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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

I adore putting on makeup in the morning. I love sitting down, putting my music on, and doing my makeup routine step-by-step. Putting on makeup is my moment to step out of the world, to dissociate from my worries and focus on the simple tasks at hand, whether it’s putting on mascara, concealer, or winged eyeliner. No matter what fears or adversity I’m facing at that time, the minutes I spend doing my makeup routine render my mind calm. This routine has undergone evolution over the years as my life and my self-perception have transformed, sometimes radically, but through years of change, ritual was established, and this ritual’s presence in my life is steady — a calm within the storm. A makeup routine, a ritual of mine, is wonderful because of the effect it can have and what it can reveal about the past and present self.

Almost every morning, I rely on my makeup routine to help ease my mind. Carrying out simple tasks soothes me by taking my mind off of what’s burdening me. It also has an invigorating effect. When I’m finished with my makeup, having taken time for myself to relax and transform however I’d like, I feel bold and ready to conquer the day. 

Makeup application is also a moment for me to take time to really see myself. In the mirror, I examine my features. I can see the nights I’ve had through my under-eyes. I can count my freckles, often the product of a full and happy day in the sun. I see my mother’s eyes, my dad’s forehead, my grandfather’s eyebrows, all belonging to people whose love I’ve known and felt throughout the years.

When examining a photo, I can often decipher what phase of my life I’m seeing through my makeup. If I see minimal makeup, I think sophomore year. If I see myself wearing smokey brown eyeliner, I’ll know I’m seeing my senior-year face. It is such a beautiful thing to be able to see what stage of life you were in through your past face. As I went through high school, I gradually gained confidence, and I can see each phase of this process through different makeup routines I’ve had. For me, confidence looked like brighter makeup, darker eyeliner. By the time I graduated high school, I was no longer afraid to stand out. I can see this development through photos chronicling my transformation throughout high school into someone who wore and transformed through bolder makeup.

Sometimes I catch myself feeling self-conscious about dedicating time most mornings to my makeup routine. But I always remember how important this ritual is to me. This time I spend is dedicated to applying makeup, but it’s also dedicated to my present and future self. It emboldens me while easing my mind, preparing me for the day. It also continues my makeup routine’s evolution, a process that has seen many chapters of my life. I’m looking forward to the day I see my current face in a photo, my makeup encapsulating the person I am today.

Julianne Sweeten is a writer at the Her Campus Charlottesville chapter. She is a student at the University of Virginia and also serves as a member of the American Medical Student Association and the Futures in Fashion Association. On the side, Julianne is an avid romantic, enjoying music, movies, and thrifting as well as spending time with friends, family, and her beloved dog Kooper.