We’ve all got our things, right? The beauty routines and products that we’ve sworn by for a quick hit of confidence and a self-esteem boost. For me, it’s generous swipes of a shimmer-free cream bronzer around my cheeks, forehead, taking the colour down my nose, too. In the winter it lifts my sallow skin, in the summer it adds dimension. Outside of being something I do for others, it’s a moment reserved just for me – whether part of a wider make-up routine or two stolen minutes before entering the general melee of life.
When I posed this question (“What’s the one part of your beauty routine that makes you feel most confident?“) to various women they all had incredibly diverse answers. Some likened layering on black eyeliner to a protection mechanism, others described spraying scent as an identity-affirming action. Fluffy brows turned out to be a common answer and red lipstick surprisingly not. The only common thread was that the habits we glean confidence from are all wonderfully, totally different – much like us.
“Popping self-tan drops in my moisturiser makes my white and red blotchy skin so much more even and glowy and I feel instantly more confident before my make- up routine has even started. They don’t add much colour, but they add some depth and health to my face and the ritual of pipetting them into my face cream at night and having to pay close attention to gently spread it over my face and neck (no streaks, please) makes me a little more mindful.”
“Actually taking my time in the shower is such a simple step in my routine that has made a huge difference. I used to watch the clock, rushing through washing and shampooing my hair to get out as quickly as possible, but treating showers like self-care has been a game-changer.
“Now, I meander my way through, treating my hair to extra attention, making sure I exfoliate and doing my proper shower skincare. In the mornings, it sets me up in the right way for the day ahead, and in the evenings, it’s a nice mental and physical shaking off of the stress of the day. It feels like a little stolen luxury amid a busy schedule.”
“Drying my hair curly with my Dyson Supersonic and diffuser. That volume – hooooly moly.”
“A light layer of Glossier Generation G and Boy Brow.”
“Whenever I gua sha, even though it’s an added step, it’s an elongated period of time where I’m really looking at my face and truly giving it the attention I sometimes forget to give it. There’s something about massaging and running the jade tool over the contours of your face that makes you feel and look so flushed and healthy after it – I love it.”
“Thursday fake tanning ahead of the weekend! Wake up on Friday feeling confident and glowy.”
“Dry shampoo! Gives me lots of volume and a refresh without adding much.”
“For me, spraying my favourite fragrances – which run the gamut from Le Labo’s light and floral Lys 41 to Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge – from head to toe is the most indulgent and identity-affirming part of my beauty regime.
“Whether I’m popping to the shops for more sourdough and my daily helping of Tony’s Chocolonelys or heading out for date night, being doused in head-turning scents is like the final piece of my daily beauty puzzle that I couldn’t do without.”
“Shaped eyebrows and a bit of bronzer. A bit of colour goes such a long way!”
“Bronzer and eyebrows – very rarely go without make-up but even then my brows are tamed.”
“Tan, blush, tonging the funny frizzy bits at the front of my hair.”
“For better or worse, I have been doing my eye make-up in exactly the same way since I was a teenager. Nearly every day for the last 15 years, I’ve decorated my eyelids with a black flick of eyeliner followed by a thick layer of jet black mascara. I’ve been doing it for so long it almost feels like part of my identity and it’s the part of my make-up routine that makes me feel ready to face the day.”
“The ItCosmetics concealer. It’s amazing on dark circles – looks like I’m fresh as a daisy!”
“Liquid eyeliner. Couldn’t be without it, especially for work.”
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