The ritual of you

Words Michaela Williams


Think back to the last slice of time in the last 24-hours that was solely your own. No bosses, spouses, children or social intrusions. Just you, alone with your thoughts.

It’s more than likely that you flashed back to this morning, massaging on your facial cleanser under the shower’s flow, or late last night, tapping on a night cream. Where were your thoughts during this daily task – thinking about tomorrow’s work deadline, if the car is out of petrol, did you pay the DEWA this month? – or did you take this moment alone to completely release those daily stressors, and lean into the more indulgent side of your skincare routine, treating this daily task as a form of self-care.

For one’s mental wellness

Aseya Nasib, founder of holistic self-care brand The Magic of Being, says that making time for personal self-care can be truly transformative for one’s mental wellness. The Emirati-American explains that just the simple gesture of creating time that’s only for you is an act of self-love and appreciation. “Self-care is a great way to practice self-love and I think it’s very important to prioritise,” she says. “This can be as simple as taking a weekly bath or hitting the gym, or even deeper things like letting go of toxic patterns and going to therapy.” She points out that women spend so much time catering to other people, whether that’s family, friends, or at work, that we forget to take care of ourselves and our own emotional, spiritual and physical needs. “It’s hard to truly live your best life if you aren’t taking care of the most important person, yourself. Practicing self-care opens up our relationship to ourselves,” she muses.

skincare routine wellness editorial photography emirates woman

Blending physical with the spiritual

While the more authoritarian self-help category ruled the late 90s and early 2000s, the idea of self-improvement has since evolved into a gentler idea of self-care and nurture. Simplified to activities and objects that make you feel comforted, secured and ultimately cared-for, self-care is a kind of holistic wellness that marries the physical with the spiritual; a more focused variation on ‘me time’. Scroll through #selfcare on Instagram – with 22.6 million tagged posts – and browse through shots of bubble baths by candlelight and mugs of hot chocolate, posed jade rollers and skin creams, and thickly-applied facial masques, each linked to an element of an individual’s self-care, with the direct intent of setting a few emotionally restorative minutes aside each day with your cleanser, serums and cream. “If you take the healing power of touch into consideration, skin care is a wonderful way to self-soothe and relax,” explains Aseya. “I like to light some candles, burn some essential oils, put on a facemask and just close my eyes for a few moments.”

Routines as rituals

Kate Park, founder of the Dubai-based Korean beauty boutique, Lamise Beauty, agrees that having a routine in place is an easy way to release stress and feel good. “Self-care is a very broad term and it can be any activity to make you feel good physically and mentally,” she says. “Good self-care reduces your stress and makes you feel comfortable I believe taking care of your skin is part of self-care.” Asian beauty routines famously encourage following an extended number of steps and a ritualistic approach in the order that products are applied. Kate points out that it’s this attention to detail that makes Korean skincare routines ideal for those looking to practice extra self- care. “Korean beauty has morning and night skincare rituals,” she says. “It is very important to clean your makeup with cleansing water, oil or balm and to wash your face using a water- based cleanser to remove impurities, dirt and clogged pores. Then exfoliate off your dead skin for improving skin texture, hydrate with moisturisers and relax with a mask pack or sleeping cream for intensive hydration. This self-pampering skincare routine will hopefully release your stress and make you feel calm.” Also rising in popularity are self-care beauty tools, from skin rollers to East Asian gua sha. Carved from stones such as rose quartz and jade, these tools allow to user to massage the skin as they apply product. While brands may claim the stones and crystals impart a mystical healing effect, they do have more of a practical use. The gentle pressure encourages blood flow and a rush of oxygen to the dermis, relaxing the facial muscles and easing tightness, while improving the serum, oil or cream’s absorption.

skincare essentials

Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence, Dhs104, Cosrx, Lamise Beauty; Rose Quartz Roller, Dhs215, Salt By Hendrix, Bloomingdales; Grab Water, Dhs152, Huxley, Lamise Beauty; Skin Caviar Eye Lift, Dhs2,066, La Prairie, Harvey Nichols; Abeille Royale Youth Watery Oil, DhsD587, Guerlain, Sephora; Jade Gua Sha Face Sculpting Tool, Dhs121, Solaris Laboratories NY, Ounass

Where to start

Still rushing through your routine? Start to think of your skincare ritual as a way thanking your body for all that you put it through. “Taking care of my skin is one of my favourite ways to connect with myself, and to show my body that I really care about it,” says The Magic of Being’s Aseya. “Choosing to take a few extra minutes and add steps instead of just slapping on a cream makes me feel connected to myself and allows me to step into my inner power.”

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Photography: Stephanie Galea, Art Direction: Ash K Halliburto, Styling: Natalie Westernoff, Model: Martina At Next Casting: Seona Taylor Bell And Hollie Cundy Hair: Jennifer Lil Buckley Makeup: Philippe Miletto Nails: Jess At Eighteen Management, From Emirates Woman May 2018 Issue