There was a time when I was more than a little embarrassed to reveal just how lengthy my makeup routine is. Primer, foundation, finishing powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush … there are a LOT of products involved and it takes me a decent chunk of time to get ready each day. What a vain pursuit, right? Expensive, silly, shallow … except that’s not at all how I feel about it anymore. Now that I’m over 40 and a little wiser (and a little more weathered), I’m completely confident when I say that applying makeup is exactly as soothing for me as any other method of self-care.

Makeup Routine

It’s like taking a long, richly-scented bubble bath, or having a professional masseur work my muscles into warm gooey putty: the act of putting on my makeup isrelaxing and wonderfully indulgent. It’s a time when I’m completely focused on myself, tucked away in the little bathroom that’s connected to our bedroom (that the boys don’t use) and peering at my own face in the mirror.

Does it seem narcissistic to stare at my own reflection? I don’t see it that way (pardon the pun). It’s not like I’m in there for hours marveling at my own perfection — but for that matter, neither am I fretting over every deepening wrinkle and age spot. I’m just looking at myself while I sweep on concealer or add some color to my cheeks. I’m taking a time out from the hustle and bustle of my day to acknowledge my own presence, and that’s worth something.

It feels nurturing to use products that I love on my skin. They feel good, they smell good. They help downplay the things I feel less confident about (my dark undereye circles, my skimpy eyebrows) and bring out the things I’m proud of (my warm eyes, my genuine smile).