It’s not all fluff and buff. Makeup therapy is a legitimate thing; a coping mechanism. 

As a harrowing 2020 begins to close, we are slowing down, troubleshooting and holding on to any glimmer of hope that’s left. It may include marveling at our shadow that ricochets from the windowsill to our bedsheets, the satisfying click of the foundation pump or the shiny gold flecks in our unassuming bronzer. All that glitters may not be gold, but it is safe to conclude that therapy in makeup – regardless glittery or matte – does help. 

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. The Biology Behind Its Therapy

Depression and anxiety exists in many layers and is simply not realistic for everyone to go for planned therapy sessions. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Henceforth, our beauty routines – the one that is so personally tailored to us – can provide a more accessible form of therapy. A makeup routine can stop us from falling into “pitfall patterns” that can make us feel pessimistic, depressed and anxious. It provides cognitive benefits on the brain and pulls us away from nitpicking and becoming highly strung. The brain’s circular process acts like a loop or a cycle, serving as a broken tape recorder. These extremes of pessimism or lucid positivity can truly make someone delirious and can mentally consume. As a result, interrupting this toxic loop or breaking the chain can serve equilibrium in all our minds. Or in a nutshell, a moment to recenter and find our balance. That’s what makeup therapy does: it snaps us out of the everyday stress that compounds.

2. We Feel In Control

When we have things under control, we feel like we own the whole world. That’s just human nature.

Control has varying degrees but the most layman definition would be staying on top of things and staying calm amidst the frenzy. As such, when it comes to our beauty routine, control is literally in our grip. We know our eyeliner proficiency; the correct amount of nude on our lips; the 3 dots of highlighter on our cheeks. No one knows that more than us, and it is with this bank of knowledge that makes us feel completely in control. When life throws a curveball, chances are it might spiral out of control. But applying makeup only involves us. The pressure is off our shoulders and we become our own boss. Having control in our makeup routine exists even in the simple understanding of knowing which product to apply on our face. We sieve through the science of all the serums, the appropriateness of each makeup product and even our facial symmetry. We know it at the back of our hand – literally and figuratively – as we swatch our concealer away. Ah, it’s these little things!

3. It Decompresses Our Minds

I kid you not. Every morning, I feel zen while doing my makeup. Perhaps it’s the quietness in the air, or characteristically just not a morning person – but I still feel so at peace!

The pockets of quiet moments as I confront myself in front of the mirror is time carved out to recharge. To introverts, there is nothing more therapeutic than being in our own space and doing things in our own time. And for extroverts, I’m sure you can’t say no to privacy! An obvious reason why a morning makeup session eases our mind is our laser-like focus on doing the makeup, leaving secondary matters out of the window. It’s great for people with dizzying thoughts who tend to over-analyse and put pressure on themselves. Additionally, this form of self-care forces us to spend time on ourselves in a healthy manner. It becomes a personal space of reflection, solitude and a feel-good activity. In fact, there is an understated calamity in being focused. Akin to colouring without going over the lines in colouring books, makeup is of a similar concept. You forget about the worldly affairs, are relaxed and not distracted from what is in front: ourselves.

4. Finding Our Identity

Makeup is an extension of who we are.

The looks we create, the products we use and how we feel whilst applying them all culminates into our projected identity. It is another alternative to experiment with styles we are not used to, or hold on to the styles that work for us. Along the way, we start to find looks that align with our personal style. The process of asking ourselves what type of look we’re going for on that day also allows us to manifest it into our makeup – be it in a statement red lip for sexier days or a highlighter glowing to the heavens for a grocery run. Overall, it leads to a form of self-actualisation. We are able to express ourselves in little, impactful ways that may seem trivial, but it’s this creative outlet that lets us find our own footing. 

5. Self-confidence (Of course!)

Self-worth and confidence aren’t buzzwords. They are lasting and loaded terms integral to mental resilience.

Many have pinned makeup to be a superficial affair, but the truth lies in its internal benefits: it makes us feel super empowered. Perhaps it has taken months to perfect that cut-crease, or 15 precious minutes to moisturise our lips before that matte lipstick. With every attempt of nailing our makeup or practicing on a newly found technique, it gives us reassurance in ways we never realised. The simple practice of loving how we look each time we see ourselves in the mirror can bring us that much needed therapy. Additionally, using products with creative names such as a certain lipstick called “inspire” (*lusts over Selena Gomez’s new Rare Beauty makeup line*) can help internalise those values within us, giving us the arsenal to battle the days ahead. 

Gone are the days when therapy was taboo. When it comes to mental wellness and resilience, the power of an open mind can truly open more doors for wellness. And the power of a good makeup product? That’s for you to decide the next time you do your beauty routine!

Love,
Dhiya

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