How to Create an Intentional Skincare Ritual
Skincare products are an amazing tool to get the desired results we are looking for. Now more than ever, we are savvy about active ingredients - niacinamide, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), hyaluronic acid, ceramides and retinoids are all examples of desired ingredients that are present in the skin care savvy person’s routine. Building a great skincare routine is an amazing way to create a coveted and desired glowing complexion. However, a skincare routine is just that - a routine. Mundane, expected, rushed through and simply something to do on the daily checklist.
The act of applying products - cleansing, massaging, moisturizing and smoothing the skin can be considered a routine. But what if we told you that adding one simple thing can completely change your skincare routine. One simple change can add magic to the routine that you most likely are already doing morning and night, without much thought. This magic is not any active ingredient, expensive treatment or specialized tool, but rather it is using intention to elevate your daily skincare routine into a skincare ritual.
The dictionary definition describes the word ritual as “a ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order”. We would like to take that a step further and say that a ritual is a sacred, intentional and purposeful experience, one that is performed not only for a desired result, but meant to be savoured and enjoyed throughout the entire process.
You see, your skincare routine is a perfectly mundane act that can be revolutionized quite easily. It can be a way to unwind, relax, set goals or intentions, gain a sensory experience, tend to your needs, and let go of the day’s anxieties in order to give a moment back to yourself. It is an amazing way to connect with yourself and your body, and it can be an incredible act of self-love if you make it to be that way.
Rituals are oftentimes associated with long amounts of time and very detailed and intricate steps, however, that doesn't need to be the case. Your skincare ritual is a place where you can create real meaning and purpose, according to your unique needs. This may sound quite dramatic or “extra”, but really - the best changes you can make are to improve something that you already make time for, instead of adding a new practice to a busy schedule. Simply taking 5-10 minutes will provide plenty of time to connect with yourself and nourish your skin.
Here are our tips to create an indulgent skincare ritual:
How do you want to feel? Empowered, pampered, seen, loved, focused, radiant, determined, awake, peaceful? Setting an intention at the beginning of the ritual sets the tone for what you want to achieve with this practice. Our skin is constantly changing, and our intention may shift day to day. This is a great moment to do a quick scan of how you’re feeling - do you notice any extra stress or tension anywhere in your body?
This can vary depending on the time of day. You may use your morning skincare ritual to help set the tone for your day, and your evening ritual can be a great way to unwind and release the day, and prepare yourself for a beautiful night’s rest.
Oftentimes when we look at ourselves, we are conditioned to see the things we lack or want to improve. It is very easy to focus on blemishes, wrinkles, dark spots or the things we desire to improve or get rid of completely when we are doing our skincare routine. Looking in the mirror can serve as a harsh reminder of how we may feel inadequate.
Begin with taking a deep breath, and look at yourself. Like really, really look at yourself. Examine the features that make you uniquely yourself. Try your best to not focus on the flaws, but take a moment to make eye contact with yourself in the mirror. This is a moment that you have with you, take a pause to be grateful. With time, you will begin to avoid yourself less and less, and you will notice your imperfections, but they will not define you. Be patient, and try to look at yourself with a loving gaze. This is a powerful opportunity to really see yourself.
It is important not to rush this process. Staying grounded in the present moment is key to slowing down and giving yourself this moment. Try your best to clear out distractions and focus on each part of the ritual.
Focusing on each step is a great way to be present in the moment. Notice how each act feels - how does it feel when you splash warm water on your face, when you cleanse in circular motions, when you massage serum or when you pat moisturizer into your skin? Different motions, movements, tools, temperatures, and even fragrances or aromas provide a multi-sensory experience which can be very grounding and pleasurable. Great examples can be performing a facial massage with your fingers or gua-sha massage tool, steaming your face with a warm towel, using floral waters or hydrosols to gently mist your face, applying ice or cold spoons to under eyes in the morning, and using products with different textures and feels.
This may seem silly, but our favourite thing to do is to say each step out loud, for example “I am cleansing my skin to release toxins and dirt”, or “I am massaging my face to release tension and to feel relaxed”. Combining physical acts with loving affirmations is a great way to remind yourself of why this ritual is important and all of the wonderful things you are doing to improve yourself, inside and out.
Consistency is key as this ritual is not a treat or a once in a while pick-me-up. It is a cultivated practice, one that will eventually spend all day looking forward to practicing. The benefits of a beautifully curated skincare ritual are endless. We hope that you are able to create this wonderful practice, and that it brings you joy and peace.