The sweet and spicy aroma of blended essential oils tickles your nose as you step into Sana Skin Studio in Wynwood. The terra cotta-color exterior and matching interior scheme create an instant sense of calmness. The studio is a welcome respite from the turmoil brewing all around us. If you've entered into this soothing space, you're likely looking to get a facial or go shopping for skincare products.
Founder and owner Valentina Hernandez opened Sana earlier this year with the hopes of building a community of self-healers and being the go-to for skincare and clean beauty.
"When I was growing up and suffering through acne and breakouts, I never really had a support system or trusted source to turn," she admits.
Hernandez learned how to care for her skin through trial and error combined with lots of research.
"I believe that you can be your own healer," she says. "Through Sana, I want people to find a support system in us so that they can learn about their skin, and they can become their own skin healers."
At Sana, all the products sold and used during facials are green brands, meaning their ingredients are cleaner and mostly natural.
"I love skincare, and I felt as if there was an experience out there that was missing, especially when it comes to people learning about clean beauty."
Sana opened just a few weeks before the pandemic caused local businesses to shutter. The studio has since reopened and follows all the coronavirus guidelines, but Hernandez says the shutdown forced her to shift gears.
First she worked to engage on social media with Sana's crowd of followers online. Then she launched an e-commerce space to allow Sana's products to reach beyond a local clientele.
"Now we get orders from Seattle, LA, New York," Hernandez says. "It's allowed us to expand our reach and grow our community nationally. I don't think we would have planned to launch an e-commerce store within our first year, but COVID-19 really motivated us to push the boundaries."
To complement the facials offered at the skin studio (prices range from $55 to $165), Hernandez uses the shop's Instagram account to share glimpses into her skincare routine and answer queries.
Speaking to New Times, Hernandez offered some of her tips for self-care at home during these challenging times.
Indulge in an extra-long skincare routine
"My skincare routine has always been so calming for me," Hernandez imparts. Washing your face may seem like a tedious activity for some, but when done right, it can be blissful. Cleanse your face and follow with any face mask of your choice. In the 15 to 30 minutes you're waiting for your mask to dry, read a book or put on a podcast or soothing playlist, and be in the moment. Go all in and light a candle for an added mood enhancer. "I love doing a double cleanse, followed by a face mask, and some other moisturizer products," she says. "Take the time to really massage your face and be present with it, smell the smells, be present, light a candle, and put on some of your favorite music. Make it more of a ritual than a task."
Take up journaling
With everything going on in our world today — the pandemic, the fires in California, the spotlight on police brutality, the upcoming election — the weight of our feelings can be debilitating. Let it all out on paper. Grab a journal and dedicate some time to free write. "It might be a little weird for some people at first," Hernandez explains, "but pick up an empty journal, get a pen, and just start writing. Allow yourself to free-write. Once you're done journaling, your mind will be free of all that stress you were carrying."
Go for a walk
Get outside your space and interact with the natural world for a bit. Whether it's a brisk or leisurely walk around the block or a more-intense bike ride, Hernandez recommends being active for at least 20 to 30 minutes of your day. "You'll always feel better after doing a little movement," she says, adding that she likes to leave her phone at home during walks or listen to a podcast. "It's been really grounding for me."
"Meditation has been a tool that has changed my life," says Hernandez, who has been practicing for about four years. "It really helps to shift your perspective." Use this time to disconnect from all your digital tethers and focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in. And out. Hernandez recommends the Insight Timer app, where users can choose guided meditations. She describes the app as "like Spotify but for meditation."
Run a bath
"After a stressful day, my body feels sore, so I'll run a bath and put in some magnesium salts, which really help with the sore muscles." Hernandez says while soaking, she uses the time to either read a book or add an entry to her journal. "Being in water really helps to change the energy that is in your body and shift that."
Overall, Hernandez says her best self-care tip is to find those little moments in your day that bring you joy or carve out time for activities that do the same. Whether it's cooking, drawing, or reading a book, make time for yourself — and your sanity. And above all, don't forget to unplug.
"It's important to find those little moments in your day in which you just dedicate to being away from technology and just grounding yourself, whatever that means for you," she says.
Sana Skin Studio. 167 NW 25th St., Miami; 305-707-5176; sanaskinstudio.com. Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.