“Culturally, I come from a long lineage of healers, teachers, and artists. So I think it’s my place to be a leader in the healing arts. I also grew up in a family and a culture that believed in helping other people,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Shirley Madhere, M.D., the woman who coined the term holistic plastic surgery. “Through the science of beauty, you can help people and have a tremendous impact.”

She approaches her work by looking at the whole person, from understanding why someone is seeking aesthetic changes to making sure they have strong support systems in place.

“Through these, I’m getting information about the person, grabbing from the different dimensions of wellness to help me plot a path with this patient that will get me to the operating room fully prepared as possible,” she says. “I want the person to be in the best position—mentally, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, physically—to be able to deal with the tremendous changes that occur postoperatively.” 

And in this episode of Clean Beauty School, we talk at length about the many ways in which beauty can inform your wellbeing—and vice versa. I’ve never thought that beauty rituals and practices were superficial, and after I spoke with Madhere, it only further confirmed this belief. 

And when I asked what her priorities were for beauty? Well those were shockingly simple: “Good nutrition is the first rule of beauty. Hydration is the second one,” she says. (Madhere notes she is not a formally trained nutritionist, but is certified in Integrative Nutrition.)  

And it’s important to take these lessons within the broader context of beauty. She’s quick to note that obviously topical hydration and protection are not to be missed—but she can’t stress enough the importance of caring for your whole person.

“There was a young plastic surgeon who was talking to her friend about holistic plastic surgery. And she said, ‘Kale is not gonna lift your face,’” Madhere says laughing. “And she’s right. It won’t. But when you do get that facelift, I think it sure will help you to heal better.” 

Tune in to hear our full conversation—even if you have no intention of ever getting “work” done, I assure you that it’s worth a listen.