The Journey Toward Natural Skin Care
Khalia "Lia" Miller currently waitresses at a bar and grill in Chicago while she is developing her own all-natural skin care line. Having used some of her products and being very impressed by them, I wanted to know more about her process and her plans. This interview provides a quick look on her upcoming brand and her lifestyle.
A SHORT INTERVIEW WAS HELD WITH LIA.
Kira Rice-Christianson: How do you identify as far as gender and gender performance?
Lia: I feel that I am a tomboy, eternally. But I was born with a vagina, so that makes me a woman by nature.
K: And where are you from?
L: I’m from Oregon. It’s a very small town, and no one has ever heard of it. It’s literally in the middle of nowhere.
K: What was your experience living there?
L: Well I was the only minority of the students in my school, it felt like. I think it just kind of molded me into this small-town person, but I’ve always felt like I was too big for that.
K: So when did you move to Chicago?
L: Sophomore year of high school, I want to say. My adult experience of Chicago is very interesting. I have that whole, “you hate it, or you love it” thing with Chicago. It’s such a big, small town in my eyes. I find that I’ve become a bit overwhelmed with the city. There’s just so much going on and it doesn’t really ever stop. I feel like I’m drowning sometimes because I know so many people. I find myself wanting to curl up in a ball sometimes and just be alone.
K: What do you like to do as a hobby?
L: As a hobby, I’ll write my poetry. I write songs, also. When I was a child, skincare was a hobby but I’m pursuing it more seriously now. It started as me throwing a bunch of herbs into a bowl and getting my hands on my moms nice products, and I think now I’m more conscious. I’m taking care of my body as a whole. Your face and hands are the first thing a person notices, and I want to leave a good first impression. I want to be soft to the touch. I’m a woman, I think we like to be soft. But also I think that it’s just important to know what you’re putting on your body.
K: What do you think made you get more serious about skin care?
L: I started to have some breakouts and skin problems. And I mean, your body changes with age and that’s really what I’m chalking it up to. For me, everything was late blooming. I never had bad skin in high school, even in college I didn’t. It wasn’t until later in my 20’s that I started to get adult acne. So I started to learn about hormones and how the things that you eat factor. I have sensitive skin so certain things trigger reactions. While working in the food industry we’re snacking on all these greasy, fried things and it’s not taking care of yourself. It festers in you and now you have this big zit.
K: What got you into skin care in the first place?
L: Honestly when I was younger I was on punishment a lot, I had to get creative. And my cousins would come over and ask for massages and stuff. One day I just started mixing up a bunch of shit in the kitchen to make a lotion, and I guess it just was always carried with me. I was always into holistic care.
K: So what's your line going to be called?
L: It’s called “Skinsy.” I was thinking, what’s something relative to skin? Everyone likes to get a little handsy with the people they’re closest to, you know? It’s a very intimate experience, and what’s more intimate than skin on skin. So it’s Skinsy, It’s taking it to the level of getting personal with your skin.
K: What inspires your products?
L: Women. Women that I know, because that’s who I do it for. Whenever I’m talking to my girlfriends, they have some concern with their skin. And right now, everyone is really into self-care. They wanna feel their best. And it’s a process. Women wanna shower, they wanna shave, they wanna moisturize, they wanna detox. I think about those women and the process. And I want to have a serum for everything. I want all my girls to feel like the baddest bitch walking in the streets.
K: What type of ingredients do you like to use?
L: I love pearl powder. I use it in everything for a silky finish. I like to use glycerin, it’s very soft on the skin. But I’m very careful with making things, I always test it on myself first. I love tumeric. One of my favorite essential oils to put in a product. It's very good for inflammation. Rosemary is a gift from God. I love citrus, right now I’m loving lime. Right now I’m working on a face serum called Orange Juice, and it’s going to have a lot of orange and carrot oils in there. It’s going to be a great brightening, Vitamin C serum.
K: So all of these things are natural that you’re using. What would you say the pros or cons of this are?
L: It’s all about proportioning. That’s why I study all of these things specifically because you can still have a reaction to natural things. I believe when you’re looking at a label, you should be able to read and understand everything on it. All of the remedies we need have been on this earth for ages. It’s just about access and knowledge.
K: Do you have an intended clientele that you’re catering to?
L: Absolutely. People with a conscious mind, who are into their health. I cater towards women but I do want to make products for men. I want my man to feel good and smell good. But right now I am focusing on women. This is our world and our time.
K: Do you plan to sell online, or keep it local?
L: I do plan to sell online. I think online is the smartest, so everyone can get to me. I want it to be accessible to everybody.
K: So will we be finding a website soon?
L: Yeah! I’m actually working with a graphic designer right now. It’s just so funny how everything in your life comes full circle. I talked about my writing, on all of my products I want to include a poem. Maybe 2 or 3 poems behind the packaging on the labeling, I think words are so important. It’s like a little surprise, like a fortune cookie. I want people to have little reminders, something personal. I want to have some sort of personal relationship with people.
K: Here’s a bit of a loaded question for you. 10 years from now, where do you want to be with your brand? And what are your set goals?
L: I remember in grammar school they used to ask us about our 5 year plan, and I always like “man, just go with the flow.” But you know, 10 years from now I see myself in various countries and communities turning over new stones and finding new seeds and oils. I feel like you need something really groundbreaking, and I do see my myself discovering something new. I want to embody my brand, because I can’t say “oh take care of your body” and then theres a photo of me on instagram rolling around in bacon grease. 10 years from now I want to be a living testament to Skinsy, and I want to look how I do now.
K: What would you say you’re doing right now to reach these goals?
L: Right now I’m creating. I’m in the testing phase and investing phase. I love what I do right now, because it allows me freedom with time and the gift to invest in myself. I’m using it to my full advantage. I’m budgeting a lot these days, and being very selective. I’m shopping for quality, and quality at a good price. Which is what I want my products to be.
K: In these early stages, what would you say your top 3 stressors are?
L: freak out about the fact that this is going on somebody else's skin. I encourage patch testing, I don’t want anyone to have a bad reaction. I want to make sure I’m not putting too much of anything into my products. So dosing, and texture. I don’t want gooey, or heavy, or runny, or griddy. These are things I obsess over. Also, am I ready for this to take off? What happens if it takes off 2 months from now? And now it’s like, I have to get shit shipped out, how do I handle payments online? Like do I need help? It’s just thinking about owning something stresses me out, because it’s all on me. Nothing gets done unless I do it. So that’s definitely a stressor.
K: What are you doing to cope with these stressors?
L: Well I smoke weed. I’m trying to give up drinking entirely for a month. I burn a lot of candles and drink a lot of tea. Writing helps. I think about the people who are supporting me, and that helps. Because people believe in me, and it’s like, I don’t have to be so hard on myself. We’re always our own biggest critics.
K: I want to expand for a moment. What are some pressures of society that you wish didn’t exist? Or that you think may hold you back while building this skin care line?
L: What you look like. What you should look like. You know, just being yourself, like it’s not okay. I don’t think I know one person that feels like they can be 100% unapologetically themselves everyday, because people are always judging us. I want to make people feel comfortable in their own skin. This is who you are for the rest of your life, you will never be another person. Don’t give a fuck.
K: I think an important question is, do you feel extra pressure with that, being a woman of color?
L: Yeah, I think historically and systematically people assume that women of color don’t know anything. People don’t know anything about women of color. I think there are people who fetishize women of color a lot, so I’m hoping not to run into anyone like that. I just want people to let me be a person, building my business. I’m really not trying to make a statement, I just want to have my own. I would like to keep my politics separate from my product. But should it collide, I would stand behind any person of color who is fighting in this country to have something of their own. Because, to be honest, my ancestors built this bitch on their backs.
K: Do you have a daily mantra, or ways that you self care?
L: First of all, I don’t talk to fuck boys. And I don’t talk to fuck girls either. If I feel like someone is taking away from my energy, I stop talking to them. I try to cut gossip out. I try to be very selective with what I’m hearing and talking about, because I don’t want things to get too negative. Because one negative moment in the day can ruin your whole day. I try to read something new everyday. I try to have a clear understanding of things. It helps me, to know how to deal with people in the future. Like that anger, hate, that saltiness, it’s not about me. So how can I handle this?
K: Do you think you’re happy? Or on the right path?
L: I think I’m on the path to happy. I’m getting there. I’m looking back on my life, and my experiences and realizing these things contributed to where my life is now and the woman I’m becoming. And instead of being hurt by those things, I’m trying to take the positive and let everything else go. Because those are shackles, and they’re exhausting, and they affect my relationships with people and myself.
K: Lastly, where can we find you?
L: You can find me on instagram @thecountryandme or twitter