For me, beauty rituals aren’t about making myself beautiful. They’re about taking care of my body. I always feel better when I’m focusing on self-care, and creating a ritual around body self-care is a great way to remind myself that I still care about my body — even if I’m being overly harsh or critical of it.
Before I start my actual beauty routine, I do a few things to help me relax. I need to get in the mood as it were. This routine can be a huge pick-me-up when I need to feel better. But I need to get in the right headspace first.
Cup of Tea
In an effort not to drink myself into a wine stupor during shelter-in-place, I started drinking a lot of tea. My at-home beauty ritual used to be accompanied by a glass of wine or prosecco, but now it seems counterproductive to drink something that will make me retain water and get all bloaty.
Right now, I’m obsessed with beautiful teacups (though, I can’t buy any as Amazon has suspended shipment of ‘non-essential items’ for the next month).
If I were back home in NYC right now, you could probably find me at the Harney & Sons tea room in SoHo on a gloomy day (like it is today). But since I’m hunkering down with my family in Connecticut, I’m all about the variety pack (which for some reason is considered an essential item to Amazon and arrived at my house in two business days).
Lighting a candle is such a great way to initiate the start of a ritual — just as blowing it out can signal the end of one. Plus, candles offer great mood lighting and many have yummy scents. In the winter, I’ll buy one of those crackle candles that sound like a fireplace burning.
Personally, I like to use candles with subtle scents during a beauty ritual so I’m not overpowered by the mix of scents from candles, oils and beauty products.
OK, bear with me on this one, folks. For me, a beauty ritual isn’t about changing my body and making it more beautiful. It’s about taking care of the body I have. Translate: loving the body I have.
I’m a big believer in thoughts becoming reality. This means if you hate your body, you’ll have a body you hate. But if you love your body, it will be the type of body that you want to love.
Confused? Me too. But Oprah says it works, so Imma just keep doin’ it.
Beauty mantras often feel a little ‘forced’ to me (I do them most often when I’m not feeling beautiful, therefore saying how much I love my body and it’s a temple and I treasure it, blah blah, feels dishonest). So, I generally stick to emotional freedom tapping (EFT) in these cases. All EFT meditations start by making negative acceptance statements (even though I’m very critical of my body right now, I love and accept myself and how I feel).
You can get free EFT body love meditations by doing a quick internet search. Or, you can download The Tapping Solution app for your smartphone (the first week is free) and check out the section on body acceptance and confidence. Or, you can check out the book The Tapping Solution for Weightloss and Body Confidence (I downloaded the e-book for free at the New York Public Library).
Beauty rituals aren’t about making myself beautiful. They’re about taking care of my body. Creating a ritual around body self-care is a great way to remind myself that I still care about my body — even if I’m being overly harsh or critical of it.
I’m a lazy, lazy playlist maker. I’ll add songs that I love to a playlist — and when I’m done there are only three that I can think of. Instead of spending hours creating a relaxing playlist, I want to get right to my relaxation!
So, I log onto Spotify or Apple Music and choose one of their relaxing playlists. When a song I like and want to hear again plays, I ‘like’ it. Instant playlist for next week.
Once my pre-ritual ritual is complete, I usually hop into the shower. But first, I gather all my favorite linens: my Turkish towel, hair towel and robe. That hair towel doesn’t actually dry my hair any faster — but it is nice that it keeps my wet hair out of my face better than if I used a regular towel.
I like to add a couple of drops of essential oil to the shower floor (in the corner of the shower where I won’t slip and fall on it). The steam activates the oil and adds a nice scent to the air.
When I wash my hair, I use Garnier Sleek Shot. This cuts my drying time in half. I have no idea what is in this stuff, but it really does work.
For shampoo and conditioner, I’m pretty basic. I use the Not Your Mother’s products because they’re the cheapest organic products I can find. You can get them on Amazon, Target and even Walmart.
I really love a good cleansing shower oil. My skin gets really dry if I’m not careful. And I love taking really hot showers, which are known to dry your skin out.
I used to hate doing face masks. My skin is really sensitive, and I don’t have a whole lotta patience when it comes to waiting 15 minutes for a mask to set. But I have recently found a face mask that I love so much.
The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Face Mask is only $10 on Amazon and makes my skin look flawless.
This mask isn’t for those deterred by wait times or cleanup, though. I recommend mixing the clay with apple cider vinegar; when you mix it with water, it takes fore-ever to get all the lumps out of the mask. Mix it with ACV, and you get a smooth mask right from the get-go.
Spread that bad boy all over your face, and set a timer. (The official directions say to wait 10 minutes, but I usually keep it on for 15 or 20 — as long as the mask isn’t irritating my skin.) It gets all hard and itchy and cracked.
Then you gotta take it off. And man is it a process to get that clay off your face without accidentally washing it down the sink or shower drain and clogging up your plumbing for days.
But the results are totally worth it. Your pores will be tight, and your complexion very even. And it’s only $10 on Amazon! Did I mention that yet?
The instructions on the container recommend only applying the face mask once (or twice) a week at most. On my off-days when I really need a little extra beauty in my life, I use a Korean face mask. Truth? I just buy a random multipack. If a face mask costs more than $1, I’m out. Unless it’s made of gold. Or collagen. Or something super precious, like baby tears.
I used to forgo moisturizer, but lately I’m all about it. There’s something about slathering my face with a good moisturizer that makes me feel pretty — even on days that I don’t wear makeup. I found the Weleda Sensitive Care Facial Cream while aimlessly wandering the aisles of Whole Foods one day. If I could do it all over again, I’d get the one that smells like almonds instead because the one for sensitive skin smells like oats. Which isn’t bad, but almond-scented lotion just sounds way better.
I use coconut oil for everything. Dry elbows? Coconut oil! Dry feet? Coconut oil! I even used coconut oil once when I had a yeast infection. And worked wonders. Sorry, not sorry for sharing. You can buy coconut oil pretty much anywhere. I get a cheap one just for the bathroom so I don’t need to go back and forth between the bathroom and the kitchen to get my coconut oil.
I have long, thick hair that gets super frizzy. Which means that it takes forever to style.
I usually wash my hair one-to-two times a week. And I always wash it at night because there’s no time in the morning.
On Sundays, I go the extra mile and blow my hair out before bed. Twice a month, I use a keratin straightening treatment (Color WOW Dream Coat) that keeps my hair manageable and shiny for the next four washes.
I first purchased this right before I headed to Argentina in January (their summer). If you’ve never visited Buenos Aires in January and February, the climate is kind of like NYC in July and August. Hot and humid. But mostly hot. Color WOW did work really well. Not as well as a salon keratin treatment, but it was way cheaper than the salon service.
Color Street Manicure
I’m not really one for doing my own manicures and pedicures. Actually, I kind of hate it. But when you can’t get out to a salon (hell-o shelter-in-place), dry nail polish strips work great in a pinch.
My sister started selling Color Street nail strips almost two years ago, and she’s obsessed. They’re pretty easy to apply, and they have tons of colors. The downside is each package costs between $10 and $15 (not much less than an express mani at an NYC salon).
But again, I don’t do them all the time and if getting to a salon isn’t an option, I do love them.
What are the typical steps of your beauty rituals? Do you do the same ritual every week — or do you switch it up a little? Let me know in the comments!
Need more rituals? Check out my Evening Ritual and other Rituals.
Hey, hey! Just a few things before you leave… this post contains affiliate links, so if you buy something after clicking on a one, I might (fingers crossed!) just get a little commission. Good news: I only recommend products that I love! Which means you can feel good about all of my recs.
Also, you should know that I’m not a doctor. More importantly, I’ve never played one on TV. Always consult your doctor before taking any advice from me (or anyone else on the internets for that matter).