I believe that all women are pretty without makeup--and can be pretty powerful with the right makeup. --Bobbi Brown
“Least likely to work in the beauty industry.” I’d be willing to bet that, given the opportunity, my high school classmates would have slapped that label on me without batting an eye--no doubt about it. You see, I was the athlete. I was the ugly duckling. I was the one who couldn’t ever seem to feel comfortable in her own skin. And I was also the one who was forbidden to wear any makeup whatsoever.
So how is it that I arrived in the place I’m in today as the owner of an online beauty company? Well, let me tell ya, it’s not been a journey for the weak of heart. After spending much of my adulthood getting over my abusive childhood, I decided it was time to pursue my own dreams. In 2004, I finally took the leap to pursue my childhood fascination: makeup.
Now a grown woman, I’d come to recognize that extra bit of pep in my step when I took the time to apply the right makeup in the right way--the way that made me look more like me. Makeup was not a tool meant to make this former ugly duckling beautiful. Makeup, for me, became about magnifying my own unique beauty that had been there all along. And I wanted to help other women do the same. (With clean ingredients and an affordable price tag, of course!)
Some people love to debate about the role of makeup as it applies to beauty and empowerment for us ladies. It might appear as though I need to look like something other than my true self to feel beautiful or powerful, but that’s not it for me. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. So let’s spend a few minutes together breaking down this topic of beauty and empowerment, shall we?
What Is Beauty?
We’re often bombarded with all kinds of images in the media and magazines that try to sell us a false ideal of beauty. It’s all too easy to compare ourselves to those ideals and use it as some sort of self-imposed measuring stick. Our ideas about beauty become twisted and shaped by pop culture rather than by true beauty: a confident accepting of ourselves, flaws and all.
For me, beauty is an inner radiance. Beauty is found in showing kindness to ourselves and others. Beauty is strength in the face of adversity. And beauty is admitting when we’re weak, too. I’m sure you and I could fill in the blanks with our individual definitions of “beauty is…” all day long, and neither of us would be wrong. I want to share a few aspects of beauty that have become particularly personal to me.
Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep
As corny as it might sound, you truly are a masterpiece. Whether you see it for yourself or not, there will never be a work of art that could duplicate you. You’re the only you that ever has been, and the only you that ever will be. But I get it. It can be real hard sometimes--okay, a lot of the time--to deeply appreciate ourselves like we do when we lay our eyes on a stunning nature scene. But I have to say, God looks at us that way, and He wants us to see ourselves that way, too.
With this in mind, I’ve really felt the pain over all this talk of racism in the world lately. How is it that this evil is still in existence today? People are trying all sorts of ways to express their angst over this hot topic. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I do know this--we aren’t born racists. Racism is taught. Racism begins in the home. And racism fails to see the beauty and the value in ALL people of ALL skin colors.Even though I come from the south (some might call it hillbilly territory), equality for every single human being is not all that complicated for me. If we can see the beauty in ourselves, we can love ourselves better. And if we then look at our neighbors and love them the same as we love our own selves, racism won’t have a leg to stand on. If we want to do right by our children and the generations that follow, then we should teach them to see the beauty in people of all shapes, sizes, and colors, too.
Beauty Is Laughing In The Face Of Hardship
If you know me at all, you know I love to laugh! I believe that God has given me this gift because He knew I’d need to get through this life Not to state the obvious or anything, but laughter unlocks our inner joy. Laughter releases those feel-good hormones in our brains that have the power to override stress and depression. Laughter is a form of empowerment, ladies. You don’t believe me? Just you try it the next time you hit a bump in life’s road and see how much more powerful you feel.
So what does laughter have to do with beauty? Well, I don’t know about you, but laughter gives me courage. Laughter silences that pesky inner critic that I have to tell to shut up most days, making room for a more confident version of myself to appear. That’s where the beauty comes in. Not every day is going to be a great day, and don’t we know it. But a genuinely confident, beautiful woman can laugh at herself and laugh at her circumstances when things don’t turn out quite right. Life’s too short to waste it on trying to be Photoshop perfect. As one Yiddish Proverb so accurately states, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” Laughter cleanses and washes away the residue that tries to attach itself to us throughout our lives. Even in hard times, laughter allows us to show up for the day with a smile on our faces.
Beauty Is Doing What Makes You Feel Beautiful
A few years ago, I went through yet another awful time in my life. My marriage ended. (If you’ve been through that, then you know how it feels.) I was faced with the daunting prospect of rebuilding my life and my business, and this time I was alone. I had days when I felt like giving up. But when I chose to wake up in the morning and go through my self-care routine (which included my skincare routine and a little makeup, of course), I walked out the door with my head held high. My life had crumbled around me, but I still felt beautiful.
I realize that makeup isn’t a cover-up for life’s problems. But if we can use makeup as a tool to highlight our best features, our self-confidence enjoys a little boost. And if that boost gets us through a rough patch one day at a time, then so be it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to use makeup whatsoever to feel beautiful (or even to look beautiful, for that matter). If all it takes for you to feel your best is a good skincare routine, then do that and do it well.
Your unique beauty has to be about the things that make YOU feel beautiful. That’s where your superpower shows up. Some of us feel more beautiful when we’re all primped and pampered. Others feel more beautiful going au natural. For someone else, maybe it’s a venturing out in a gorgeous new outfit and that new lipstick that hasn’t been worn in public yet. My point is, when you feel beautiful, your beauty shines through from the inside out and gives you the courage to face the day. If that isn’t empowerment, I don’t know what is.