The Ritual Diaries is a bi-weekly editorial series where we talk to our favorite creators, experts, and change-makers about how they take care of themselves in a busy world. This week, we spoke to Alyx Liu, who is a professional hairstylist who has worked with icons like Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and more. They are also the founder of Utiles Beauty.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I always begin with putting on music to set the vibes for my day and begin my skincare routine alongside a tall glass of cold water to wake me up.
What is the last thing you do in your day?
I like to unwind by putting on some moody music, taking off my makeup and doing my night time skincare regimen. I never stray from this, regardless of how tired I may be.
What is the hardest part of the day for you — and how do you overcome it?
I am NOT a morning person, so I would say getting myself up and awake is the hardest part of the day for me. However, I overcome it by getting myself excited about whatever job(s)/client(s) I have for the day, and… a quadshot americano black, no sweetener. I like to remind myself that I used to dream about the job that I have – there was a time I had an office job that I was not passionate about, so it’s humbling and keeps me going.
As a professional hairstylist, what does “getting ready” look like + mean to you?
I personally love to do a quick face and sensible baby eyeliner moment and either do a quick bun or tuck my hair behind my ears. I take pretty good care of my skin, so I don’t do a whole lot – I keep it pretty natural, with a little brightening under the eye, warmth on the cheeks, brow, simple eyeliner, and a touch of mascara. I usually just embrace my hair’s loose wavy texture, however, if it’s oily/greasy, I’ll sleek it up with some water and leave-in conditioner to extend its wear. I LOVE getting glammed, but I usually cap my skincare, makeup and hair routine to 30 minutes before heading to work. On a usual night out, I’ll give myself about an hour or two to play with my hair and makeup – I like to have just as much fun and creativity on myself, as I do with my clients.
What boundaries do you set for yourself for your own health?
I actually just started setting boundaries for work and my health in the last 2 years. Coming from a lower middle class immigrant family household, I grew up with a workaholic mentality – I never said “no.” These days, I have learned that saying “no” is actually an act of self-love and self-respect. I now prioritize my mental health and health more than ever before by making time for myself to go on hikes, talk to my therapist, and hangout with my friends/family. I stopped overbooking my work days and decided that perhaps working 7 days a week is not healthy for my body or mind.
Do you have any “cannot live without” products in your everyday routine?
I’d choose Supergoop Mattescreen SPF40. It is such a SOLID mattifying priming base for makeup for my oily/combo skin, while also protecting me from hyperpigmentation from the sun. Also, Grande Cosmetics Grande Lash Serum MD – my lashes are SO short, and this serum literally has done wonders for my lashes. I swear by this lash serum in combination with a lash perm – I use it every night.
Do you have any rituals and if so, what are they?
I am a creature of habit when it comes to my day and night skincare ritual – I will sometimes switch brands, but I will always do all the steps.
DAY TIME: turn on music, drink cold water, cleanse, tone, under eye + face serums, under eye + face creams, + SPF + quick makeup application (concealer, blush + contour, brows, eyeliner, mascara) + get dressed and run out the door!
NIGHT TIME: turn on music, cleanse/exfoliate, tone, under eye + face serums, under eye + face creams, lash + brow serum, layout outfit options for the next day, brush teeth, take off contacts, zZzzZZZzzz.
*I always need multiple outfit options laid out the night before to save time in the morning so I can choose based on how I’m feeling in the morning– usually either a comfy chill (lazy) option and fashion option. One thing is certain, I’ll have platform shoes of some kind.
What would you tell your younger self about health and wellness?
For most of my youth, I struggled with eating disorders and spent a lot of time trying to fit in and assimilate my queer biracial self to cis gendered white heteronormative culture. In retrospect, I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to ask for help, seek therapy, and to embrace and love myself for all the things that make me different from others. Your health and wellness will follow.
What is something that you look forward to everyday?
I love choosing my outfit for the day and doing my makeup – it really sets themood, intention and vibe for the day.
How do you take care of yourself while being on social media?
I try to limit my social media use and I don’t really give my attention to comments. As a queer gender nonconforming person of color, I sometimes get unwarranted hateful comments with no basis, but I really don’t pay mind to them at all – I just remind myself that I (#1) can’t control how they think and (#2) they have their own issues to deal with and are projecting their view of gender/sexuality onto me, which I don’t need to partake in.
I also try my best to follow people whose content I genuinely enjoy and makes me feel good. I used to follow people I would lust over their success, lifestyle and/or the way they look, but I found that it actually made me feel bad about myself and trivialize the things I have. I think unfollowing and muting them is a way to safeguard my own mental health and wellness. I feel that this highlights the importance and need of diversity in entertainment, media and social media – we desperately need more bipoc, lgbtqia+, body positive folk on all of our timelines to unlearn eurocentric and unhealthy beauty/body standards.
How do you “reset” yourself after a night out, a bad date, etc.?
I still struggle with this – but it all comes back to self love and self respect. I think bad dates/nights out happen, and my therapist reminds me, it’s okay to be sad, cry and mourn the fantasy. I fantasize a lot about potential dates becoming more, and when it doesn’t pan out, it can be painful. But I remind myself that I do love all my queerness and all that I am. I know I am worthy of love and happiness, and that I am complete and full on my own, and don’t need someone to validate this. Partners do not complete us, but they can certainly add and enrich our lives.