May Mamas: Ami Desai
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Where would the world be without moms? They give us life and then become our biggest champions. They shower us with unconditional love and provide us with unrelenting support. Especially when it comes to beauty, moms play a special role for many—instilling us with confidence when we need it most, introducing us to the world of skincare and self-care, and serving as our eternal muses. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re showcasing some of our favorite inspiring moms throughout the month of May. Covering all things beauty and beyond, we’re inviting these extraordinary women to get real about motherhood, spill their skincare secrets, and walk us through the rituals they swear by.
To kick off the series, we caught up with beauty and lifestyle expert Ami Desai, an L.A.-based mom of two who’s pivoted her impressive communications career to focus on sharing her refreshing perspective on beauty, lifestyle, and motherhood. Below, she dishes on the three—and fills us in on some game-changing skincare advice.
How would you describe your approach to beauty?
My actual approach to beauty and what I like to emulate is something that’s aspirational yet also approachable. If I can draw inspiration from a red carpet look or celebrity, I like to do that while making it something that’s still accessible for myself and other women.
For example, quick and easy looks that appear like they may have taken longer to do—mastering a look that seems really intricate but actually isn’t.
How has being first-generation American shaped your views on beauty and influenced your beauty routine?
Being first-generation American, I really find it fortunate coming from a Southeast Asian Indian background. So many of these amazing rituals that my mom passed down to me —a lot of elements that Ranavat draws upon—I did early on before realizing they were a trend or before they even became the new It thing to do in skincare. In beauty in general, it has not been easy to identify with a lot of mainstream media. Growing up in the ‘80s, that was very evident for me. Now we’re seeing more diversity and people we can identify with. But is it enough? No. I have to really get crafty with how I make beauty available to myself. I have to work a little harder to get those products to look the way they do on a white celebrity to translate to my skin tone. With that said, it’s built a skillset for me. Having to mix and match and understand skin tones and undertones has helped me to educate other women.
How has your beauty routine changed since becoming a mother?
It’s effective yet simple—both skincare and beauty. It’s cutting out things that are going to take me 10 minutes to do. Instead of a really nice winged eyeliner, it’s going to be a smudged liner that I can do in the car. Vitamin C is definitely a buzzword that’s been thrown around lately, but it’s been a part of my skincare routine since hitting my 30s. One of the biggest ideas has been that it’s important to wear in the morning because it fights against UV rays and pollutants, but the reality is that research is showing that Vitamin C over night can actually help combat those things in the day ahead.
What is the best beauty advice you’ve received from your mom?
The best beauty advice my mom ever gave me was to always wear a big hat whenever going out in the sun—mainly because she always said you’re going to get wrinkles around your eyes. She also always told me to extend your skincare to your neck. Just as your hands tell your age, your neck does too. Your face can look 25, but your neck will look 40.
What lessons do you want to teach your daughter?
I’ve said this so many times, but I really really want my daughter to be able to admire someone else’s beauty without questioning her own. She can admire other people that are like her, or unlike her, and look to them for inspiration, but I never want that to make her question why she looks the way she is, why she’s a certain size, or why her skin color is the way it is. Beauty is very fleeting and I myself am creating a career off of my beauty, but in 10 years, I have to be comfortable with myself however I’m aging. You really have to have a beautiful soul and beautiful character or else none of it matters.