Some musings on the beauty obsession.
Today’s post is a little bit different as I’m rambling on about a topic that has interested me for quite some time. Over the summer I perused this short and sweet article from the Coveteur highlighting the idea that certain beauty, skin care, as well as self care practices can actually make you happier. It goes far beyond vanity, but rather is based on aromatherapy, sleep quality, and human touch. All factors that the beauty world cherishes and have been proven to uplift moods, improve confidence, and reduce stress. This little write up had me pondering where our obsession with beauty originates from and immediately I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic of self care and its correlation with overall happiness.
I can remember being infatuated with beauty, makeup, and skincare from a very young age. Maybe around five years old, someone gifted me a toy makeup set and a few of those peel off nail polishes. It was all I wanted to play with – I would give all my friends “makeovers” when they came over, much to the dismay of my mom and their mothers I’m sure. Nothing made me happier than when our babysitter would paint my nails a stunning shade of fluorescent pink or allow me to swipe on a couple coats of mascara. I vividly remember raiding my grandmother’s Clinique sample stash whenever I came over for a visit and you would have thought I had won the lottery. 🙂 My beauty related memories are endless from these early years to purchasing my first “real” makeup with my mom, (aka tinted moisturizer), years later. However, what is astounding to me is how each of these little snippets in time are attached to genuine feelings of happiness. Something about just that tiny touch of glamour, provided me so much joy as I am certain it must for a lot of women. However, it is not only the after effects that create that gleeful sensation, but rather the process of application – from picking out the products, to testing, and applying. Beauty sleuthing, trial, and error is akin to a soothing process for me – a time to set aside to escape, experiment, and play.
It is well known that material items cannot bring us happiness. For instance, if you go out and purchase that new designer coat you have been eyeing, the feeling of elation that you may experience after walking away is most likely fleeting. The tremble of glee in the pit of your stomach the first few times you wear it tends to diminish the longer it hangs around. This is not to say that this does not occur with beauty purchases as well. I certainly do not think that beauty can buy you happiness, but I do believe that the practice of self care, which is intrinsically tied to beauty, can improve an individual’s overall level of contentment through stress reduction. Furthermore, there is something about makeup, skin care, and especially fragrance that is particularly transcendent. They each involve the senses and therefore can trigger beautiful memories, experiences, and even people. Scent is particularly known for this quality and therefore I have become quite the perfume hoarder. 🙂 I would absolutely recommend picking up a new eau de toilette during an important milestone in your life as years later when you spray and breathe in – it will serve as a lovely reminder of that period in your life.
Finally, I wanted to touch on why our culture as a whole is so beauty obsessed. We stalk websites, wait in lines, read every last article etc. before a new beauty launch. Other times we become super devoted to specific products, shades, and lines. The mania is more tangible than when a designer’s clothing line launches or sometimes even event tickets. In the age of social media and sharing different forms of self expression, I think that we all love the attainability of beauty. For example, while I may never be able to afford that designer trillion dollar handbag, I can certainly spend $20 on a new lipstick with beautiful packaging. This provides the same little pick me up or feeling of elation upon purchase, but it is a luxury that we can all get behind while still taking care of rent for the month. 🙂 All of this to say I really do love beauty, skin care, and self care, yet also firmly believe that it goes far beyond the visible effects of these practices. It is a ritual that individuals have cherished for centuries (hello Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette) and I believe should continue to be cherished in our society. Of course everyone’s regimes are unique and self care varies from person to person, but it is something that gives us a timeout and the ability to feel just a little more like ourselves at any time – helping to guide us through the happiest to the most stressful situations.
I hope everyone can take a little extra time to practice their beauty/self care routines and appreciate the joyful and calming feelings that come along with it. Also, be sure to check out the widget below where I’ve linked to a bunch of my tried and true favorites that are sure to uplift your mood. I would love to know what some of your favorite beauty memories are and if you agree that this type of self care can lead to that happy feeling.