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Using Makeup as a Form of Self-Care

Self-care is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days. Whether you’re seeing Instagram posts of shopping sprees with #treatyourself attached, or people heading out on luxurious vacations, it’s also a term that gets misused and confused. 

Can self-care mean expensive items and extravagant experiences? Sure. But, it can also be something as simple as writing in a journal, taking a morning jog, or practising mindfulness when things feel stressful. 

Makeup can also be used as a form of self-care. Taking the time to do your makeup, whether it’s an everyday look or a special occasion, can reduce stress and provide more relaxation than you might realize. 

You don’t have to be a professional makeup artist to reap the benefits of makeup as self-care. The more you understand about developing a routine and how using makeup can help, the easier it will be for you to enjoy putting it on each day and finding a few moments of relaxation. 

Knowing You’re in Control

When you’re stressed, depressed, or anxious, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing control. While makeup isn’t going to fix everything, it’s one thing in your life you have full control over. First, you have the freedom to be as creative as you want. Once you feel like you can directly control at least one thing in your life, you’ll be more motivated to keep doing it. 

From there, makeup can become a positive cycle. You’ll be motivated to do it, which can boost your self-esteem. That confidence can carry over into other areas of your life and allow you to branch out further (which we’ll cover later). 

It’s normal human behaviour to want control, even if it’s only a perceived sense of one. Some of the outcomes of a sense of control include: 

  • Enhanced cognitive functioning
  • Better physical health
  • Increased longevity

A lack of control can make symptoms of anxiety worse, and make you feel more stressed. Controlling how you do your makeup (and applying a different look whenever you want) puts you back in control, even if it’s only for a few minutes. That can help you to get through your day knowing even when everything else seems like it’s spinning, you have the power with a makeup brush in your hand. 

Doing your makeup each day will also help you to establish a routine. Having that sense of stability in your life will calm your nerves, reduce stress levels, and make you feel less anxious. Take pride in that control, even if it sometimes feels like the only thing in your power each day. 

Taking Time Out

One of the most important aspects of self-care is simply taking time out for yourself each day. Now, in the afterglow of a global pandemic, taking care of yourself and your mental health is more important than ever. So, even if all you can spare is a 15-minute makeup routine every morning, it sets a positive and relaxing tone for your day. 

Why is that time so important? 

First, it allows you to feel pampered. Maybe you can’t go to an expensive spa or take a few hours each day to “treat yourself”. But, when you focus on your routine and let yourself get creative with your makeup, that time feels special. You can decide exactly what you need depending on your day ahead, and take a little extra time if you know things are going to be stressful. 

The time you spend doing your makeup can also help you to get out of your own head. If you struggle with anxiety, for example, you might deal with fearful thoughts all day, including: 

  • Saying something that might be offensive
  • Being late to work
  • Getting stuck on public transportation
  • Forgetting something
  • Making a mistake at work/school

Taking time out to do your makeup will clear your head and allow you to take your thoughts captive. It gives you time to fight back against negative self-talk and anxious thinking. Of course, if you can’t seem to kick those thoughts, you might also start to consider seeking out professional help. If you’re a university student, using resources like campus counsellors, digital support groups or hotlines can help you to manage your mental health. If you’re post-grad, consider going to therapy or reaching out to a former counsellor for support. 

Finding the Confidence to Do Other Things

Makeup is motivational and inspiring. It’s a form of art. It can also make you feel your best. Though it shouldn’t be used as a way to cover up who you really are, if it helps you to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, that’s a bonus! It’s much easier to fight back against negative self-talk when you feel good about yourself. 

In addition to feeling better about yourself, the confidence you get from putting on makeup can motivate you to try other things that will benefit your health. That includes exercising and making better eating choices. Both can benefit your mental and physical health

To most people, makeup seems like a simple thing. You probably don’t even give it much thought as you put it on each day. But, maybe it’s time to start. Be mindful as you apply makeup from now on. Treat it as a form of self-care, and take the time to enjoy your routine. When you do, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits, and boost your sense of self-compassion in the process.