There is an emerging idea that skincare and beauty routines can hold more significance than other daily routines, and perhaps are not routines at all, but rituals. While routines and rituals both involve the repetitive performance of actions in a particular order, the actions in rituals tend to hold an increased significance. Routines can be completed mindlessly, whereas rituals are intended to be purposeful and meaningful.
Many consider their daily skincare and beauty routine as a chance during their day to focus solely on taking care of themselves. It is a tranquil time that many begin and end their day with. It allows people the chance to practice intentional self-care in their daily lives. To some, this routine is clearly distinguishable from their other daily tasks such as washing dishes because it holds a greater sense of self-love. In this sense, beauty routines can be considered rituals because they act as empowering actions done by yourself and for yourself. However, beauty routines also have a way of unifying us.
As a child, I loved watching my mother do her makeup in the mornings and would beg people to let me test out my makeup skills on them. This is a habit that has stuck with me my entire life. In high school, I had a friend who would frequently ask me to do her makeup, and I joyfully agreed every time. In college, I have found myself watching and rewatching Vogue Beauty Secrets videos on Youtube, just as mesmerized as I was as a child watching my mother apply makeup in the bathroom mirror. There is something tranquil about getting an intimate behind the scene look at how someone cares for themselves. Through watching these videos, I have heard countless other women recount how their love for beauty also began from watching their mother do her own makeup. I have realized while skincare and makeup allow people to create their own unique routines, they also act as unifying experiences for women across generations. These videos act as safe places for women to come together and share their own tips for using beauty routines as a form of empowerment. For example, viewers can get the story behind Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s iconic red lip in her Vogue Beauty Secret video. She claims “the reason why I think it’s so important to share these things is that first of all, femininity has power, and in politics there is so much criticism and nitpicking about how women and fem people present ourselves.” The criticism of women is not specific to politics alone, therefore it can be empowering to embrace beauty femininity and know that women around the world are doing the same thing every morning.
“In my opinion is is quite a radical act and it’s almost like a mini protest to love yourself in a society that’s always trying to tell you you’re not the right weight, you’re not the right color you’re not the right, you know, whatever it is.”
Ocasio-Cortez goes on to address the false claims of partaking in beauty routines as being vain or trivial. She argues “there’s this really false idea that if you care about makeup or if your interests are in beauty and fashion that that’s somehow frivolous, but I actually think these are some of the most substantive decisions that we make and we make them every morning.” The Vogue YouTube account is full of different women exploring the shared value of the time and choices we make for ourselves.
So, if you are an avid fan of skincare and makeup I encourage you to embrace your daily rituals and continue to make the radical choice to show self-love every day in a way you enjoy; hopefully the generations of women to come after us will continue to follow suit.