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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dealing with a lot of mental health issues that affect my everyday life. I usually just chalk them up as growing pains, quarter-life crisis, or just my being dramatic before I came to terms that I may really be suffering from disorders I have no control over.

Sure, I have friends, the Internet, therapy options, and my writing to turn to when things get too much, but nothing has made me feel as brand new as when I started taking care of myself.

Starting up

The primary idea was simple: I want to be able to learn to at least make myself look decent so I don’t rely on anyone in terms of making me look alive. A year and a few months later, I’m doing full-face makeup and taking care of my skin more than I ever did in my life.

As someone who didn’t care much about how she presents herself, I only had what I call my “bare-minimum starter kit.” Basically, this just includes everything I need for makeup and skincare, purchased based on trusted consultations with sales ladies.

I didn’t put in the time and effort into building my kit (obviously) because self-care was just another task in the long list of duties I had then. It was merely a thing I need accomplished, crossed-out, and finished.

A hobby turned into a genuine interest

When my mom passed due to a chronic disease a year ago, I was suddenly left with a free schedule and some monetary allowance. I had just quit my full-time job to take a break, but by some fortunate happenstance, I got a full-ride for a digital marketing scholarship right after.

This gave me Saturday classes from October to February, which I saw were the appropriate time to practice my skills and better my skin even more. I started documenting my “looks” every class, to serve as progress photos to examine later. To my surprise, looking nice made me feel nice. It was one of those pivotal moments I was actually thinking, “Hey, I can look like this. I can do this. I can be pretty.”

That simple notion led me to where I am in my beauty journey today.

Sifting through counters of products on malls, swatching makeup, polishing my basic talents, researching skin properties, or anything related calm my rather chaotic mind. It might seem silly to anyone who hasn’t given beauty rituals the time of day, but for someone who is constantly spiraling, they’re life-savers.

We are usually sold the idea that self-care means getting mani-pedis, long hot baths, or trips to well-lit spas, but it varies for most people.

What works for me, however, is watching tutorials, reading reviews, and bookmarking products I plan on buying in the near future. I might come home bringing news of yet another rejection, a day of efforts in vain, or a level further down the spiral, but I can always count on pretty colors and sparkles and my chance of maybe affording any of the stuff I want if I just work harder.

Needless to say, immersing myself in the beauty community has given me relief, a healthy way to cope, and kick-ass skills I can always use to lift myself up.

P.S. Tons of water plus a good night’s sleep? Natural glow guaranteed.

Illustration by Madel Crudo 

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