Feel Good Beauty
Can the pursuit of beauty feel good?
by Alicia Butler, November 8, 2022
I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a beauty expert.
Though I’ve spent a good chunk of my life chasing after beauty, the standards of which are set by people who also just happen to be the same ones to sell the exact products we need to achieve those standards.
Despite buying many of these products (at least the ones within my budget), my pursuit has been… futile.
Even though most of us will probably never “achieve” the ideal standard of beauty (not even the Kardashians, who set many of these standards and sell many of these products, have achieved it), it doesn’t mean that I can’t make feel good beauty a priority in my life.
What is feel good beauty you ask? It’s feeling good about how you look now and incorporating the stuff that enhances your beauty (or just beautiful things in general) into your life.
Feel good beauty should also not cost too much, and it doesn’t ask you to change. Losing weight, changing the texture of your hair, or drastically altering your appearance are not the tools of feel good beauty.
This post may contain affiliate links, so if you buy something after clicking on a link, 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.
What is feel good beauty?
To me, feel good beauty is redefining standards of beauty that make me feel beautiful.
Honestly, I’m not really sure that I fall into any category of traditional beauty standards without first employing a lot of hair removal, makeup, and flat ironing.
A lot of the time, I find myself
At the end of the day, feel good beauty is self-care. It’s doing the things I need to do to feel my best throughout the day. There was a time in the not-so-recent past (and honestly I regress a lot) when I felt that if I conformed to a standard of beauty that everyone else conformed to, I would just feel good about myself.
And I’m not gonna lie, I did. But it also took a lot of work and energy to look like that. Time and energy that I could have been spending on… just feeling good about myself for the way I looked. Or for leaning into my curly, frizzy hair or my apple body shape.
It took me a long time to realize these weren’t aspects of myself that needed to be changed or hidden.
Feel Good Beauty Tips
Here are a few tips to get you started on your feel good beauty journey. But only you know how to make the pursuit of beauty feel good to you.
Find Out What Feels Good to You
I like to add feel-good inspiration to every article on this site. But that doesn’t mean what feel good beauty means to me is the same as what it means to you.
Yes, I have a decent amount of affiliate links on this site. And when you buy something I recommend, chances are I may get a little kickback. But the stuff I recommend on this site is just what works for me. And there was a time in online copywriting when we were encouraged to keep that kind of stuff to ourselves.
Stating that something is your opinion isn’t important because it’s implied that it’s your opinion.
These days, it’s important for me to make sure I’m crystal clear about the fact that what works for me might not work for you. Because there are so many people out there in the health and wellness and lifestyle spaces that will try to sell you a one-size-fits-all solution to just about every problem.
And if that solution doesn’t work for you? It’s clearly your fault. You’ve done something wrong. You’re the one to blame.
That’s totally bullsh*t.
There are so many reasons why your version of feel good beauty isn’t the same as mine. And that’s okay. That’s normal.
But it’s also important to consider why a beauty product or tip feels good to you. It’s insight into your inner workings.
Feel good beauty is all about loving how you look — not how you’d look in an “after” photo.
For me, it’s hard to look in a mirror on any given day and just feel good about how I look now. I spend a lot of time focused on what I’ll look like after I get the right clothes to fit my body or if I lost weight or once I get enough sleep and those undereye bags go away.
But the fact of the matter is that most of us have been taught we need to adhere to a certain set of beauty standards.
Now, I consider beauty — and not just feel good beauty — to be feeling my best on any given day. I’m not a second-rate version of [insert actress or influencer name here]. Why would I want to look like someone else when I could just look like my favorite version of myself?
Self-love and acceptance are never-ending tasks for me. I wasn’t taught to love myself how I am. I was taught to look for the things that needed to be fixed and to fix them. But the more I love myself for who I am now, the more able I am to spot my needs and decide what will feel good and give me the most feel good beauty bang for my buck.
Don’t Break the Bank
Of course, I buy feel good beauty finds. But anyone who says you need to buy something just to feel good is a flat-out liar.
I like to experiment to see what makes me feel beautiful for the least amount of money possible. When it comes to feel good beauty, I like to know when to splurge and when to save.
Plus, the more money you spend on feel good beauty fixes, the less you’re going to feel like you when all is said and done.
I’m so tired of feeling like I’m being taken advantage of by a beauty industry that changes its standards every few years. If I have to change everything about myself to feel beautiful, there’s no way it will also feel good.
‘Free’ Feel Good Beauty Ideas
Okay, I really hate myself for recommending these tips too. But bear with me.
I hate when people offer really basic advice for complicated issues. But some fixes work — not because they’re overly complex — but because the simplest answer is almost always one of the best answers.
There’s no one-size-fits-all product for feel good beauty. But while these tips are kind of basic (and to be honest, constantly pushed by beauty, wellness, and fitness experts), I find that I can’t feel beautiful when I forget to prioritize them.
I really hate when heath or lifestyle influencers push drinking water as a cure-all for life’s problems.
Water isn’t the panacea a lot of people make it out to be. I’m sorry, but pumping H2O into your body won’t solve all your issues.
Do health influencers go a little overboard when it comes to pushing water consumption? Absolutely.
But when I forget to drink enough of it, I definitely don’t feel that feel good beauty. My skin looks sallow, I get dark circles under my eyes, and (though this seems like it would have the opposite effect), my face looks a little bloated.
Some studies show that dietary fluid intake may affect skin hydration in healthy humans. Though, there aren’t enough studies to make this point one way or the other. Other studies show that hydration has an impact on overall health, as well as mental health.
And I don’t know about you, but I look better when I feel better. Maybe that’s psychosomatic, but I truly don’t care.
It took me a long time to find workouts that made me feel good — not just ones that burned tons of calories.
When I stopped exercising for weight loss and started moving my body just because it felt good, it changed my whole relationship with movement.
To be honest, most exercise makes me feel awkward and weird. And if I don’t feel good about exercising on a regular basis, I’m less likely to do it.
But it does make give me those feel good beauty feels. So I have a few exercises that I know I love, including walking and weight lifting. Rollerskating might be another? But that’s not something I consider “practical” since I don’t get that many opportunities to don my skates.
It honestly took me so long to find even a few workouts that I enjoy. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them. I don’t blame anyone for hating exercise or being unable to find movement that feels good to them.
Tips on finding feel good movement is probably an entire post unto itself.
Sometimes, getting enough sleep really stresses me the f*ck out.
There will be times when I’m just too physically tired to fall asleep. How is this possible? The heck if I’d know. But sleep is something that’s super important for feeling good and looking good. If I can’t get enough of it, there’s no way I can look at myself in the mirror and think, Hubba, hubba.
But how much *beauty* sleep do we really need? It depends.
Some of us need at least eight hours of sleep a night, while others only need like seven. Some need more; some need even less than the seven-to-eight-hour recommendations.
But what I do know is that stressing out about sleep is one way to sabotage your shut-eye. And that the health and wellness industry would have you believe that you’re not getting enough of it — and that lack of sleep could be contributing to all sorts of issues.
While getting less than eight hours of sleep each night is often linked to health issues, a lot of those issues are more correlative than causative.
I try to make sleep a priority as much as possible, but I don’t beat myself up if I can’t get in as much of it as I’d like to.
The other day, my best friend told me she wished she was the kind of person who meditates. Hand-to-god, I have no idea what she meant by it. I think she just meant she wished she had a way to regulate her nervous system and chill the f*ck out when she’s overly worked up (she was really, really upset when she said this).
The good news is that you don’t need to meditate to be mindful. There are plenty of ways to chill when you need a break from yourself that don’t require meditation. If you ever find yourself asking the question, Why can’t I meditate? I’ve got five feel good mediations for people who hate meditating.You can also do something that calms your nervous system down to promote feel good beauty, like practicing savoring or reading a good book.
(If you need a recommendation for a good one, might I recommend checking out my review of This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub!)
Feel Good Beauty Product Inspiration
I don’t have a huge “get-ready” routine each day. In fact, showering every day and brushing my teeth and hair are big wins for me. (Though I do have some mindful morning routine tips that will knock your socks off.)
I don’t even have a facial routine. I don’t moisturize or serum-ize. At night, I remove my makeup with face wipes. In the morning, I use a gentle cleanser to get whatever the wipes couldn’t the night before.
So when I say my feel good beauty product inspiration is basic, I’m not even exaggerating.
Aztec Secret Face Mask
I’m gonna be honest with you: this face mask is a giant pain in the behind to remove. That’s the downside.
But the upsides totally outweigh the downers.
The first reason I love this mask? My skin looks awesome after I take it off. This is really the first (and being honest, only) mask that makes a huge difference in how my skin looks.
I also happen to love the Aztec Secret mask because it’s super cheap. For a tub that has so far lasted me years, it only costs $14.99 for a pound of clay mask (total disclosure, this has doubled in price since I first started using it). Plus, you can buy it on Amazon or at Target, so it can be easily returned if it just doesn’t wow you.
I’m a massive fan of tinted moisturizers. In fact, I don’t really wear foundation at all anymore. I also like that it gives me a little bit of color without totally caking over my entire face.
As someone who rarely remembers to wear sunscreen, getting a two-in-one tinted moisturizer with SPF is kind of key for me. Which is why I like to use Aveda’s tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 15.
I’ve tried so many tinted moisturizers on the market, and I’m pretty picky.
Even the ones highly recommended by beauty TikTokers are either too heavy or contain too much scent for me to mess with. But the Aveda tinted moisturizer has a very light scent (that doesn’t bother me at all) and offers light coverage without any heaviness.
Really, I can’t usually even tell if I’m wearing it some days.
The only downside is that it’s pricey. It costs $34 for one 1.7-ounce bottle. But I don’t use it a lot, so it usually lasts me about six months.
Gold Undereye Patches
I get really dark undereye circles — actually, my whole family does.
Evidently, this is a combo of not enough sleep and dehydration. I’m not gonna lie, I get these circles a lot the morning after drinking prosecco (probably the cause of my dehydration?).
But I love prosecco and can’t give it up. So on days when those circles take over, I use those gold undereye patches everyone on TikTok loves. For some reason, just the application of a face masque makes me feel like I’m taking a little time for self-care.
Again, psychosomatic? Probably. But you gotta stick with what works…