Fashion Blogger and Cancer Survivor Mama Cax Talks Body Positivity, Self-Care, and the Skincare Products Behind Her Gorgeous Glow
This badass babe is serving you alllll the mid-week inspiration you need.
If you don’t already follow Mama Cax on Instagram, here’s why you should. One, she is our style and skincare crush (I mean, look at her glow!). Two, scrolling through her feed feels like a mini-vacation for your eyes and is all the travel inspiration you need. Three, her captions are so genuine, and she’s a leader in the body positivity movement—which makes her feel even more relatable to her 174,000 Instagram followers. Four, she’s a strong, beautiful woman redefining what it means to be an amputee. Five… who are we kidding, that’s more than enough reasons.
As both a fashion blogger and disability advocate, Mama Cax is utilizing social media as a platform to change how we perceive and talk about people with disabilities and prosthetic limbs. Incredibly open about her own fight against cancer, she was diagnosed with bone (osteosarcoma) and lung cancer at the age of 14 and given three weeks to live. She survived the disease at the price of having her right leg amputated due to an unsuccessful hip replacement after chemotherapy treatments.
Mama Cax has partnered with Olay for a new campaign that encourages women to live fearlessly and have the confidence to be unapologetically bold and true to themselves—and this starts with skin that’s ready to #FaceAnything. “It’s a project that I’m extremely excited about, because for a long time a lot of skincare and suncare products were not being made with darker skin women in mind,” she tells Health.
We chatted with the gorgeous Instagram star and motivational speaker about how she practices self-care, her journey to loving her body, and what’s in her beauty stash (obviously!).
Her go-to skincare products
In the morning, Mama Cax keeps her skincare routine simple. She splashes her face with water and follows up with a vitamin E serum and a thick moisturizer, because her skin runs extremely dry. She tops it off with a few drops of Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil ($72; sephora.com), which includes squalane to hydrate and lock in moisture, damascus rose extract to give a radiant glow, and vitamin C to firm and brighten skin tone. She also loves the Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel ($54; sephora.com), which helps to reduce undereye puffiness and dark circles by hydrating and brightening.
Her evening regimen is a little more involved, beginning with a light exfoliating scrub. Afterward, Mama Cax applies Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizing Overnight Face Mask ($31 for a 12-pack; amazon.com), which uses a gel cream formula made of purified hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate skin overnight—this way, she wakes up with a supple and smooth complexion. (Travel tip: Mama Cax also loves throwing these Neutrogena mask pods in her carry-on to use in-flight, since airplanes tend to dry out skin.) She finishes with a special moisturizing cream before bed.
Protecting skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays is crucial to not only preventing sun damage and skin cancer, but also to keeping skin looking more youthful. For this reason, sunscreen is an essential part of Mama Cax’s everyday routine. Her go-to: Olay Regenerist Whip with SPF 25 ($26; amazon.com), which can help regenerate surface cells, minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and hydrate to improve elasticity and firmness, thanks to the formula’s ability to hold and release 1000 times its weight in hydration. Plus, the whip is super fun to apply—transforming from a cream to liquid on —and immediately absorbs into the skin, leaving behind no white cast or stickiness.
While Mama Cax usually prefers to keep her skincare products constantly rotating, there are a couple of staples she won’t leave the house without. You’ll always find a tube of the Australian cult favorite, Lucas Papaw Ointment ($8; amazon.com), in her purse—it’s her go-to lip moisturizer for touch-ups—and Weleda Skin Food ($10; amazon.com), a super moisturizing cream with calendula and chamomile extracts, natural oils, and beeswax for healthy glowing skin. “If it’s a really cold or dry day, I bring my Skinfood and use it on my face,” says Mama Cax. But she doesn’t recommend that for everyone, since the product is very thick. “For someone who may not have such dry skin, it’s great for your hands, elbows, and knees,” she adds.
How she practices self-care
“Self-care is knowing when to put yourself first—taking care of yourself in whatever way works for you. For me, I know skincare can be very rela. It’s not only aiding my skin, but helping me mentally. It’s my way to unwind, whether it’s taking a bubble bath or doing my skincare routine while watching Netflix. It’s doing something for yourself that makes you feel good and that’s good for you.”
Why we should stop obsessing with getting a ‘summer body’
“‘Summer body’ is a widespread myth and it is not surprising that it is often imposed on women. We are judged based on our looks and god forbid we have a muffin top or hairy legs. Many companies make a profit off our insecurities, which in turn robs us of our, joy, sanity and health. We rush to transform our bodies in an unrealistic amount of time—using special meal plans, pills, and diet suppressors—and if you don't get your targeted summer body, there's an app marketed to you so that you can edit what you don't like. To me it's important to empower women (and really just anyone) to embrace themselves and know they can ‘summer’ with any body type. The real question is is summer ready for you?!”
The journey to loving her body
“It’s a love and hate relationship—there’ll be days that you hate it and days that you love it. It’s mostly knowing that you’re probably not ever going to ‘get there,’ and to take it as more of a journey. As your body changes you’re going to have more insecurities, so it’s just knowing to appreciate your body for still being here and knowing to appreciate it for everything that it’s been through and the places that it’s brought you.”
Taking pride in her scars
“My relationship with my scars is a double-edged sword. They are a painful reminder of what my body went through, and in a world where women are expected to look perfect they remind me that I could never fit into this world. But, on the other hand, there's beauty in survival and resilience. My biggest struggle has been to not only see them as battle scars so to speak, but also as a work of art to be embraced and loved. We all have scars—whether mental or physical—and I think it's vital to take pride in them.”