Saturday, 1 October 2011

Have We Lost Our Beauty Knowledge?

In 1825 England, The Art of Beauty, a small guide was anonymously published for English women, with beauty recipes for lip salves, face and hand creams; all natural ways to nurture the skin. 186 years ago women were taught what substances and ingredients soaked into their pores. In this guide, the (anonymous) author encourages a natural approach to skin care instead of using artificial products. 
I feel the skin care story is slightly different these days. Fast forward to 2011: there are hundreds of beautifully packaged, “intelligently” crafted creams convincing us that big beauty brands concretely know what most women would like from their products : “hope in the jar” solutions.
Ok, I agree, to a certain extent these luxury brands understand women’s regular skin quibbles – but that isn’t beauty knowledge; L’Oreal doesn’t teach you what your skin requires. To an extent, each women knows what her skin needs; so why then, do we splash out on expensive creams without trying the alternative, holistic path first? Is it because of time? Or perhaps you don’t know where to begin? There are hundreds of articles, blogs and tips to guide you on what is suitable for your skin. 
You may ask, what does this have to do with inner beauty? I believe taking care of ourselves speaks volumes of  about our self-respect, as well as enhancing our mood. Have you noticed when you’re feeling down you can immediately pick yourself up by slathering on a face-mask? Or heading down to the beauty salon for a make-over? Through a beauty regime, be it simple or complicated, I’ve concluded, I’ve come to love my body, i cherish it for what it is. I won’t deny there are things I would like to change but I thank god for what I have. 
Nurturing our bodies is part and parcel of encouraging the beauty within: remember you are the only one who truly understands your body. Natural beauty remedies were taught for a reason – so go ahead and tap into an ancient beauty knowledge.


There is a Frieda Pinto In All Of Us

Freida Pinto’s recent comment about how “hideous” she felt whilst speaking to her beau Dev Patel over Skype made the world question why she felt insecure.
She fell prey to her ego’s voice of not being perfectly primped and dolled up, as she watched herself reflected on the skype screen. She didn’t exactly feel like a crowned beauty; but more like a dethroned queen whose insecurities threw her off her throne. 
It doesn’t surprise me she feels this way: She belongs to a world where ugliness, wrinkles, or even no make-up has the newspapers printing feature, after feature, proving that these women are not really that beautiful; its just cosmetics highlighting their perfect bone structure. 
On reading this, I asked myself: Why is she picking holes in her flawless beauty? The rest of the world oohh and ahhs over her – so what’s the issue? Is she trying to fish for more complements? Or are her doubts sincere? 
I honestly believe her bout of insecurity showed that despite thousands of compliments thrown at her, she lost sight of what made her beautiful. To Dev, it didn’t matter whether she had a chic chignon, or if her dark under eye circles were revealed: he saw her beauty. Nothing more, nothing less. But for Freida, she felt it was a “pressure” for her hair to look right. 
Perhaps she got used to sexy pouting, but a pout do not a beauty maketh. 
Beauty lies within exposing your true self, not caring about how you have to look, but just merely being YOU and casting away the standards set up by society. 
When we see ourselves in the mirror every bump or asymmetric ine encourages the vicious voice within, whispering confirmations of your lack, ever so softly and gently.  You’re under its claws. But are you willing to fight back and challenge the monster? That’s the question….

Bullied Because Your Beautiful

Natasha MacBryde and Phoebe Prince – the world lost 2 beautiful school girls to vicious bullying. Both committed suicide at the tender age of 15, unintentionally breaking their families and friends hearts, because of suffocating insults hurled on a daily basis, by a group of malicious school girls. Evidently, bitterness and jealousy compelled a group of malicious school girls to pick on vulnerable and kind girls to satisfy their own alter ego.
What a shame!  This is a stain on society’s conscience: despite all the anti-bullying campaigns, we’re not fully acknowledging or acutely hearing what these fragile, delicate voices are trying to say: Phoebe and Natasha probably tortured themselves every day and night, struggling with their own internal demons of not being beautiful enough, when lo and behold, it was confirmed to them by their own classmates. I’m sure these girls were surrounded by loved ones who constantly assured them of their beauty – however, it wasn’t enough. Sadly no one taught these girls how to tap into their own unique inner beauty. 
When I Googled Natasha’s and Phoebe’s photo, I saw these girls were beautiful in their own way: cherub faces and sparkling eyes full of hope – sadly they doubted their own potential, feeling they couldn’t live another day: Their dark isolation swallowed them up. So far down in the pit they had reached, that a noose and a speeding train were the ultimate remedy to their daily torture. 
The pressure is on: Who do we blame? Action is required, boundaries are needed. Luckily, Phoebe Prince’s case brought world wide attention to cracking down on bullying as Make A Noise To Save A Life (run by the Samaritans charity) hosted a charity music event in Boston.
Charitable events certainly deserve an applaud. But, how do we teach teenage girls, who in their awkward adolescent years, interpret rolling eyes, cold silences, or worse off, behind-the-back sniggering, as signals of their wavering popularity? At their worst,these girls can easily spit their venom at whoever they consider weak and vulnerable – so much so, that the cases of suicides, amongst girls, are continuing to soar. 
Today’s education system reeks of glitter, glamour and false eyelashes, rather than of bookish wisdom and knowledge. Competition of whose the prettiest has now seeped into the education system; its lip gloss  at dawn, rather than pencils. Most girls are at the mercy of rigid rules that demand “if you have spotty skin, unkempt eyebrows or an awkward fashion sense, then get out of the way love, you’re of no use”. They’re far from worried about failing exams; they’re concerned whether they can get through their day without being brutally picked on. No wonder girls are becoming increasingly self-aware and insecure to the brink of self-hatred. After all, if they can’t get it right in the school ground, then do they stand a chance in the “real world”? 
Liberate, a cosmetic surgery group, found 48% of women (who were bullied) would consider plastic surgery to soothe the sting of insecurities. In the case of Natasha MacBryde, a cruel message was left for her on social networking site Formerspring: “You’re a f***king sl*t hiding under all that make-up. You think you’re pretty and that all the guys like you. Start acting nice to people or you will lose everyone”. Unfortunately,it was us, society, who lost out on a nice person….
There is no clear solution, neither can we control other people’s actions – but we can monitor our own. The conclusion to weathering the storms of insecurity is learning what your inner beauty is and understanding how to harness it. Make it your buffer. I believe this is a technique, a power, a belief, could help save the lives of many girls.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall Beauty Exercise

When it comes to looking in the mirror, it clearly is a love/hate relationship: some of us are narcissistic, admiring every feature, gazing into the glass without hesitation, completely fixated with our reflection And for others, the sight of themselves in the mirror can bring tears to their eyes as they shiver at the image they see in the crystal. 
Our physical reflection does get our mental chatter going – swinging from “I hate the way my skin looks”, “I’m getting so old, I require a facelift” to a “I feel so alive and beautiful”. 
Now Monday mornings aren’t the easiest day for most of us, 
And when our negative chatter is set to default (and we’re all guilty of it) especially in front of the mirror, its definitely not conducive to vamping up our beauty vibe. 
Negative mental chatter about our physical self (ranging from the way you look to the size of your waist) affects our whole way of being – it unfortunately keeps us in a gridlock of “feeling” ugly and worthless. Dressing up then becomes a game of fishing for compliments from strangers, co-workers, family and friends. 
Our physical reflection does get our mental chatter going – swinging from “I hate the way my skin looks”, “I’m getting so old, I require a facelift” to a “I feel so alive and beautiful”. 
Now Monday mornings aren’t the easiest day for most of us, 
And when our negative chatter is set to default (and we’re all guilty of it) especially in front of the mirror, its definitely not conducive to vamping up our beauty vibe. 
Negative inner chatter about our physical self (ranging from the way you look to the size of your waist) affects our whole way of being that we walk around the rest of the day “feeling ugly”. 
Think about it: waking up first thing in the morning and telling yourself you’re not beautiful or good enough for the world makes your world  especially your body language, reflect that message. We walk around with a hunch, feeling frustrated perhaps even angry or even jealous of others,  For some women, they are focused on their physical flaws of not having that “perfect” supermodel look; for others its their skin appearance, heck, its even about not having the perfect shaped nose! 
Our eyes, lips, hair, hands, legs and body require emotions, a certain vibe, to breathe life into our bodies, because we’re more than our physical self – otherwise we’d be no different from a mannequin doll in a shop window. 
When we look at ourselves in the reflection, first thing in the morning, take into consideration you’re looking at the “naked” you: In simpler terms, your looking at yourself without a painted face or eyes. Each part of the face speaks has a message to relay: the eyes, the windows of our soul, reflect the emotions we’re feeling; the skin’s texture reflects eating habits; our hair shows the amount of time fingers twist the strands and curling iron around it. Listen to what your body is saying before the blaring voice of your ego captures your attention or Vogue’s latest front model makes your reach for those false eyelashes…
Let us go beyond marred views, nagging disappointments and . Just as we drill for oil, we must drill for the “x marks the beauty spot” to unleash the beautiful self. It’s your turn to find out, each day, what makes YOU beautiful. 
Every morning, for 20 minutes, look in the mirror without makeup or styling your hair. Breathe deep and say “This is me, I am beautiful as I am”. Take this time to appreciate your skin without makeup and your hair without styling it. This is your time to love yourself without any masks.