My name is Carissa Casares. I was raised in Oceanside, California, about 45 minutes north of downtown San Diego. I moved south to the city of San Diego in 2007. My husband and I live in Banker's Hill, a neighborhood just outside downtown. I work for Bay Bird Inc, a public relations agency that has a portfolio of culinary and lifestyle clients. I grew up with two sisters and have been aware of beauty and skincare from a young age, but not because of my mother. My mom is a woman uninterested in taking care of herself beyond regular showers, air dried hair (which I can get behind) and getting dressed. It was really my aunt, who lives in New York City, who made me aware of beauty products. I remember visiting her in the city and seeing her bathroom filled with what I would learn are expensive products from Barney's and Bergdorfs. I am mixed race, my dad is Mexican and my mom is Swedish, German and Pennsylvanian Dutch. I would say I grew up identifying as white. I am deeply interested in connecting with both sides of my heritage and learning more about my ancestors to connect with my identity in a new way.
Although I'm half Mexican, my skin is very fair. My father, Arturo, is dark skinned and before he went white his hair was black. He very much looks his ethnicity, whereas I don't necessarily. As I connect more with my father, who is a Chicano historian and activist, I really want to outwardly identify more with that side of myself. My mother, Kara, has blonde hair and green eyes, so I suppose I got more of her coloring. I've been dying my hair red for the past four(ish) years because I love the vibrancy it adds to my every day look. My hair is brown naturally, and very thick and coarse underneath. Every stylist who's ever cut my hair always remarks at just how much hair I have.
The first thing I do when I wake up is smile at my husband, whether he's awake or still sleeping. Then I drink some water. The first thing I do when I start my bedtime routine is wash my face. I have always been very into face masks since I was in my early teens. I try to do one once a week. My sister is a makeup artist and has worked at Nordstrom for years, so she gives me fancy ones, like the La Mer The Intensive Revitalizing Mask. I'm partial to Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack. I also recently got into scraping my tongue. Sounds weird but it's an Ayurvedic practice and makes me feel like I'm removing toxins. My acupuncturist has me on magnesium, too, because I am a very tense and stressed person, so I usually put a liquid version in my morning beverage, whether it's water, tea or a smoothie. If I were to create the perfect beauty & wellness product for myself, I would bottle up the feeling I have after an acupuncture/cupping session and a massage and make it available in pill form.
To stay healthy, I try to eat vegetables, lean protein and whole grains as often as possible and hold back on the sugar, which is the hardest part for me. I walk as much as I can, which is easier now that I moved to Banker's Hill, which is very walkable. I ride my bike on the weekends. I do about three barre classes at The Dailey Method per week. They focus on low impact moves that remind me of my childhood as a ballerina.
I am very aware, as I hope many women are, of what I'm putting on and in my body. As I mentioned, my sister is a makeup artist with Laura Mercier and works for Nordstrom, so she is always a great resource for the traditional beauty products I know and love, but am trying to ween myself off of because of their ingredients. I shop a lot at Jimbo's a natural foods grocer down here, and have been trying to buy my skincare from there because they have strict rules when it comes to buying and only buy vegan and nontoxic products. I switched to Crystal Essence deodorant, Dr. Bronner's Peppermint bar soap and DeVita skincare products. I also love RMS. I love a bold pop of color, though, and I can't live without lipstick. My favorite is from Rodin right now: tough tomato.
Either my skin or my eyebrows are my favorite features on myself. My skin is very fair, with more freckles and sun spots after every warm Southern California weekend (I wear sunscreen but they still appear!), but I've kept up with it and it's very even in tone and soft. I love my eyebrows because they're dark brown, unlike my unnaturally red hair, and remind me of my Mexican heritage.
I wish I picked up more cultural beauty tips and tricks from family/friends. Although my grandmother on my mom's side, Dorothy, gifted me a Mason Pearson hairbrush when I was 13 (I think) and it always reminds me to dry brush my hair thoroughly at night. It's a boar bristle brush with plastic bristles, too, so it's great for distributing oils and detangling. My older sister, Candice, also taught me about wearing sunscreen all the time. I will tan if in the sun, but I'm less concerned with getting a tan and more concerned about sun spots and skin cancer, so I make a point to protect myself with sunscreen and a hat!
As a lifestyle publicist at a small agency here in San Diego, we work with a variety of clients in the areas of health, beauty and wellness. From boutique fitness studios to estheticians to threading studios, we've had a number of clients over the years that have taught me new things about skincare and wellness. I am a threading convert, now, by the way. I'll never wax my brows or face again. I also come from a family of three girls, so I have two sisters and we have always been very talkative with each other about beauty and wellness. I've always had a sounding board and people to have a dialogue with about these topics, which has informed my routine as an adult.