When she was in her 20s, Irina Gonzalez liked to try different makeup styles. However, as she got older and extra responsibilities piled up, she didn't get any time for it.
Now she has switched back to a "me time' routine and discovered that makeup has a beneficial effect on her parenting skills and helps her feel more confident.
Taking care of herself again has made a difference, and she's not as worried as she used to be.
What are the details?
"I grew up having a mom too busy working, who never had time for herself, so I never got to play with makeup when I was a kid. In college, I realized that makeup could be a creative outlet," Irina shared with Insider about how she discovered makeup at an older age compared to other kids.
Even though she liked to experiment with makeup, a busy life gradually got in the way of trying out new looks.
"As I got older and busier, my interest in spending time to apply a cat-eye or red lip waned. When I met my husband after turning 30, makeup was turned into an indulgence on special occasions, and it was no longer a part of my identity the way it had been earlier in my life," she said.
After welcoming her son, makeup was overshadowed even more, and she almost forgot about "dressing up" or going for "cute' looks. Even if these things slipped her mind for a while and she didn't think about makeup much, there came a time when she felt she needed a change.
"One year after my son was born, I realized that I couldn't stand the dark circles under my eyes during work Zoom calls anymore. Some refer to this as 'Zoom fatigue.' I think it's a call to do something only for me," Irina said.
It wasn't that easy to do it without feeling guilty
Even though she'd often heard about the need for "self-care" and her husband encouraged her to take some "me time" off her mom's schedule, Irina quickly felt guilty about it.
So, she figured the best way was to take little steps until she got used to it.
"I went slowly. First, I bought a foundation and concealer, and then I got mascara. After that, I found my favorite blush and some red lipstick. Little by little, I'd sneak in a few minutes in the morning to apply these on those days I knew I had virtual meetings. My mom soon noticed the change in me," Irina shared.
Even though her mom had also started on the self-care trend and had been using makeup for the past decade, she still had a hard time understanding why Irina did it when she was barely away from her home.
"Although she'd started to take care of herself and wear makeup in the last ten years, she didn't understand my fascination with makeup when I barely left the house. And my husband didn't get it either. He supported this new hobby, but he had become used to my makeup-free face through the years. Friends and coworkers who had kids always said I looked nice but didn't get it. They commended me for 'making the time' when they just couldn't," she explained.
The reactions she got added to her guilt, but in time she realized it was worth spending those minutes and the money on herself.
"It helped me become a better mom," Irina said.
Up until then, her mind was constantly racing, and she was worried about her son. A few months after diving into makeup, she smiled more often, had plenty of energy, and felt confident.
"I soon understood that the difference in my mood was due to the time I spent in front of the bathroom mirror. That was the only time of day I wasn't thinking about everyone and everything else. It turns out that taking care of myself allowed me to get creative with my look and provided the kind of self-care that relieved my worries as a new mom," Irina added.
When she totaled her expenses for a whole year, Irina got very close to $1,000. Even though she was a bit surprised at the amount, she has no regrets and would do it all again.
"I tallied my makeup expenses at the end of the year and was shocked to find I spent almost $1,000. But honestly, I would spend that all over again for these 20 minutes of peace every day," she concluded about the power of makeup to boost self-love and help you trust yourself again.
It's not about wearing a mask or hiding but more about bringing out the best in you so you can keep on giving your loved ones the constant care and support they need from you while avoiding exhaustion and worries.