There is a cultural studies term called habitus, determined by daily practice.  A practice, constructed by social structures (gender, race, class, and age) develops over time into a habit that shapes who we are as individuals and societies.
Regardless of financial or physical limitations, in my mind I have an aspirational habitus that I like to indulge in. I think of myself as the kind of woman who would bathe for an hour everyday, using creamy handmade soaps. I drink loose-leaf teas and am sensitive about the type of water I use for brewing. I like candles and washing basins, Japanese incense, and Mason Pearson brushes.
I have an interesting background. My Filipino grandmother raised me. She was a beauty queen in the Philippines, however not high maintenance in daily life. I don’t think I ever saw her with make-up on. My mother is the same. The times she wore makeup it looked unnatural. She had glowing tan skin, and full lips. I’m sure their habitus comprised of splashing water on the face before bedtime.
But me, I am different. I am mixed race. And grateful for every compliment I receive about my beauty. I have struggled in the skin department. My skin requires some thoughtfulness. I discovered in my late 20’s that I have complexion type skin. I have tried almost every variation of skin creams and exfoliators. I was absolutely open to try Darphin Paris.
Darphin’s Perfecting Body Scrub comes in a raspberry colored cream. It is made with apricot seed flakes. I followed up exfoliation with Darphin’s Cleansing Milk Emulsion. I love it so much. The packaging for the Cleansing Milk is pink-milky pink-and uses Verbena.
I went through a phase when I drank Lemon Verbena loose-leaf tea. When I apply the cream, I think about beautiful sage colored dried Verbena leaves. There are floral notes and a very fresh scent and feeling to this cream. I think one should be particular about what they put on their face. I also think that what you put on your face should make you feel beautiful, with or without makeup. This Cleansing Milk does that.
Finally, I tried Darphin’s Niaouli Aromatic Care. I had to consult with some beauty industry friends to understand its uses. I love essential oils, but it seemed odd to rub oil on my face. I was assured it would be okay. Make-up artist Chiho Omae once taught me how to apply things to my face with my fingers. I use my hands to apply foundation when I wear it. I did the same with the oil.
I let a few drops fall into my palms and slowly applied it to my face in circular motions. I put it on before bed, and rather than the sticky feeling I usually get with moisturizer, I actually felt moisturized.
I have two pans that I really try to care for—my wok and my cast iron skillet. After I wash them, I put them back on the stove, heat them, and pour a drop of oil on them. The oil makes them look more cared for and well preserved. If oil can do that to my beloved pans, than I can definitely put some on my face.
So, perhaps with these products I am indulging more than I used to in my habitus, but I am also in the next phase of my womanhood, where a little more tender love and care to my skin may help as I grow older.

~Vanessa Shields