It’s all the self-care she has time for right now.

By Tara Gonzalez
Updated Apr 20, 2020 @ 12:30 pm
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Before my mom was a nurse, she was in a band. She moved from Spain to Queens, New York in the ‘70s, and while my grandma insisted she try to meet a Spanish boy to marry, my mom tried to make it as a singer. She sang at clubs in the East Village in tight leather dresses and fishnet stockings. She inevitably did find a Spanish boy to marry, and he always went to her shows. If you visit my parents’ house in Astoria, you will see photos of my mom performing in her twenties everywhere, with hair so crimped she resembles Shakira. The funny thing is, even though she now works nights in the emergency room of the biggest cancer hospital in Manhattan, everyone always comments that she looks the same.

My mom can’t accessorize much at work, but she can turn her hospital ID into a necklace with charms. And she does. For as long as I can remember, my mom would walk out the door of our house in scrubs and pearls. Even though she works 12-hour shifts until eight in the morning, she always puts on eyeliner before leaving the house. And when I’m heading out to work at nine in the morning, she’s doing her skincare routine between shifts. Amongst all the late nights and sad stories and hard days, she always comes out of it looking just as beautiful and carefree as that girl on stage years ago. But these days, COVID-19 makes that a little harder.

The shifts are longer, the stories are sadder, and the days are harder. She can’t wear her pearls or find the energy to put on a cat-eye. But the only thing that stays the same is her skincare routine of Tatcha products, which she does every day without fail no matter how drained she feels. Even though I only live 20 minutes away in Brooklyn, I can’t see her or my family once a week like I used too. Instead, we talk on the phone and she stresses about how I can’t cook before going through her skincare routine in depth, “This Tatcha stuff, you gotta try it.” She actually pitched me this story.

Her Tatcha-specific skincare routine is the only thing that’s saving her skin from having to wear a mask, goggles, and extra PPE for 12 hours straight. It’s also the only thing that she looks forward to after work, aside from a couple hours of sleep. By the time she gets home, her skin feels like parchment and The Tatcha Silk Cream revives it instantly. “It actually makes me feel okay looking at myself in the mirror again, with new dark lines and marks that make it hard to recognize myself,” she told me over the phone — after asking me if I knew how to make fresh tomato sauce (I don’t).

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While the cream makes her skin feel soft, the Tatcha camellia oil and essence skin softener help cleanse all the sweat that builds up underneath her equipment and makes her itchy. She applies them both first, on her entire face and neck before applying a palm-sized amount of the silk cream, followed by the neck cream. The whole process takes about five minutes, but she feels rejuvenated afterwards. “I actually glow!” she told me while also describing how it’s the self-care boost she needs these days, both emotionally and physically.

I’ve been thinking about those vintage photos of my mom in her past life as a singer a lot recently. Not only because I’ve been thinking about her but because they do such a good job at representing her. Less leather, different career, same energy. Just like she wasn’t scared of failure or criticism or crowds back then, she’s not scared of the virus or the long shifts or the news now. Instead she’s just selfless. But a nice cream always helps.

Shop the Tatcha skincare products my mom swears by, below.

Tatcha The Silk Cream

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Shop now: $120; sephora.com or tatcha.com

Tatcha The Essence Plumping Skin Softner

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Shop now: $95; sephora.com or tatcha.com

Tatcha Pure One Step Cleansing Oil

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Shop now: $48; sephora.com or tatcha.com

Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Neck Cream

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Shop now: $110; tatcha.com