Whoever said that self-care is selfish clearly didn’t understand the importance of mental wellness. In time for Mental Health Awareness Month, Revlon announced their partnership with mental healthcare company Real to raise awareness around the importance of prioritizing your mental and emotional wellbeing while challenging and crumbling the stigma behind self-care. Through this partnership, the brands have come together to provide affordable and accessible mental health resources in order to allow folks the opportunity to practice mental wellness on a daily. Both Real and Revlon aim “to celebrate the positive impacts of beauty on mental health like self-expression and self-soothing rituals,” while “unpacking the ways beauty standards and expectations have a negative impact on mental health,” read the official press release sent to ESSENCE.
“This initiative explores the intersection of beauty and mental health – both the important parts of self-care and self-expression as well as the negative impact specific beauty standards and messaging can have,” Real founder and CEO Ariela Safira told ESSENCE. “Our goal is to make people feel seen and heard wherever they are on their mental health journey while providing direct access to affordable, clinically-effective tools and resources through Real. Through the end of June, consumers can access a special Revlon x Real discount, receiving a free month off a monthly membership or three months off a six-month membership.”
As for the affordable resources, Revlon General Manager Chandra Coleman believes that the partnership is putting the right foot forward in an effort to provide mental health and wellness education and tools, especially to communities of color. “For many, affordable tools and mental health resources are not so easy to find. We felt it was so important to work with a company that not only makes it easy but accessible to a wide variety of people,” Coleman told ESSENCE about the impact of Revlon’s partnership with Real. “Everyone deserves to be their best selves, so if we can make a difference for one person who otherwise would not have been exposed to resources that can help, then it is important and worthwhile.”
For Mental Health Awareness Month, ESSENCE chatted with Safira and Coleman about the inspiration behind Revlon and Real’s partnership, the inclusion of beauty and self-care in conversations about mental wellness, and how to destigmatize the notion of self-care being selfish.
ESSENCE: What inspired the partnership between Revlon and Real, and what is the goal of the “Caring For Your Mental Wellness Is Beautiful” campaign?
Chandra Coleman: “We decided to launch this campaign with Real to bring awareness and celebrate the positive impacts of beauty on mental health. We felt this campaign would be a great way to acknowledge both the positive and negative impacts of beauty on mental health and offer solutions by bringing to light the ways that self-expression and beauty can positively impact mental health, as well as acknowledging the unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards and expectations which negatively impact mental health. The main goal of our “Caring For Your Mental Wellness Is Beautiful” campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of your mental and emotional health and ultimately help to reduce the stigma surrounding it.”
ESSENCE: What is the importance of providing access to affordable tools and mental health resources, especially when it comes to POC?
Ariela Safira: It is absolutely critical! Unfortunately, we only have enough therapists in this country for 7% of Americans to have access to care. What’s more, therapy costs an average of $200-250 per week — inaccessible to the majority of Americans, even though more than 50% of Americans will suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder at some point in their lives. Furthermore, overall, 84% of psychologists are white—only 4% are Black, only 4% are Hispanic, and less than 1% are Asian which has resulted in a field that makes it difficult for people of color to access culturally competent care. At Real, we’re proud to offer affordable, clinically-effective mental health membership that meets people where they are, for less than $24 a month. Members can anonymously access care at a time and in a place that feels most safe for them.
ESSENCE: What’s the importance of including beauty, self-love, and self-care in conversations about mental health?
Coleman: “The Revlon brand believes that beauty should always feel safe, inclusive, and empowering, no matter what. Social media is such a huge part of today’s culture and comparing ourselves to the idealized images we see on Instagram and TikTok, for example, can have a negative impact on our self-image. Self-love must be cultivated from within and feeling good about yourself is the first step. The topic of beauty is so relevant and can be a gateway for open and honest discussion. It’s important to bring these types of conversations to light, encourage people to embrace their beauty, and love themselves for who they are.”
Safira: “The importance comes down to the complexity between beauty, self-love, and self-care. Beauty, and specific control over things like make-up and self-care, can be powerful tools for self-expression and mental wellness. At the same time, some beauty standards can be a forceful, negative means of impacting mental health. I love the emphasis on self-love in this conversation, and the openness to explore what has beauty and beauty standards done for our wellbeing? How can we make it better?”
ESSENCE: How can beauty practices be incorporated into Mental Health Awareness Month?
Safira: “Beauty practices can be incorporated into Mental Health Awareness Month when (and if) they feel supportive to an individual, especially when it comes to mindfulness and self-expression. From a mental health perspective, it is equally important to create space and awareness for the full experience and range of emotions when it comes to interacting with beauty practices.”
Coleman: “Our hectic lifestyles can make it difficult to find time to focus on ourselves, which is why a daily beauty routine can be beneficial. Your beauty rituals don’t have to be extensive or expensive to provide benefits. Whether it’s putting on a little lip gloss before a Zoom call, enjoying the sensory experience of applying your moisturizer, or spending a few extra minutes relaxing in the shower, small moments can collectively make a big impact. Everyone’s journey is different, but we are all working towards the same goal.”
ESSENCE: Specifically for women, why is it important to celebrate the positive impacts of beauty on mental health such as self-expression and self-soothing rituals?
Coleman: “In my opinion, women are so conditioned to take care of others, that we often forget about our own needs. Beauty and other self-care rituals provide us the opportunity to focus solely on how we’re feeling in the moment, and ultimately, what makes us feel good.”
Safira: “Self-expression and self-soothing rituals can be beneficial to some people’s mental health. It is important to intentionally recognize how all aspects of your life contribute to your overall mental health, including beauty and self-care rituals. I’ve experienced the highs and the lows that come from beauty standards today. We don’t talk about it enough, but makeup can be, and has been for me, a powerful tool to take ownership and control over one’s appearance. At the same time, it has the power to also diminish or hurt our perception of our natural self. The answer is not binary, the goal does not come down to whether or not to care about beauty. Instead, it comes down to exploring our relationship with beauty and self-expression, and having the tools to work through it healthily.”
ESSENCE: When you hear the term “self-care isn’t selfish,” what does that mean to you, and how does it relate back to the Revlon x REAL campaign?
Safira: “I want to live in a world where ‘self-care’ is not considered ‘selfish’ — or better yet, a world where ‘selfish’ isn’t considered bad. Self-care is about knowing what you as an individual need to do to feel well and then doing it. Selfishness, similarly, is about understanding what you need as an individual, and acting on it. We need both to live full lives. We of course need to devote time and resources to supporting and caring for our communities, but both can only be done when we ourselves are supported. Our goal at Real is to offer the tools and resources for people to live by this principle, to live fully.”
Coleman: “I couldn’t agree more! It’s not selfish, in fact, it’s almost selfless. We often get so caught up in life and worrying about what others think of us, that we forget to check in on ourselves. Remember, it’s not what others think about us that defines us; it’s what we think of ourselves. There is no one specific way to practice self-care, and that’s the beauty of the term. Self-care is anything that feels beneficial to you. Revlon’s campaign with Real is meant to help people understand that beauty can be a positive thing and caring for your mental wellness is beautiful.”
Today, tune into the Revlon x Real: Caring For Your Mental Wellness Is Beautiful live stream conversation led by Safira, supermodel Ashley Graham, and fitness instructor Tunde Oyeneyin. The conversation will be live at 12:00 PM EST!