Why Taking Half an Hour to Wash My Face is a Form of Self-care

face washing routine

I believe I’ve spent some time carping about my nightly ablutions here on the blog. I have very, VERY sensitive, fussy, breakout-prone skin and over time I’ve learned that if I don’t take meticulous care of it, it will punish me. With large, painful zits. And for years, I resented the time it took me to prepare my face for sleeping. I resented my Clairsonic and the system of washcloths and the fancy cleansers and lotions I need to use to keep the infuriatingly delicate balance necessary to prevent breakouts. I dreaded the whole rigamarole.

And I would never have been able to predict that adding more steps and more time to my routine would be what turned this activity from a chore into a pleasure.

The fashion mags I read have been raving about Korean beauty products for a while now, and somewhere in my readings I came across the 10-step Korean skincare routine, and absolutely balked. It had to be expensive! It had to take forever! How could it possibly be effective?!? But many of the products listed in the magazines were cheaper than stuff I could buy at Walgreens, and claimed to be made with natural and naturally derived ingredients. Amazon has hundreds of them, including many expert and editor faves. But you know what really sent me over the edge? Snails. Lots of these products include snail slime, and I was just so amused by the idea of smearing that on my face that I bought a snail toner. And since I’d heard about bee venom for years, I bought a bee venom essence. I already had a serum I liked and was gifted this marvelous facial oil by the Kiehl’s folks, so I was shy of 10 steps but had at least six going for me.

And you know what? I love washing my face now. LOVE IT. It takes forever since you have to apply and wait for each product to dry before applying the next one, but it’s actually enjoyable now. Some of it is the scents – the bee venom mist is spicy and the face oil smells deliciously of ginger – and some of it is the ceremony. But I eventually realized it also has to do with self-care.

Before, I hated that my skin was so fussy. I felt like I had to slog through all of these annoying steps just to keep it from rebelling. But now – and bear with me here, because I know this may sound a little goofy – I feel like I’m honoring my skin. Stewarding it. I’m pampering myself each and every night by applying all of these cleansers and toners and moisturizers, and it makes me feel calm and happy and like I’m living an abundant life.

My acne is directly tied to my hormones and my hormones are STUBBORN AS HELL, so I still break out. I would say that this new, multi-step routine has made my skin less irritated, kept it moist and supple, and helped the zits that show up heal faster. But even if there was virtually no difference in my skin, there’s a strong possibility that I’d stick to this routine. Because it’s made the difference between feeling like I’m weeding the overgrown courtyard of my crappy rented apartment and tending the lush flowers in my own home’s backyard.

A long, multi-step face-washing routine isn’t for everyone. It’s not outrageously expensive, but it’s also not cheap. And if your life and your kids and your health mean that you don’t actually have a half hour to spare for skin care, it might not be possible. But if you can find one little self-care ritual to help you center yourself each day – applying hand lotion before bed, brushing your hair before leaving the house, anything no matter how small – I’d wager it’ll make you feel calmer and happier and more abundant, too.

Image courtesy Dan Watson/Unsplash

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Matching Jewelry to Make Up

By AP contributor Kristine Rose

Obsession doesn’t even begin to cover my relationship with jewelry. I currently own two hanging stands, and 5 boxes full of the stuff. Keep in mind that most of this has been accumulated in 10 years, but I still won’t pretend this is an acceptable level of jewelry for one person to own.

As I prepare to move from NYC first to Northampton MA for the summer, and then permanently to Philadelphia, the idea of transporting this cherished collection is daunting. A saner person with better priorities would take this as an opportunity to condense, letting go of anything that isn’t essential. For me it’s just an opportunity to lovingly catalog each and every piece, noting how glad I am that I consoled myself with that five dollar pair of hoops when the train was late. You see, I have something that goes with everything at this point. Literally everything. That goes not just for outfits, but also make up.

Like the dutiful neurotic that I am, every single piece of my ensemble must match, or at least “go” before I dare to leave the house. Though this is something that could easily get overlooked, I feel it gives a subtle sense of cohesion to the whole deal. A sense of continuity for the eye.

There are several “rules” I keep in mind while picking the best jewelry for my make up:



This is probably the most important component. If a lip color or shadow has a warm undertone, I’m more likely to pair it with gold or rose gold. If it has a cool undertone, I’m more likely to pair it with silver or gunmetal. If you’re feeling more adventurous as I occasionally am, you can mix cool and warm, but only if your outfit reflects different undertones. If there are at least two warm and two cool items (including shoes, clothes, makeup, jewelry, and handbag) this looks more intentional. For example when I wore oxblood jeans (warm) with a black and white printed leotard (cool) and a teal green sweater (warm) I accessorize with cool toned silver earrings and warm toned bronze lips.



I try to generally pair shinier accessories like bright silver with matte make up and jewelry with a flatter finish such as antiqued gold with dewy or glittery make up for contrast. I also tend to pair darker colors with brighter jewelry and lighter colors with darker or more matte jewelry.



If a piece of jewelry has a subtle detail that I want to highlight, I will accentuate that with make up. For instance if a pair of earrings has tiny rhinestones I will wear some white or silver glitter to echo that in my make up. If a necklace has a tiny bit of green in it, I will put a touch of the same green in the inner corner of my eyes. If a piece of jewelry is reflective or composed of many colors, I will pull one out and reflect that prominently in my make up that day.


There’s no one size fits all here, and I’ve been known to rock some door knocker earrings with a bright purple lip on occasion, but for the most part, if I am wearing very large or chunky jewelry I will compliment that with more subtle or lighter colored make up.



The color wheel is a great place to look for inspiration if you’re working with jeweled or colored jewelry. Contrasting colors are across from each other on the color wheel, and pairing them together will make your look “pop” For example, I like to pair green or blue toned jewelry with red or orange lips.

Experimentation is the easiest way to find balance. Try on several different necklaces with your face of the day and see which piece feels harmonious with your look, then ask yourself why. A pattern is sure to emerge.

Are any of you mindful of this jewelry/ make up equilibrium? Are there tips and tricks I’ve missed here? I would I love to hear them in the comments!

Kristine is wearing half a jewelry store on Instagram @glitter_or_death

_ _ _ _ _

Kristine Rose is a make-up artist, esthetician, and writer. She strongly believes in each individual’s right to express themselves through style, make up, and body modification (or lack thereof). Beauty writing is her one true passion and she intends to revel in it until her untimely death, crushed under the weight of her own jewelry. Follow her on Instagram: @swansaredead and @_partoftheproblem_.

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Lovely Links: 2/5/16

I will be hosting a fundraiser for the
women’s leadership group that I co-chair
Leaders of Today and Tomorrow
at the Uptown John Fluevog store!

There will be raffles, treats, demos, and if you donate to LOTT you get to take home a piece of jewelry from my collection.

This is a ticketed event, all proceeds to LOTT – get your tickets here. Don’t delay, it’s a small space so tickets are limited.

* * * * *

Weekly Kitty:


She likes to drape herself over the top level, mostly to taunt Simon from above. (First seen on Instagram)

Chrissy’s slouchy pant-platform bootie outfit is right up my alley.

I contributed some images to Sylvia at 40+ Style’s new course on accessorization, and am excited for it to launch! You can join her free webinar here and then sign up if you’re interested.

“You don’t have to wait until you lose weight to be your best self. If weight loss is important to you, go for it, but stop expecting that your world is going to miraculously change just because you shed some pounds. It won’t. You can change your world, achieve your dreams, and strive for a goal, regardless of your shape and size. Let’s stop pretending that life begins once you’re finally skinny, and begin it now.” (Post discusses dieting)

SO much inspiration in this roundup of stylish DapperQs. I spent an hour poring over Danielle’s outfit posts.

Suzanne encourages everyone to create a style statement, a short phrase that can help your wardrobe and outfits look more cohesive.

On About.com I gave suggestions on where to shop for lingerie (including specialty sizes!) and identified five steps that will make you a more effective shopper.

Never one to shy away from color, Joi creates a marvelous mix of pastels. Mia goes for sunset colors, and looks energized and lovely.

“I don’t think people who shave their legs can’t be feminist. If they want to shave their legs, that’s totally fine with me. The issue for me was that the reason I wanted to shave them again was so clearly rooted in the way I’d been conditioned to view my body. It wasn’t just about liking the way smooth legs felt. It was about fearing that I was unattractive.”

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Dorrie rocks a fabulous feathered necklace and talks about how statement jewelry can totally transform your personal style.

Angie put together a guide to jeans and pants for curvy women. And in this case “curvy” isn’t linked to size, but to shape: Women of any size and weight who are built with larger busts and hips along with smaller waists.

Can women self-objectify?

Wanna keep curled-up-in-a-blanket warm without actually curling up in a blanket? Get yourself a ruana. Bam.

The Curvy Fashionista calls out seven plus size designer collections and collaborations to watch in 2016.

The key to fashion rules is not to follow them, but to have command of them. It’s the difference between dressing for a purpose and dressing with a purpose. And when you dress with purpose, you can stay true to yourself and wear what you love and makes you happy.”

In my Star Tribune column, I talked about how to wear dusters with winter coats, when to donate, and how to make legacy brands look fresh.

Turtlenecks may be divisive, but Sarah is all in. And this winter, so am I. In fact, I’m wearing one as I type this.

One Twitter user is posting pictures of men’s topless selfies alongside their messages telling women to cover up.

I’ve been upgrading my loungewear and bought these slim-fitting moto pants (mine used via eBay) – they are marvelous. Thick but flexible, comfy waistband, and so cute.

Chastity is retro-fabulous in her printed shirtdress and wavy ponytail.

Thoughts on creating nourishing acts of self-trust

Allie weighs in on hem lengths for various styles of pants. (My thoughts here.)

Homage vs. Outright Racism in Fashion: The Case of the Maison Kitsuné Pre-Fall 2016 Collection

Argentina-born artist Amalia Ulman created an Instagram persona that moved through three distinct phases as a way of illustrating that femininity is a construction. She didn’t, however, tell anyone it was an art piece until she’d amassed thousands of followers and led them through months of photos and comments.

I’ve started some Pinboards about wardrobe items that challenge me – trench coat, cowboy boots, camel coat – more to come!

“While radical self love made it easier to respect the vulnerability of those closest to me; it did not necessarily extend to those whom I did not know in an intimate way. While it was easy to encourage body positivity in my girls, easy to think only wonderful things about their dress, their body movements, that generosity didn’t extend to other people’s bodies. Every day, I find myself making an internal running dialogue especially about the women around me. I comment on their dress, their bodies, the way they talked.”

Layering an arty crop top over a dress is a great way to create cool, unexpected layers.

And from the Department of Random: Turns out all you need to organize your desk, headphones, knitting, closet, and sink is a bunch of binder clips.

Also: An alternate take on the Most Interesting Man in the World

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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