Am I beautiful?
I guess nobody wakes up everyday and feels they’re beautiful. Media assures us that even supermodels look in their mirrors and find flaws in their beautiful faces, so regular women like you and me are entitled to their struggles with the face and body that looks at us every morning in the mirror. Even sweeter, though, the moments in which we actually feel beautiful, be it because our makeup is on point, our significant other paid us a sweet compliment, or we feel one with the universe during a walk outside, a yoga lesson or meditation. (I want to stress that feeling beautiful has nothing to be whether you’re wearing makeup or not, but this being a beauty blog, I gather that you might wear makeup from time to time!)
In summer, we here at twindly dedicated a whole campaign to that – if you’re feeling so inclined, have a look at all the women who answered our question ‘what makes you feel beautiful’ and pointed out their holy grail products that make them feel even more fabulous. What I took away from that was that feeling beautiful is precious for most of the women we talked to – it’s not the equivalent of having a coffee in the morning on the way to work. It’s more like a five star dinner. Something to be savoured. That’s the reason I’m quite annoyed at every ad, every post on some social media outlet that scream at me ‘You’re beautiful! And don’t you dare to believe otherwise!’ lately. Honestly, I’ve become quite weary of that, and also, quite bored. Let me explain.
What is beauty?
That’s actually quite simple. A lot of scientific studies show that people, no matter where they come from, no matter what gender or age, are attracted to symmetrical features. What makes a face beautiful is mainly its symmetry.
If I use these official markers, am I beautiful? Definitely not. My face isn’t really symmetrical. But do I care? I do not. Because there’re people who love me and think I’m beautiful and not the other way round. And isn’t that great?
What’s this all to do with makeup?
This is a beauty blog. Both Astrid and I love makeup and its possibilities. And here’s the thing – what draws me to makeup is not the hope that it’ll turn me into Gisele, Cara or Naomi each morning (and I don’t think they wake up every morning feeling like Gisele, Cara or Naomi, either). Oh, I don’t deny that makeup quite often gives me the confidence to face the world, but then, so does a well-cut dress or awesome boots. Mascara for longer lashes, concealer for dark circles, foundation for a nicer skin – all great. But then, I also like freshly cut and blow-dried hair, or a nice mani. Everything of the above turns me into that version of myself that I want to present to the world outside. And that’s all good.
But, is that the reason I love makeup? Oh no. I love makeup because of the artfulness of it, and the skills to master, the novelty of textures and the science behind that, and lastly, the utter, absolute silliness and uselessness of it. Blue lipstick? Red feather lashes? Contouring with a pink blush (seen Lisa Eldridge’s video)? A world of yes. Nobody uses those to make them conventionally pretty, and a lot of those out-there looks are not at all beautiful to the common eye. The superfluous is the necessary, said philosopher Rousseau, because it’s what makes us human. And I can only say to that, rock on, all you people out there experimenting and having fun and creating looks. Go you!
Why should I aim to be beautiful?
In the end, that’s why I find this exclamation ‘don’t you dare thinking of yourself as anything other than beautiful!’ quite condescending – because it’s utterly irrelevant. It isn’t anything like I think about myself, either – not as beautiful, pretty, or ugly – but as kind, quick-tempered, sometimes funny, self-deprecating, searching, intelligent. I think we can all agree on that beautiful isn’t a trait of you that’s particularly important. Are you a good person? Are you honest, decent, kind? All much more important in today’s world.
So, ultimately, that’s why I love makeup, and don’t care if it makes me look beautiful. As a lover of makeup, I really can’t be anything than sad about the conformity that swept through the beauty community lately. Soft waves, groomed brows, contoured face, pouty lips – why don’t you do you! Everybody else is already taken, goes the old saying. One of my teachers from high school always used to say that only our flaws make us unique. If we didn’t have them, everybody would look the same. You know, it took me about twenty years, but I really think she was right.
In the meantime, I’m savouring the moments, these precious moments when everything just clicks and I truly feel beautiful – no matter how I look like.