Why A Sensory Beauty Routine Might Be Right For You

Do you find yourself rushing through your evening skincare regimen? Perhaps your day-to-day routines have become more of a rushed habit to get out of the door than a mindful practice meant to make you feel good. While you may not correlate your beauty routine with your mental health, it turns out there is a link between the two. According to a study shared by Harvard Business School, well-established rituals may be key to reduced anxiety, and that idea can ring true for your beauty routine as well.

So, when you sit down to apply your makeup or complete your skin care regimen, those rituals alone may set your mind on the right track toward healthy thinking. And when you include your senses into the mix, you'll be sure to reach a calmer, more relaxed mindset. "When we engage our senses during a beauty routine — mindfully focusing on elements such as scent and texture — we move away from performing a mundane task and into the realm of enjoying a luxuriously soothing ritual," psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., told Well+Good.

This practice is called sensory beauty. By being in the moment and letting all (or some) of your senses participate in your beauty routine, you can reach meditation-level calmness and relaxation. Plus, it will make an otherwise ordinary routine feel more like a thoughtful self-care practice — and we could all use more of that. Here's why a sensory beauty routine might be right for you. 

A sensory beauty routine can transport you into a calmer state of mind

Those who meditate or participate in yoga know all too well what a calming practice can do for the mind and body. When you bring that practice into your beauty regimen, you'll not only look good but feel good, too. And beauty routines are crucial in laying down that framework. In fact, a survey shared by SWNS Digital found a huge connection between self-care routines and confidence, with over half of the respondents carrying out their routine to "feel comfortable in their own skin."

And bringing your senses into your routine can elevate that self-image even more! "Several senses work together (sight, smell, taste, touch, balance, movement, hearing) to form a person's impression," Psychodermatologist Dr. Alia Ahmed told Truly Beauty. "For example, smell is strongly associated with memory and emotion, and the aesthetics of a product can pleasure our eyes."

A sensory beauty routine is all about filling your senses with products you enjoy so that the entire regimen evokes pleasant feelings and emotions. Perhaps you love the cooling sensation of your face mask, and certain essential oil combinations bring you bliss. Reach for those products and pay attention to how they make you feel. Pour a glass of your favorite drink and sip on it while you watch your lashes double in size, thanks to your black lengthening mascara. By including all your senses in your beauty routine, you'll feel radiant inside and out. 

How to get the most out of your sensory beauty routine

When curating your sensory beauty routine, you don't have to purchase all new products. Instead, look toward the aspects of your current beauty routine that you love, and build on that. Well+Good recommends being mindful of your favorite products and leaning into the different sensations you feel when applying them. You may have a favorite-smelling lotion or a soft fluffy powder brush. Allow yourself to enjoy those products instead of letting your mind wander into unrelated thoughts that may illicit anxious emotions.

If you experience sensory overload, and taking in too many senses overwhelms you, you aren't alone. According to WebMD, experiencing too many senses at once can sometimes trigger those with mental health conditions, like anxiety. Those with developmental disorders like autism may also find too many senses to be anxiety-inducing. In this case, YouTuber Mom on the Spectrum recommends experimenting to figure out what works best for you.

"We're all different," she says in the video. "But it is possible to wear makeup, even if you are prone to sensory overwhelm if that's something you're interested in." You may want to start slow and work your way up. Light a yummy candle and apply fragrance-free products not to overwhelm yourself. Remember, the goal is to have an enjoyable experience! Every sensory beauty routine will look different, but once you find one that works for you, we hope it gives you all the self-care you need.