Beauty and the Beholder

Lately, I’ve been rethinking my blog. I started it earlier this year because I was fed up with the negative way that beauty is presented to us and, as a result, how we end up looking at it ourselves. Beauty is packaged to us as something that we all want to achieve, but in the process causes us to be so racked by insecurity, resentment and self-loathing, that we end up missing it altogether. Who wants that?! Apparently, most of us. We all want to look like somebody else, some unreal, unattainable ideal that we know we can never be. We also end up tearing down not only ourselves, but those around us who don’t meet those ideals. It’s an aspiration that breeds a negativity that’s toxic to our self-esteem – I gotta say, that doesn’t seem very aspirational to me. But we still get sucked into it, because that’s the prevailing mentality.

So I started my blog wanting to engage in an alternative dialogue on beauty – one that’s inclusive and individual, that encourages us to pay attention to what’s beautiful about ourselves rather than wanting to be beautiful like other people. In the last few months this intention has fallen by the wayside a little, so I’m bringing it back on track for the new year. Hopefully this’ll be a regular feature – I’m going to start with myself, and I look forward to talking to all the beautiful people I know and enjoying a different perspective on beauty.

Testing, testing…

Me - the crash test dummy

How do you define beauty?
To me, beauty comes from being the best version of yourself – taking care of yourself, inside and out, being kind (it shows on the outside) and being genuinely self-confident. I also find imperfection really beautiful – ‘interesting’ is far more beautiful than ‘flawless’ because it’s multidimensional.

When do you feel most beautiful?
When I’m kind to my body and myself – living a healthy lifestyle and being in good shape are important, and being at my best intellectually and professionally. Knowing myself from the inside out lets me focus on how to be the best ‘me’, as opposed to aspiring to be like anyone else – which inevitably depresses me. I also love my beauty routine, so clear skin and good makeup also don’t hurt!

When do you feel least beautiful?
When I’m not being good or true to myself. Being lazy, physically and mentally, makes me look and feel stagnant. I had trouble with my skin this year, which made me feel horrible – but honestly I felt the worst when I beat myself up about it.  On the whole, this has been a really tough year personally and professionally and my self-confidence has taken a real hit so I feel far from beautiful. I’m working on that.

Who is the most beautiful person you know? What makes them beautiful?
I’m lucky to know a lot of incredibly beautiful people – the most beautiful are self-assured and kind-hearted. I’d love to know how they get to (and maintain) that state, so I’m really looking forward to exploring their perspectives via this feature on my blog.

Any must-have beauty products?
I’m a total product fiend, whether I need it or not I can’t get enough of the stuff. I do have some staples though:
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHAs and BHAs) – a good skincare routine is crucial, beginning with knowing your skin type well. I swear by A- and BHAs to gently exfoliate the skin on a daily basis; they are non-abrasive and clear the skin, fade marks and promote cell regeneration. My favourites are Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion and Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir .
Concealer – my skin marks easily and I’m prone to dark circles, so I depend on good concealers. For blemishes, formulas containing witch hazel and salicylic acid are perfect multi-taskers. Under-eye concealers should be emollient, so as not to tug or dry the delicate skin, and illuminating to brighten dark areas.
Green tea – This is my go-to drink and I would definitely consider it a beauty product, as it’s so good for the body. I’ve discussed its benefits at greater length in a previous post.

What’s your best beauty tip?
Be kind to yourself, be healthy and stimulate your mind, but don’t try to change. Just work on how to be the best you can be – for you, not for anyone else. Aesthetically, know how to enhance your own beauty by playing up your best features and using products that agree with your skin type and colouring.

 

Merry Christmas!! I wish you many things for a great 2012 but above all, health and happiness. Love, Meera xx

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