On the heels of our post about self-care, we wanted to ask you about your beautiful routine. This isn’t a question about how you wear your hair, or whether or not you wear make-up. This isn’t about your beauty routine, but your BEAUTIFUL routine. Don’t have one? I do and if you’ve ever felt some kind of way about your appearance you should consider adopting a beautiful routine too.
Let’s be real. We’ve all had moments when we felt down on ourselves about how we look. Someone is always prettier, more stylish, or has the good genetics, or deep pockets to be all those things at once. We then in turn feel bad about feeling bad over something that is deemed “shallow”. Never mind that we live in a world that tells us, we’re too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny.
Reese and I once had a conversation about when we became comfortable with the skin we’re in. The conversation was sparked by the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches,” where women were sketched by an artist based on their description of themselves and then sketched again based on the description provided by a stranger. The women invariably described themselves in ways that resulted in sketches far less flattering than the sketches that resulted from the stranger’s description. Reese and I basically tested this by describing ourselves to each other — neither of us can draw more than stick figures — and were pretty shocked about how we described ourselves.
Don’t get us wrong. We tend to think we’re pretty cute most days. We’d have to think so considering we have pictures of ourselves all over the Internet via this blog for anyone to judge. But we both came to the conclusion that we’ve reached a certain level of acceptance of our physical features and that we really wouldn’t change much, even if we had the money. Acceptance was a gradual process and it involved a lot of standing in front of a mirror naked. Yes, naked.
Each day, I make it a point to moisturize. Everywhere. I do it slowly and I always moisturize right out of the shower or bath. I almost always do so in front of a mirror, mostly to make sure I don’t miss any spots, but also to appreciate the changes I see in my body. I can tell when I’ve been working out a lot because everything looks firmer. I look and feel for changes in my skin. I can see if the tan I got in Jamaica finally faded, or if the office-thigh jiggle has gotten worse.
I only skip this process if I am sick or so tired that my beautiful routine is standing between me and my beauty sleep. Yes, I like to dress well. Given the time, I love to artfully apply make up and I like to put in enough hair product to make my little bit of hair shine and curl. Depending on the day, I’ll skip all of these things. But the one process that I am least likely to skip is the moisturizing process. I do it wherever I am, no matter what. Almost always in front of a mirror.
I do it because it helps me to slow down and appreciate how time has changed me and how I feel about my body. It’s a time to appreciate my long arms and neck. To appreciate the softness of my naturally, near-hairless skin and my little pooch in the front that Reese swears I don’t have. It also is a time to appreciate the backside that every girl-child on my maternal g-ma’s side of the family has got. What can I say? Baby’s got back. The only other thing I do consistently is wear earrings. I truly feel naked without them.
Establishing a beautiful routine is as easy as stopping to admire something about yourself and affirming that you love you. Your hair is on point today? Give yourself a pat on the back. Fly outfit? In your best Tamar Braxton voice say, “You did that boo!” Having the courage to stand in front of the mirror naked and say, “I love every roll, every stretch mark, scar, or so-called imperfection.” That deserves and “Attagirl!”
If you don’t have a beautiful routine — something that you do to make you slow down and appreciate who you are — I encourage you to create one. It can be elaborate, or as simple as taking the time to paint your nails. A public affairs officer in Afghanistan once told me that he knew an airman who had packed a pair of high heels in her rucksack and pulled them out each night of her deployment. After running around in a uniform and boots all day, she told him that she did it because it reminded her that she was beautiful, even if no one ever said she was.
That’s a pretty cool beautiful routine.