Discovering Melissa Urban's Skincare Secret: A Journey from Minimalism to Radiance

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Discovering Melissa Urban's Skincare Secret: A Journey from Minimalism to Radiance

In the realm of health and wellness, Melissa Urban is a name synonymous with transformation and empowerment. As the co-founder and CEO of Whole30, she has guided countless individuals towards lifelong healthy habits, earning her a well-deserved reputation as a leading authority in the field. With seven New York Times bestselling books translated into over 20 languages, Melissa's impact on global wellness is undeniable.

Yet, amidst her towering achievements, Melissa harbored a secret—a skincare secret, to be exact. For years, she remained content in her minimalist approach to skincare, eschewing elaborate routines in favor of simplicity.

However, a chance encounter with LATHER's Bamboo Lemongrass Gentle Daily Hair Wash during a stay in Jackson, WY, changed everything. Intrigued by its effectiveness and affordability, Melissa embarked on what she called the "Jackson Shower Hair Experiment," chronicling her experiences on Instagram for six weeks.

Join us as we delve into Melissa's captivating journey from personal struggle to global inspiration, navigating the transformative power of food and mood connection. Together, we'll unlock her secret to a life of vitality, resilience, and holistic well-being.

How did your personal journey lead to the creation of Whole30, and what inspired you to share it with others through your book and program?

My health and fitness journey started in 2000, as I was leaving rehab for the second time for my drug addiction. I knew this time had to be different, so I asked myself, “What would a healthy person do?” I began going to the gym five mornings a week before work, despite never having set foot in a gym before. Then, I started cooking more, and including more whole foods in my diet. I found CrossFit in 2006, and became deeply entrenched in the community, opening my own affiliate in 2008. The Whole30 started in 2009 as a self-experiment! I was curious if eliminating certain foods would help my performance and recovery. It turned out, those 30 days (and the weeks to follow) would become the most powerfully transformational of my life. My energy, sleep, mood, and digestion radically improved, and it was the first time in my whole life I was able to get off the scale and out of the mirror. In July 2009, I wrote about my experience on my CrossFit training blog, and invited other people to try the protocol I had written up. That was the beginning of the Whole30 as we know it today.

Mental health and emotional well-being are often overlooked aspects of diet and nutrition. How does Whole30 address the connection between food and mood?

There are many ways that food impacts our mood and mental health. Some are physiological; if you’re eating foods to which you are sensitive, it may promote depression, anxiety, and brain fog. We can also get stuck in negative patterns with food, where we’re stressed or uncomfortable, automatically reach for food or wine to self-soothe, over-consume, then get mad at ourselves for it. The negative self-talk that follows can promote more stress and affect our mental health. The Whole30 targets the physiological impact of inflammation, poor blood sugar regulation, and uncontrollable cravings, but it also focuses heavily on your habits and emotional relationship with food. Food can be comforting, and I don’t want you to feel bad about using food in that manner! But food can’t be your only coping mechanism. The Whole30 helps you identify other, more effective ways of navigating stress, discomfort, and negative emotions, and create new healthy habits that become more tools in your mental health toolbox.

Melissa, as someone who previously didn't have a skincare routine, what prompted you to start one, and how has it enhanced your overall wellness journey?

I was famous for having no skincare routine. I barely ever washed my face! I wasn’t motivated to start because my morning and night time routines were already extensive, and my skin was honestly fine—I don’t have “problem” skin, and I rarely break out. But I just turned 50, and my skin was feeling rough and dry. I also noticed my makeup wasn’t holding as well; when I’d do media, foundation would settle into my fine lines. I had such great success with your shampoo that I figured I’d try some basics—a cleanser, vitamin C, and moisturizer. I discovered I didn’t mind the extra time in my routine if I listened to my audiobook at night, so that helped me create the habit. And after just a week, my skin felt so much smoother! I was astonished at the transformation. My routine is still pretty basic, but my skin is now clear (I haven’t had a breakout in months), soft, and getting smoother by the day. Aside from how it looks and feels, the practice has become part of my self-care, and I find it a truly relaxing and rewarding part of my day.

As someone who values transparency in food choices, how does LATHER's commitment to transparency in ingredient sourcing resonate with you in your skincare routine?

I want to be transparent here—I’m not a 100% “natural” consumer. I get Botox, I use traditional nail polish, and not all of my makeup is “clean.” But I’m slowly transitioning my products to those with more natural, transparent ingredients, especially once I saw the huge difference LATHER’s shampoo made on my hair. It feels great to know that I’m using a product that works incredibly well for my skin, feels and smells amazing, and is transparently sourced using natural ingredients. That’s the best case scenario for any product, which is why any time I want to try something new (a lip balm, bath salts, or muscle rub) I look to LATHER first.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone considering embarking on their first Whole30 journey, and how can they make the most of the experience?

If you expect your Whole30 to be hard, miserable, and lonely—you’re right! That’s the exact experience you will have, and I do not want that for you. Mindset makes a huge difference in any habit change. Yes, the Whole30 will be challenging at times, but if you focus on planning and preparation; build and lean on your support system (whether that’s people in your own life or online through our community and Cohort); and purposefully seek out the small wins every day; you’ll find your Whole30 to be a rewarding, empowering, life-changing experience. (Yes, I say “life-changing,” and if you know how many people scoff at that in the beginning, then write to me to say, “Wow, you weren’t kidding, the Whole30 truly changed my life!” you’d start your Whole30 journey, like, TOMORROW.) Plus, we’re always here to help! Find us on Instagram @whole30 and @melissau and we’ll happily point you in the right direction.