I’m not a big believer in rules. A few rules related to common sense things, yes.
Many rules, no. As for beauty rules, I’m sure you’ve heard all the old ones.
Don’t wear red lipstick if you have red hair (one of my favorite looks!). Don’t wear blue eyeshadow if you have blue eyes (not true!).
Wear your blush a certain way if your face is a certain shape (very outdated!). When I was younger, the beauty site advised you to hold a pencil against your nose to determine where you should tweeze your eyebrows. Have you ever tried that? It’s been passed off as a universal rule, but we’d see many freaky eyebrows if everyone plucked according to those directions.
It would be fine if everyone had the same face shape and the same eyebrows, but we don’t.
The concept of beauty has changed so much throughout the past few decades that it’s time for some new rules. The idea is to know what works for you and follow it. Look beyond the products and procedures that are popular and trendy; focus instead on what inspires you enlightens you and gives you confidence. Give
The New Beauty Secrets a read, and see how they apply to your life. I hope you’ll find a few things in this article that make you see yourself and the world a little differently.
1 What Makes You Unique Makes You Beautiful
Do you know how many people told Barbra Streisand to fix her nose? Or Cindy
Crawford to have the mole on her face removed? Or Madonna and Lauren Mutton to fix the gap between their front teeth? Each of these amazing women was confident enough to refuse to change. They knew what so many women of true style understand: Beauty is not generic. Quite often, the thing that makes you memorable is the thing that makes you different. When you try to look and dress like everyone else, you merely look and dress like everyone else. Think of the women you admire.
Do they blend in or stand out? If you were born a certain way, embrace it.
Opposite: Christy Turlington by Michael Thompson. Such different faces, such as modern beauties.
Change only what you can’t live with, but try to accept who you are, and say yes to what makes you unique. Your confidence will make you sexier than any beauty product or accessory you could possibly buy.
2 Stop the Makeover Madness
We’re trapped in a makeover-crazy world right now. TV programs, magazine articles, even site: Everywhere you turn, there’s something about makeovers.
Celebrities morph before our eyes, seeming to get blonder, thinner, and tanner overnight. I’m not crazy about the word makeover and the whole idea of “before” and “after.” It always implies that there was something unacceptable with the “before.” Although I think most everyone can benefit from a little concealer, blush, and lip gloss, my profession doesn’t impair my objectivity. I believe some faces look just fine wearing nothing at all. A little makeup isn’t the kind of change that hurts anyone.
What I’m opposed to are the makeovers that favor a common look.
They erase individuality and impose something that’s not necessarily right for the subject and his or her lifestyle. Does everyone need the same stick-straight blonde hair? Does everyone need the same nose or the same size breasts?
That’s something to think about if you’re considering cosmetic surgery. So many of the women who come to my public appearances have questions and concerns about plastic surgery and want my advice. I’m reluctant to give it to them because I’m conflicted about plastic surgery. I know people who have benefited physically and mentally. They had a minimal amount of work done and felt great about the changes. I’m opposed to surgery that completely erases the original person.
There are ways to tweak a nose, tighten a chin, and take some years off without making the person look like someone else. If you are interested in plastic surgery, you need to seek out the doctors who work hard to preserve individuality in a face.
Another thing that bothers me is the media’s portrayal of plastic surgery as something easy and breezy when the reality is quite different. Makeover programs compress the recovery from months into minutes and imply that you’ll return to your office in no time. It’s not that simple at all. Despite the terms plastic and cosmetic, it’s real surgery with all the implications and possible complications it entails.
Lastly, if you’re thinking about plastic surgery, make sure you’re getting it because you want to.
Don’t do it because you think you have to and don’t do it because your friends are doing it. Many women feel a sense of peer pressure today, and they don’t want to be the “old” one among their acquaintances. Don’t do it because you think your partner will find you sexier. Some women get surgery because they think it will save a marriage or a relationship, and that’s rarely the solution. And definitely don’t do it because you want to look like a celebrity. Do it if it’s going to make you happier. If you think surgery is the answer to all of your problems, it’s not.
3 Be Media Savvy
I enjoy fashion magazines very much. It’s fun to relax with your favorite ones, flip through the pages, and catch up on the latest fashions and trends. But you need to read them with a critical eye because they are as much about fantasy as reality. Yes, they are filled with factual articles that can help improve your health and your appearance and keep you up-to-date on events and personalities. At the same time, they’re filled with pretty pictures that aren’t always a true reflection of reality.
Almost every picture you see in a magazine is retouched to some extent, whether it’s an advertisement or part of the editorial.
You would be shocked if you knew what some photos look like in their original state.
Computer retouching has made it possible to tweak every aspect of a picture.
You can add or change the color of makeup; boost the color and texture of hair; perfect a complexion so it’s porcelain smooth; whiten and straighten teeth; trim arms, legs, and torsos (instant lipo!), while making necks longer and breasts larger.
Remember this information the next time you wonder why you don’t look like a picture in a magazine.
Some celebrities such as Kate Winslet have spoken out about the extreme retouching practice (she was dismayed when a British men’s magazine made her look thinner and taller for its cover), and some such as Jamie Lee Curtis have bravely pulled back the curtain to show the real “before” and “after” of untouched and retouched photos.
This isn’t a reason to toss your magazines in the recycling pile and cancel your subscriptions. We all want a little fantasy from our magazines; otherwise, we’d just read newspapers and get the warts-and-all reality. I just want you to be aware so you’re not comparing yourself with the people in the pictures.
They may look beautiful and perfect, but it’s a beauty and perfection that even the subjects of the pictures cannot attain. These photos are meant to entertain; they’re not meant to be taken literally.
4 Be Smart About Celebrity
I said earlier that we’re living in a makeover-crazy world, but that’s nothing compared with the celebrity craziness going on these days, Magazines and TV programs are obsessed with celebrities: their shopping habits, dating, and every move.
In turn, we’ve become obsessed! Is that a bad thing? That depends. It’s ok to be inspired by some aspect of a celebrity’s life, but do you know more about Angelina
Jolie than you do about your own relatives? What’s most damaging is when you start judging your own life and appearance against that of certain celebrities.
Many women have told me they wish they had a body like this celebrity or had skin like that celebrity and so on.
Remember, under the designer clothes and the professionally applied makeup and styled hair, these are real women with the same insecurities as everyone else.
In fact, many celebrities have said their public personas are “characters” they play and who have little to do with whom they really are privately.
Just as we’ve discussed how plastic surgery won’t necessarily improve your life and make your problems go away, neither will fame and fortune.
What helps is tapping into your inner celebrity. Think for a minute about what makes you fabulous and how you can celebrate it.
Think about your appearance throughout the day. Do you spend a lot of time in sweatpants and old T-shirts? I’m sure you feel comfortable, but you could wear something from time to time that makes you feel more pulled together. Caring about yourself and your image can be more beneficial than you think.
5 Be on Trend Alert
Trends can be fun and inspiring, but don’t let them dictate your style. If you love the pointy-toe shoes you bought last year and suddenly round-toe shoes are in, who cares? Keep wearing them. If a certain designer is hot, that doesn’t mean you should wear his or her designs from head to toe. There’s a term for that, and you don’t want it to apply to you: Fashion Victim.
The Laura Mercier brand has always promoted substance and style in women, something to which you probably aspire since you are reading this article. We’ve never pushed trendy looks or products at our counters. There’s a way to use trends appropriately, and it’s not to let them use you!
Have fun and use them as a way to change up your beauty or fashion routine. If you’re stuck in a rut, there’s no better way out than by incorporating something that’s hot or of the moment, say an accessory or a color. With makeup, you run the risk of looking too extreme if you interpret a trend literally. Let’s say bright purple eyeshadow is in and magazines show it worn across the entire eyelid.
If you’re intrigued, you can interpret the look however you like. You can try a sheer wash of purple shadow on your lids, line your eyes with purple eyeliner, or try some plum mascara on your lashes. You’ll still be trendy, if that’s important to you. At the same time, if a magazine declares something you love as out, over, or so last season, don’t despair.
Whether it’s UGG boots, red lipstick, or your favorite pashmina from a decade ago, if It works for you, keep working it with confidence!
6 Sharpen Your Counter Intelligence
The beauty counter can be a great place if you approach it the right way. You can get free samples, try new products, ask for advice, and linger for as long as you like, playing with powders and lipsticks and perfumes. Chances are, you tend to avoid browsing the beauty counters unless you’re looking for something new or specific.
I don’t blame you. The heavy-handed sales tactics and beauty associates eager to give you a spritz of a new scent or a makeover used to send me scurrying away as well.
We’ve tried to change that culture at Laura Mercier and make the counter experience more of a pleasant one, where women feel empowered and not preyed upon.
When it comes to navigating the counters in general, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
If you’re just browsing, let the sales associate know in gentle but firm language. She probably works on commission, so you don’t want to waste her time if you are not planning on buying anything. Not sure what you’re in the mood for?
Tell her you’ll come find her if you need help.
If you’re looking for one specific thing, be clear about that.
Know that the sales associate will suggest other products, either because they work in conjunction with the product you are buying, they seem like good products for you, or they’re new. This doesn’t mean you have to buy them! If you’re not interested, you don’t have to be aggressive or angry, which
I’ve seen happen. Just say no thank you. And don’t buy something because you’re intimidated. You’ll be reminded of how you felt every time you see the product in your bathroom cabinet or makeup bag.
We’ve all had the experience where we go shopping because we’re depressed and we want instant gratification.
We crave that comfort and reassurance so we head to the stores looking for a miracle and spend way too much money. I’ve been there many times myself. While I sometimes regretted what I spent, it made me feel good at the time. As long as this doesn’t happen to you too frequently, it’s ok!
7 Stop Apologizing for Your Appearance
Do you know how many women apologize when they meet me? They say “I’m sorry” as fast as they can to preempt any judgment I may make. They think I’m going to form an instant opinion based on their lipstick application, choice of eyeliner, and skill with a blush brush. Or worse, they apologize for things that are part of the natural aging process. Perhaps they’re only doing this because they’re slightly intimidated that I’m a makeup artist. It saddens me to think it’s something they do with others as well.
Women need to be much kinder and forgiving to themselves and banish certain words from their vocabularies, such as droopy and ugly. Look in the mirror and notice the positive aspects of your appearance before the negative. I don’t say this lightly because I know personally how difficult it can be for some women.
It’s impossible to change overnight, but once you get some positive ideas in your head, it will serve as an enormous factor for promoting yourself confidently in life.
If you define yourself by your looks, others will as well. Attractiveness shouldn’t rate more highly than personality, talent, kindness, or intellect. Think about how you would like to be perceived and project that image, but be accepting of yourself.
The wise words of Dr. Peter Reznik, a psychotherapist and a great friend who practices what he calls “mind-body integrative therapy” and who has helped me so much during my journey, come to my mind: “It seems that the further we go in the search of gaining more esteem, of having more than, being better than, being different from, the more alienated and unfulfilled we become.” (Check out his great web site at www.drpeterreznik.com.)
Life’s too short to let yourself get caught up in fashion, trends, plastic surgery, celebrity, or negative thoughts about yourself. It’s fine to want to improve your appearance or your life and look your best, but don’t use other people as the benchmark. Don’t compare yourself with them and put yourself down in the process.
If you take anything away from this chapter, it’s that you need to be positive about yourself.
If you already are, I hope you continue to have good self-esteem. If not, start small. Look in the mirror and focus on one good thing about yourself.
Catch yourself in the midst of negative thought and spin that sentiment into something complimentary. It’s impossible to change your mindset instantly, but these little gestures will add up.