaging was being used along with water in the production process and the amount of shipping. The carbon footprint was more than she wanted to be part of.

  • Ada knew there had to be a better solution.

[08:06] Chuan’s Promise is born

  • Ada got busy in her own kitchen mixing different raw ingredients to find something that worked.

  • She also worked with the facial oils she had been blending prior to all of this happening.

  • To make her product sustainable, she focused on packaging. Ada made her packaging 100% recyclable or compostable.

  • Out of respect for her father, she used his middle name, Chuan, for the product line. He was also her biggest supporter in pursuing entrepreneurship.

  • Promise comes from a saying her father always used in lieu of “bye” or “goodbye.”

Ada: “I was thinking about bringing the skincare brand to life and what I want people to do with the products - it really is to take care of themselves and to be reminded of that every day. I chose to borrow that saying from dad and kind of put it all together into a brand.”

[10:24] Navigating Loss and Grief

  • Ada took weeks being horizontal to process the passing of her father.

  • She sought out the professional support of a therapist and highly suggests anyone dealing with this type of loss do the same.

Caitie: “A support network of friends, professional help, and permission to be horizontal and let things sink in are three really important tools.”

[16:37] Making Skincare Accessible

  • Taking care of your skin is just as important as any other part of your body.

  • Viewing skincare as part of healthcare and as part of self-care can help make it more of a priority for people who don’t see its importance.

  • Ada wants to make her skincare line accessible in both price point and availability.

Ada: “It feels terrible to see abundance and not be able to access it.”

Ada: “That's what equity means. Everybody being able to access the same resources.”

[20:24] Ada’s Skincare Products & Recommendations

  • Things won’t improve overnight, so give yourself grace and have patience.

  • If you’re just getting started, Ada suggests using a basic cleanser once or twice a day. Moisturize to keep your skin hydrated, apply an SPF every day, and exfoliate once a week.

  • Ada describes her different products and how best to use them.

  • SPF comes in a mineral or chemical formula.

Ada: “My advice, if it's too cheap, there's a reason for it. If it's really expensive there's probably not a great reason for, it.”

[26:54] Two Skincare Myths

  • Myth: oily or combination skin shouldn’t use products with oil in them. Why it’s false: your skin has natural oils. Once you wash your face, you’ve removed them, so it’s important to put some back to create balance.

  • Myth: you must wash your face twice a day. Why it’s false: washing twice a day may overdry your skin. If that’s the case, your skin will produce more oil.

[30:32] Future Dreams for Chuan’s Promise

  • Update the packaging and formatting of her products to be completely sustainable.

  • Make her Chuan’s Promise products accessible to everyone through their local supermarkets, groceries, and co-ops while maintaining the use of high-quality ingredients.

[32:19] Ada’s Routine

  • Ada’s morning routine is more involved. Listen to the full episode to find out how many times she hits snooze!

  • She gets up, does her simple skincare routine, walks the dog, and has a cup of coffee.

  • Her evening routine ends with a sweet treat, her pajamas, and a book.

  • Find out why Ada’s passion for sewing is not part of her nighttime routine.

[53:34] This Week’s Processing Prompt

  • Ask yourself: what gaps do I have in my skincare routine?

  • Actionable tool: slow down one piece of your morning and evening routine. What is it that you can lean into and be more present with?

About Ada

Ada Chen Ada is the founder and CEO of Chuan's Promise, a Denver-based sustainable natural skincare line. Ada launched her brand in November 2020, while caregiving for her late dad - a process that taught her the true importance of self-care.

Connect with Ada: Website | Instagram | Pinterest | TikTok

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Ada Chen: When you overdry your skin, you're actually asking it to produce more oil cause you're telling your skin, we've gotten rid of all the oil. Mm-hmm, now you gotta do more. And so that can sometimes backfire on people. But also if you already have dry skin or you're worried about fine lines and wrinkles, over-cleansing can actually make that worse.

Caitie Corradino: Welcome to Whole, Full, & Alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story, and with who you truly are underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account. I'm Caitie Corradino, a registered dietician nutritionist, certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition. But underneath my titles and resume, I'm a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things topped with truffles, world, traveling, and serendipity. I'm here to share no bullsh!t stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy. You have everything you need within you to feel whole, full, and alive right here, right now. Let's get into it.

Caitie: Ada, thank you so much for being here today. Fellow NYU alum. Go. NYU, go Violets. Is that the thing that we say? Go Violets. I think we actually also say Go Bobcats. Oh yeah, that's a sports team called the Bobcats, don't we? And the Bobcat is actually created the mascot. The mascot because of the library that's called Bobst, which is just like, that just shows how much NYU doesn't care about sports. Like they named their mascot after the library. Well, you know why it's cat, it's because it's the Bobst catalog. No Bobcat. No. That's what I heard. But it's been a while. It's probably true. I believe it. I believe it. Yeah. No sports at NYU but like lots of schools feared over here on this podcast. Thank you so much for being here today. As we're kind of diving into our conversation, not about NYU, I wanna hear who are you? Tell everyone who you are.

Ada: Who am I? I am about 51% extroverted and 49% introverted. I'm that weird borderline person, who takes a quiz and will always be on the border of E or I. Uh, I like to think that I'm thoughtful and empathetic and generally a caring person. And I've been told I'm a very loyal friend, which if you go through my text history of the last week of friends who've been sick, probably it sounds about right cause I'm constantly like, Hey, are you alive? Like, do you need something? Can I drop it off? Can I order it to your house? So I'm, I'm that person in your life.

Caitie: I believe that about you. And also I've only like met you in person one time, but really feel, really feel that caring energy from you. And I think that kind of carries over into what you do. So tell everyone what do you do?

Ada: Yeah, I do a lot of things. I, my main job is that I started a natural skincare company all about sustainability and that's called Chuan's Promise, so that's c h u A n apostrophe s Promise and Chuan was my dad's middle name. And so that was kind of born out of my experience caregiving for him, um, in his last year of life. And on the side and other things I do, I also have a podcast. It's about sewing and Asian identity. It's called the Asian Souls Collective. And occasionally now I'm very picky. I do take on marketing clients from time to time because that used to be what my day job was. It feels like a literal lifetime ago, but only a few years ago. Mm. So much good stuff. When did you officially go full-time in Chuan's Promise?

Um, well I didn't have a day job anymore, so basically sometime in 2020 I started it, I started working on it in mid-2020. We launched Black Friday and then, uh, my dad passed in January of 2021 and I had this kind of reckoning moment where I was like, I can either, I was on the couch basically for six weeks straight, just like, what do I do with myself and who am I? And like, what is grief? And I was like, do I keep doing this? And I think I was like, yeah, why not? And so kind of coming out of the experience, I was like, I was having more fun. I was actually doing a lot more consulting at the time, but I was having more fun working on Chuan's Promise on the side. And I said, I'm just gonna flip that around. Like I'm learning a lot more.

I'm having a lot more fun. I'm clearly more passionate about this than doing marketing for startups and venture-backed companies. And so I kind of, yeah, almost two years ago went into it full-time.

Caitie: Congrats. Let's just go deeper into that. Can you tell the story of why sustainable skincare? How sustainable skincare? And then also a little bit more about the the mission and and the name. I just, I, I wanna hear all of it so we might as well go deeper into it right away.

Ada: Why sustainable skincare? I mean it kind of ties back into the mission and the name and how it all got started. Basically, I left my corporate job in March of 2020. Terrible timing because when I moved to Denver, they wouldn't let me take my job with me. Ironically, they were not about remote work and here we are, everybody is remote all the time.

Caitie: And it was right before Covid?

Ada: It was right as Covid was starting a lockdown. Like we were told to temporarily work from home and they were like, but you still can't take your job with you. Hmm. And I was like, Hmm, okay. hypocritical. But sure. And in a little bit of an fu move, I was like, F you, I will leave at the end of the quarter. Take my stock and and go off to the sunset. Yeah, really that meant like fleeing San Francisco the day shut down and luckily my partner had moved here first and had set up our house and all the things. So soft landing and about four weeks later, not even four, maybe like three and a half weeks later, I got a call from my cousin saying my dad had been found down in his apartment, he was still living on his own and he was in the hospital.

And so basically I had no job and I am the eldest daughter of two Taiwanese immigrants. So I became his caregiver. And at the time you weren't allowed in the hospital like every, I mean it was like a scary time I think if everyone thinks back on it now. And so I was just on the phone like twenty-four seven, uh, arranging care and figuring out what was like going wrong and, and figuring out all that stuff. So that was pretty much the rest of my 2020. And because I was not taking care of myself while I was doing that, which I find highly ironic, I, my skin went to sh!t is the best way to to say. And I went to Target and Sephora and all the places and I was buying all the products and I was really frustrated first at all of the plastic packaging and all of the waste that I felt like I was generating as a single person trying to find a solution to my problems with my skin.

And I also was like, what are all these ingredients that I'm putting on? Why aren't they working? Is it all hype? And so I kind of started to deep dive into that. I'd always been into skincare. I had been mixing some of my own formulas for a few years, but I hadn't really given it much thought until that point. And so that kind of occupied my time. And uh, the more I learned about it, the more I learned about how much packaging waste goes into the big beauty industry every year it's literally billions of pieces of packaging. And that was a 2017 stat. And I learned about the formulas that are going in there. So just like how major food companies will use water in the places where they produce mass-manufactured foods and take that resource away from those communities. Beauty companies do the same when they're using water in a lot of their products and then they're shipping around the world and there's a whole carbon impact of that.

And so the more I learned, the more upset I was about it. And the more I was like, well, okay, this isn't working for me or the environment. The products aren't even working, so why don't I just try making it myself? And so I was literally like in my kitchen ordering ingredients, raw ingredients and just kind of mixing them in a ball and seeing what worked. And I found a few formulas that worked in addition to some of the facial oils that I'd been blending before. And a friend was like, well why don't you, you know how to put things on the internet. Your job was in marketing. Why don't you do that, put it on the internet, see if anyone buys it. So that's how I ended up putting it on the internet. And I was like, okay, here's how we're more sustainable. We're focusing on the packaging because that was a huge issue.

So we're only gonna do something that's completely recyclable or compostable like it will biodegrade back to the earth. So there is no waste in it. And we're gonna look at the formulas because people have been making skincare products for literally as long as humans have been around, they've been putting on stuff on their skin, there must be a way to formulate this so it has less of a impact on the earth. So those were the two kind of things that I focused on. Those were still the two things that I focus on with the business. And because of everything that was going on with my dad, and because he was the one who originally inspired me to go into entrepreneurship, at some point I decided to borrow his name. So Chuan was his middle name and he spelled it funny when he got here. So I stuck with it.

Here we are. And the promise refers to, I don't know if it's like a dad thing or like an immigrant Asian dad thing or a generational thing, but he like never said goodbye the words or like on the phone, anytime we said bye, he would just say, okay, take care. And I know it was cause he was always worried about me. And so I was like thinking about bringing the skincare brand to life and what I want people to do with the products and it really is to take care of themselves and to be reminded of that every day. And so I chose to borrow that saying from dad and kind of put it all together into a brand.

Caitie: The story. There's so much I wanna ask you about. I mean, first of all, let's honor, let's honor your dad. Let's honor that. Take care. I think that's so beautiful. And also just honor the fact that you moved your way through, through grief less than two years ago. Speaking a little bit to that, what was it like to navigate that process of losing your job and then also losing an immediate family member at the same time? I think we can't just blip over that.

Ada: Oh, it was a lot. And I, if you are going through that, I highly recommend seeing a professional therapists are great. I don't really know how I would've made it if I didn't have a really strong support network. Like, and I, I think I try to do that for others as well, but I didn't realize that those folks would be there for me when I needed it because I think we're fed this, you must be a strong independent woman, like you don't need any backup.

And I think that's a, that's just a lie. My dog would agree too. And I think when I was going through that, what helped the most honestly was I actually just started sharing a lot of it on Instagram to my stories. And if you follow my personal Instagram, which is, you know, now private because it is mostly like for friends and in my immediate like circle, I was sharing like daily updates of like, and the nurse called or like, I've been on the phone trying to get a nurse so I can FaceTime him for like two hours. And so just sharing my frustrations and having a place to vent and then having that support network of friends come back and say, Hey, we've got you. Like that's really and we totally understand why you're frustrated. Really helped me get through that point. And I think basically if they weren't there, that that got me through like the first few months of it.

And then really seeking like professional help once it kind of all went down. I just needed, I think after my dad passed a few weeks to be horizontal on the couch mm-hmm. to really just process what was go, what was happening and what had happened. What I don't think I told you when we met in person was that actually about four months after my dad passed, my mom actually was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through treatment, she is all clear now, but because she's also here in the Denver area, I was also in charge of driving her to appointments and making sure she was like on schedule and like really being careful at that time too. And so at that point I was like, okay, like we've been through a lot and we put off getting professional help because it didn't feel like we had the time or the energy to, but like with this coming up, at least with that, I kind of knew like, this is a six-month sprint, we're gonna need some help.

And that really kicked me in the butt to call up a few therapists and had them on the audition on the phone.

Caitie: Yeah. Audition. I mean you ha it's like dating, like you kind of have to find the right one with the right vibes and you might outgrow each other. It's a whole, it's a whole process. A hundred percent, a hundred percent. No one talks about that. And just that going to therapy in and of itself, taking that step to say, okay, I wanna go to therapy, I wanna get professional help is one thing, but then actually finding the therapist that's the best fit for you is another thing. And I, I wanna see more resources created for that because I think that there's a lot of gaps in the, the therapy finding process in that sense, finding someone who is a good fit for you, just like socioeconomically, culturally, emotionally, personality-wise, what type of methods you, it's just, it's a whole other thing.

Ada: And I, I, I feel really strongly about that and we could go down a rabbit hole with that.

Caitie: Thanks so much for sharing all that though. I mean a support network of friends and professional help and permission to be horizontal and let things sink in are three really important tools. People don't heal by white-knuckling their way through things. They don't heal by being that independent woman, I've got all of this kind of thing. I mean, doing some things on your own, such as starting your own business and taking those tools to go on solo trips and stuff like that is, is so empowering and lovely. And also we do need that nurturing from other people and we do need that nurturing of slowing down on the couch and we need those quiet nurturing moments of skincare, for example. Yeah. As we kind of shift into that, skincare is one of those things that I actually talk about with clients more than I would expect to as a dietician.

Caitie: Um, it's all connected. It, it is in, in many different ways and the, the main way that I end up talking about skincare with clients is that it is one of those really tangible ways that you can care for your body and feel better in your body without feeling like you need to go on a diet or change your body or become different. Skincare is a way to feel good in your here-and-now body, in the body that you have right now. And it's also a way to just tangibly physically take care of yourself. And I wasn't into skincare for a long time. I was like, like I don't need that. Whatever. That's, that's excessive, that's superfluous. That's for fancy people. I don't need it. And then once I had a few friends and actually a therapist encourage me to kind of cultivate some sort of skincare routine, I started to look into it more and realized that it actually is such a nice grounding and cozy thing to do at the beginning and end of my day.

Caitie: And so when you gave me a free sample of your products when we met in person, I used the face mask shortly after. And when I first looked at it, I was like, oh, powder, what's this? Like I can't, I can't do this. Like this is, this is too complicated. And it wasn't complicated at all. I put the powder in my hands, added some water to it, mixed it up, and it felt really good on my face. Felt different. It felt, I hate the word clean as a dietician who's like anti-black and white thinking, I don't wanna be like, it felt clean, but it, it just did. It did. It felt clean. It felt, it felt like a really a nice hug to my face. And I, I want to hear more about what you've learned about skincare, your thoughts on it. How can we make it more accessible for people and why is it important that we make it accessible for people?

Ada: So just like nutrition, there's a whole bunch of black and white myths and you know, stuff that you should just not good stuff on the internet that you should tread carefully with for skincare. Yeah. One of them. I think I also agree like I hate using the word clean or like clean beauty because like what does that really mean? And especially for someone who's focused on sustainability like I am green, also something like greenwashing is everywhere. Mm-hmm. And so I think when you're looking at skincare, it's about finding a routine that works for you. And to your point about like coming at it from a, well I don't need that. And then kind of shifting your viewpoint. I meet a lot of people when I do events who are like, well I really like I don't have time or I don't, this isn't something that's important to me.

And I'm like, that's okay. Like we should be able to meet you where you're at and maybe one day your view on that will change like yours has or not. And that's also okay I think as long as you're doing something to make sure that you're taking care of your skin because the skin is the largest, largest organ on your body, right? Mm-hmm. Like that's one of those second-grade facts that you learn and sticks with you and it's true. And it's same thing with like your body being majority water. A lot of that is in your skin. Like when you are dehydrated, the first place you're gonna see that is in your skin. And so I think if we reframe thinking about skincare as more than just something that's superfluous or like on the surface and you think about it more as it's part of healthcare and it's part of self-care, then you start to kind of understand, okay, a five-minute routine is going to, it's not gonna change my life, but it's also not going to detract from anything in my life.

Mm-hmm. So I think that's one thing about approaching it. And I think to your point about accessibility, like I'm, I've been that broke person, especially during NYU. Like I was so broke it was not even funny. I like my fun party trick now is showing people the 125 square foot apartment that I lived in my junior year, my first ever big girl lease until, and having them guess how much I paid for it. Um, and all my money basically went to rent. Like I had no money for skincare, I had no money for anything besides groceries. And so I've been at, at both ends and I know that when you are coming from a place of need or want or lack, right, that it feels terrible to see abundance and not be able to access it. And so my whole thing is about making skincare, good quality skincare and products and at least like information, too, accessible.

And that means both from a price point and from like an availability standpoint for everyone. And if you can't, if you can't do that with your products, I think, you know, there's obviously people and brands who wanna keep their brand and products exclusive, but for me it's less about that. It's about designing for everybody and creating for everyone so that if you can make this choice to take five minutes out of your day to have a routine that you can get a good quality product, you shouldn't have to compromise. Um, in my opinion at least, like I think that's just, that's just what equity means, right? Like everybody being able to access the same resources

Caitie: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So if someone is totally new to skincare or overwhelmed by all of the the black and white messaging, right? I appreciate you sharing that because I think it is something that people don't realize.

People are starting to wake up to the fact that like dieting doesn't work. People are starting to wake up to like this like myth of clean eating and that you don't need to eat like Tom Brady's diet to be healthy. Like it's, and people are waking up to that a little bit. And also there's so many other areas where there's that black-and-white elitist restrictive kind of thinking. And so if someone is on a mission to simplify skincare approach in an accessible way, where do you recommend they start? And maybe you can tell us about, you know, some of your products and what you've created.

Ada: Yeah, I would say setting yourself up with a basic routine is the easiest. And I know that's kind of hard, but it does, it does start to stick after a while. You do have to give it time.

So my number one advice is like give yourself patience and grace because it's not gonna happen overnight. There won't be results on your skin overnight. Just like there won't be results from whatever crazy diet out there overnight. So start really simple, start and give yourself that patience. I really like to do journaling or note-taking during it or taking progress photos so that you can document what's happening and kind of go back and understand what you're doing and how that's impacting your skin at the, at the minimum. I think most people should have a basic cleanser once or twice a day. Most people actually only need to cleanse once a day. You should have moisturizers. So something to keep your skin hydrated and then you should have a sunscreen. So that would go on before you go outside in the morning. You can get fancier and more complicated with that.

But that would be like what you should start with. If you're trying to go above and beyond, I would say add once-a-week exfoliation. So that would be the clay mask that you tried. So that's my first original product. The signature clay mask, it's a super fine blend of two clays that's meant to just help with physical exfoliation of the skin. And you just leave it on for five to 10 minutes once a week and no matter what your skincare concern is, whether it's acne or wrinkles or discoloration or smooth like smoothing out bumps for example. Generally, it will help to have, I like to kind of liken it to detailing a car. So if you're cleansing every day, that's like washing your car, but you do wanna like detail your car once in a while, so mm-hmm. once a week is a good way to do that.

I like to tack that practice on actually to like working out or going to PT right now. Like I'm not allowed to work out. So I go to PT twice a week. So I know on my Tuesday sessions when I go home I'm doing a clay mask mm-hmm. and so that helps me kind of build it in and yeah, I think keeping it pretty simple, you can go in for like facials and treatments and all that stuff once in a while if that's your GM and that's within your budget. But if it's not, that's also okay. There's plenty of people, like before all those tools and facials and chemical peels existed that had great skin and managed it well. But if you're thinking like, how do I put together a basic routine? You do the cleanse. So we have a humble powder cleanser, which is a clay and white rice based cleanser.

So it's non-foaming and also a powder. It turns into a paste when you add water and you kind of, I like to say wipe on, wipe off. And that's like a really gentle daily cleanser to just remove like surface-level grime. You know, that ick that you feel when you wake up. You can follow that up with a toner. You don't have to, but moisturizer is good. Whatever you have that's like a lotion for the face, not the body is fine. I also do facial oils. So those are probably the best-selling right now besides the lotion bar. So those are in three different formulas depending on what your skincare concerns are. So the oils and emollient, it seals in all the other moisturizing factors from a lotion. And then SPF like mineral SPF is my personal choice, like a physical sunscreen. But also people use chemical SPF, chemical sunscreens.

Just read the label is my advice, if it's too cheap, there's a reason for it. If it's really expensive there's probably not a great reason for, it's my is is my rate. It's mostly marketing. And then just also don't forget your body. Like I'm, I've talked about everything like neck up right now. The rest of your skin also needs care. Mm. So make sure that you're moisturizing at the minimum, especially in the winter. So we've got a lotion bar, which is basically a giant lip bal, chapstick for your body because I am personally that person who hates to put on lotion. Like I don't like slathering it on and rubbing it in, but if you give me a stick and make it fun, I will do it. And so really making the lotion bar was an active Yeah. Selfishness. I actually hate putting on lotion too.

Caitie: Like you're not alone in that. I, I like when you were thinking, when you were saying that, I was like ugh. But sometimes I just don't feel like lathering after I get outta the shower or I'm like in a rush or like whatever. Yeah.

Ada: Yeah. It's a, sometimes it feels like a chore and it's, again, if it feels like a chore, you're not gonna do it as a routine. So if you're not liking it, like you have full permission and I, I don't have to give you that permission, you just give yourself that permission to take it outta your routine. Do something else, try something new. Hmm. Obviously from a sustainability standpoint, using up what you already have is kind of the first move, best move. But also if you're like, I don't like this lotion and I have 10 more of them cause I bought a Costco pack.

See if you can donate them, see if anybody in your neighborhood wants them. Like I guarantee that there will be someone else who will take that product off your hands and then you can try something else in your routine that works for you.

Caitie: I don't have an SPF I mean to do that. I know I like, I think I, I haven't really ever thought about that. It's like a regular thing and that she gasps.

Ada: I gasp because you know, in Denver we're a mild closer to the sun. I do have friends and family members who've had skin cancer, who've had skin cancer scares. And so for me like that's, that's when you talk about the intersection of all of it, right? Like yeah. That's when skincare really becomes healthcare. Yeah. And you know, it's not just slathering on the SPF once a day and you're good.

It's wearing a hat, making sure you're covered, making sure you're not out here like literally roasting. Yeah. Because those rays will really get you. Yeah.

Caitie: Yeah. Now I'm inspired. I think I'm gonna make a change there for sure. Can you share just one or two of the biggest myths that you think you hear when it comes to skincare and products or whatever it is and why they're false and why people should relax their shoulders about them?

Ada: Ooh, that's a good one. One of the ones that I hear a lot is oily, if you have oily skin or combination skin, you shouldn't use anything with oils in it. Mm-hmm. Which is false because your skin naturally produces oils. You'll see it in sebum, which is, you know, that kind of gross stuff when you squeeze a little blackhead out and stuff, you know. Mm-hmm It's a little gunky layer on there that you don't feel great about.

Mm-hmm Everybody gets that. There's literally no way to like completely get rid of it. It's a natural part of your skin's health and your skin's overall like life cycle of producing that. And so I hear a lot from people like, well I have oily skin and I don't want to put more oil on it because then I just feel like I'm gonna be a grease ball. And really if you have oily skin, it can either be because your skin is overproducing that sebum and out of balance or because you know you, there's something else going on. And so actually adding that oil back in, if you've dried out your skin because you feel oily, can help you kind of achieve that balance in terms of you took out all this oil, let's put some more in. That's like very similar in composition. So like jojoba oil for example is really similar in oil composition and and chemical structure to what our body naturally produces And putting it back in will actually like help with the moisture levels in your skin and help with also the texture, plumpness, firmness, whatever you wanna call it.

Mm-hmm of your skin. And if you layer that with some tea tree oil, for example, you can actually help bring it back into balance gently in terms of that sebum production. And it won't leave you feeling like a grease ball. However, it will just take a little longer to absorb into your skin. Unlike a lotion because it is an oil. So oil will sit on top of the surface of your skin and then slowly kind of through time and a few minutes basically seep in. Mm-hmm. Um, and you can see it, right? Like if you're looking in the mirror.

Another big myth that I hear is that like you absolutely need to be cleansing your face twice a day. Not true. And and doing that can actually overdraw your skin, especially if you live somewhere dry. Or if it's dry cause of the winter, you know, heating systems and air conditioning and all that.

Ada: When you overdry your skin, you're actually asking it to produce more oil. cause you're telling your skin, we've gotten rid of all the oil. Mm-hmm. Now you gotta do more. And so that can sometimes backfire on people, but also if you already have dry skin or you're pointing at yourself. Yep. If you, if you already have dry skin or you're worried about fine lines and wrinkles over cleansing can actually make that worse because mm-hmm, why does, why do wrinkles appear? It's because the texture of what's underneath the top layer of your skin has kind of sunken in. I'm trying to like explain it without getting too scientific or complicated, but dryness can actually exacerbate that because there's less moisture underneath to prop it up. Some wrinkles, you know, they're just gonna happen because the collagen underneath is breaking down and you can't really avoid that.

You, there's things you can do to kind of mitigate it mm-hmm, and make it look better. But overall, if you're overdrawing your skin by washing it either too aggressively, like scrubbing really hard and getting to the point where you're red and raw or feeling super tight and like that squeaky clean feeling, right? That's not the place that you wanna be at least regularly. It, it can, I'm not saying like don't do it ever because you know who hasn't made a mistake once or twice. But like, don't aim for that every time. You can, you can just wash your face once a day and be okay and the rest of the time either use like a hot water on a nice face towel or just like a nice rinse to kind of surface-level grime. It's all about moderation I think.

Caitie: Well that's good to know.

Caitie: I live in a dry place now newly and it's been an adventure on this face. Let me tell, and I, I do that a lot. I definitely cleanse twice a day. But I do, I teach fitness pretty frequently so I always feel like I have to cleanse my face long story.

Ada: Oh yeah. If you're sweating, if you're, if you're sweating, definitely wash your face because that sweat has bacteria in it. The bacteria will sit on the topic or Yeah, yeah. Sweat for sure. Yeah. Like. Yeah.

Caitie: Good to know. Good to know. I'm glad we added that asterisks at the end.

Ada: Makeup too. Like if you are, let's say you wash your face in the mornings, but today you decide to go out or you put makeup on. Yeah, I would say, you know, to make sure you got the makeup off, do a nice either cleansing oil or makeup remover.

Mm-hmm, if you're in a pinch, you don't have …, olive oil from your kitchen, not a great solution permanently. But I have done it when I've run out. And like gentle wash of you know, foundation concealer, whatever's on there to kind of make sure your skin can breathe when you go to bed.

Caitie: Yeah. I am learning so much right now. I love this. So what are your, what are your dreams with Chuan's Promise? What are you, where do you wanna go?

Ada: Well like I said, we're trying to change the sustainability game and skincare through the packaging and the formats of our products. So my goal is to go big, right? And have it in supermarkets, groceries, co-ops, places where people can access it, but also to maintain the high-quality ingredients that I'm getting right now. And so to kind of balance that and scale it up so that everyone can access it without having to exclusively go onto my website.

So right now I've made some progress in like getting into independent boutiques and retailers. So the next step is getting into bigger retailers. Mm-hmm to kind of bring that to everyone and have them think about it a little more because you know, like you said you hate moisturizing, but if it's, like I said, if you make it fun, people will think about it differently. And so my whole thing is like if in order to make it truly accessible and to really change how the beauty industry is really thinking about all of its products, we need to be bigger and have a presence and be leading the way and changing how people think about what products they’re buying.

Caitie: I'm already thinking differently about what products we're buying just based off this conversation. So I love that, you're having an effect right here, right now. Alright. So as I wrap up this conversation, I love asking all of my guests about their routines.

We've kind of been talking about routines more or less throughout this entire interview, but morning routines, evening routines, what energizes you in the morning? What winds you down in the evening with the caveat that these things don't happen every single day, but when they do you feel good. Can you tell us more about your routines as a female solo printer, which is a very, you know, one layer of your identity that is a lot to hold.

Ada: Yeah. My morning routine is probably a lot more complicated than my evening one. So the morning I am a hit snooze times 10 person, drives my partner insane. I hit snooze, I will get up, I will do my morning skincare routine, which is really simple and always ends with sunscreen. Get dressed, take the dog on a walk. Usually at some point, either before we go take a walk or when we come back, I will make a cup of coffee.

And that's my big caffeine intake of the day that I find really helps me kind of reset and kind of say I have arrived for the morning. I'll come back in, I will fix my dog's breakfast, lunch and dinner, and his water and then I'll fix myself. Usually like some toast, like I go no shame, I go to, I go to Costco and I'll buy like the Dave's killer bread. Mm-hmm giant pack and like that'll be in my freezer for two months because if I eat one slice a day, that's literally two months. Mm-hmm. So I'll have like a light breakfast of that or like eggs and avocado like I like to eat something like hardy but not too big in the morning. I sit down a journal and then I'm either on my way into the warehouse where I work out of or working from home.

And then at night after dinner usually there will be like some sort of sweet treat of some sort, like chocolate mochi, whatever I have on hand. It's usually like a nice end cap to like, I'm done eating for the day. That's usually like an hour or two before bedtime. Then bedtime rolls around and I will change into pajamas, do my nighttime skincare routine. And I will usually try not to be on my phone. Sometimes I'll be on my phone reading something like an article. But lately I've been trying to read like physical books from the library. Wild. I know. Yeah. Um, before, yeah. Right. What's that? I could get an ebook on my phone too, but I'm trying to like turn off my eyes I guess. I don't know. Yeah. It's like stop staring, gonna a screen so much. So I will do that before I turn the lights off and head to bed.

Caitie: It's all good. And you also, do you knit or do you sew?

I mostly sew. Okay. And that's, that's been a big mindfulness. Yeah, yeah. Kind of activity where like I get to kind of be in the zone for a while. I used to, I, I've done a lot of physical activities, which is why I had hip surgery a few months ago and therefore cannot do those right now. So during the initial period of grief when my dad passed and like even now when I'm not allowed to like do a lot of the physical activities that kind of help me with my physical and mental health, like that's been a good place to kind of go to. I have been an on-and-off knitter if you are a knitter, like props to you, I I've tried like five times. It's not sticking.

Caitie: All good. All good.

Ada: People have talked about knitting in their nighttime routine, all those podcasts before. I mean we like to call it like the sewing practice. And I will say that if you're on, sewstagram, sewing Instagram, there are a lot of unhealthy habits on there and I am trying to move away from those. I think in the beginning when I got into the hobby and I needed a, a place to go to and a thing to do, like I was all for it. But now I'm trying to find more balance so I actually like don't let myself sew after 11:00 PM anymore because I'm more prone to making mistakes. Hmm. And if you think about it, it is technically heavy machinery. Yeah. And I try not to drink like I used to sew and have like a glass of wine. I try not to drink and do that anymore because again, heavy machinery but also it would like kind of take away from the meditative process of making.

Caitie: Yeah. Yeah. Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing that. And it's, I just wanted to also shout out your podcast where you talk about sewing or other things or tell us a little bit more about that. Cause that's one other place that people can find you in addition to Chuan's Promise. The website and the Instagram.

Ada: Yeah. So Asian Sewist collective, that's S E W I S T. It's a made-up word. Uh, we talk a lot about sewing, we interview a lot of a Asian makers pattern designers, folks who are in the creative space who were really trying to just give them a platform and a community that didn't exist before. So yeah, if you wanna learn about sewing, come nerd out with us.

Caitie: That's so amazing that you have that other somewhat random outlet. I really, really love that. I, I admire that and I think it's so valuable because as someone who really focuses a lot on nutrition, body image and wellness counseling and then also talks about that on this podcast, I'm like, I think I need to start another podcast that's just like about another, another thing.

Ada: Do it. I'm here for it. I'll subscribe.

Caitie: Thanks girl. Thank you so, so much for your time today for teaching us a little bit more about skincare, for telling us a little bit more about what you've created. I feel like this is only the beginning and I'm excited to see how things evolve and for people to hear about your products and buy them and for me to place in order pretty soon as I loved, loved, loved. I got a free balm stick too, like a free like lotion stick.

Ada: Lotion balm, great for travel.

Caitie: Uh, and as we're wrapping up, I also like to provide everyone with a journaling prompt and an actionable experiment. A little bit of a tool that they can implement based off of what we discussed today. And so I think the processing prompt today, which can be written in a journal or just can be processed out loud with a friend, with a trusted person, with a therapist, I think a really good processing prompt might be in what gaps are there in my self-care routine.

Just in general thinking about it, I believe that people don't normally see skincare as part of self-care or part of healthcare that's necessary. I do think it's viewed as a luxurious thing and people are starting to embrace that luxury and be like, ah, my skincare. But also that that luxurious kind of air that it carries sometimes I think prevents people from one thinking that it's necessary and two, being able to access it. And so I'm wanna invite people to think, are there other areas of your self-care that you may have viewed as a luxury that might actually be something that is necessary to tap into on a regular basis? Is there something that you can make a little bit less fancy so that it's a little bit more accessible like exercise? Does it have to be fancy? Can it be walking the dog? Can it be just taking a stretch right now?

If I stopped dropped into a child's pose on the floor right now, I think that I would feel better than I did 15 seconds ago. Do I have to go to a $50 class? Does that resonate with you?

Ada: Oh yeah. Like I've definitely been to those classes and I've seen, you know, the goops of the world and I don't think it me off that they're so inaccessible and they're taking something that should really truly be something that anyone can learn about and embrace and try for themselves. And so I like, I like the reframing, like wouldn't, doing a child's pose would definitely make me feel better than like not doing it 15 seconds ago.

Caitie Yeah. Yeah. And it's like, uh, the goops of the world don't even get me started.

Ada: Um, oh yeah, we had a good conversation about that. It makes people turn away from things that could otherwise be really, really beneficial to their health and well-being that don't have to be quite so complicated or fancy or expensive. And as far as an actionable step, I mean wears sunscreen, everybody. I g I gotta admit I'm not wearing it right now.

Ada: Even if you're indoors all day and if the sun's really strong and your windows do not have any sort of protection, law among your skin still explode.

Caitie: Yeah. Yeah.

Ada: Especially in winter, it actually reflects off the snow.

Caitie: And another, oh my gosh, off the snow, high altitude, all these things that I'm still getting used to. But I think another actionable tool also is, you know, what is that thing that you can slow down to do for your body at the very beginning of the day or the very end of the day and the things that you're already doing, such as brushing your teeth or brushing your hair or getting dressed. Can you do those things a little more slowly and see them as like, this is full body self-care right now. This is not a luxury, this is a way that I can slow down and take care of myself. Especially if you, you're in the midst of caregiving or anything like that. If you're giving out energy and attention to people on a regular basis, can you use those little moments that you have in the morning to give energy and attention to yourself? It's so important

Ada: Agreed. Completely. Oh sigh.

Caitie: Thank you so much, Ada. I'm so excited for people to hear your voice. Now we're officially wrapped up.

You can follow Ada at the link in the show notes and if there's anything else you wanna say before we wrap up, the stage is yours.

Ada: I mean, thank you for listening. Thanks. Definitely wear sunscreen every day. That is a great actionable tip. Do the journaling. I love it. Yeah, follow wan's Promise. I hope to see you all at an event or pop up soon in real life or on the internet because that feels like where we all kind of live most of our lives right now.

Caitie: So good. Thank you so much and we'll be back here again next week. Thanks so much for tuning in.


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