How do you feel about makeup? Over my 16 years as a makeup artist, I have spoken to thousands of women about their relationship with cosmetics. As you can imagine, I’ve heard everything from “I’m obsessed!” to “I have no time for makeup” and “I don’t need makeup and couldn’t care less.”

Even I can agree: Nobody needs makeup. After all, women are inherently naturally beautiful, even though advertising and pop culture certainly can make us feel otherwise. The seemingly never-ending stream of new products created to help us feel more beautiful and cover our “flaws” fuels a $50-billion-plus industry. But what if we radically repositioned the way we see makeup? I believe we have the ability to redefine what it means to apply makeup and transform it from an obligatory, mundane routine into a sacred beauty ritual.

Through my own personal journey and my intimate work with women, I have come to understand the deep connection between our inner and outer selves as something I call “sacred beauty.” Not only do I witness this connection with women in my makeup chair, this link is represented across cultures dating back to ancient times. Makeup was often applied to represent societal relationships with spirituality, nature, and one another. In many cultures, it was considered the utmost sacred ritual. You see, we have always been attracted to color, light, and symmetry—a truth reflected in how we dress, decorate our homes, and adorn our faces.

Here are five ways you can try changing your beauty routine into a ritual:

1. Set a new intention.

Like everything else in life, perspective is essential. The great Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Even if you don’t consider yourself a “makeup person,” simply start with an open mind and curiosity to try something new. It may take some time before you see wearing makeup as a way to express, rather than cover, your true self. But I believe if you start with a fresh mindset, you set the stage for a whole new experience.

2. Practice makeup mantras.

While you’re in the mirror applying your makeup, use that time to lovingly embrace each feature. Create powerful beauty mantras—words or phrases that affirm a positive belief about yourself. For example, “My eyes are beautiful and help me see with love” or “My skin is radiant, clear, and healthy.” It is most effective to say your affirmations out loud, but it is also OK to simply think them. Even if you don’t believe the mantra to be true right now, the more you say it (especially when looking at your reflection in the mirror) the more your mind will begin to accept it as the truth.

3. Celebrate your beauty.

Your face is the only one like it in the world. How amazing is that? No one else has the exact arrangement, size, and shape of your features. There’s nothing like a bit of makeup to help you celebrate your unique beauty. Choose your favorite (or least favorite!) feature and adorn it with loving care. For example, if you like your blue eyes, a bit of bronze eyeshadow will make their color pop even more. On the other hand, if you think your lips are “too small,” throw on a red lipstick to enhance their shape, and appreciate every bit of them!

4. Discover makeup as a creative outlet.

Makeup is an art, engaging many principles and tools similar to what a painter would use to create a masterpiece. There’s something very satisfying about using brushes and pots of color to express one’s mood, personality, or style. Applying makeup can be meditative and even therapeutic. Set aside some time to play, and see where your imagination leads you. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover!

5. Go natural.

Let’s face it: Commercial cosmetics are full of chemicals you don’t want sitting on your skin all day. Most mainstream makeup is made using petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, and cheap preservatives that are unhealthy for your body and the environment. But the great news is, there are many safe, sustainable, and effective alternatives. When you choose makeup that is thoughtfully crafted with nourishing, plant-based ingredients, it feels decidedly more special and, well … sacred!

Lastly, setting up your makeup station with care will lead to a much more enjoyable experience. Always start with a clean, well-lit, and organized space. Light a special candle, and place a favorite photo of yourself in a frame nearby. Begin transitioning your makeup to healthier options. I always recommend my clients start with foundation (because it’s applied all over your face) and lip products (because we end up eating them). A few of my top go-to’s are Vapour Organic Beauty, Alima Pure, and W3ll People—give them a try, and I promise you will see and feel the difference.

No matter which brands, colors, or textures you choose, set your intention to truly enjoy the experience. When the motivation for applying makeup is to honor your beauty from the inside out, it becomes the ultimate tool for radiant self-love, soulful expression, and creativity.

Photos courtesy of the author

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