Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? I don’t know but she probably has a vanity.
One of the most impactful memories I have of my grandmother was her seated at her vanity, carefully and happily applying her creams, foundation, lipstick, mascara...the works. All the while paying very close attention to her skin. She was chic, always perfectly put together, and never over -done. Taking that cue, since high school I always got ready seated at a vanity like a proper lady should. Sure, my first several vanities also double-timed as desks. But that lit makeup mirror, for which I begged my parents to get as my 13th birthday present, was my first big leap into skin care. It had a center mirror with a brightly lit border, and two side mirrors that unfolded. That and a seat was all I needed through my teens and early twenties. For the past decade of my adulthood I have made it a priority to have a dedicated vanity just as my grandmother did.
Why bother, you ask? It is simple. The act of sitting down in front of a lit mirror close to your face allows both the time and proximity to study your skin. You will notice how your skin changes throughout the month, and year, and years. You will observe how a product subtly changes your skin for the better or worse. When applying makeup, seeing the nuance of different techniques will aid in your skill at becoming your own best makeup artist. For me, I think most importantly, I notice how a little bit of makeup really does go a very long way. Another not so small reason to set up a vanity is when you commit to sitting down during your prep time, suddenly you are pampering yourself rather than getting ready. Skin care and makeup application should be a treat not a chore. A hefty dose of self esteem gets injected into me each time I sit down at my vanity. This ritual informs me daily that I deserve this time, this space, this attention. I love it and I love that my children will remember me getting ready this way each day.
Standing at a bathroom counter leaning into a mirror at arm’s length from your face robs you of this experience. You might crane in for an occasional spot check, but there is no comparison to treating yourself to prep time seated in front of a vanity mirror. If you want to truly get to know your skin, you need to, well, get up in your face.
So set up a vanity. Somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it is at your kitchen counter. Take in your glorious self. Try it for a week. You’ll likely be hooked for life. My advice if you don’t have dedicated space for your vanity is to keep it simple and portable.
A small round lit mirror. (Most of them come with a magnified side, but steer clear of it. You don’t need that for any purpose other than to obsess over things nobody else will see and some of you may go to town on things like the blackheads around your nose, zits, and other blemishes that you should NOT TOUCH!)
A cup for your brushes (tips up) and a separate smaller cup for your tools (tweezers, scissors, lash curlers, a few q-tips, etc.)
A makeup bag that will hold your everyday go-tos.
Having a box of tissues nearby doesn’t hurt either.
So take a load off and stop, look, and listen to your beautiful face. This small adjustment may just be the DTR talk your skin has been waiting for.