A few notes on self care and beauty routines:
Firstly, I want to note that when I use the words “beauty routine,” I am using it simply as an inclusive word for skin care, makeup, hair care, and body care rituals. I am not using “beauty routine” as the concept that there are certain practices one must follow to achieve an ideal of physical attractiveness.
Secondly, I want to note that, while I find peace in beauty routines, I do acknowledge that the self talk that accompanies them defines whether they are an act of self care or not. Negative self talk and self consciousness are somethings everyone struggles with and I believe beauty routines should be an act of self love, not a means used to feel attractive or valuable or deserving of love – you are already all of those things.
Finally, self care takes many forms for many people – myself included. I nurture my emotional and physical health in many ways and the calming ritual of beauty routines is just one.
I think that a lot of times a passion for make-up and skin care gets written off as vapid, superficial, or frivolous, but I find the ritual and art of beauty routines to be a beneficial form of self care for my emotional well being.
Most of us spend the majority of our day taking care of others, whether it be in our jobs with clients or at home with our family, and that responsibility carries a level of stress throughout our entire day. Self care is an essential part of emotional and physical well-being; it is the activities and practices that we use to reduce stress, find work/life balance, foster relationships and honor our emotional and spiritual needs. Common examples of self care to manage stress would be yoga, prayer, journaling, drawing, or playing music. What I look for in a stress management practice is to have time to be alone, do something I enjoy, reconnect with myself, and recharge – beauty routines fit the bill perfectly.
My days are tornadoes of balancing paid work with kids and cooking and cleaning and nurturing and diapers and nursing and and and… it never ends and it rarely stops. I have to carve out time to pause and reset throughout the day because managing stress is necessary for my emotional well being, and helps me to be the person/coworker/wife/mother that I want to be. In the morning, I make time to get 10 minutes of quiet in the bathroom with a cup of coffee, a podcast, and my skin care routine to just reconnect with myself and try to begin the day in a state of peace. At nap time, before I start work or laundry or dishes, I take a few minutes to relax and play with makeup. In the evening, after everyone is in bed, I wind down with my skin care ritual that gives me a time to decompress and spend some time me. These little windows of time spent alone, doing something I enjoy, that is solely for myself help me manage my stress throughout the day and make me able to give more to my family, my job, and myself.
I feel that playing with eye shadow, trying on a new set of false lashes, or putting on a face mask is a dedicated point in my day where I can relax, reconnect with myself, and express some creativity. It is not about making myself beautiful or feeling like I am inadequate until my face is contoured or every last blemish is banished, it is about time alone spent on a ritual that celebrates my interests, nourishes my skin, is an outlet for self expression, and relieves stress.