Blake Newby

How A Quarantine Breakup Resulted In The Best Beauty Routine Of My Life

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The other day, I posted a selfie and didn't think much of it, but I kept getting responses telling me that I was glowing. Thankful as I was for the influx of compliments, I wondered if it might have been something I did differently with my makeup. Did I try a new concealer? Did I apply more bronzer than usual? I racked my brain for a bit to no avail, then it dawned on me: it was a f--kboy-free glow brought on by a quarantine breakup.

Yes, I know I sound cliche, but it's true. 2020 in its entirety has been emotionally taxing in ways unimaginable. First a pandemic, followed by the continued documented murders of my people at the hands of the justice system, compounded with the dead weight of an unhealthy relationship with an unfit partner, the stress had began to reveal itself on the outside (think dull skin, unexplained breakouts), and it was evident.

For all those wondering, yes, the breakup was messy. Very. But don't fret: it wasn't one of those breakups that left me hemmed up in a room crying. In fact, tears were absent, serving as yet another bit of reinforcement that the relationship had stopped serving me a long time ago. Have you ever had a gnawing feeling that a relationship wasn't right? That someone wasn't for you? That their shortcomings were far too abundant for you to even begin to fix? That was my situation. I'd kept praying for signs over and over again because I deep down I knew I deserved far better, but when those innumerable signs would present themselves, I'd turn the other cheek. But finally, those red flags turned into one giant bomb, and like that, the situation that my friends, family, and even I knew wouldn't or shouldn't last, was over.

But instead of feeling the burden of heartbreak, seeking out closure, or asking why, I immediately felt like a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt relief in knowing that this time, the on-again, off-again situation was actually over. My only focus became myself, no longer burdened with the constant task of trying to see past the never-ending shortcomings of someone else. Suddenly, self-care took on new meaning. First, I began losing weight, both literally and figuratively. Now, down 15 pounds, eating clean (no carbs, no dairy, no sugars, only lean protein) with the accompaniment of a rigorous high-intensity interval training workout routine I found on Instagram. I guess the summer body that I gave up on months ago is actually on the way.

I've also been reading a lot more, diving head first into the self-help books like Bell Hooks' All About Love, and others that I'd been putting off, and making it a priority to not go a day without getting even deeper into the books I've selected. Further contributing to the glow is the skincare routine revamp that's proven successful. It includes masking more (I've fallen in love with Golde's Lucuma Bright Face Mask) exfoliating frequently, and even (successfully) gave myself an at-home peel. The bold decision came after a suggestion from Jackie Aina herself. I decided to also purchase the same, applying one night after cleansing, and my skin peeled lightly for about two days. When it was all said and done, my skin looked radiant as ever. While doing my skincare routine, I've also been sure to light a candle — or five — to create a more ambient environment. I may not be able to go to the spa right now, but I can pretend.

The cherry-on-top, is that I now have my weave back. After months of being my own hairstylist, I was able to safely — and legally — sit back in the styling chair for a head full of extensions. For some, it may sound rather frivolous, but as a frequent wearer of extensions, it's been a blow to my confidence to be without for the past few months. Plus, the ex who shall remain nameless hated weaves, always advocating for me to wear my own hair, so it feels like yet another "screw you" to him.

It's incredible the toll that an unhealthy situation can have, even when you think it's what you want. But it's even more incredible the power that's restored when that toxicity is removed, especially if you have an affinity for beauty products and glam. A breakup on top of everything else going on in the world certainly wasn't something I anticipated, and if you would have asked me a month ago, it wasn't something I desired. However, it's been the silver lining for me in everything else that's been occurring. I've learned to more deeply trust my intuition, that in every way. shape, and form, I am the prize, and am pouring solely into myself until I meet someone both equally-yoked and deserving. So to anyone going through a quarantine breakup: it's okay to be sad, it's okay to be angry, it's okay to be confuse. But when you pick yourself back up, focus on you — and only you.