The beauty industry has received its share of bashing for being an institution that creates unrealistic standards. But new studies have found that it can help cope with depression, anxiety and a chain of mental issues that follow with the two. This could actually be a sign of hope for many because teaching your body its own worth is not a feat for the weak of heart.
Depression is a state when finding something to motivate your existence becomes too tough and sometimes, next to impossible. People battling depression are in a race against their own mind, trying to gather hope before it tells them that life's a hollow cycle. Anxiety, on the other hand, makes everyday things a terror to deal with. There's always the lurking insecurity of not getting it all right, of messing up royally; anxiety is living with the lack of confidence that you can get it right without humiliating yourself.
1. The best of beauty regimes have nothing to do with consumption of products. It's about finding something that gives you the will to get out of bed and face the day.
Routines and rituals are what make us human. Waking up, browsing through messages, and preparing yourself for the day comes easy to most people. But for people with anxiety, sleep is a blissful oblivion that blocks out extreme worries of performance. Makeup, self-care, a little pampering- all add to a sense of fulfillment; it gives a sense of preparedness to face the day. For people suffering from depression, it gives them hope that there's still something left to love. Stuti Bhattacharya says that it worked a great deal during her battle with depression,
Just a plain bath and beauty routine helps so much. People with depression have immense difficulty mustering the strength to do basic routine tasks. To wake up and wash your body and face and clean yourself in itself is such an immense act of self-love. For people who have so much trouble with self-catering, it's a huge deal.
2. Beauty rituals are a way for people with anxiety and depression to realise their self-worth all over again. Cleanliness and self-care are things that lay ignored when going through depression. When the will for self-care returns, it brings along the hope for better things to come.
Amy Wechsler, a New York-based dermatologist, and psychiatrist says,
Depression, a lack of sleep, and a decline in grooming often go hand in hand. Depressed people often find it hard to take care of their hair, skin, and clothing, at a time when a routine is so important.
As for people with anxiety, it gives them a little more confidence to face the day. Living in a constant state of immense self-awareness/consciousness, it's normal routine done right that gives them a sense of hope, that maybe they'll get through the day without (imagined) mishaps. It gives their over-arching, cruel imagination the confidence to face the day.
3. The whole process of getting ready is also a way of occupying the mind. A regime keeps the brain occupied with things that can be controlled, creating a sense of order in an otherwise haywire life.
At least for people with anxiety, getting ready is a slow process of fulfillment. The result after bathing, combing and preening oneself acts as a confidence inducing factor. Annika Bhatnagar* who went through therapy for anxiety says,
Self-care kills stress. It's like putting together a puzzle, just that you know what the result would be. It's knowing that this thing you're doing to yourself will have the effects that you want. Anxiety is all about the extreme fear of things going wrong, my makeup is my ticket of confidence. I look what I choose to look like.
It gives a sense of control when one feels that holding the reins of their life is beyond them. It also an act of compassion towards oneself, when the mind is provoking an overdrive.
4. Makeup and beauty rituals call for a sense of perfection. It's the attainment of desired effects on their appearance that gives people a sense of purpose, which depression and anxiety take away from them.
Applying a moisturiser to perfection, getting the lipstick perfectly coordinated with the clothes, and finding the person who stares back from the mirror is a picture of perfection, giving one strength to face the day. There are people who swear by their beauty routine, saying how much it has helped them cope with life. Jude Chao tells Fashionista,
It's fun for me. I look forward to my morning and evening skincare routines—they're often my favorite parts of the day. Korean skincare rituals have helped me significantly in my constant struggle with depression.
It rejuvinates an interest in the self. It's a little something that helps in the boost of confidence. But for many, it has acted as something to look forward to, when life looked empty. For those with anxiety, the time spent stressing over horrible life events that are formulated by the brain is channelised into an activity where the results are exactly what has been worked for, unlike the unexpected shit that life throws at you.
5. Routines are a way of establishing control. Studies prove that repetitional and procedural activities often make it seem logical. Beauty regimes give results that further encourage depressed people to not give up on their body yet.
Katherine Glick, who is a licensed professional counselor and licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor tells Teen Vogue,
We are creatures of habit, and the more we can get ingrained in these positive wellness habits, the better we feel, especially if we’re dealing with anxiety.
Beauty regimes give results which boost self-confidence and self-worth. It's also a completely controlled set of steps that says this first and that third, which provides a sense of calm because it makes you believe in results. Cause and effect thinking has always been one of the critical aspects of human survival and makeup rituals are no different.
Although not the way to go for everybody, makeup and beauty regimes have lit the way while being trapped in a dark, dead end road. It fills many with a sense of order and love for one's own body when every cell within protests. It ensures results when all else seems bleak and pointless. After all, life's all about the hope of a better tomorrow.