“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou
From always keeping red lipstick in my handbag and having a signature scent, to making regular manicure and facial appointments.
One of the most important lessons she has taught me, however, is that beauty can be personal therapy, that it’s about taking care of yourself inside and out. I’m not talking about booking yourself a spa treatment or having a shopping trip every time you are upset – although I am guilty of doing both of those things-I mean taking the time to stop and meditate on what you’re going through, and ‘beauty’, although it’s usually considered surface, can be a pretty useful medium for that.
So firstly I start by washing my face with Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser and cold water – cooling down the heat of the day’s frustrations and washing away all negative emotions. The cold wash feels great on my skin and I feel lighter than before.
Then I massage a gentle cleanser into my skin, applying it in methodical circles – I use this time to walk through the day’s events in a logical fashion, to find solutions. I’m a scientist, so gentle cleansing is usually my “Data Analysis” time – in other words, I go through what my aims of the day were, whether I achieved those outcomes or whether I need to revise my steps for achieving my aims…
More often than not, when you’re under pressure you say or do things that you later regret or wish you had more time to do better.
For me, moisturising is two parts – I apply The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil followed by Vitamin E Night Cream also by The Body Shop.
Yes we are keeping our skin healthy with the Vitamin E, but when my brain sees anything with the word “vitamin” on it my mind feels instantly healthier! While adding the night cream I remind myself to feel the peace that as I sleep, my skin benefits from being moisturised, my weariness will melt away and I’ll wake up refreshed and ready to take on another day anew.
Make-up is also a great medium for stress relief. The idea is not to cake on as much make-up as possible until you feel better, but the hope is that the routine will calm you down and re-centre you. I start with a clean face – remember, wash away all the negativity first, start with a clean slate.
Follow it by moisturising, and adding a little primer, and then start to apply make-up, taking time to apply each layer. I usually spend the most time on my eyes – they are the windows to your soul and most often than not, they reveal the most emotion.
So apply the whole works – three-toned eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara (maybe waterproof if it’s a particularly rough day!).
Then a beautiful shade of lipstick so that you have no choice but to smile. And even if you still don’t feel better after you’ve applied my last layer of mascara, you look better; and that gives you the little boost of confidence your feelings need to catch up. It works every time!
Some women re-centre themselves by doing an intense one-on-one session with a punching bag, some a quiet yoga flow, some journal the day’s events and some put on “pump it up” playlist, the choices are endless – but what is important is taking time to be alone with your thoughts and feelings, so that you can recharge and re-set.
“The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship of your life.” – Diane Von Furstenburg
It’s a discipline that I think we can all benefit from learning, and once you start with your heart, your mind will process all that nurturing.
See Rutendo’s other post for ThandieKay, ‘Hope’.