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How I Discovered Self-Love Through My Skincare Routine

The first step was to redirect my energy…to me.
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Hi C&C family! I'm Jazmine, an Atlanta native and Dallas resident (with ties to Ohio) currently making the best of quarantine life with my husband, Jordan, and our pup, Winslow, in our Lower Greenville neighborhood. I'm also an HR lady-turned-writer (you can check out my website), career coach, and podcast host! I'm known for being vulnerable on the Internet, obsessing over home decor, and wearing Birkenstocks always. I'm so thankful to share my voice and perspective with you all. I hope it resonates and inspires love and light. 

When quarantine first began, I participated in all of the obligatory trends. Making banana bread? Check. Tye-dying old college sweatshirts? Done and done. Downloading Tik-Tok? ...Yes. *Insert dance move here.* Like so many, I predicted any of the new-found hobbies I was humoring would be just empty distractions from a terrifying, but hopefully temporary, reality. But by the time May arrived, two things were clear: That there was no “going back to normal,” and I could no longer self-soothe with banana bread and red wine. (Even if it was fun and effective for a short while.)

So with more time on my hands, I started to think about the new reality I wanted to design for myself: What did it look and feel like? What were things I had put off for myself in the name of "not having enough time?" I opened up my closet and dusted off my 2020 vision board. As I scanned the board, chuckling at once-achievable goals that now seemed so far-fetched, like “travel to Costa Rica” or “run a 5K,” I stumbled across a resolution I had been putting off for two years straight(!): adopt and maintain a skincare routine. I figured there couldn’t be a better time to start. So I opened my laptop, placed my credit card next to me for easy access, and began to research the best products for my combination-oily skin.

According to Instagram, adopting and maintaining a skincare regimen appears routine, indulgent even. But for me, the idea of it was harrowing. Every time I had tried to take on the ‘self-care 101’ treatment of face masks and bubble baths, I would either be intimidated by the endless options and long list of ingredients or decide to abort the mission after one week because, let’s face it, falling asleep in makeup is more convenient.

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But I had collected some minor insecurities as an adult. My face had scarring from popped pimples, uneven skin tone, tired eyes, and, at times, dullness due to dehydration. And sure, I wanted to correct those areas and give my skin a well-needed “glow up,” but moreover, I was longing for some consistency in my 2020 life.

What semblance of a routine I had before March was gone, but I understood that I had the opportunity to rebuild it—and I desperately needed to rebuild it. When COVID first became something we took more seriously in the States, I began to feel myself spiraling, and I don’t use that word lightly. I live with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and disordered eating. Despite being a proud homebody, having a routine helps me better manage my anxiety and ADHD, and time at the gym and outside of the house helps with my depression. To have my tools abruptly yanked from me was difficult to say the least. Out of everything, it triggered my disordered eating most. In an effort to not trigger any readers, I won’t go into details, but old habits and thought patterns from high school—habits I thought I had left behind—reappeared. I realized that despite my ten-year relationship with therapy, I was still anchoring much of my self-worth in what I could control, what I could accomplish, and how I appeared to others. And I needed to help myself first.

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The first step was to redirect my energy…to me—something that felt new and foreign. (Even now, I have days when I struggle with not putting myself dead last.) I had some feelings of guilt when I first started taking care of my skin. As natural as it can feel for me to take care of my husband or friends, I feel self-centered when I redirect some of that TLC onto myself. I worried I was holding the bathroom hostage. I tried convincing myself I could be doing something more productive, more self-sacrificing, or more logical—like looking for a new job. But I stuck with the routine. After all, I had nothing better to do. (Except binge “Tiger King.”)

By the end of my second week, I had a perfect attendance record and a new appreciation for the beauty industry. I was beginning to see improvements in my skin’s texture—even my husband noticed a difference! I was feeling more confident in my skin. I think I even started smiling more when walking the dog. And as with most things, the more results I achieved, the more I wanted to continue.

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While I certainly appreciated the external results, there was also an inner transformation taking place. That guilt I initially felt began to dissipate (along with my blackheads 💁‍♀️), and I started looking forward to my alone time — something that I’ve come to cherish now that both my husband and I work from home in a one-bedroom duplex. Rather quickly, I began seeing the time as “self-love” rather than “self-centered.” My small bathroom became a sacred space. It felt as though no bad news could follow me in there; I felt safe to really be naked with myself. (Both literally and spiritually.)

Over time, I’ve instituted a "no tech rule" for myself during my skincare routine. I am free to think, to release, to meditate, or simply none of the above if it’s not right for my spirit. With my work being in media and my life being on social media, it’s vital for my own sanity to have a space that is fiercely protected. My skincare routine is a guaranteed good time; something I think we all are in desperate need of at this time.

And beneath the layer of guilt that shed away, I discovered my skincare routine was also incredible for my anxiety. Studying the back of bottles and containers, focusing on the motions of my fingers going up-and-out, and examining my pores took my mind off of everything — work, my relationships, the world. Some people go to yoga but my meditation and self-restoration go down in the bathroom. Creating a private moment to relax both in the morning and before bed has been crucial for my mental health.

As I approach 30, the famous Diane von Furstenberg quote seems as relevant as ever, “The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.” Currently, I quite literally find myself with just my thoughts and my own company. Though I can’t pluck all negative thoughts from my head, and I continue to work on my mental health, I am grateful that my new routine has enforced a narrative I wasn’t telling myself as often before: I am worthy. I deserve my care and respect too. I make time for myself because I love myself.

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In the last couple of weeks, I have begun to learn more and discover what works best for my skin. I made recent purchases from cleaner lines such as Anne’s Apothecary and BLK + GRN, and have been blown away! But I want to share what I have been using for the large majority of quarantine below: 

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Garnier Charcoal Mask (use twice a week): I love this mask for a semi-embarrassing reason. Growing up, I longed for my first pimple. (I know, be careful what you wish you for.) I looked forward to the day I got to wear face masks just like my mom. At 29, my "13 Going on 30" fantasies came true! Beyond it being a knowing wink to my nostalgia, this charcoal mask really digs at all surface dirt, revealing a layer of skin you’re elated to shed. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and silky.

Glossier Toner Solution (use twice a week): Don’t be fooled by the millennial pink packaging, she’s got a little sting to her. I recommend applying this only once or twice a week as it can be extra-drying, and pick-up a drugstore toner for daily use.

Glossier Serum in 'Super Bounce' (use twice a week): This milky vitamin C + magnesium combo helps energize the skin and correct any unevenness.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer: This is one of my stuck-on-a-deserted-island products. It’s hydrating, soothing, and I attribute much of my skin “glow up” to this product alone.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream: I currently use the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream twice a week, but I honestly think this product is a bit overhyped, and plan on switching back to exclusively using Walgreens' night cream once I've used it all up!

Charlotte Tilbury Youth Glow: This product is great if you’re like me and don’t wear foundation everyday. Gives a little bit of shimmer pay-off but goes on so naturally!

Black Girl Sunscreen: Confession, I never used sunscreen before this year, but it should be a non-negotiable for your routine.

Olay Hydrating Mist: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. First, it feels incredibly luxurious to mist yourself, as if you’re a queen prepping for her errands “about town.” And when you breathe in the light scent of citrus, it lifts your energy to a higher frequency. How much it helps your skin? Debatable. How much does it lift your mood? Enough not to skip the step!

Walgreens Revitalizing Night Cream: This would be my other must-have product! It’s thick and ridiculously creamy. If you have oily skin, I would recommend this cream at nighttime only as it takes a good while for it to fully dry.

P.S. As a skincare novice, I pretty much relied on the powers of YouTube (and perhaps even targeted ads—no shame) when deciding which products to experiment with first. Some of my favorite skincare gurus have been:

Mixed Makeup: Susan is a skincare expert and the definition of skincare goals. She explains the chemistry behind skincare and I always feel like I’ve gotten a crash course in dermatology when I leave her channel.

Jackie Aina: I love Jackie for all things beauty, and particularly appreciate how she explains ingredients and their benefits when talking about skincare.

Alissa Ashley: Beyond being absolutely stunning, I love how honest Alissa is with her reviews. I feel like she’s considering the fact that most viewers see skincare as a big investment and she gives the full tea.

Ingrid Nilsen: Though she recently left YouTube, Ingrid's videos are still live on her channel. I’ve watched Ingrid for years and she’s always kept a very approachable method to makeup and skincare. She has her skincare playlist linked here!

Vogue’s Beauty Secret series: I personally love Kourtney Kardashian’s episode, and it inspired me to go greener in the last month. 

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