Article: Ava Welsing-Kitcher: an Editor's Journey Across Cultures
Ava Welsing-Kitcher: an Editor's Journey Across Cultures
Beauty Editors are key players in defining the direction of the industry yet their true influence remains oftentimes undercover behind the pages of magazines and publications.
What influences the choices of an Editor? How are they writing the story of the industry from behind-the-scenes? Who are they in the real world? To reveal and celebrate the craft of Beauty Editors, we invited three inspiring Editors from LA to join a conversation about skin, culture and life.
Meet Ava Welsing-Kitcher, Beauty Editor, Expert Influencer and Creative Consultant who arrived on the set with Pretti5 with a determined, playful and undeniable sophisticated style. As we started talking, her passion for beauty surfaced immediately, sharing diverse perspectives with such nuances that felt refreshing in a way that most cultural conversation lack. As for someone whose words graced pages from Vogue to New York Magazine, Ava's insights on beauty standards, heritage, as well as her first Pretti5 experience left us with inspiration and delight.
Growing up between London, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and now being based in LA, you had the chance to encounter many strikingly different cultures. What were some interesting realizations you made in terms of local beauty standards?
Every city I’ve lived in has had its own beauty identity - even if it was barely there, as was the case with Holland and Portugal in the 2010s! Those countries taught me the value in a healthy and active lifestyle as a way of beauty; a lot of sun and sand, cycling, and having to get creative when it came to beauty products. I couldn’t find hair products for afro and curly hair, so that led to a lot of DIY concoctions. And with London and LA, they couldn’t be more different from each other identity-wise but a lot of the standards of beauty are the same.
What are key values when it comes to beauty, wellness and living a balanced life that you picked up on your journey?
Wherever I’ve been, the most core value was to avoid comparison at all costs. Beauty is so fleeting and fickle, so it’s most important that we just take care of our health, minds, spirit and bodies through acts of love, and beauty comes from that.
You highlight that your upbringing has greatly influenced your writing and creative work. How does your family heritage inspire you, and what beauty and skincare habits do you get to take away from home?
We were definitely a DIY beauty household - my mother mixes cocoa butter and other body oils with creams and lotions and essential oils to make a body butter that hydrates and adds glow to the skin like nothing else. As a family, we’ll rarely skip moisturising our bodies after showering. My grandmother used chew sticks to deep clean her teeth, and I recently found some at a West African supermarket to try and use myself.
Being comfortable both in front the camera and behind your editor’s desk, you radiate confidence. What are aspects of beauty and skincare that bring more of your vulnerable side to the forefront?
Thank you! I’m pretty confident but everyone has different ways of showing it. I definitely feel more self-conscious if I’m having a reaction to something – my skin, body and hair can be quite sensitive to hormonal shifts and diet, so if something is up internally, it shows up as a skin rash, hair shedding, or really intense bloating. If I have to be visible during these moments, I just try to shake it off as much as possible and pour more into my energy and aura rather than those physical aspects.
Being a voice of empowerment to consumers who are marginalized by the industry, what are challenges you have to face and risks that you have to take as an editor?
I have to remind myself not to react so immediately to things, and I’m always hesitant to publicise sweeping statements and opinions online. But then there are also so many times I wish I’d spoken out about challenges. It’s always a risk being vocal publicly and privately – I’ve had to quit jobs out of being a diversity hire or surviving racist workplaces that are very performative. But all in all, I’m really proud of battles I’ve taken on on behalf of myself and marginalised others.
Have you ever tried Traditional Chinese Medicine infused skincare? What is your perception of it?
My favourite aspect of beauty and wellness is probably holistic and medicinal practices across different regions – and I’ve been lucky enough to learn some great things about TCM through brands and founders. I love the inner and outer approach, and would be more likely to experiment with Eastern remedies over Western.
What are some of your favourite ingredients in skincare products? Please list.
- Tremella snow mushroom
- Mandelic acid
- Centella asiatica
- Rosehip oil/rosewater
- Aloe leaf
- Kaolin clay
We fuse Traditional Chinese Medicine, Oriental Adaptogens and Western Science-Backed Ingredients in our products. Rank their importance 1 to 3 and elaborate why you chose the order.
- Oriental Adaptogens - these have been life-changing in my supplement and skincare routine
- TCM - in this part of the world, there’s still so much we have to learn so I think education and more use of it in skincare and wellness will do a lot of good
- Western science ingredients - these are so important also, and I think a mixture of both are essential for a balanced approach
What does “Made in Japan” represent to you?
It was amazing seeing J-Beauty emerge as a trend in mainstream American and European beauty right after K-Beauty – a lot of the time, regions are lumped together as having the same ideals and approaches when it comes to beauty, but I loved learning the different methods of innovation and minimalism when it came to beauty made in Japan.
What is your first impression of Pretti5 and what else would you like to learn about the brand or products?
Pretti5 is simple and elegant, but has really hardworking formulas that really nurture the skin above everything else. I’d love to learn more about ingredients and testing, what the most popular products are so far – and of course, of any new products coming out and why they’re being made!
From your friends, colleagues and family, who would you recommend trying our products and why?
I have a lot of friends who are only just starting to get into skincare now they’re in their late 20s and 30s – so something straightforward but really effective that they’ll be excited to use every day, and doesn’t need a crazy amount of explaining how it works from me would be perfect.
Photographed by Renée Parkhurst
Read on to learn more about Pretti5's PEONY+ HYALURONIC BRIGHTENING SERUM and peony flower benefits for skin.
Peony Flower Benefits for Skin
Peony flowers, particularly the root extract from the Paeonia lactiflora plant, have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for their potential health and skincare benefits. Peony flower benefits for skin include:
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Peony extracts are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, which can help soothe and calm irritated skin. This can be beneficial for those with sensitive or inflamed skin conditions.
Antioxidant Activity: Peonies contain various antioxidants, such as flavonoids and tannins, which can protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This protection may help reduce signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Skin Brightening: Some studies suggest that peony extracts may inhibit the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin darkening. This can contribute to a more even skin tone and reduced hyperpigmentation.
Wound Healing: Peony extracts may have wound healing properties, which can be beneficial for addressing minor skin injuries and improving the overall health of the skin.
Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Microbial: Peony extracts may possess antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, potentially helping to prevent or treat acne and other skin conditions caused by bacteria.
Moisturization: Peony extracts can help improve the skin's hydration and moisture retention, which is essential for maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin.