Three extended arms of different skin colors holding self-made products against a yellow illustrated background
Photography by Selfmade, Design by Alexis Lira

Baths are a popular self-care practice.

There is something about being in water filled with bubbles and scented salts.

Think of low lights, flickering candles and a home spa.

Who has time for that?

Running a bath can seem like a burden if you are stressed out because of your job, your children, your relationships, systemic racism, institutional oppression, or any number of internal and external factors.

“If self-care didn’t feel like a chore, another tick off your to-do list, or a multi-step routine copied from an influencer, what would you do?”

What if self-care was about love? A practice that nourished your body, refreshed your mind, and provided a salve for your weary soul?

Selfmade has entered the chat.

A socially conscious beauty brand founded by Stephanie Lee and science-backed by a team of doctors, Selfmade’s goal is to connect the act of self-care with the mindset of self-love and self-worth.

Lee said the impetus for Selfmade came out of her own experience working at the heart of the beauty industry while also battling a mental health crisis.

She found out her role in the beauty industry during the crisis.

Lee has brought to market three skin care products that are made from natural ingredients. Selfmade products encourage users to look beyond their own reflection in the mirror to connect with what is happening in and to their bodies.

Jeshana Avent-Johnson, Psy.D., specializes in mental health with a focus on intimacy and sexual well-being. As one of the experts working with Selfmade, she says the product line is grounded in the science of psychodermatology.

Psychodermatology is the idea of how our skin is impacted by the things we experience psychologically and how it shows up in our skin.

This can include a lot of skin conditions.

The concept of psychodermatology is not new.

When you see an errant pimple or an Eczema. flare on your abdomen, you may instinctively intuit the connection between your outer presentation and your inner state of being. That connection is what psychodermatology is all about.

“Psychodermatology is the concept of how our skin is impacted by the things we experience psychologically and how it shows up in our skin.”

The person is a Psy.D.

The goal of Selfmade is to connect something as simple as caring for yourself with regulating your emotions and mental health to lessen the effects of stress.

“If we’re flooded with distressed hormones, it affects our skin,” says Avent-Jonshon. “Regulating our ability to effectively know if we’re in ‘fight or flight’ and then managing that can prevent us from having an overtaxed nervous system that’s constantly producing stress hormones that impact our skin.”

Selfmade offers an attempt at self-soothing.

Selfmade is a beauty product that seeks to help its users soothe themselves, like a baby who wakes up cooing instead of crying because they know how to comfort themselves.

“But couldn’t any product or routine do that?”


The product is only part of the equation, says a mental and emotional science expert. Mental health education is as important as the product line.

“Skin care has long been a source of pampering and self-care and is deeply connected to self-esteem,” says Young. “Selfmade enhances that connection by sharing mental health knowledge and creating discourse that taps into the full potential of the synergy between skin care and mental health education.”

Mental health education starts on the back of the bottle. Questions are offered to go along with the typical instructions and ingredients list.

Questions can be asked

  1. What does loving myself look like?
  2. What do I feel when I touch myself?
  3. “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

These questions seek to teach users what it means to cultivate healthy attachments and establish secure boundaries.

Selfmade goes back to the root of why founder, and current CEO, Stephanie Lee founded the company.

After examining her relationship with her own mental health in the middle of her traditional beauty career, she said she questioned societal standards.

She says that they make it nearly impossible for us to appreciate our human value.

The conventional beauty standard is usually a tall, thin, white woman. For Selfmade, the standard is shifted on its head to center Black and brown women, femmes, and nonbinary people who have too long been pushed to the margins.

Selfmade hopes to create community-powered healing by centering those who are normally cast off to the sidelines. This includes safe spaces where people from all walks of life can be themselves.

“As humans, we are designed for connection,” says Avent-Johnson. “However, through trauma experiences and systematic oppression, the desire for connection becomes a desire for protection. Community provides the necessary space for individuals to heal and move back to our original design of connection.”

Community-powered healing includes safe spaces where people from all backgrounds, in or out of binaries, can not only be themselves but love themselves.

You can use Selfmade products during your skin care routine.

First, remind yourself of your ‘why.’ Sure, there may be a fresh breakout or a few dark spots motivating you to care for your skin, but what are the deeper reasons? When you get in touch with your deeper why, self-care becomes a positive rather than a corrective process.

You might say, “I\’m a person who is not perfect, but I choose to share my brilliance with the world.”

Next, focus on your why during your routine, even when you notice self-judgments coming up.

If you want to remind yourself of your beauty, say something like, “My so-called flaws are a part of my unique beauty.”

Finally, reward yourself when you complete your routine.

You can do this by simply taking a few moments to look in the mirror and admire the things that you love. You can also use a bold red lip or a pair of earrings to announce to the world, “I\’m here!”

“Selfmade is living up to writer Audre Lorde’s definition of self-care by linking mental health and self-worth, and imbuing seekers of good skin with not only the products to prevent breakouts but prompt to provide mental shifts.”

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”


Spending time getting to know yourself and your body is not selfish. It is a radical act of self-love that shifts the tides from being marginalized to being important.

Nikesha Elise Williams is a two-time Emmy award-winning news producer and award-winning author. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and attended The Florida State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in communication: mass media studies and honors English creative writing. Nikesha’s debut novel, “Four Women,” was awarded the 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award in the category of Adult Contemporary/Literary Fiction. “Four Women” was also recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists as an Outstanding Literary Work. Nikesha is a full-time writer and writing coach and has freelanced for several publications including VOX, Very Smart Brothas, and Shadow and Act. Nikesha lives in Jacksonville, Florida, but you can always find her online at, or @Nikesha_Elise on Twitter and Instagram.