Consider this: your current state of beauty is enough.
More than enough, in fact, even with a blemish or two, frizzy ends, or designer eye bags!!
Feeling good about the way we look is important. When we do, the brain releases chemicals like dopamine and serotonin; little neurotransmitters that play a major role in reward-motivated behavior, mood, and social behaviors. Remember the last time you left the salon feeling like a million bucks? Wasn’t the day just a bit more awesome? No traffic, dinner waiting at home and a quiet night with no kids demanding attention….ahhh. Heaven right?? In reality, the day was the same as any other, but we felt so good having cared for ourselves just a little bit that the hard stuff just seemed easier.
We live in a culture saturated with information, brimming with ideas of what is and what isn’t the standard, constantly measuring ourselves against each other. It’s a beauty jungle out there and the competition between conventional and unconventional is heating up!
Think about the recent uproar over people magazine’s sexiest man of the year…imagine you are a handsome male celebrity and you are told by the general public, your fans, ‘you are not enough…not handsome, not cool, not sexy.’ ouch.
Is it possible that the culture of “beauty shame” has gone over the edge? We are told to have thick skin, not take things personally and let it ride, but how often have you been affected by similar comments or perhaps, impacted someone else’s day with an offhand remark?
By conventional beauty standards, we are boxed in, anchored in sameness and offered so many options without much real choice. In the era of contour-mania, our undefined features and lack of natural highlights place us in the ‘lesser than ideal” category. We are encouraged to follow paint by number palettes, cover our freckles to apply more freckles, and brows and lashes have reached unheard of dimensions (brow braids anyone?).
There are over 6 million #makeuptutorial posts on Instagram and 154,030,745 million (!!!) Posts about #makeup. Of the 8.6 million posts about natural beauty, about half of the images are before and after tutorials or full face makeup. #naturalhair was a similar result; perfect beach waves, fresh, shiny colors and a surprising amount of children’s hair… it would appear that our ideal for natural color is the hair of our youth. Anyone doing a lot of babylights recently? Me too!
The act of getting dolled up is another one of those magical rituals we do to kick-start the neurotransmitters into high gear and it feels a shift is coming in the landscape of beauty. Now, this doesn’t mean tossing the bronzer or rolling out with bedhead but simply shifting our perspective, which allows a deeper transformation…a core shift towards acceptance of self and feeling worthy in your own skin.
“Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It's about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart and a pretty soul.”
As I look through fashion magazines, I am seeing more natural texture in hair, more freckles, more unique features and so much diversity. The rise of so-called “unconventional beauty” is showing us a new face. One of freedom, courage, trial and error, and stone cold flawsomeness!! No longer are our facial perfections required to be hidden under layers of concealing paint, juicy curls smoothed to polished glass or our bodies encased in shrink wrap….those simply exist as choices in a world of options. While I personally love makeup, I also love my face as it is and have found joyful expression with both bare and adorned skin.
The word adorn means to make more beautiful or attractive, to decorate, embellish, ornament or enhance. As we are beginning a new year, how can you bring this practice to your own daily rituals? Are you already inspiring others? We have been decorating ourselves for centuries to celebrate, mourn, and document history and 2018 may just have you wanting to try something new. Here are a few topping my list!
Three fresh hairstyles to try in the New Year:
- Use multi colored threads and ribbons and weave or sew into hair for added texture and great pops of color. If you like a little more bling, try using a necklace or earrings. Hair pins work best as they have a bit less tension than bobby pins.
- Try using fresh succulents and air plants to embellish braids, buns and upstyles or make a living headband using fresh flowers and an elastic cord. Source blooms from whole foods or flower shops at the end of day!
- Braid hair into several different sized and style braids, then blossom and pin up loosely for a simple upstyle. Great for medium to long hair! For longer lengths, braids can be sewn together, creating a stunning woven effect.
Okay luvvies, are you up for a challenge? If so, here it is….
Everyday, find joy in self-expression. Everyday, do what makes you feel most beautiful. Everyday, put on your perfect face and perfect hair and know that you are 100% without question beautiful just as you are. Try anything and everything at least once, including that black lipstick or the snail essence mask (yes, its super slimy!)
To support and encourage each other, post pics, videos and stories on Instagram. Use the hashtag #ifeelpretty and tag @bangstyle and @curlygirlontheroad for a chance to be featured in an upcoming piece!!
With love and gratitude.