Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Hayley Wood and I’m a wholistic esthetician with a practice called Therapeutic Skin Coach living in Los Angeles, California.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
No, but I had an idea of the type of environment and energy that I wanted to attract for my worklife. I knew that I wanted to help people and work in an atmosphere where I could continuously learn and grow. I also didn’t want to be boxed in where if I wanted to pivot within my field, I would be able to. I might have known that I would have wanted to be an esthetician if I knew what it was when I was growing up. I had chronic inflammatory skin issues growing up and loved creating beauty rituals for myself, so as soon as I discovered that there was a job that helped others with skin issues using beauty rituals, I immediately knew in my heart that this was my path to pursue my purpose.
Were you scared to start the process?
I started school to become an esthetician at 18 which was a time when fear was a huge part of my life. I was painfully shy, introverted, anxious, and terrified of stepping out of the box in any way. My inner light was barely flickering when I was a freshman in college because I didn’t really feel good with just taking the same steps forward that everyone else was doing at the time. I didn’t see the benefit in the end game of obtaining a college degree just to have one. Especially since it was expensive and I didn’t qualify for any loans/grants. Or at least I didn’t have to guidance to search for the ones that would support my Canadian citizenship status. I was lost because I barely knew myself and was in the midst of a lot of life transitions. When I discovered there was such a thing as being an esthetician, my fears were completely trampled over by my strong intuitive pull to pursue this career. I believe that my naivety served me well at the time because if I were to really think about the long term consequences of this choice and how I may become overwhelmed with how hard it would be to really thrive in such a physically demanding job.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Up until recently it was that I was struggling with chronic pain due to undiagnosed endometriosis. It felt like my biggest secret that I’m so liberated to finally have the vocabulary to discuss what I’ve been experiencing with people in my life. Other than that, it would be probably that my first language is French (though I’m barely fluent anymore) or I have a huge passion for the entertainment industry. I love movies, television shows, and all of the media outlets that passionately reviews and reports on them. My idea of a great time is listening to movie review podcasts by Vanity Fair and attending a movie q+a here in Los Angeles. I find that certain story lines help us become aware of greater social issues we have to be willing to face in order to change. If it’s done well, it can create empathy in a way that no other forum can.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’m so lucky to work with as many people as I get to. All of my clients overtime have taught me something that I needed to learn at the time that I needed to learn it. The best advice is basically to trust the process when people, things, and opportunities start to lose a space in your life. If you trust in letting go of what no longer serves you, you are making space for what will.
And honestly just that “whatever you resist, persists.”
What would you say to 16 year old you?
I was 16 back in 2003 and living in a predominantly conservative part of the country. I was already feeling some prejudice over being an immigrant (yes, even if you’re from Canada there can be some major bullies out there triggered by how you’re different than them), but I didn’t realize how much of our culture was still stuck in oppressing women. Just thinking back about song lyrics, story lines in popular television and movies, and even magazine articles promoting the importance of getting a man to want you, it can be a little saddening to think that this was only 16 years ago. I didn’t have many empowered females to look up to or talk to about traumatic experiences with. So I would probably tell my 16 year old self:
Hayley, you’re not fat or ugly so dump your loser boyfriend who is shaming your developing body, make more mistakes because perfection is an illusion, and one day you’ll be honored for being yourself so you might as well start now.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Yes, people doubt me all the time. Even clients who reach out to me for help! I’m sort of used to it because I started young in my career so a lot of the commentary would be; “You’re too young to know anything…”. It made me work a little harder to prove myself. There have been times where it’s really made me doubt myself but usually that’s just because I’m stuck at a level and need to evolve. I do think that a person doubting you is either a projection of their fear or a mirror of your own self-doubt. I let it guide me in the lessons I need to gain in order to grow.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
There are two that I think are important. One is that we have to keep advocating for ourselves even when we are continuously dismissed. Especially when it comes to our health. So many of us are quietly suffering and told that that is what being a woman should be like. Painful periods, infertility, chronic pain, etc. But life is hard enough as it is and you are allowed to want to feel better in your body. Secondly, it would be that the beauty beliefs can shift. The conventional fear-based beauty standards that we have to strive for perfection and are not being allowed to age don’t allow for us to be human. Beauty beliefs can be love-based but it takes practice to shed what’s blocking your inner light! We are all beautiful but it’s a matter of how much we believe and trust in our authentic selves. Just be you and your reflection will always be one that you will recognize and love.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Absolutely not. My confidence is something that shifts day to day based on how I’m feeling physically and emotionally. I know that I have to work on my mental health in order to feel my best physically and I have to be active in my physical health to feel my best mentally. It’s a daily choice to just try my best and I’m constantly acquiring tools to help me feel like my best self. Confidence for me is more of a journey and not a destination.
What do you love most about yourself?
This has taken me a while to learn how to love but I love how I process information differently. I used to think that I was dumb because I couldn’t just read something and completely absorb the information. I need to be physical in order to gain information because I’m highly empathic and intuitive. Once I stopped shutting that part of myself down, I realized how much more I love learning through different ways. I’m a sensitive vessel and my strongest skill and communication language is all energetic so I value that in myself and love what it has taught me about being human.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I’ve had to overcome adversity a lot ever since I was a child. I moved a lot (7 times by age 10 including to a different country), was chronically sick as a child, was never French enough for my French Canadian community, and also never American enough for my American community. But nothing compares to how I have pushed through being dismissed from doctors, friends, and other community members about my chronic illness. I’ve been pushed to the point where I wasn’t sure if I could even work anymore because of my endometriosis yet somehow I could find the strength to smile and keep going. Being of service to others so they can feel seen, heard, and deserving of care is what drives me to move through any challenge.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson that I have learned along the way is that I can’t compare my journey to anyone else’s. If I were to look over at someone else’s lane, it may seem like they are smooth sailing but in truth, everyone has their own challenges. This helps me compete against myself instead of others. We can’t compare ourselves to anyone else, we can use their experiences as lessons but that’s it. Otherwise, we just need to be supportive of each other because we can all use some support. There’s honestly room for all of us to be thriving so sharing our truth and journey can be a great way to learn and teach others.
What motivates you most?
I’m motivated by my inner child that never would have thought she could be an entrepreneur and have a platform to do exactly what it is her heart tells her to. Little Hayley didn’t go through what she’s gone through for me to screw it up now. I owe it to my future self to stay true to who I am, continue learning, and evolve as the journey unfolds.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
There is a certain level of trust involved in my work because my monetary success is based on how busy I am. More clients equals more money right? I’ve had to learn that my best work comes from when I feel my best so it’s essential to my future success to have a work-life balance. Setting boundaries like limiting screen time, not overextending myself with overloading my client schedule, and knowing when I need a break before burning out are all key for me. Getting outside first thing in the morning is really the best way to start my day so I can feel balanced with whatever is on my plate. That and taking breaks to cuddle with my dog, Josie because she’s 2 years old and I want to soak up every minute of her puppiness before it becomes a memory.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I have to nurture my nervous system daily through meditation, getting outside, putting up boundaries with screens, and only seeing a number of clients I’m comfortable with. I know that a to-do list will always be endless so I give myself credit for doing things for me first. I forgive myself for mistakes as I know they are all lessons and I congratulate myself on the wins.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I don’t necessarily have a mentor in my life at the moment, but I do have a community of holistic estheticians that feel like soul sisters. They totally understand what it’s like to run a business like mine so we all support each other through private facebook groups or email chains as we are located all over the world. They teach me to stay present with my process.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
It might not be surprising now since I’ve mentioned it in a previous question but I’m insanely knowledgeable on a lot of random trivia pertaining to television and movies. I’m like a walking IMDB. Also, that I’ve never been to Europe even though my parents live in Portugal! I’m determined to get more stamps on my passport in this upcoming decade.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I’d be splitting my time writing movie and television reviews (for fun). I would also love to be devoting myself to doing much needed climate crisis advocacy work. Teaching all different demographics of people about the importance of being kind to our planet because we’re past the point of return in too many ways. This can start with a better education on what creates waste, how to recycle properly, the benefits of plant-based nutrition and how to cook, etc. I’ve also always loved studying midwifery and would certainly look into how I could become a doula.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
I have so many role models to be honest but the two people who comes to mind the most right now is Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye (hear me out!) and Erica Chidi Cohen of LOOM. Erica is a fellow female entrepreneur in LA who continuously advocating for our health care along with expanding our vocabulary on what’s happening within our bodies. She motivated me to look into what might be going on with my infertility after continuously being dismissed for years, so I made an appointment with the doctor she saw for her fibroid procedure and he discovered my endometriosis. After I had my first laparoscopic surgery to remove fibroids and clean up my endometriosis, I was recovering and binging the Netflix series Queer Eye where I then fell in love with JVN. The whole crew is inspiring by how they help people discover their self-worth but JVN is only a few months older than me which seriously made me look at how much more I can do to live so authentically like he does. He’s been through so much adversity and can find the beauty in everyone, including himself. It’s so inspiring and how he creates beauty rituals for people helps me stay inspired to get creative with my clients and followers. Both he and Erica have taught me that if I show up for myself it inspires others to do the same.
Where do you find inspiration?
Through my clients honestly. They are such a reflection of the work that I need to do as well. They keep me accountable and always learning. Whenever I’m out of touch with new content to create, I wait for my clients to inspire me and a topic starts to come into my consciousness based upon our interactions. That’s what inspires me to write all of my educational content and stay authentic.
What are your biggest passions?
Helping others develop a practice of self-love and empower them with the knowledge to love the skin their in. Also, I’m so passionate about myself and how I can live my life to the fullest. It may sound self-centered but if I’m not passionate about my journey, who will be? We only really get this one shot, so why not commit ourselves to making it the most fruitful, abundant, and glorious one. I’m also quite passionate about my dog, Josie. She’s the love of my life and anything I can do to spend all my time with her is a passion in itself.
Hayley Wood is a French-Canadian born, Virgo, Empathic, Wholistic Esthetician currently residing in Los Angeles with her husband, James and their dog, Josie. In 2014, she started her wholistic skincare practice, Therapeutic Skin Coach, after being an esthetician for 8 years to provide a safe and ethical alternative to conventional skin care treatment after her personal battle with burnout and health issues.