In the past, mindfulness usually equated to yoga, meditation, or other zen practices in the same realm. But with the wellness and self-care industry expanding, we’re coming to realize that mindfulness comes in various forms — from mindful walks to mindful eating. One of the more recent sectors to join the mindfulness movement is beauty.
Just like meditation is meant to promote tranquility, mindful beauty emphasizes meaningful rituals that help one feel present and at peace — such as making time for a skincare routine at the end of a long day, or waking up early to do a jade rolling session. While it’s easy to dismiss mindful beauty as some sort of luxurious frivolity, this regime has allowed thousands of people around the world to nurture and care for themselves, especially in times of stress and uncertainty.
"It’s a form of self-love, self-acceptance, and healing," psychotherapist Zakiyyah Abdul-Mateen told InStyle. "There are certain points on the body that promote relaxation, and the face is one of them. Using skin-to-skin contact, fingers to face, allows the blood to flow while also allowing the muscles in the face to relax. This alone sends a signal to the brain that you are in a state of relaxation putting you in a peaceful mindset."
In 2019 alone, the hashtag #mindfulbeauty was used over 26,000 times on Instagram — as evidenced by hordes of beauty lovers sharing their practices of breathing techniques, aromatherapy-infused products, bath soaks, and more. Indeed, at the heart of the mindful beauty movement is a holistic and intentional approach to your overall well-being. It’s carefully choosing products and rituals that nourish and serve your unique microbiome and mind. But more than that, it also entails being conscious of beauty’s larger impact on the earth.
After all, beauty doesn’t exist in a bubble, and we know that the industry is notorious for causing environmental degradation. This is why mindful beauty typically focuses on natural, heritage ingredients and sustainable practices that do no harm to people or the planet. You can’t have a mindful beauty routine built on chasing fleeting trends and accumulating products that end up wasting away in a landfill. Mindful beauty empowers you, and the environment around you.
Getting started on your mindful beauty journey
Whether you’re looking to start a mindful beauty routine for the first time or simply want to sustain it, there are numerous ways to do it — and no, it doesn’t require dropping hundreds of dollars on expensive skin care endorsed by wellness gurus. For one, you can begin by evaluating what’s currently on your shelves. Ask yourself, what products do you actually use? And which ones are just gathering dust at the back of your cabinet? Before you hit check out on yet another eye cream, assess if it’s something that you’ll happily incorporate into your regimen.
Resist the urge to shop impulsively because of trends, and take time to read between labels and brand histories. It might feel like a chore to sift through ingredient lists, but mindful beauty means being conscious of what you’re putting on your delicate microbiome, and how such products impact the environment. You may not be doing it intentionally, but your sunscreen could be harming coral reefs, and your lotions could be polluting oceans. With a wealth of information at your fingertips, there’s no excuse to shop blindly.
Another way to practice mindful beauty is turning your routine into a ritual. When you’re tired and yearning for the comfort of bed, doing your skincare routine can be the least appealing activity — but try to reframe your perspective and see it as a powerful act of self-care. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a two-step regimen that involves just facial soap and some cream. Simply knowing that you’ve carved out time to nourish and protect your skin can boost your confidence and provide a little more stability in your day. If you want to go the extra mile, you can always light a scented candle or two and put on a tune to really make it an occasion.
Of course, these are just a few ways to practice mindful beauty. At the end of the day, whatever you do should contribute to your overall well-being. Beauty shouldn’t get in the way of your life, it should enhance it!
Going beyond vanity
Making intentional choices is a simple, yet effective, resolution you can make to see a significant change. At a time when the planet is in dire straits because of humanity’s impulsive decisions, and when it often feels like the world is spiraling out of control, a mindful beauty ritual can encourage you to be here — fully aware, and able to enjoy meaningful moments in spite of things.
It’s a springboard to your best skin, and your best self too.