The Art of Imperfect Beauty with Photographer Ritual of Me

Who knew crushed blush and smeared lipstick could be so calming? Like ASMR for the eyes, the Ritual of Me Instagram account wonderfully captures the tangible textures of beauty and skincare products. Spilled oils, gelatinous balms, and velvety creams are elevated to painterly status, evoking the abstract brushwork characteristic of expressionist art. Sensual, palpable, and a gleefully messy, it’s no surprise this Instagram account has attracted a loyal following for its uncommon view on cosmetics.

We caught up with the creator behind it all.

Hello! Can you introduce yourself? 
Hi! I’m Shelby, I’m 29 and live in Brooklyn, New York.

When did you start Ritual of Me? 
April 2017.

What inspired you to start the blog? 
I’ve always loved beauty/skincare and photography, and finally combined the two. Part of my former job was to photograph beauty and beauty products backstage fashion week. I ended up liking the imperfect outtakes more than the perfectly styled images. Finally I started sharing my images along with reviews of the products on my own platform.

How did your love of beauty and skincare begin? 
I think it originated from my mum. She has always loved skincare and cosmetics and my grandmother used to sell Avon. I’ve always loved painting and drawing and have a tremendous appreciation for make-up artists and love watching them work. As far as skincare, I have very sensitive and acne-prone skin so researching ingredients and skincare became a hobby as well as a necessity to figure out how best to deal with my skin.

Do you have formal training in photography or styling? 
I took some photography courses in college but my degree is in advertising with a design specialisation.

What are some of your favourite textures to photograph?
Thick masks and beautifully coloured oils!

You must love packaging, too. What brands have the best?
Yes, I do! There are so many. Functionally speaking, the best packaging for skincare usually has airtight pumps to keep products fresh and Allies of Skin does a great job with that. Overall I think Kjær Weis, Grown Alchemist, Susanne Kauffman (specifically the oil bath) and D.S. & DURGA are probably my favourites. 

How many products do you personally own? 
I really have no idea…

Is your own skincare routine complex? 
It’s somewhat involved because I have sensitive skin and acne issues. My skin is best when I get monthly salicylic acid peels with my dermatologist and I always pay close attention to the ingredients in the products to prevent any potential acne or sensitivity issues. Overall my skin reacts negatively to too many products or over exfoliation, so I have to be careful not to overdo it.

What brands have you worked with? 
L’Oreal, Estée Lauder, Versed, NARS, The Saie, iS Clinical,, Nécessaire, Biossance, and Chantecaille.

You can find out more about Ritual of Me here and follow on Instagram.

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