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Our Story

Our Mission:

To spread beauty.

To empower the vulnerable.

To enrich our community.

How it all began...

Like almost all worthwhile things in life, the Self Spa Skin Facial Kit was born of necessity.

I was a teenager when my special needs daughter Maria was born, and all too quickly found myself alone and raising her by myself . And although every waking moment, bit of energy, and (never-an-extra) penny went into her care, I couldn’t help but want the things every girl that age wants. When I went to work at my minimum wage retail sales job all the other young women working there would chatter about things like facials and manicures and pedicures and going out for happy hour and partying on the weekends, all the usual things that generally fill that time of life. Things they could afford to splurge on without worrying about doctors and tiny little eyeglasses and doll-sized specially arched shoes. Not to mention the basics like housing and food and clothing. Their mommy and daddies were taking care of that.

As young as I was I knew my daughter’s needs came first and always did my best to provide for her. After all, I was her mom and she didn’t choose the lot she had been born into. I was the one who had made the wrong decisions, not her. I did what needed to be done, all the while trying to ignore the nagging desire to have and do some of the things my coworkers did. Like someone once said, nature will find a way and for some reason my desire to take care of my skin became especially strong. What I would have given for a professional facial. Sure, I remember thinking, that’ll happen. Right after I go Ferrari shopping. Instead I found myself in secondhand bookstores, intent on learning what I could do at home. I started my research knowing it had to be simple, it had to be natural, and it had to be effective. I wanted results yesterday. And let’s not forget cheap. It had to be something I could afford.

After a few weeks I realized virtually every book I read agreed that good skin needed three things: exfoliation, deep and consistent cleansing, and nourishment. I began experimenting. Without walking you through every mistake (such as burning my skin with sea salt and using miscellaneous herbal blends not meant for skin care, among others) I eventually found the perfect combinations of steps I could do at home at my convenience. My skin transformed. Everywhere I went people complimented me on my skin. Men admired it and women studied it and asked questions. What did I use? In what order? How often? How much did it cost? Were professionals involved? Did it hurt? Was it simple enough that they could do it for themselves? And on and on.

I gotta tell you, I loved it. In short order having good skin became part of my identity. I got used to being stopped at work, in malls, in parking lots, and quizzed on my skin care routine. Over the years I got used to women standing in front of me and digging bits of paper out of the bottom of their purses to scribble down what I told them I did at home for my skin. Compliments came many times a week. To be expected, life moved on. Years passed. My daughter grew up and I got married. Life became easier. So easy in fact that I actually got what I had been lusting after for years; professional facials. Finally!

Within three months of going out of my way to spend ridiculous amounts of money on my skin, I noticed something. And it didn’t make me happy. No one was complimenting me on my skin anymore. No one. It had been weeks since anyone complimented my skin. For the first time in many years no one had said a word about it in almost two months. I found a mirror and looked at my skin in bright light. It was fine. There was nothing wrong with it. It was fine. It was good. Well, not Good but good. Good enough, anyway. Just not good enough to be complimented. Not anymore. I had to face it (no pun intended). Despite all the money, time, and inconvenience I had been putting into it, my skin had lost something. A glow, a smoothness, that extra something. It was dry in places and oily in others, something I hadn’t had to contend with before. It needed moisturizing. I didn’t even own a moisturizer. I never needed one before.

I decided to run an experiment. I would go back to my own at home, natural, and (much more) economical facials for two months, which meant I would give myself four at home facials, and then decide whether or not to go back to the professionals. That night I dug out the ingredients I knew so well along with my old spaghetti pot and gave myself the first of the four facials I had planned on. The very next day received a compliment on my skin. The first one in months. While I may be slow about a few things, I’m not an idiot. I immediately renewed my commitment to my very own facial system and haven’t strayed since. I may be shallow but I admit to you it’s nice to have the compliments back. Additionally, the amount of money I’ve saved over the years by returning to my own at-home facials is staggering.

Once again, as always, life moved on. My daughter has been an adult for quite awhile now and has been part of a local job training program for special needs adults for over a decade. She’s done better than anyone including doctors ever thought possible and I’m so proud of her I could burst.

Remember what I said about being slow about some things? Well, I’m about to prove it.

When a career change was forced on me last year, I did what most people do. I stood there like a deer in the headlights, paralyzed with fear. After spending years selling my own art, I knew I couldn’t go back to working for anyone. I didn’t want to sell someone’s widgets just to pay the bills. Not a bad reason, I admit (especially after spending so many years living hand-to-mouth), but I wanted more. I wanted to do good while doing well. My daughter had been blessed and felt the urge to give back in some way. I looked around my life and soon realized I had not only created something that had benefitted me in a way nothing else had, but this creation had lasted decades. It had been with me through good times and bad times. It had been with me through a couple of career changes and had stuck with me when I moved from one state to another. It even went through a divorce with me. It was simple, inexpensive, natural, and effective. Using it always made me feel better and look good…and no reason it couldn’t do that for others…

…with the right packaging…

…packaging that my daughter could put together…

…that all the participants at her work training program could put together with her…

…after all they needed work given the jobs lost due to the economic slowdown…

…I wonder…

And so it began and continues to this day.

Self Spa Skin cannot flourish without uplifting our local Special Needs community. When we thrive, they thrive. We’re connected at the hip. And at the heart.

Thank you for helping me provide jobs for the most vulnerable among us. Every single purchase does more good and means more than you will ever know.

And please always remember: “Great Skin has Special Needs.”

With gratitude,

— Ava

Maria’s Mom