If you’ve ever felt disconnected from the wellness and beauty industry, or lost in the thousands of products, how-tos, and TikTok trends, you’re not alone. Like all things that float around the internet in (over) abundance, it can start to feel a little impersonal. The key to connecting with beauty authentically is to find a “reason d’etre” that is as unique as you are. That could be a personal intention, something specific that needs healing, or maybe just a unique curiosity or interest.
While our entries into wellness and beauty are all different, we all have origin stories. Many times, these stories are connected to the women in our lives that raised us. Founder and CEO of Pildora, Christina Almeida’s own entry into wellness and beauty began with her grandmother, who inspired her to look beyond the aesthetic value to the rituals, spaces, and moments that have the power to heal.
Below, Christina talks about what she’s learned, and how that translates into her company.
Can you talk about your grandmother and how she inspired you?
Well, I spent a small portion of my life in Chihuahua, Mexico. I spent a lot of time with my family and it was very traditional to have family meals and to be close knit. Everytime I would go over, my grandmother would be getting ready. She’s a very elegant woman, very classy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her not wearing heels. She just passed away this year, but even last year in her eighties she was always wearing heels and tights and pencil skirts and a blazer. She was just very into living her best life and taking care of herself. So everytime I would go over there I would find her in her room and she had the most beautiful set up, a huge mirror to do her makeup and her skin care. She had all her rings laid out and she would spend hours doing her rituals.
She taught me about the importance of taking care of yourself and not really rushing. I was just really inspired by her. Her beauty and her elegance. She was my dad’s mom but she even taught my mom how to use skin care and incorporate rituals into her life. So, I was really inspired by that and the slow pace of Mexico. When I came to the US I was excited and shocked by the fast paced and capitalist lifestyle. That’s when I started my journey of figuring out how to recreate those slow moments from when I was in Mexico. Carrying with me that appreciation for living life, as opposed to just moving and always planning and maximizing your time instead of appreciating the moment. That’s when my quest began. And it’s been a long quest.
Were there any particular things that your grandmother would do that stick out to you?
I think creating a space to actually have those moments. I don’t think people do that enough. Actually having a space in your house where you do your make up or beauty routine. Where you can sit down. Now, everything is in the bathroom, tossed around to the side or squished in the corner.
We don’t have vanities anymore!
I know and I miss them. She had this beautiful mirror with a vanity and a bench. She would spend hours sitting there and I think I really miss that. It makes you pause and take a moment where you’re literally just thinking about you, you’re not also brushing your teeth and looking at your phone.
How does beauty and ritual connect? And how do they enrich each other?
I started following this guy recently, @sahdsimone, he wrote this book called Spiritually Sassy. He worked in fashion and then went off to study with all these monks and changed his whole life. He’s all about dance and feeling good, and one of the things he says is just let how you feel on the inside, show on the outside. So I think if you’re feeling joy on the inside, it’s good to express that on the outside. That in itself can be a ritual. You’re just letting your energy radiate from the inside out. It doesn’t even matter what you look like, it’s how you are sharing your energy. It’s connecting how you feel on the inside with how you’re expressing yourself to the rest of the world.
What do you think of the difference between ritual and habit?
A ritual can become a habit, but a ritual is more of a practice. It’s something that can make you feel good, feel really nourishing. There are a lot of similarities but a habit is something that becomes more automatic. A ritual is a daily practice that brings you joy, whereas a habit might be automatic. Your brain just takes control and you might not really be conscious about what’s happening.
How does what your grandmother taught you about rituals, beauty, and making space for those things, show up in your company and company practices?
Everything that we’re selling is based on principles of conscious living. And conscious living means taking a pause and looking at what you’re putting on and in your body. That slows you down. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to create a vanity space in your house, but at the very least it’s taking a moment and thinking about “Ok, what am I actually going to be putting on my skin?” It’s about slowing the process of consuming and being a little bit more conscious, and caring. Caring if it’s good for you or if it’s not, caring if it’s good for the planet. It’s taking it a step further than what my grandmother was doing and asking those questions.
What are some of the rituals you’re enjoying in your personal life that have helped you slow down?
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in nature. I’ve been calling it cloud gazing. Just leaving my phone inside and just staring at the clouds and being mindful. I’ve been trying out different face masks and oils, daily. I’m having a skin care moment. Moving my body in some way is a daily ritual. Whether it’s yoga or going to the gym, or stretching. And then obviously I have my matcha ritual which has almost become a habit? It’s just a nice time for myself though. Me and my matcha.
Check out our Morning Ritual Kit for everything you need to recreate Christina’s nourishing matcha latte!