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Women We Admire | Therapeutic Skin Coach, Hayley Wood

What is a Therapeutic Skin Coach? Hayley Wood developed the term after feeling that her emerging practice transcended the confines of titles like aesthetician and facialist. To Wood, being a Therapeutic Skin Coach means coaching and guiding clients beyond skincare treatments to transform their skin through a combination of gentle support, non-toxic products, and education. We caught up with Wood to discuss everything from creative inspiration to favourite beauty practices, life advice, and more!

Tell us how your journey into the holistic health space began.

I became an aesthetician back in 2006 after struggling with acne and other low immunity issues my whole life. I was fortunate enough to go to an Aveda school which really set up the holistic path for me since I learned the foundation of skin health through the lens of ayurvedic principles. From there the biggest shift came from getting shingles back in 2014 where I had to quit my last spa job because my nervous and endocrine systems were overloaded and I couldn’t compromise my health with conventional skincare products and spa culture. Through needing to support my own immune system, I restructured my offerings as an esthetician to support those with compromised immunity as well. I didn’t realize that there was such a need for this until I needed it myself. That’s how my business, Therapeutic Skin Coach, was born.

Where do you draw inspiration from (in your work and/or everyday life)?

My clients are my biggest inspiration because they come from all walks of life and each have such a fascinating story to share. Getting to know people through their skin journey is how I find what we need to reframe or reprogram in our culture. They inspire me to advance my education constantly, keep my content fresh and interesting, and to stay grounded so that I have something supportive to offer them. They really help me stay aligned with my mission which is teaching self-worth through skin health education.

What’s been the most challenging part of starting your own business? What the most rewarding?

The most challenging part of starting my own business was that I had to do it out of survival. I didn’t have a plan because I had to abruptly quit my last spa job because of my immune system. I didn’t have sensation in my hands for months after my shingles so eventually I started taking clients again from my one bedroom apartment and eventually it just grew into something more. The most rewarding has been right around now where I look back and realize that I’m making an impact on multiple generations of people. Just the other day I had a client bring in her young daughters for a skin care lesson and she told me she was so grateful that her daughters can grow up knowing that they don’t have to be over-contoured or injected to be beautiful. It filled my whole heart up and made me realize that all the hard work is worth it if I can make an impact on anyone to feel confident in themselves.

As someone who spends her career caring for others, what do you do to “fill your cup”?

I struggle with this constantly as I am a reformed workaholic and was raised to be a people pleaser. I would definitely find worth within myself only when I was of service to others but then that became so depleting and not authentic. What helps me now is time in nature, rest, and saying no. Walking my dog each morning is part therapy for me because we just get some fresh air and movement before I do anything else. I also don’t feel bad when I want to go to bed at 9 pm or when I say no to taking on another client. My energy is very fragile still so I have to feel my best to do my best.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

My husband and team constantly remind me to trust myself because at the end of the day, my decisions impact me the most. I can bend and shape-shift myself to try to accommodate others or I can just listen to my heart unapologetically. The right people and situations show up when you’re being authentic. So I try to surrender to that as much as I can.

What does your current skincare routine look like?

I use a cleansing milk from Osea Malibu in the morning followed by Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator and then I layer an oil based serum that works for what my skin needs at the moment. I usually rotate through the Laurel Whole Plant Organics anti-inflammatory or balance oils. In the evening, I do an oil cleanse and layer a balm to nourish my skin. About once a week I do a honey mask and honey tap for my congestion. Those are a lot of my staples but it’s constantly evolving based on the season and my skin’s needs.

What’s your favourite beauty tool + why?

I love gua sha so much! I’m a huge fan of the practice to keep my skin unblocked from tensions. It also helps me focus on my posture since it focuses on the neck as part of the practice. I love it on myself and within my facials.

When do you feel most like yourself/when are you at your happiest?

I feel most like myself when I’m happiest which is usually when I’m able to spend quality time with both my husband and my dog. Since I run a business from my home, I can get easily swept into work things every moment of the day if I’m not careful. Setting up boundaries to make sure we have quality time together makes me reconnect with what keeps me happiest. They see me for me and love me in any form that I come in so it is so wonderful to have such unconditional love from them.

What do you do to stay grounded?

I’m an earth sign, so I naturally love the feeling of being rooted with routines. However as a business owner, each day is different so my own rituals are what makes the biggest difference. My skincare ritual alone will help me to feel nurtured every day but when I need a little more grounding I love breathing and getting my body moving. I’m not the best at exercise but I love to move. I have a dancing background so a yoga flow or just free flowing some dance moves as I get ready in the morning gets me in my body. The breathwork does wonders for my nervous system and my emotional well-being. Another way to stay grounded has always been to take breaks from social media so I can focus on being present. It’s tough but those are the top things I try to do when I feel a little off or overwhelmed.

Who are women you admire?

All of my female clients who are mothers and show me what it’s like to be a superhero. I really want to be a mom but have struggled with fertility so even my clients who share their infertility stories with me are inspiring. Beyond that, I have a small team of women that uplift me everyday and they motivate me to do my best. I admire them more than they’ll ever know.

Tell us about the last book you read.

Ashley Neese’s “how to breathe”. She’s a powerhouse and I’m so excited to share her expertise with everyone I know. I’ve done sessions and group work with her and it’s the most powerful practice. The book does a great job at teaching the reader how to breathe throughout different scenarios of life.

What would you tell your 20 year old self, if you had the chance?

It’s funny because I talk to both 10-year and 20-year old Hayley all the time. When I feel a trigger coming on, I recognize that as part of inner child healing that still needs to be nurtured. 20-year old Hayley was a year into her aesthetician career but still not sure if she should go back to college because all her friends were on that path. She was also in her first real heartbreak. So I would tell her that she’s on the right path and eventually the fear of missing out will subside because I was meant to do things a little differently. And the heartbreak will crack you open to be a much more compassionate and devoted healer. Lean into it because you’ll come out on the other side flourishing.

Wood is a licensed aesthetician, facial reflexologist, Reiki practitioner, and writer/educator in the state of California.

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