At Bubbsi, we believe that skin-to-skin contact between parent and child remains important, far beyond those first three months with your newborn. Kids of all ages (in fact, all humans!) benefit from loving, physical affection. Developing a massage-based skincare ritual can be a skin- and soul-nourishing way to show love to your littles. In our Skin to Skin series, we profile inspiring women who have started their own family skincare rituals. We hope their traditions inspire you to start your own.
For our latest Skin to Skin series, we’re thrilled to welcome Dharma Nemani, founder of the weekly newsletter Love, Mishka (named after her daughter). We are avid readers, and love Dharma's clever ideas for parenting hacks (this one!!) and fun activities (having a spa day, making animal crackers). What we love most is the way that Dharma shares her love of beauty routines with her daughter, and in doing so is laying a foundation for her daughter to love and embrace her darker skintone and curly hair. Read on for a glimpse into this duo’s cuddly beauty routine.
Tell us about you and your newsletter, Love, Mishka.
Love, Mishka is a weekly newsletter for moms who want to teach their toddlers self-care and mindfulness. I write about hair, skin, body and mind-care ideas and tips moms can easily incorporate into their kids’ routines. I believe the more we prioritize these healthy rituals with our little ones, the more adept they will become at them. Self-care builds self-love!
Tell us about your daughter.
Mishka is a four-year-old with healthy, normal skin, so she can handle daily showers or baths. It’s a miracle because I have very sensitive skin, prone to congestion and eczema in drier periods.
What benefits do you see from establishing a skincare ritual with her?
I find that every skin, hair and body-care ritual we have together allows for us to be that much more present and mindful together. I love that we prioritize taking a few extra minutes to be together, to care for our bodies and reinforce how important it is to make that time for ourselves. I’m hoping that these rituals become second nature to Mishka as she grows up.
"I love that we prioritize taking a few extra minutes to be together, to care for our bodies and reinforce how important it is to make that time for ourselves."
Walk us through her daily skincare ritual.
We have so many self-care rituals—hair, skin, and body.
- Typically, when Mishka wakes up, we wash her hands and face and brush her teeth.
- I then moisturize her entire body with Bubbsi lotion (not sponsored! ;)).
- During the winter months, I start with the oil and then layer the lotion. I then rub Vaseline or Aquaphor on her lips, elbows, knees and knuckles.
- I then put drops of organic Argan oil in my palms, rub my palms together and run my hands through her hair, focusing on her tips. She has thick, curly hair that gets easily tangled if not cared for properly. I then brush her hair into braids. (She refuses to get her hair trimmed, and braids keep them from her face during the day.)
- After breakfast, we wash up and I apply a lavender cream on her hands and cheeks and wish her a calm, comfortable, and happy day!
- After school, if we don't have any activities scheduled, I get her straight into the shower. Mishka's school has a sand pit she plays in daily, so she comes home with sand everywhere. Plus, I don't like her rolling around our couch and her room in clothes she's been in all day.
- After her shower, we do the same oil and lotion routine as the morning and get into something comfy.
When did you start developing this ritual?
I started giving her baby massages with oil before bath since her infant days. I used to play music and sing along and make animated movements during our oil baby massages to keep her engaged. We’ve stopped the daily oil massages now, but I still do them once in a while.
Does this ritual change from season to season?
In the winter months I layer oil on top of her partially damp skin (optimal moment for moisture) and then lock it in with a thick, oil-based lotion. In the summertime, I sometimes skip the oil layer.
Do you have any special-occasion beauty rituals?
Absolutely. We mask together—not to improve her skin, which is basically perfection, but because it’s fun and entertaining (better even than Peppa Pig!), and because it forces her to be still and in the moment. My favorite mask to use with Mishka has only two ingredients: full-fat Greek yogurt and honey. Simply mix and apply. The greatest thing about this mask is that even if she licks it—which she always does—no harm done. (By the way, this mask works great for adult skin, too! Yogurt contains lactic acid, which is a gentle exfoliant, and the honey is rich in antioxidants.)
Do you use any Bubbsi products on yourself—which and when?
Every time I lotion Mishka, I use the excess on my hands and sometimes face if I'm feeling a little dry. I feel bad dipping into her Bubbsi given it works so wonderfully on her. It's high time I got my own set!
How are you trying to keep your household more sustainable?
We've started using compostable trash can liners. We keep a stack of machine-washable kitchen towels on the counter that we reach for in place of paper towels. I’ve been using Stasher Bags in place of Ziplock. And I’m trying to cut down on single-use items as much as possible; for example, I’ve replaced dryer sheets with wool dryer balls.
Just as our founder Sweta Doshi turned to organic coconut oil to soothe her daughter’s eczema, do you have any home remedies that stem from Indian culture?
I love turmeric, black pepper, and dark honey mixed into warm milk at the onset of a cold (haldhi dhoodh, basically).
We love learning about kids’ beauty rituals from around the world in your newsletter. What are some of your favorites?
Clean beauty practices for children are age-old and prevalent, from wellness baby massages in Singapore, to elaborate (and super cute) baby face massages in Korea, to making home-made, wild turmeric body scrubs in India.
What is your best beauty advice for Mishka?
Don’t skip sunscreen in the mornings. Double cleanse to remove sunscreen at night. Moisturize while skin is still semi-damp. Embrace your thick, GORGEOUS, curly hair and beautiful brown skin. Drink plenty of water all day long!