For all things skin, my favorite go to human is Shelly Marshall. She is quite literally the beauty shaman! I was instantly enamored by this ones aligned wavelength. Just as I do, Shelly believes in our outer beauty being a mirror to our inner beauty. True beauty, coming from balancing our mind, body, and spirit. From face yoga, to gua sha, to even the spiritual side of skin, she is a wealth of knowledge and truly a gem of a healer. I tribute the state of my skin health, all to this beauty shaman. Here, Shelly spills all the skin secrets with us!
+ introduce yourself:
Founder of Beauty Shamans, Shelly is a skin expert on a mission to help people raise the vibration of their skin using nontoxic products, tools, and rituals. With a background in nursing and esthetics, her approach to skincare is clinical, clean and holistic. She teaches a unique style of facial healing using a combination of facial massage, reflexology, face yoga, and the ancient art of Gua Sha. Her purpose is to help people shine their brightest light through practices of self love, therapeutic touch, and healing their skin within.
“My purpose is not to heal you, but to teach you how to heal yourself through the lens of skincare and self love.” -Shelly
+ how did Beauty Shamans begin?
Beauty Shamans started as a concept - the idea that “beauty” is actually more of a mindset and way of living, and that we can all become our own beauty healers through the power of ritual, intention, and what we repeatedly do. Creating skincare products and tools became a natural way to bring these rituals to life.
It began when I started a very generic health blog where I shared skin and beauty advice. Back then I was still working full time as a registered nurse so social media was my hobby and escape to do something creative. The name “Beauty Shamans” kept popping up in my head, literally as if it was being planted in my mind. The more I heard it, the more I had to pay attention to it. I started thinking of what it meant to me and what it could mean to other people. I adopted the name “Beauty Shamans” to which I immediately felt aligned with and naturally started to embody what it meant to become my own beauty healer.
That meant really tweaking and fine tuning lifestyle and dietary choices, daily habits and ritualistic behaviors. Essentially, it meant altering my state of consciousness and operating from a higher frequency during normal, everyday life. It meant recognizing that just as everything in our body is connected, we as humans are connected through a sort of collective consciousness as well. And if this collective consciousness were a living organism, then we could naturally say that the strength of this organism is only as strong as its individual units or cells. We then as humans have a duty to ourselves and to our planet, to optimize the integrity and vitality of our own cellular structure. One of the easiest and fastest ways of achieving this is through acts of compassion, love and forgiveness. Skincare practices, when done with intention, can assist us in learning these truths.
It is my goal, and I believe my purpose on this planet, to guide others to live in a higher vibration so they too can heal through practices of self love and skincare and we can make this world a better place.
+ how did your health journey start? What made you get into health and wellness?
I had always had horrible acne growing up. I felt it was part of my identity, the main thing people saw when they met me. The emotional side effects of having acne had sunk me down to rock bottom; I was depressed, I hated myself, I had no self esteem, and in hindsight, I had allowed myself to engage in behavior that was completely self destructive (smoking, drinking, etc). I had always been told the old myth that my skin had nothing to do with my diet or stress levels - that it just “is what it is” because of genetics. So for the early years of my life, I was a victim of my own mentality.
It wasn’t until a group of ladies I worked with at a Chinese and Korean spa individually AND collectively told me that my skin suffered because of my immunity, my diet and my “unhappiness.” They didn’t feel sorry for me or baby me, they just told me matter of factly as if commenting on the weather that day. Most of my American peers denied seeing the blemishes on my face, but my coworkers came from a culture where honesty and pain, no matter how much you didn’t want to hear or bear it, were necessary parts of the healing process. They helped me see that and take ownership of my life.
It made me realize that I was standing in my own way of healing, and that part of me didn’t want to heal yet because I had grown comfortable with the feeling of hating myself. I had suppressed a lot of anger down into my body and had yet to confront it. Once I recognized that I was solely responsible for my life and my happiness, my entire vibration changed, and I was determined to find solutions. This realization was the turning point and the key to finding a different path from the one I was on.
I started reading tons of books about detoxing, health, food, mindset, basically anything I could get my hands on. Every day I tried to incorporate one thing I had learned from my personal studies until it became my natural way of living and my default behavior. It was hard, there were a lot of sacrifices and setbacks along with a lot of difficult inner conversations I had to have with myself. In other words, this was not an overnight transformation and a lot of emotions and pain had to surface before I could clear it and take another step forward toward my goal. But the more I learned about health, the more I realized that I had so much more to learn. It was one of those moments where once you SEE, you are no longer the same; you can no longer UNSEE all the things that are holding you back. It was like pulling a thread on a sweater, I needed to pull and pull and pull until I felt I had unraveled the truth.
That truth is that we live in a world where financially motivated ‘forces’ cleverly assist you to become the unhealthiest version of yourself. It is my belief that the best way to achieve our best health is to remove from our lives distractions, guilt, shame, comparisons, misinformation, toxic people, conventional food, and negative energy and simply engage in things that feed and fuel our spirit and soul. There is no magic bullet. Finding true health is a journey, not a destination. The ultimate test is when you can look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say “I love you”. When you can do this, you know you are on a path to becoming the healthiest version of yourself.
+ best ways to help sensitive skin types?
Sensitive skin needs lots of nourishing ingredients from food and plant sources. Many times, sensitive skin is simply just reactive to chemicals found in OTC products. Many of these substances are simply made to help the product last on the shelf longer, or improve the smell, texture and absorption of active ingredients. These are things like parabens, fragrances, artificial colors or dyes, synthetic emulsifiers, petroleum, sulfates, silicones, PEGs, phthalates (plastics), etc. In short, the best thing for sensitive skin is to use natural and organic ingredients daily and to skip harsh scrubs with drying ingredients (like sodium laureth sulfate). Sensitive skin usually benefits from anti-inflammatory facial oils as well - as part of a cleansing and/or moisturizing routine. I also like to recommend light exfoliants like lactic acid because it tends to be more hydrating.
+ what to do when you want to look more youthful?
If I had to sum it up into one all encompassing statement, it would be to do things that reduce inflammation in the body and that make you feel "lighter".
That could mean cleaning up your diet, performing self massage, meditating, singing, dancing, journaling, doing gua sha, hanging with friends, laughing, playing with your pet, etc.
All of these things help to quell and prevent inflammation in the body which helps to reduce overall stress. The reverse is also true; when you reduce stress, you automatically reduce inflammation.
The body knows how to heal itself naturally, it was designed to self heal and repair on its own - what gets in the way of healing is inflammation. Find ways to reduce inflammation and you’ll age more gracefully.
+ all the lymphatic tips?
+ why everyone and their mothers needs to be doing face yoga?
You have to realize that applying a cream, no matter how wonderful it is, will never lift the skin or prevent sagging. Think of the layers of the face; we have bone, muscles, fat, collagen, connective tissue and skin. Face yoga can improve muscle tone and flexibility, collagen, connective tissue and skin texture. It even gives the skin a nice lift because there are certain poses that plump and strengthen the facial muscles.
And just like the body, if you don’t use your muscles, you lose them! We have over 60 muscles in our face and we use them all the time without realizing it. Hopefully the majority of the expressions we make with our facial muscles are those of joy and happiness, but all too often we get into the subconscious habit of holding our face in tense expressions when we are upset, focused, sad, or anxious. Face yoga has many benefits; it stretches and strengthens the muscles, increasing blood flow and lymphatic movement, detoxifying the skin and creates more flexibility within the fascia. Just like the body, the muscles of the face have memory, so the more we practice healthy facial expressions, and counter expressions of stress/fear/worry/etc, the more lifted, relaxed and healthy our facial muscles will be.
There are also mental and emotional benefits to practicing face yoga regularly. Try this; Smile. Yep, just do it, do it right now, with teeth, go on. Keep holding the smile, hold it for at least 30 seconds, keep holding it. Did you feel it? It’s practically impossible to feel unhappy when you smile. Even if it is a fake smile, your cells are reacting and producing feel good chemicals in your body. So imagine if you practice that daily. How could that change the course of your day? Or your life? It’s such a simple thing you can do every day with so many skin and spirit lifting benefits.
+ top face yoga exercises?
The Big O - drop your jaw into an O as if you’re yawning; feel the stretch in the front of the face. Don’t let your forehead wrinkle. Relax your shoulders. Hold this for 30 seconds. Do 3-5 sets. This helps smooth nasolabial folds, detoxifies the under eye area (great for dark circles) and increases circulation and blood flow to the entire face.
Happy Secret - Press your lips together tightly, as if you have a secret you won’t tell. Lift the corners of your mouth up as high as you can. Imagine your cheeks are doing all the lifting and pulling up the corners of the mouth with strings. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Do 3-5 sets. This helps plump and lift the cheeks, smoothes laugh lines, trains the corners of the mouth upward and tones the jawline.
+ anything special to help with cellulite or slimming down?
When I was working as a night shift nurse, the cellulite situation got a little out of control. I was stressed and wasn’t sleeping at all, I wasn’t drinking enough water and my food choices were horrendous as anyone in survival mode can attest to. My body was hanging onto the stress, the emotions, the toxins, manifesting itself as cellulite all over my legs, even down to my calves. This was new to me as I had never really had cellulite in my entire life (I’m relatively thin, Asian background and a former athlete).
I did 3 simple things that worked beautifully for me;
+ are you a fellow sun lover?
Yes I love the sun, maybe a little too much. I think it’s so important for our health to get adequate sunshine. Vitamin D is good for our hormones, our mood, our immunity, and I believe for our spirit as well. I do always wear a large hat, sunglasses and proper sunscreen, but I never advise my clients to completely avoid the sun (unless we just did a peel or laser treatment).
You do need to take extra care in the sun if you are using ingredients like retinol, AHA’s, hydroquinone (I do not recommend this ingredient ever), or if you are on photosensitizing medications like some antibiotics. These things make your skin more sensitive to UV rays and could cause burns or darkening of the skin.
When I’m on a beach vacation with my family I feel that I’m safe if I limit my sun exposure to about 1 hour at a time. I go inside after an hour, stay in for about 2-3 hours and then go back out to enjoy the sunset.
+ what's your wake up call look like?
First thing I do when I wake up is brush my teeth. I hate having a yucky taste in my mouth. While I brush I do a few face yoga poses for my forehead, this gives me a chance to create some movement in my face but also be productive at the same time. If my skin is feeling dry, I’ll apply a few drops of an omega oil to my skin and massage that in for a few minutes. This typically gives me a chance to feel how much fluid is in my skin that morning, these are little clues that help me become more attuned to my skin’s needs on a daily basis. I always drink water first thing in the morning, lately I’ve been adding marine collagen, green vitamins and some minerals to my water every morning as well. Before I make a matcha or a coffee I always stretch my body for about 5 minutes to get the blood flowing and lymph moving as well. These are all tiny rituals that help set the tone for the rest of the day.
+ one thing you do every single day?
One thing I do without fail every evening is oil cleansing. I think this is such an important step in everyone’s skincare routine. Oil cleansing has so many skin benefits - it regulates sebum production, moisturizes skin, emulsifies and breaks down dirt/makeup/pollution, calms inflammation, improves the lipid barrier and skin’s water retaining capabilities, and softens dead skin cells. In addition to that, it allows you to take a few minutes every evening to touch and massage your face, increase circulation and be present with yourself for a moment.
+ what are your go to's for nervous system love?
When I’m feeling anxious I might do a number of different things depending on how much time I have and circumstances. My go to’s on giving my nervous system some love and care is to do a deep breathing meditation, blending essential oils and massaging them all over my neck, chest and arms, facial reflexology (focused on the forehead for nervous system), Gua Sha, and music therapy (my current favorites are Ben Carroll and Estas Tonne). Sometimes I’ll just put my headphones on and lay down and listen to the music. When it’s over, I feel that my energy is completely shifted into a more zen and calm state. It’s when we are in this state of “rest and digest” that all cellular healing occurs. This is why reducing stress is so important for the skin.
+ oh boy hormones... what are the best ways to help balance your hormones?
One thing I found fascinating while I was going through nursing school was the neuro-endocrine system. We blazed through the topic in school, which I found to be so odd because if you stop to think about it, the quality of our neuro-endocrine system is the secret to health. Essentially, the environmental cues and sensory perceptions you have (which are picked up from your nervous system) then directly impact how your endocrine system functions (your hormones).
To make it really simple, your neuro-endocrine system is all about how your environment impacts the way your hormones behave, and hormones are a part of every single action your body takes every single day; your blood pressure, heart rate, appetite, mood, alertness, digestion, hair growth, skin complexion, and so much more. So in my opinion, the best way to “balance” your hormones is to pay attention to what you’re consuming within your environment every day.
For example, if you watch a scary movie, your nervous system absorbs that tension and anxiety affecting your hormones and your whole vibration. Now contrast that with watching a documentary on health and wellness. Contrast eating processed, greasy food from a chain restaurant versus a home cooked meal with all organic ingredients. Think of how much better you feel when you’ve spent time with someone who appreciates you and makes you laugh versus someone who just wants to dump all of their problems on you or make you feel guilty for something you’ve “done” to them.
It’s also important to become aware of the fact that what you feel emotionally is directly linked to how you respond to certain situations, people, etc. The power you hold over your own life is in how you choose to respond to everything around you. Believe it or not, it is simply a choice. Most of the fear, shame, anger, guilt, and anxiety we feel is simply created in our own mind. When we learn to let go of control and release what no longer serves us, everything in our body starts to become more balanced.
+ do you have a fav mantra?
“When we heal ourselves, we heal the world.”
The ultimate goal is to help raise the vibration of the collective human race. But that starts with improving ourselves as individuals first.
The practice of skincare is not about using the most popular facial creams on the market or doing whatever is trendy at that moment, it’s about spending time on your skin, touching it, assessing it, giving it love, feeding it the right nutrients inside and out.
Skincare is a natural way to connect with the deepest parts of ourselves through therapeutic touch and intention. Our skincare practices and rituals should become a part of who we are and shape who we are still becoming.
I think using skincare as a way to express self love helps us heal on a very deep level. And when enough people have the intention of healing the self, the vibration of our planet will raise too.
+ any tips to enhance our natural beauty?
To me, natural beauty is an energy, it’s all in the person’s aura. Practice kindness, compassion, generosity and love and your vibration will start to change immediately. Your cells are always listening to your thoughts and feelings - to become naturally beautiful you have to focus on becoming your own source of light, inside and out.
A really quick way to enhance natural beauty is to become conscious of the way you hold your face. Instead of holding your brows and forehead with tension, relax the forehead, start to feel the ears and sides of the head relax too and let your eyes become soft. Then, start to bring awareness to your cheeks and mouth. Instead of allowing your mouth and cheeks to “hang” down on your face with gravity, hold slight tension in the cheeks with a slight curling up of the corners of the mouth, kind of like the Mona Lisa.
These simple tricks completely shift your energy within seconds AND since muscles have memory, it trains the muscles of the face to be lifted, while still feeling relaxed and at ease.
+ an ingredient from mother nature you can't live without?
Seaweed. It’s what my entire product line is based off of. Seaweed is a special plant because it is constantly bathed in mineral rich seawater. We all know that the ocean has so many healing benefits. Our planet may have a lot of people, but that pales in comparison to the amount of real estate the oceans take up on Earth. This is a special, ancient water that has a specific mineral composition which gives our planet life. The human body, also about 70-80% water, contains nearly identical mineral composition within the blood plasma. What does this mean? It means when you bathe in seawater, or use seawater/seaweed on the skin, it becomes immediately bio-available because it’s something the body recognizes as a natural part of cellular life. Seaweed is a whole food, so it’s naturally rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, selenium, copper, magnesium, antioxidants, etc. When life decays or dies (plants or people), unless there has been a tragic accident, it’s usually from the slow decline of minerals, vitamins, trace elements and micro-nutrients. Seaweed contains an abundance of the micro-nutrients your cells need to sustain and rebuild life.
I try to incorporate some kind of seaweed type food into my diet at least once a week (more if I can), and I use my seaweed skincare products daily for a small dose of vitamins and minerals that absorb through the skin.
+ your fav skin tips and tricks?
+ wellness or skin tools you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my Gua Sha and reflexology tools! For me, it’s comparable to how addicting going to the gym is. I find that if I haven’t used my tools in a few days my skin starts looking and feeling dull and lax, as soon as I use them I immediately feel better, even if it takes a few days to see some changes again.
+ what are your favorite healing foods or skin foods or recipes?
Since a big part of my skin healing journey started with food, I’ve definitely filled my pantry with a few staples. In no particular order, my favorite healing foods are bone broth, any kind of seaweed (nori, hijiki, kelp, etc), matcha tea, coconut butter/oil, berries, avocados, hemp seeds, bee pollen, cacao, pasture raised eggs, organic meats, wild fish, nuts, maca, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and every color vegetable you can think of. I like to make homemade juice out of celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger and apples.
Because of my busy schedule, it can be very difficult for me to meal prep during the week. I’ve thankfully found food solutions that give me everything I need and more.
I regularly order from Sakara Life for delicious plant based meals delivered right to my door for the week. I can customize whether I want breakfast, lunch and/or dinner and for how many days. Each meal gives me more antioxidants and phytonutrients than I could ever put together on one dish! So I’m very grateful for that.
(Use code XOBEAUTYSHAMANS for 20% off first time orders).
I’ve recently started using a lot of the Kroma Wellness products as well. I love how functional their food is, I don’t always have to consume what I’ve ordered right away. Many times I’ll use some of the Kroma products to supplement my home cooked meals, or just hold me over until a full meal. Their products taste great and have a ton of antioxidants and adaptogenic herbs like mushroom blends, turmeric, maca, etc. My favorites right now are their Beauty Matcha, the 24k Bone Broth and the OMG Cookie Butter.
(Use code BEAUTYSHAMANS10 for 10% off first time orders)
And then for days when I want a really delicious smoothie, I have a full stash of smoothie blends from Tusol Wellness. These are amazing because they have 20-23 g of plant protein in each one and I can just add nut milk and some spinach or a banana and the blends provide the rest of the nutrition I would normally want to fill my smoothie with.
(Use code BEAUTYSHAMANS for 20% off first time orders)
I think if you’re trying to get into the mindset of eating healthier, the easiest way to do that is by filling most of your morning and afternoon with superfoods, broths, smoothies and plants. Then for dinner, which is normally the meal we share with our families, you can indulge and have a little bit of pasta, potatoes, cheese or whatever it is that’s hard to give up. Eventually you’ll start to clean up all of your meals, but if you start by cleaning up the first few meals of your day, you’re more likely to get into a groove or routine that is sustainable, but still reasonable and balanced. This allows you to still enjoy life which is the most important nutrient of all.
+ why is your energy and aura so beautiful?
To be beautiful is to see beauty around you. When you look around the world, ask yourself if you can see or sense the beauty in everything you come in contact with, no matter how broken, damaged or dark something seems. This change in perspective takes practice, but I promise it is all there right in front of your eyes if you choose to see it. The more we recognize the light in everything around us, the more we attract it, absorb it and make it a part of our own energetic and auric field. It is really that simple.
You can find SHELLY here: