So I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling stretched a little thin lately. Between monitoring socially-distant learning, juggling multiple renovation projects, and now being cooped up inside because of hazardous air quality… the hits just keep coming! Through it all, my morning ritual has become a port in a storm.
I talked a bit about how to transform routines into rituals last month, but now I want to share my own ritual with you all! By making this a daily priority, I feel mentally and emotionally prepared to take on whatever fresh mess might pop up. You know how flight attendants always tell you to put on your own mask before helping others? Yeah, it’s basically like that.
Skincare Through the Years
I haven’t always been the most consistent about my skin care. But I do thank my mom for starting me in the right direction! When I was a teen, she took me to the mall and set me up with the age-appropriate basics: cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. These are the building blocks of any solid routine!
As I reached my 20s, I enjoyed getting by with a drugstore cleanser and moisturizer. What luxury! I tried to make sure I washed my face most nights… but I dropped the toner for a cheap and easy procedure. I don’t think I could even call it a routine, let alone a ritual!
Back then makeup was a maaaaybe. I didn’t even use foundation! Blush and lipstick were about the farthest I’d get. It never seemed like something I wanted to spend too much time thinking about, and I certainly wasn’t excited to spend my money at the makeup counter. I think like most 20 year olds, I was more interested in enjoying myself!
Of course, in my 30s, raising 3 munchkins kept me busy. Honestly, I barely kept up with anything else, lol. It still surprises me how FAST all this time went by! I loved mostly-every minute, but I definitely could have used more sleep in those years.
Now in my early 40s, I’m all-of-a-sudden in a different stage of being and living. Skin care has definitely become a top priority, and maintaining my appearance is a crucial part of feeling good. I want this to be something I do out of love, rather than fear of aging — so upgrading to a ritual allows me to infuse my routine with intention and balance.
Intention Via Ingredients
Infusing intention into a routine starts with ingredients! I want to be honoring my body with products that will not only beautify, but support my overall health. In selecting each step to my ritual, I double check to make sure my product of choice doesn’t contain any parabens or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals and is fragrance-free.
Don’t get me wrong, I love yummy smelling products—but the term “fragrances” can be a shoo-in term for all kinds of toxic ingredients. My ritual is a sacred space, intended for the betterment of my body and mind. The last thing I want is to be putting toxic ingredients and carcinogens on my face!
Sometimes, this requires a little research. The most insidious ingredients are often disguised using different names. I’ve found buying from brands I trust is the easiest way to navigate deception, and my go-to is has always been Aesop! I love their Remove formula for gently taking off my makeup while hydrating my skin, and I’ve been using it for years.
The best part, Aesop’s herbal ingredients act as an aromatherapy agent as well. The soothing scents help set the tone for my day, or shift my active mind into a restful state to prepare for more restorative sleep. Plus, the smells aren’t chemically engineered: they’re created from all-natural, healing botanicals!
Tangible, sensory elements like scent and texture help root your attention so you can be deeply present and enjoy the experience. Ultimately, the main difference between a routine and a ritual is mindfulness! Trusting each step will soothe, heal, and beautify my skin is all part of this process. Even if all the parts in your routine stay the same, practice staying with your awareness during each step.
When you’re no longer letting your mind run away with to-dos for the day ahead, you can spend that time building resilience and improving your confidence. I always notice how much more focused and clear I feel after allowing myself to take this moment for me. It’s a reminder that I am in control of my reaction—and I feel prepared to react from my highest self.
Luxury Add-On Products
In more recent years, I’ve bulked up my Cleanser-Toner-Moisturizer standard with a few products that add-in all the extras I’ve come to depend on. Honestly, these really add to the luxuriousness of my experience, and have helped brighten my complexion and refresh my outlook. I’d recommend them to anyone!
I’m a new fan of Youth to the People. I now use their cleanser, mist, and moisturizer—I love them all! The YTTP cleanser was my first introduction to the brand, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Super light, but effective, this product is a Sephora best seller and it uses the antioxidant power of leafy green ingredients to resupply the critical nutrients that enrich skin.
The YTTP moisturizer is also light, but really feels like it’s doing something. Hyaluronic Acid is a key ingredient that retains moisture throughout the day, rather than those watery moisturizers evaporate into skin in seconds! I supplement with the YTTP mist. Packed with peptides, it calms irritated skin and reduces redness. Plus, it feels soooo good and refreshing. I use it all day as a pick me up!
I’ve also come around to Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright line. This Vitamin C rich line of products uses banana powder to reduce dark spots and smooth fine lines. I use both the Eye Cream and Vitamin C Serum before applying makeup, and I definitely notice the effects on the elasticity of my skin. This scent is also a huge boost in the morning, with a bright banana-citrus smell that is SO joyful!
One of my very favorite add-ons has been to my evening routine. If I have a photoshoot the next day, or I’m just looking to decompress, I’ll put on the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. This super concentrated blast of hydration leaves my skin feeling dewy and luminous. Highlighter is cool, but it’s always better if you can glow on your own!
My Ritual, Step-by-Step:
No matter how many products I plan to use each day, I always go through the same intentional steps. I start by lighting a candle, a symbol of the spark I want to maintain. I take a big, deep breath. In stillness, I can clear my mind of all the loose emotions or expectations I’ve been carrying with me.
Then, I choose my intention for the day. An intention definitely doesn’t need to be complicated, but you should be able to sink your teeth into it! An intention should address what you’re struggling with, and offer you some mental clarity and willpower when you face this challenge head on.
Lately, with the wildfires still raging around the West Coast, I’ve been setting an intention to extend extra love to everyone I meet that day. Just as we’re taking in energy all the time, we’re also sharing it! During times of hardship, extra kindness can really go a long way to improving the lives of those around us, easing the collective burden even just a little. ❤️
With my intention in mind, I turn on the tap (feeling gratitude for clean, flowing water!) to wash my face. As I’m cleansing, I visualize all the negative thoughts and emotions falling away.
Then I wipe my face clean and continue thinking loving words to myself. I envision caring for my inner self as if I am my own loved one. (And I am!) How we talk to ourselves has an impact on our brain chemistry. So beginning the day with a supportive inner monologue is so critical to maintaining a healthy mindset.
I then apply my toner, moisturizer, and any of the add-ons I plan to use that day. If I use makeup, I think about all the features I like about myself that I’m ENHANCING, rather than what I’m trying to cover up or “fix.”
I end my ritual with a few deep breaths, and visualize a successful day with your intention with gratitude. I blow out the candle, but imagine carrying the flame with me into the rest of my day.
Transcending the Basics
I know I’m happiest when I can jump in headfirst to the projects and ideas that light me up. It’s important to me that I’m spiritually engaged and aligned with my purpose. For me, alignment really means that I’m making space daily to stay in touch with the source of energy that drives me forward and connects me to my creative fire!
To stay aligned with my productive and creative energy, I need to consistently check to ensure I’m tuned into that frequency. And sometimes, getting back in alignment means adjusting my mood or letting go of an expectation that isn’t serving me. It’s a daily mindfulness practice! My morning ritual starts me off on the right note, making it easier to maintain all day.
Our bodies are amazing machines, but they do have a limit! Energy is constantly moving through us in all that we take in, from the meals we share to the entertainment we consume. Even making money is a type of energy exchange! My daily rituals help me tend to this energy regularly, prioritizing my relationship with myself so I don’t end up burnt out.
In fact, anytime I find that I’ve been dragging through the days or struggling to find my creative spark, I can usually trace these disturbances back to what energy I’ve been allowing into my vessel. Being able to define my boundaries so I let in the RIGHT kind of energy into my body keeps me a happy, healthy, and productive person.
How do you tend your energy?