“My Good Day Face” is a Mental series about the feel-good beauty products people use to boost their moods.
With a degree in journalism and an early career as a health writer, Katie Becker can dissect a clinical study, find the bigger cultural meaning in a lotion launch—and speak firsthand about beauty’s effect on mood.
“I had really bad acne through my 20s to the point where it kept me indoors and constantly self-conscious,” says Becker, the former beauty and health director of Elle. “It was not good for my mental health.” To wit, much research (and likely a lot of sub-Reddits) has found a correlation between acne and anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
“Certainly, we can blame society for having impossible skin standards, but I think it’s really unfair to expect people to white-knuckle through stigma just to prove they aren’t vain,” says Becker. “We know that how you look affects the way the world perceives you and how you feel.”
One 2021 study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research backs up that how-you-feel bit: Makeup, it concluded, enhances people’s feelings of acceptance and respect toward themselves. “Should we all be striving for the same look?” asks Becker. “No. But you should feel comfortable pursuing the look that makes you feel great.”
Now a brand consultant and freelance writer for Vogue, Allure, and The Zoe Report, Becker tackles subjects from beauty inclusion (see: Selma Blair and accessible makeup design) to the safety of social trends (is the eyelid lift dangerous?)—and turns cosmetic science into lively lessons, like how a plant ends up in your moisturizer. She’s examined the Marie Kondo approach to skincare—and, here, explains the therapeutic one.
“When I don’t feel well mentally, I get so judgmental of my face and can become really harsh about what I see,” says Becker. “What I apply to make myself feel better are products that produce an effect I genuinely like. It helps me feel more in control and it can really turn around my day. Even though the makeup I use is really subtle, it can make me feel completely different about how I’m presenting myself.”
Without further ado…
Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk All Over Cream Spray, $110.70 for a set that includes C’est La Cream face moisturizer
Monochromatic Eye Shadow, Highlighter, Blush
“I get so many compliments on my skin when I use this. It’s a blush and bronzer and highlighter all in one. It’s important to use a nice blending brush or a rounded sponge, but I just use it on the apple of my cheeks up toward my temples. Then I add a bit across my forehead and the bridge of my nose. Instant skin revival. Life! I also use my finger to apply across my eyelids.”
“Low Frustration” Mascara
“I’m blessed with good thick brows, but they are curly and can get crazy-looking without grooming. I just started using this pot of clear gel on my brows, and in combination with the little comb it comes with, it lays my brows flat and gives this nice fresh effect. They’re easy to control and never crunchy or flaky. I love using products that feel like a true discovery—boosts my beauty editor confidence!”
Mauve-y Lip Color
“This color looks remarkably like my own lips, but with a touch of that cool ’90s mauve. It’s easy to use, I like it every time, and it’s not a statement lip I feel like I need to babysit.”
Follow Katie Becker on Instagram at @katiejaynebecker.
MENTAL NOTE: Oh hi there. Like we said above, “My Good Day Face” is a Mental series about the makeup and skin products people use to boost their moods. Yes, there are conflicting studies on whether makeup is good or bad psychologically, whether it can soothe or inflame anxiety and depression. If beauty causes you angst or feels like a form of pressure, step away! We love a beautiful bare face. But if applying moisturizer and lipstick helps your mental state by giving you a routine to follow, acting as meditation, inspiring creativity, or simply expressing your inner human, then: By. All. Means.
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