My Too-Big Beauty Stash Gives Me Strength

Because there's no shame in making your appearance a priority.

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It's difficult to overstate just how much makeup I have and how much room it takes up. Bathroom counter space shared by three traditionally feminine female roommates in their 20s will be cluttered, of course, but my two shelves are nearly overflowing with hair and skin-care products. The top shelf is where I keep all my makeup, stuffed as best I can in a lazy-Susan-esque contraption (without this, the sheer volume might just spill out and flood the rest of the house). On the edge of the sink sits a lacy, metal tin that holds my makeup brush collection that boasts at least 20 brushes. The drawers below are stacked with a diverse heaping of face and hair masks, conditioners, and moisturizers.

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Spinning Cosmetic Organizer by Lori Greiner, $40,

You might now be compelled to ask: Why? Why own so many products and tools that seemingly do the same job? Why take up so much space? Why waste that much money? Simple: None of this is a waste to me.

From the first swipe of a makeup sponge I develop laser focus.

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That my beauty routine is a big daily priority to me isn't just about vanity. It's at once a powerful mode of self-transformation, a form of expression, and a calming escape from the demands of everyday life. Whether it's my purposefully slow and detailed process when I'm getting ready for a night out, or my quick bedtime skin-care regimen, the effort I put into my appearance is in and of itself a meditative form of self-care.

Set 706, $25,

As soon as I wake up every morning, my mind is already running at a dizzying pace, thoughts pulled in multiple directions—until I set foot in front of a mirror and get to work, that is. From the first swipe of a makeup sponge I develop laser focus, a blissful and foreign feeling to someone who's so distracted she struggles to finish sentences. But there, while I contemplate which cream will help tame my cowlick or switch quickly from my eyebrow brush to my bronzer brush and back again, my mind goes blank, at last.

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For the 30 or so minutes it takes to run through my arsenal of foundations, blushes, and liquid lipsticks, I don't think about urgent deadlines; I don't dwell on the wounds caused by a long-gone embarrassing moment; I no longer dread the long commute that's ahead of me. It's just me, my mirror, and my products. We're a team.

My bathroom will remain forever cluttered. It's worth the investment.

Yes, my bathroom is bursting at the seams with makeup utensils, but rather than bring on more stress, these items are literally the tools I need to create my most authentic self. Because when it's all done—when my skin is glowing, my brows are bold, and my lips are bright—I suddenly look like me: edgy, polished, ready for anything. It's that feeling of being totally centered that I crave, and beauty products are the things that best help me access that state.

Complete Cleanse Kit, $257,

So, my bathroom will remain forever cluttered, and I will use every single mask, spray, cream, and palette in my repertoire—delightfully so, despite the judgmental once-overs my bathroom receives from certain friends and family. I will continue to have several makeup brushes solely for my eyes—one for smudging, one for blending, one for liner, and one for all-over application, obviously. And I will continue to spend just a little bit more every month on numerous hair styling products that, sure, have very similar purposes. But it's all worth the investment.

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