Beauty and Simplicity

Beauty and Simplicity: How to Prioritize Your Pretty

By GG Renee Hill

I know you're busy. You have agendas and responsibilities that insist on pulling you away from your precious beauty routines. Maybe you tell yourself that you don't have time for your weekly manicure or your deep conditioning treatment. Next you're going to bed with makeup on and going to work with chipped nail polish. Gasp! You're not taking care of the personal details that make you feel fresh, polished and on top of your game. Hello, stress. Hello, resentment. When you don't tend to your essentials, you start to feel less like yourself. There's a definite connection between self-care and self-concept. By simplifying your routines instead of neglecting them altogether, you will feel better about yourself and be ready to face the world with confidence.

Let’s get personal. Worrying about how you look is a huge distraction, don’t you think? Is it just me? Or do you want to say that it doesn’t matter to you too, even though it really does?

I’ll speak for myself -- I obsess. If I feel that my appearance is disheveled or out of sorts, then I think that I’m giving off the impression that my whole life is disheveled and out of sorts. I even catch myself saying self-deprecating things in my mind because I’m comparing myself to other women who seem to make it all look so effortless.

Developing a "work smarter not harder" mentality about my beauty routines has allowed me to stay true to my current reality and keep my priorities in check. I’m a mother of three little ones, a graduate school student, and I am recently self-employed. The days of spending the every Sunday pampering and grooming myself are gone, but that doesn’t mean that I need to give up my rituals entirely. While I’m not convinced about this elusive idea of balance that people like to talk about, I do believe that by simplifying and being realistic, we can make time for what’s important to us.

If you’re spending more than 15 minutes on hair maintenance each night, it’s time to come to the altar. There was a time when I was spending the better part of an hour on my hair each night – twisting, remoisturizing, braiding – but that routine just wasn’t sustainable. Sure, there will be days when you need to invest more time in your hair, but schedule that time in advance so it doesn’t feel disruptive.

Consider your lifestyle. Is your hair regimen practical?

You probably have perfect skin. No acne, no dark marks, no facial hair. If this describes you, I promise I only hate you a little bit. My skin is acne-prone, oily and it holds the most ridiculous grudges. Even the tiniest scratch or bump leaves a mark. I may not be as low maintenance as I'd like to be, but I try to keep things as simple as I can. My daily routine includes washing, toning, moisturizing and exfoliating. Only twice a week do I dedicate more time; doing steam treatments or perhaps a facial mask.

I also save time and money by using C+C cream (complexion correcting) on my face, which serves multiple purposes. It reduces the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone over time, and it also primes, protects with SPF 30, hydrates and controls oil. It can be worn alone or under makeup for more coverage.

Do you use products that multi-task? Do you schedule your beauty treatments into your agenda?

In order to feel beautiful on the outside, even when you’re busy, it’s important to nurse what’s on the inside. Take time for quiet prayer and meditation each day, several times a day. This could be in the shower in the morning or on your walk to work. Every moment of your alone time does not have to be filled with thinking and planning. Steal away some precious moments throughout your day to center yourself and be still. Developing this practice will help you feel more peaceful and allow you to glow naturally.

Do you make time for quiet and self-reflection? If not, how can you take baby steps to incorporate this essential beauty treatment into your daily life?

I encourage you to make a list of your beauty essentials – those gotta-have products and need-to-do rituals that help you feel like yourself. Next, think about your schedule and where you can make time to tend to these things. Be realistic and explore different options. Approach this prioritization as seriously as you would if you were making time for exercise or healthy eating. If you don’t honor your needs, no one else will do it for you.

GG Renee Hill is a writer, blogger and soulful living coach based in the Washington DC area. She writes to help women embrace their complexity and live authentic, creative lives. You can find her sprinkling love dust daily on her blog, All the Many Layers. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ggreneewrites.