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Everyday Beauty

Many of us have a morning routine, but with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the day, our beauty prep is typically a hurried affair, just like any ordinary part of getting ready for the day and rushing out the door. Sound familiar?

Just as our morning prep typically takes place over the bathroom sink, a Victorian lady would likely begin her day at her wash set.

Victorian lady at wash set

Consisting of a basin and pitcher, the wash set offered a simple way to start the day feeling squeaky clean, which was particularly welcome in an era when bathing meant more than just a quick shower. As part of her morning ablutions, the Victorians would pour clean water from the pitcher into the basin or bowl and lather up soap to bathe from head to toe using a cloth or sponge.

Victorian toilette, The Stays, James Gillray, 1810

("The Stays", James Gillray, 1810)

In addition to being highly practical, these wash sets were often beautifully designed and would sit proudly as a decorative piece in the bedroom when not in use.

“The elegant porcelain pitchers to hold wash water paired with their matching basins to lather soap and rinse sponges in seemed like the ultimate way to combine beauty with utility.”

—Sarah A. Chrisman, This Victorian Life

The use of the wash set inherently made the morning beauty routine a more deliberate and intentional action. And while the modern-day shower has rendered the Victorian wash set unnecessary, I tend to agree with Sarah Chrisman’s admiration for the combination of utility and beauty when it comes to one’s morning beauty routine. After all, we need to spend time cleaning up and getting ready each morning, so why not make those moments a bit more special?

If you’d like to make your morning routine more enjoyable, you may find some inspiration from the Victorians. Allow yourself a few moments to appreciate the present, and make it less of a routine and more of a ritual.

As you wash up in the morning, use a soap that smells lovely and makes you smile. Slow down for a moment as you dab on your favorite moisturizing cream and apply your make-up; notice the richness of the cream and its silky feel on your skin, take pleasure in the pretty hues of your make-up and how it accentuates your own natural beauty.

It takes just a few seconds to gift yourself these moments, but the joy you find may stay with you all day. Enjoy!

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