Natalia MacDougall is an L.A.-based a nurse anesthetist. She's incredibly smart, kind and dedicated to her job — one of Natalia's patients named her baby girl after her (!). Today, Natalia talks about the moment she discovered her love of science, the one skin care step she'll never skip, and the concealer she swears by for hiding dark circles after a long shift.
Tell us about your skin care routine. What products do you use daily?
I have always been very diligent with my skin care routine. From the time I was very little, I was taught the importance of exfoliating, using a good moisturizer, and applying sunscreen! I used to watch my mom, who was always very diligent with her skin care routine, and modeled my routine after hers.
I wash my face every morning and at night before going to bed, without exception. I follow that with a face moisturizer and under-eye cream. Over the years, I've changed moisturizers hundreds of times, but I always come back to Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, nothing fancy but it works great! My job requires me to wash my hands constantly, so L'Occitaine hand cream is my favorite moisturizer!
The biggest secret to beautiful skin, though, is lots of water and healthy eating! There is a noticeable difference in my skin when I'm drinking at least two liters of water per day and eating lean, clean, and green! My skin glows! I also take biotin vitamins, which I feel have made a big difference in my hair and nails!
Do you wear makeup every day at work?
Working in the operating room I don't wear much makeup, but I always make sure to put a little bit of tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer under my eyes, some Benefit They're Real! mascara, and Maybelline Baby Lips in "Cherry Me" — adds a little color and a lot of moisture!
How about outside of work?
I believe in natural beauty and don't wear much makeup unless I'm going out. I like wearing Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm (with SPF, of course). My tarte concealer is my favorite for hiding dark circles after long nights, and my Benefit They're Real! mascara always gets me compliments on my lashes! I like MAC Blushcream in Posey, and I use Urban Decay Brow Beater Brow Pencil to tame my eyebrows.
How do you style your hair most days?
I have the straightest, finest hair ever! Like most people, we want what we don't have. At one point, I even tried a relaxed perm because I wanted so badly for my hair to be curly! Since then, I've learned to embrace my long, straight hair and love it! I usually wear my hair down when I'm going out or in a ponytail or fun braid when I'm working out.
What haircare products do you use?
How do you dress up your look for a special occasion?
If I'm going out for a special occasion, I'll dress up my look by wearing eye shadow from my Naked2 Palette (I love the natural, warm colors) and some liquid eyeliner. I also like to use Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer because it really does help the eye shadow last longer and doesn't crease. As for my hair, I'll usually curl it with hot rollers, but because it is so straight it doesn't last long!
What's the last beauty product you used 'til there was nothing left?
My Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm with SPF 45.
Are there any DIY beauty treatments you love?
I love my homemade bath salts! My job can be stressful at times, and there is nothing more relaxing than coming home to my soaking tub, turning on the jets, and letting the lavender aroma from the bath salts fill the air! Not to mention, the added benefit of how soft my skin feels after the Epsom salt!
Can you tell us a little bit about your job?
I am a nurse anesthetist at a hospital in Los Angeles. We work in a supervised practice model where we work together as a team with our anesthesiologists to care for patients during the perioperative period. Based on a patient's medical history and the type of surgery being performed, we create an anesthetic plan and care for the patient during and after their surgery. This requires an in depth knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology, among other things.
We monitor our patients throughout their surgery, treat pain intraoperatively and postoperatively, provide breathing and blood pressure support, when the need arises, and monitor their safety, among other things. We work in outpatient settings as well as inpatient settings and even provide anesthesia for c-sections and epidurals for laboring mothers!
No patient is ever the same, which is part of what makes my job so exciting!
How did you discover your love of science?
From the time I was very little, I helped care for my sick grandmothers, helping to administer dialysis treatments, insulin injections, and assisting with whatever other medical needs they had. Later on, I helped care for my dad as he battled metastatic melanoma (part of the reason sunscreen is such an important part of my skin care regimen). Because of these experiences, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.
As many nurses will tell you, it was a calling. I took great interest in human biology during my sixth grade science class and my love for science continued to grow as I took high school anatomy. I applied to UCLA's nursing program straight out of high school (and got accepted — it was one of the most competitive majors to get into at UCLA at the time)!
One of my favorite memories from nursing school was during my first clinical rotation in labor and delivery when my patient named her baby girl after me! This helped validate my decision of choosing nursing as my profession. As I went on in school, I had many other touching experiences with patients and families, which made my love for the profession grow exponentially.
Do you have any advice for women who want to go into the medical field?
The best advice I have is to pursue your passion. Go into medicine because you want to help people, and don't lose sight of that goal. The medical profession is unique in that you are often with patients during a very vulnerable time in their lives, which is a privilege not everyone is given. As Alan Alda once said at a Columbia medical school commencement ceremony, "The head bone is connected to the heart bone. Don't let them come apart."
How do you destress after a long day?
I exercise, I mediate using the headspace app, I take long baths, and most importantly, I spend time with my family.
What's one thing you do every day that makes you feel great?
I exercise, I eat healthy, and I drink a lot of water! That is the real secret to my beauty routine — it keeps my skin clear and glowing!
How would you describe your approach to beauty?
I keep it simple and try to focus on overall health — a healthy mind and body are naturally beautiful!
When do you feel most comfortable in your own skin?
I feel most comfortable in my own skin when I'm with my friends and family, and when I'm exercising and being active.
Be sure to follow Natalia on Instagram and check back next week for the latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights an inspiring woman's beauty routine. Last week, Alexa Sloan, a mobile app sales and strategy expert for Google, talked about the surprising skin care ingredient she swears by for glowy skin, the inspiration behind her wedding beauty look, and the best wines to buy under $20.