Self-care comes in many different forms and rarely looks the same for two people. For some, it means getting a morning run in and sipping on a hot cup of coffee before work, and for others it's indulging in a feel-good movie and their favorite takeout on a Friday night, followed by an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep.
For Modern Family star Sarah Hyland, self-care has always been, first and foremost, tied to skin care. That and taking a break from the hectic hustle and bustle of working on a hit TV show. "I love taking baths and having a nice glass of rosé," she says excitedly, between takes on the set of Olay's #SkinTransformed campaign. "I throw a face mask on and some Epsom salts in there and just relax those muscles - it's the best."
When sitting down with Hyland, I feel starstruck for the first few seconds, not so much because she's an actress on an award-winning TV show, which she is, but because of the immense strength and vulnerability she's shown by opening up about her serious health struggles.
For those who don't know, Hyland has endometriosis and kidney dysplasia, the latter of which is a condition she's battled since birth and has put her in the hospital too many times to count. During the past year or so, though, she started using her platform to not only share her own journey, but also to support others living with chronic illnesses. It's been inspiring to watch her get real about what she's been through rather than hide it.
It isn't long before Hyland's sincere smile and warm brown eyes make me forget my nerves, and we start chatting candidly about her health history and how self-care has played an unequivocal part in surviving it all. "When I lost control over so many things in my life, that's when I started to focus on my skin, because it was something I could do," she says. "So I started doing a lot of face masks and testing out beauty rollers... I would literally spend hours online looking at skin-care products, because, you know, retail therapy is real," she adds with a smirk.
As someone who also grew up with chronic health concerns, I couldn't relate to her more, recalling days I spent hours in bed scouring skin-care reviews and adding items to my cart. "You don't even need to buy them, you can just add them and then delete later, but the process is so relaxing," Hyland says. I nod in agreement, like a bobblehead.
One product the actress recently added to her self-care arsenal and can't stop raving about is Olay's Ribbons Body Wash. It has managed to change the look and feel of her skin in just two weeks flat, she says, which is incredibly impressive when it comes to skin care. "I usually slather my whole body in coconut oil after showering, but this body wash has made my skin so moisturized that I don't feel the need to," she explains. "My skin has been so soft, and it cuts my getting-ready time in half."
When Hyland can find time for a good old-fashioned bath, she relishes every second of it, which is one of the reasons why Olay tapped her (along with five other badass influencers) to be a part of its first-ever waterproof photography bath book. The brand brought this unique idea to life for a simple-yet-powerful reason: To promote bath time as one of the single best forms of self-care, to encourage slowing down, minimizing screen time, and enjoying these precious pampering moments to the fullest.
The project also seeks to spotlight each influencer's experience with transformation and highlight how they got to where they are today. Hyland chose to have her upper back photographed for the book to represent the inner strength she's gained over the years while battling several life-altering illnesses. "With everything I've been through medically, personally, publicly... I've needed to have a strong backbone and be able to stick up for myself," she explains. "I'm so proud to be part of this campaign because it's all about being confident and strong."
Of course, Hyland's journey hasn't been without its fair share of hiccups, and some of them have made it unbelievably hard to stay strong. For instance, in 2016, Hyland's body began rejecting the kidney her father had donated to save her life, and she fell into a depression that she wasn't sure she'd come out of.
"I internalized everything and didn't want to ask for too much, but once I realized I wasn't going to get out of it on my own, I relied a lot on friends and family to help me," she says. "I had to do something to transfer those dark, negative emotions into something lighter. It was like trying to find my way out of a maze."
Hyland has come a long way since those dark days two years ago, but her past will always be a part of her journey. Now she leans on family and friends, as well as her boyfriend Wells and their dogs, to lift her up when she's feeling down. And when that doesn't quite cut it - or she simply needs some extra TLC - bath time, preferably with a glass of rosé in hand, is her go-to move.
Before our conversation wraps, I ask Hyland about another "transformation" in her life: her hair. She opens up about dealing with hair loss due to the different medications she's had to take for her kidneys. She also notes that no one realizes her strands have actually been short for quite some time now.
"I always think it's funny because my hair has been short since, like, 2013. I just wear extensions for Haley now," she explains. "I didn't know just how curly it was going to be, though... I've had a lot of my hair fall out from being on medications and all that stuff, and now that I'm finally getting all this new growth, it's even curlier."
With a half a minute left in our interview, I ask her about the key to self-love (cliché, whatever), but her response makes perfect sense, so no regrets. "I think it's really about keeping your mental, emotional, and physical realities in balance, because you know they're all tied together; when one of them is off, everything else feels off, too," she says. "I think finding that balance is where the true epitome of self-love lies."
To learn more about Hyland's powerful self-love journey in the book, you can enter to win the collector's item on her personal Instagram or on olaybodywashchallenge.com beginning in May.
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