Taylor Paige Mildenhall was one of the first people to trial our Replenish & Repair Bio-Retinol Serum. She's been using the serum for over 6 months now and we're proud to have helped her get her glow back - inside AND out!
Here's Taylor's journey in her own words...
I was always taught that oil, along with dirt and grime caused acne. When I was younger, I was blessed by the skin fairies. I never went through the normal puberty driven, hormone induced acne that so commonly pains our youth. I thought I had won the genetic lottery, ding ding ding no acne for you! And then I turned 21 and developed one spot. And then two. And three, four, five, and then a cluster for each cheek, my temples and chin. “Disaster!” I thought, so I picked and scratched and bathed my skin in every anti-acne, oil-free, miracle cure that I could get my hands on. And it got worse. Much worse. Until it no longer got worse but stayed at the same infuriating level of cyclic, almost constant pain, popping and pus. It wasn’t until much later that I would be able to recognise the damage that I did to my self-worth and self-image.
You see, I was sold the fake ideal of what beauty – true beauty - looks like. I was sold that skin that feels as smooth as silk and foundation that conceals all the bumps and uneven tones are the only achievable goals if you are to be a woman. I was sold photos of airbrushed and altered models as perfectly attainable. In reality, that level of clear skin is very hard to achieve. A mix of genetics and luck, I believe. Luck that most of us don’t have, luck that had run out for me.
When I began to develop acne I gave anything containing oil a very wide berth. Oil free was the way to my heart, and I believed it would be the path that would lead me to clear skin; which can be true for some. However in my case, boy was I wrong. It is easy to get caught up in the internet sensationalism that a product is a miracle, it will fix your acne, redness, baldness, your mothers nagging and you’ll become Miss Universe! Or, X product with X active is perfect for what you need! Just pay $200 each drop and you too can have clear skin just like this model (who has probably never even seen the product, never mind used it). And wow, is there an enormous amount of information out there. From clinical studies to brand run campaigns to personal anecdotes. It can be overwhelming and thoroughly perplexing. The anxiety it caused me was incredible. The information was so conflicting that I had no idea where to start. “What if I try this and it makes it worse!” or, “What if I try this and it doesn’t work and I spend $ for nothing.”. These were constant battles in my head. Nonetheless, equipped with my newly found (albeit somewhat misguided and thoroughly confused) knowledge I started using harsh chemicals in the hopes my acne would dry out and disappear. But all that did was leave me with sensitive, sore, dehydrated and inflamed skin. In turn causing a plethora of other issues that made my acne oh so much worse. I realised after a while that what I was actually doing was breaking the natural barrier of lipids and skin flora that protects us from foreign infections like bacteria or fungi. So I stopped basically everything, I washed my face once a day and used a moisturiser. That’s it. And alas it persisted. I submitted to the skin fairies and told myself if it wasn’t going to get better, I better become OK with it. But was I OK with it? No, not really. Then I had this conversation: “All I want is to have skin like her.”, and them saying “You know that’s photoshopped right?”. It all unraveled. I knew they were photoshopped. I knew that some Instagram influencers edited their photos and used beauty filters. But I still held myself to these unattainable standards. I looked at the wonderful people around me and realised they were all imperfectly perfect. Not a single person I had or have met has had the clarity of skin I based my self-worth off. Not one single person. And although I still wasn’t happy with how I looked, I no longer judged myself to the highest possible standard of beauty. Something we are all sold on a daily basis. Something we are all made to feel lesser than. And so my journey not only became one to clear my skin, but one to clear myself of these standards. A self-love journey.
I was still at a loss as to how to fix the acne and the damage I caused. And then I was recommended an oil by someone who’s advice on beauty I trust. Boy did that really blow my mind. After all, I was taught oil = bad. It took a great deal of internal dialog to just give it a go. “Oil causes acne dammit!”. I was desperately trying everything and anything previously but for some reason it was so out the gate for me to accept that maybe an oil will help. I first tried Two Birds Beauty Bio-Retinol Serum in early 2020 after it was so graciously gifted to me. This was almost 1 and a half years after that first pimple decided to say hello. I’ll be honest, at first (or should I say immediately – I’m impatient) I didn’t see much change. But I chose to stick it out because of how nice the serum felt and some solid advice that it can take months for products to have a positive effect. The serum is honestly like velvet on your face. After two weeks I saw some slow, steady improvement. Firstly I noticed that the dullness - caused by how dry and damaged my skin was - was turning plump. For the first time in forever, my skin looked soft! I honestly couldn’t believe it. Then the redness around my nose, temples and cheeks settled.
After a month or two of using the oil the amount of new acne I was getting dramatically reduced. I no longer woke up and looked straight at the mirror to see how many new spots developed over night. Partly because no matter how many there were I could see they were slowly reducing. I didn’t even care if they all went away, as long as there just wasn’t so many. After 3 months of consistent use I took a selfie; it was the first in almost a year and I almost couldn’t recognise myself. It may seem silly but self-worth is a funny thing. I was happy with how I looked. I've been using the Two Birds Beauty Bio-Retinol serum now for over 6 months and I can honestly say without a doubt in my mind - it changed my skin for the better. My skin tone has evened out, I don't overproduce oil in compensation for the little I was allowing to make home on my face. Any spots I do get aren't painful like they used to be, and my skin's ability to hold moisture has improved significantly. My skin is healing. It is not perfect, but I no longer care for perfection. It's a daunting thing to try something that you've always thought of as 'bad', but I don't regret it one bit.
Taylor Paige Mildenhall