Why My 45-Minute Makeup Routine Isn't Silly or Vain

makeup and brushes in a bathroom

There was a time when I was more than a little embarrassed to reveal just how lengthy my makeup routine is. Primer, foundation, finishing powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush … there are a LOT of products involved and it takes me a decent chunk of time to get ready each day. What a vain pursuit, right? Expensive, silly, shallow … except that’s not at all how I feel about it anymore. Now that I’m over 40 and a little wiser (and a little more weathered), I’m completely confident when I say that applying makeup is exactly as soothing for me as any other method of self-care.


It’s like taking a long, richly-scented bubble bath, or having a professional masseur work my muscles into warm gooey putty: the act of putting on my makeup is relaxing and wonderfully indulgent. It’s a time when I’m completely focused on myself, tucked away in the little bathroom that’s connected to our bedroom (that the boys don’t use) and peering at my own face in the mirror.

Does it seem narcissistic to stare at my own reflection? I don’t see it that way (pardon the pun). It’s not like I’m in there for hours marveling at my own perfection -- but for that matter, neither am I fretting over every deepening wrinkle and age spot. I’m just looking at myself while I sweep on concealer or add some color to my cheeks. I’m taking a time out from the hustle and bustle of my day to acknowledge my own presence, and that’s worth something.

It feels nurturing to use products that I love on my skin. They feel good, they smell good. They help downplay the things I feel less confident about (my dark undereye circles, my skimpy eyebrows) and bring out the things I’m proud of (my warm eyes, my genuine smile).

As I get more familiar with the things that work for me, my list of “must-have” products seems to get longer and longer. I like primers because they cut back on shiny skin and help foundation stay, I like BB creams because they even out my complexion, I like good brushes and eyeshadows because they make all the difference in creating a soft blended look that feels natural. I like eyeliners that define my eyes, I like highlighting powder that adds a subtle healthy glow.

It’s not a cheap hobby, but I can tell you from personal experience there are worse ones to have. I try and buy my makeup when I have a gift card to help lower the costs, or when retailers run sales. At this point, I’m pretty set in my go-to items, so I don’t get frequently tempted by new products (although I am not made of STEEL, dammit), and the ones I have tend to last a good long time.

Everyone places different value on non-essential purchases, whether we’re talking about salon visits or snack foods or vacations. I guess I used to feel like my dedication to wearing makeup revealed some sort of major flaw in my character, like I was using it to spackle over my own low self-esteem. Who knows, maybe I was -- god knows I’ve gone through some pretty big ups and downs over the years when it comes to loving myself and finding value in my contributions.

At this stage, though, I feel good about myself. I feel good about what I bring to the world, and darn it, I feel good about the stuff I put on my face.

Where do you stand on beauty routines? Do you have one, and if so, how long does it take? Do you think it’s shallow, or are you confident in your routine?

Image © iStock.com/vnlit 

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