If there is one qualm I have with any major industry it's the one that focuses on all things "beauty."

I remember the days when I'd walk into any store that carried makeup and could find it in the "cosmetics" section. Now? It's the "beauty" section.

Ever noticed how they don't call it cosmetics anymore? They don't even have the decency and transparency to call it the makeup section. Nope... It's the "beauty" section, which is basically saying to any given customer: this is where you go if you want to acquire beauty, which in turn says: these are the things you need if you want to acquire beauty, and that's where my problem begins.

Everyone has bought into the nomenclature.

Bloglovin' has a whole section dedicated to beauty, and if you click that tab, it takes you to loads of posts about makeup and skincare, because (as one would assume) that's what it takes for beauty.

Individual blogs have their own similar categories with beauty talk reserved for all things makeup and skincare.

If you google "beauty," a photo of a woman with makeup brushes all over her face comes up.

Anytime someone mentions their makeup favorites, it's just called "beauty favorites."

What is really going on here?

The industry that profits off customers buying makeup is making it so the terms "makeup" and "beauty" are synonymous, which essentially tells those same customers they need the former to acquire the latter. I'm over it.

It really hit me recently when I was getting ready for the day. I grabbed my makeup bag to do my usual routine, and J said something along the lines of you don't need that stuff. It's a sentiment he's communicated multiple times, and I usually shrug it off or thank him and go about my business. This time, I had a reply. It left my lips without a second thought: nobody needs this stuff. And it's true.  I know I don't need that stuff, and even though I'm perfectly comfortable leaving the house with a bare face, sometimes I want that stuff. Even the male news anchors and politicians who get a thorough dusting of face powder before they go on the air don't need it, but they still wear it. (sn: French President Emmanuel Macron spends roughly USD$10k/month on his makeup and personal grooming routine, and there's plenty more where that came from)

If you don't look the way you want on any given day, makeup can help with that. If your skin is looking dull, there's a serum for that. Nobody says you're ugly without the stuff, but when the cosmetics industry calls itself the "beauty" industry, it's basically insinuating you're not beautiful without the stuff. It's a powerfully subtle difference.

Beauty Routines

The very first blog I ever followed, back in 2012, was A Cup of Jo, authored by Joanna Goddard. Like many blogs these days, she now has a whole team of writers, and together they have created a Beauty Uniform series, featuring women from all walks of life. It's so good. Please, please bookmark it for later and dive into the archives if/when you have time.

It's basically an interview-style approach to the way we women see beauty within ourselves and find different ways to express it. Makeup and skincare details are often included, but not always, and they're never the focus of the piece. The photos portray them living their normal lives and doing things that make them happy, which in turn infuses their world with beauty. It's the perfect write-up every time, and no matter how little I can relate to the woman being featured, I am always able to appreciate her unique beauty. It translates seamlessly, and it never fails to make me think about my own Beauty Uniform.

So let's list it out

Here's a list of all the things I use to cleanse/treat my skin on a semi-daily basis: 
  • Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner
  • The Ordinary 2% Retinod (original formula)
  • Paula's Choice BHA Liquid/Gel (liquid in the summer, gel in the winter)
  • Sunday Riley U.F.O. Oil
  • Alpha Skincare 12% AHA Cream (once/week)
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Mask (once/week)
Here's a list of all the other things I put on my face each morning: 
  • Nyx Microbrow 
  • Bare Minerals Original Foundation
  • Benefit Sun Beam
  • L'oreal Mascara
  • Nars Stick Concealer
Here's a list of all the things I put in my hair once/twice a week: 
  • L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Curls Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner
  • Lavender Jamaican Black Castor Oil
  • Eco Style Protein Gel (Hold level 8)
  • Aloe Vera Gel
Here's a list of all the things I put on the rest of my body every day: 
  • Soap & Glory Righteous Butter
  • Diptyque Do Son Eau de Parfum
  • Aluminum-free deodorant - i've converted and am never going back to regular deodorant, fyi
  • (not picky about soap or body washes)
Here's a list of things that are not included but still count as routine beauty stuff:
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Waxes and other hair removal methods
  • Face scrubs, exfoliants, and masks
  • Deep conditioners for the hair

A list that matters

That's a looooootttt of "beauty section" purchases. Some of the this stuff is genuinely therapeutic to put on and take off (face masks and oils, getting manis/pedis, spritzing a little perfume before walking out the door.. etc), but most of it? Most of it appeases the superficial side of me, and I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with is so many entities preying on that side of us, to the point where we equate these items with beauty and/or being beautiful.

I don't have a solution or anything, but these thoughts have been swirling in my head (and my drafts box) for a while, so I decided to write it out. For now, I'll just share my list of things you really need to be beautiful. None of these can be found in a department or beauty supply store, and they definitely won't appear in a beauty post on a popular blog:

You need to love what you do every day
I'm not necessarily not necessarily talking about a job, but that's always nice, too. The goal for me is to take time each day and do something I love. It can be something small like reading a few chapters in whatever book is on my nightstand or something bigger like going to yoga or having dinner at one my favorite spots around town. Doing things you love makes you happy, and being happy is beautiful.

To be comfortable
This can go a number of different ways, even something as simple as being comfortable in your clothes, shoes, home makes a big difference in how good you feel. There is such beauty in comfort. Just make sure not to mistake comfort for complacency. *SN: I recently read a piece online about having a uniform of sorts and how wearing the same thing to work everyday is pretty much a power move. Check it out.

A good cleanse 
Physically, mentally, and spiritually, a good cleanse is always restorative, and it give a glow that now highlighter can give.

To love
Familial love, romantic love, self love... it all matters, and it looks good on everyone.

The more laugh lines the better.

Am I saying all these things are all I'll ever need to feel beautiful for the rest of my life? No. Will I stop reading posts like "My Everyday Makeup Routine"? Nope, probably not, but I am trying to make a more conscious effort to not let a mass industry or social media or other bloggers dictate what I consider "beauty-related."

Now please excuse me while I go get ready for the day.

photo of Ms. Dorothy Dandridge courtesy of »»