My big skin secrets (and pelvis)
founder Mama Glow, doula and author
Even when you run into her on the street, with a mask covering half her face, Latham Thomas has a stunningly fresh face, especially for someone who runs an empire. Doula, including singer Alicia Keys and supermodel Ashley Graham, Thomas is the founder of the hugely successful Mama Glow, a Brooklyn-based family wellness center for doula support, pelvic floor therapy, acupuncture, nutritional guidelines, endless events and boards (now virtual , about everything from fertility and sex to breastfeeding and midwives) and much more. Somehow, between the leading doula training webinars – she has trained over a thousand doulas so far – and childbirth attendance, Thomas also managed to write two amazing books, Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to an Amazing and Abundant Pregnancy i Own your own splendor: A spiritual guide to the life of light and the coronation of the queen from within.
Thomas deserves the way she looks and feels love for what she does, vegan nutrition (she studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition), decades of commitment to clean skin care, a healthy pelvic floor, and lots of exercise, including impromptu dance parties at home. “Our culture hides older people, and certainly older women, but I celebrate aging,” she says. “Body movement, in whatever form it could be – maybe it’s twerking, or maybe it’s yoga – nurtures a sense of youth.”
Thomas started Mama Glow in 2003, after giving birth to his now seventeen-year-old son Fulan. “It was an intense and painful experience,” she says. “But it also transformed and I wanted to help other people have safe, secure, amazing births.”
Supporting women through such an important experience is still one of the aspects of her life that energizes her the most. Here, she enters several others that keep her body and mind invigorated and her skin radiant (her obsession with eye cream is high).
My grandfather is eighty-six years old, a mountaineer and can touch his toes. People talk about pain when the elderly seem to be normal – not normal; it is simply common. I walk (it’s fun to discover new streets in New York), I jump for twenty minutes, I run when it’s warm, and I practice yoga. I also do vocal meditation – you use your voice to wake up the body – with a shruti box [an Indian musical instrument that creates a simple drone chord to accompany singing] and other sound tools. My son DJs a lot of house music, so it’s like there’s a dance party in my house every day that I love.
Peeling, steam, moisturize, repeat
When I was younger, I studied herbalism – I also learned to use oils and make my own products from Oakland. So I’ve always been clean and I knew what I was putting on my skin. I like Tata Harper cleanser, the one with soft granules, when it needs exfoliation (my son also uses it). On days when my skin needs something creamier, I smooth out coconut oil to cleanse or remove makeup. Washing herbal steam for the face is great for deep pore cleansing. Before the moisturizing massage, I massage the CBD serum from Prime – it’s such a restorative agent – and I’m an intruder. I remember the first time I saw GOOPGENES face oil in GP’s Instagram post, and I was just like, I have to try it! I love it now. I pat him and my skin can’t get enough. When it’s really cold and I go outside, I apply GOOPGENES face cream over the oil. It’s creamy, it dives inside and feels so nourishing – and I like how it closes everything, so I’m dewy and shiny.
You love your job
Helping women in childbirth seems to me a touched pulse of what it means to be alive. I had Fulan at the maternity center with a midwife and it was an amazing out-of-body experience. I felt connected to my ancestors and saw I give birth to my child. You know the episode from The goop lab on hallucinogens? Something similar happened during his birth, and in fact, the same areas of the brain can light up when you give birth as when you take hallucinogens.
Supplements like eye cream and face mist make a real difference
I dip goop eye cream several times a day – I keep it in the fridge and take five-minute breaks to tap it. I love the feeling of cooling, tightening, and the small tube makes it so easy to apply. Another little refreshment that I get stuck behind the computer is the blurring of the skin with floral essence from Tata Harper (it also helps other products to penetrate better when you spray them just before applying). Sometimes I keep rags soaked in essential oils and water in the fridge and wipe my face during the day – it’s very soothing – and then spray Dad afterwards.
Hydrate your body
My son comes out of the shower and doesn’t put on lotion, and I’m so confused about that. If I don’t moisturize, I feel like my skin is going to crack. So I massage this body butter all over my body as soon as I don’t take a shower. It is rich and bathes my skin with shea butter, and the scent has this light, lemon, yuzu vibe. When my feet are really dry, I mix body butter with oil, but when I want to put on clothes right away, I only use butter because it absorbs flawlessly.
Enjoy the people in your house
My son is so tall and so cool! It’s fun to hang out with him and have real conversations. At some point, your kids don’t need you like they used to, but they need you in different ways. Sometimes I tell him, “I had to wait a good part of my life to give birth to one of my best friends.” I feel so fed up that I am his mother.
Food is medicine
I have been vegan since I was fourteen. When food comes from the earth, it provides vitality to our cells and affects how our skin looks and feels. I love okra to support the microbiome and healthy elimination. Avocado is full of healthy fats for glowing skin and is especially great for women’s health. In the morning, I make tonics with adaptogens like ashwagandha and get rid of mushrooms. Sometimes I add coconut butter, oat milk, honey and bee pollen, heating and mixing everything.
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Something in respecting ancestral tradition through food makes it somehow even more nutritious. What did your ancestors do to strengthen themselves against the cold? We made a lot of soups and stews while growing up, so I’m still attracted to that kind of food. I love legumes and I throw them in soups and stews.
Your family has great fashion tips
My mom used to say, “Dress for your dreams.” I definitely dress in a way that reflects my desires. If I’m going to give birth, I have to be mobile, and I also want to look cute. The overalls, scarf, hat and sneakers are really comfortable and are a kind of my uniform. My son dragged me into a game of sneakers and now I’m like: What are the hottest sneakers I can get? It helps me choose good things. New York deals with hiking, so I’m always in collaboration with Jordan and Jordan. I love patterns and colors, I mix something from Zara with high fashion and vintage – I’m obsessed with vintage coats – and most of all I love overalls.
My mom kicked my first massage table out of college and I told her, “Okay, girl – I still can’t afford massages!” But I dragged it everywhere I lived, and now I do massage at home. I love the feeling behind it: when you’re doing a job in a world designed to support other people, you still have to pour into yourself.
Have a night ritual
My grandmother always said that no matter what happens in your life, take some time for yourself every morning and night. I used to love watching her get ready for bed – she had a beautiful bathroom with a huge bathtub. She would wash her face, brush and wrap her hair, apply all her leather things – she had such a ritual. I learned from her that the basis is to go home and blow, help myself with skin care, lie down on my bed and let everything sink.
Spend time apart from
I just got married last December. We got a license for Zoom – I wore a tracksuit. But then we had a beautiful little private ceremony. My son walked me down the aisle. I was wearing a LoveShackFancy dress, and we got a vegan cake from Lael Cakes and some food from the Butcher’s Daughter – we collected it so quickly! Being in a romantic love affair is amazing, but the challenge right now is that there is no way to miss it. We try to work in different parts of the house and take time alone, and later in the day, we walk together and go out to dinner – we’re like that Bernie meme, sitting outside eating tied up in the cold.
Take care of your own
If we are talking about youth, we cannot it is not mention the bottom of the pelvis – a seat like a hammock that holds the pelvis and all your organs. We want it to be uplifting, engaging and healthy. When the pelvic floor is weak or has undergone any trauma, reproductive health problems can arise. Organs like your bladder or uterus can fall lower, which can cause pain, and tension in that area can cause uncomfortable sex. When people talk about the pelvic floor, it is often in terms of tightening, but most often we want the opposite – flexibility and flexibility are key. You want to be able to squeeze the bottom of the pelvis and then release it. I think of the pelvic floor as the seat of creative action: Everything we dream of in the world – a book, a screenplay – comes from the brain, of course, but also from our loins. Emotions and trauma can be stored in that area, so when we maximize blood flow with movements and pelvic floor therapy, it helps unlock emotions. Sometimes during a pelvic floor session the client starts crying. Physical literacy is so important and the sooner we become comfortable and close with the topography of our body, the better we will treat our body.