What's Your Favorite Beauty Ritual? Here's Mine...(+ a Tip from Cate Blanchett)

My well-loved (and much-used) Wine Hydrating Mask from Arcona

One thing that I love about working in beauty is that every woman I meet, from the low-maintenance girl next door to the Sephora-inhabiting, red lipstick lacquered fashionista and the makeup-eschewing tomboy, has a story to tell about beauty. We all think about our appearance in one way or another. So what's your story?

When I think about beauty in my life (and believe me, as a beauty writer it dominates a pretty big part of my brain), I still get excited about certain rituals, like cleansing, smoothing a few drops of natural oil over my face, and curling and coating my lashes with mascara (so satisfying). These are all great. But I've got to admit, my absolute favorite ritual is applying a face mask.

My favorite masks (here are a few that I make at home) are usually pretty messy, and I'll admit that it's a bit awkward to wear them. I've actually been caught on multiple occasions with a face of clay or honey when the FedEx delivery guy rings my doorbell. But I just can't get enough and I love emerging, fresh and dewy, when I rinse off all of that goop. It never gets old.

Here's a mask-related tip I love:

Cate Blanchett recently told Style.com that she applies her face masks to the backs of her hands as well, to keep them as youthful-looking as her complexion. Note to self: give that one a try.

Now I'm picky about my masks, but when I find a fabulous one, I'm hooked. This summer I've had a great time with Suki Renewal Bio-Resurfacing Facial Peel and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (notice a trend?). They take care of exfoliating, soothing and brightening in one step. I'm almost out of my Tata Harper mask and am looking for another great mask to try- any suggestions? Tweet them to me here, or leave a comment below.

And tell me- what's your favorite beauty ritual?