Christian books · self-care

Coming Clean: Exploring the “Girl Wash Your Face” Phenomenon

_Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

Dear Susan,

Where were you the night of August 2? I know you were probably doing something related to the wedding (next week!).  However, if you were like a good number of American women, you would have been watching the documentary “Rachel Hollis: Made for More.” Haven’t heard of Rachel? I recently climbed out from under my rock to discover the phenomenon last week. If you want to experience the wonder, don’t worry. This one-night-only event will have an encore at a theater near you on August 13.


Rachel Hollis has a media company, runs a website (, and has written several books (look on Amazon).  She used to run an event company and now runs a self-help conference for women called Rise, among many other things. A sample quote from the Chic Site reads: “I’ve been to Barcelona so many times and it only gets more lovely [lovelier?] with every single visit.” It’s eerie – I was just thinking that the other day…. Rachel’s online biography states:

“As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.”

Her runaway success is a book called “Girl, Wash Your Face.” If you haven’t heard of it, you can join me under my rock. GWYF is the #2 most-read book on Amazon, with 94% of the almost-4000 reviews being 5 stars. In each chapter of her book, Rachel confronts the 20 lies that were holding her back from… what? I am not entirely sure, but I am going with it.  There are some good quotes from Rachel’s books, including “If I had a power color, it would definitely be SPARKLE.”


Millions of women were anxiously awaiting the “Made for More” documentary, billed as “ultimate girls’ night out.” Who knew? To be fair, I missed the first few minutes because I was “helping” a friend get a glass of wine in the concession area. The documentary is essentially a film version of her two-day Rise conference. Not as much of the humor as in her book, but more of the outfits. The one exercise that stayed with me, and I apologize for not remembering this completely, was when she had attendees write down one thing about themselves on a piece of paper and pass it on. I can’t remember if the women were to write down the one thing that was holding them back, but you get the point. This would be a great exercise for any retreat. The papers were passed in different directions about 4 times and, then, each woman stood up and read the “truth” that was on her paper. Women stood and read “I am an alcoholic,” or “I am a victim of abuse.” First, it was powerful to see each woman reading and owning the problems of other women around them. It was a real “there but for the grace of God go I” moment and emphasized the reality of community.  Our problems are everyone’s problems. Secondly, something like 70% of the women had written down “I hate the way I look.” I know I have harped on this before, but I am so shocked that in our world, one of the main things holding women back from achieving their goals is concern over their how they look, to the point of self-hatred. In bumper-sticker wisdom, “the struggle is real.”



In full disclosure, not everyone loves Rachel, but let me say up-front that I am NOT a Rachel hater. GWYF is billed as a “Christian self-help” book, which kind of surprised me. While Rachel herself is Christian, her media message is, at best, only tangentially so. While I have only read excerpts from the book, Rachel does mention God and refer to scripture. You can see an example of her writing here (I apologize in advance for all the Kathie Lee Gifford ads you will get).  If your first exposure to the Rachel Hollis juggernaut is the movie, you wouldn’t necessarily get this. In “Made for More,” God and prayer are only mentioned a handful of times and they do not come off as the focus of the presentation. Since the book is usually billed as “Christian,” there was an understandable, if mild, backlash. You can see the handful (1%) of negative reviews on Amazon. The one that captured my mild discomfort with Rachel’s message read: “This book is … all ‘the power is only inside of you to get anything you want’… Most Christians prefer to actually give God that credit… And I of course would be responsible for making the choices to do the things I need for that. However, I don’t feel like the author and I are on the same path here.”


Her message didn’t speak to me that much because, by and large, it wasn’t meant for me. Her site specifically says it is aimed at Millennials and moms. While I am a mom, I am faaaaar from Millennial. However, I do believe is listening to what people say and being open to the possibility that I have something to learn from any source.  What is important to me, is that Rachel urges people to take responsibility for their own lives, even if trauma is involved, and to move beyond it. She is not big on blaming other people and making excuses. The next step we need to take, in my view, is turning all of this over to God. We need to not just acknowledge God’s control, but trust in it. As I listened to Rachel talk about common-sense approaches to achieving your goals, some of which are as simple as “get up early,” I immediately thought about how I have let me daily prayer and reading practices go recently, and the excuses I have made to justify this. The power is not all with us; it is with God, but we cannot be passive in our relationship with Him.

I don’t think Rachel Hollis is pretending to tell us something we don’t already know, but she is the nagging friend reminding you to do it, because if women didn’t need reminding, they probably wouldn’t be listening to her. Many of her words are lessons that bear repeating and we can apply them as they fit our lives. And she is reminding women to do the right thing in a way that makes it more palatable to us. She is the ranch dressing on the vegetables of life.

Now, go wash your face and get ready for that wedding!




From what I have read, the movie is vastly different from them book as



My 20 Truths:



2 thoughts on “Coming Clean: Exploring the “Girl Wash Your Face” Phenomenon

  1. I am so happy to be on vacation and catching up of your delightful blog. You two are terrific.

    Of course, this mid-life mom had never heard of Rachel. I’m doing my best to listen to the message provided from the pulpit on Sunday. But I’m glad to know of her.

    May I introduce you to two comedians as Lauren showed me a couple of their videos tonight and I’m still rolling with laughter and this must be why laugh therapy is so popular, James Veitch and Joe Lycett are so funny that you’ll forget any problems and enjoy a belly laugh.

    Peace (and chuckles) be with you,

    Liked by 1 person

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