Our image impacts how we feel and who we are
What’s the first thing you notice when meeting someone?
Their hair? Eyes? Outfit? Size/shape? Shoes?
It’s very usually, appearance based. We make a snap opinion or judgement, based on what we see in another. We judge with our eyes first.
And the question that runs through my head is;
"Is this why we invest so much time, effort and money on how we look?"
My theory is, we like to look good because it makes us “feel’ good about ourselves.
It brings a sense of confidence and energy.
I believe our appearance or image, is a beautiful expression of who we are and something to enjoy engaging with. It’s fun to get dressed up and feel girly, to put on a new lipstick or eyeliner. It can be a joyful exercise.
And yet, the pressure women (and now men) feel to look perfect, has become, not only a main topic of conversation, but also a place of stress and insecurity.
I’ve been in the hair and beauty industry for 25 years. I worked in some of London’s top salons, spent 10 years in editorial and TV and 10 years running my own private salon. I’ve seen first-hand, the importance image and style play in society and what we make it mean.
As a consumer, we like to look at pretty things. We all buy into this idea. When we turn on the telly, we expect to see someone who looks great. When we go online shopping we see the models looking all coiffed and made up and they sell us the dream outfit or product by looking good.
Simply put, Image talks…
As a woman heading deeper into her 40’s I have to work a little harder to look good.
These days, getting ready to go out into the world seems to take more effort, money and time. And lets face it, we are a time poor generation.
Here is a rough idea of what my beauty regime looks like and from experience, this is pretty standard for most.
My exercise regime takes about 5-7 hours out of my week and I eat a very clean non-processed diet (most of the time) I drink 3 liters of water most day and the toilet breaks do my head in!
I take care and time to keep my body healthy and strong. And yet, I am always trying to lose that extra few pounds. It never seems to really be enough.
My hair needs cutting every 6 weeks, and the grey hairs appear at an alarming rate. So, generally it either needs a cut, is too short (because it’s just been cut) or it needs tinting. I probably only enjoy my hair 40% of the time and this is a high percentage.
I shop online regularly (getting to the shops is challenging due to my schedule)
I have 2 wardrobes full of clothes, usually 2 packages to return (my pet hate) and a delivery that just been dispatched!!!! And yet, I never have the right outfit to wear.
I enjoy any product that helps me look and feel good. I get sucked into purchasing the new product which promises to cover up the fact that I drank 2 bottles of wine over the weekend. In-fact I have a whole makeup drawer full of them (none of which I actually use) because none of them really work!! When you’re 40+, you can’t cover up a hangover, you just need to hydrate and sleep for 48 hours.
I could continue but you get the jist. The pattern for me and most of my piers is that it’s never enough. We are never fully satisfied with what we see.
"How do we stop seeing what we don’t like and start focusing on what we do? and why do we spend so much energy on this, if we are not happy with the result?"
What I love most about being a hair and makeup artist is, I get to make women “feel” beautiful.
I love seeing how a woman’s energy changes when she feels good about herself. She transforms. She leaves my salon feeling like she can manage life a little easier.
This is what all us women buy into, that feeling of being beautiful and looking pretty. We feel stronger, happier, calmer and more in control.
But here’s the part I struggle with, yes, it’s great when we look good but what happens when we don’t?
Beauty is so objective and basing “what beauty is’ towards our appearance, can form a destructive pattern.
I am raising two girls, two women! What is it I want them to know about true beauty?
Is it what the best fake tan is on the current market? or the latest trend in hair colour?
Or is it what lives in their heart and soul, the generosity they show to others and to themselves, their kindness, their strength, their truth? Their true beauty
I know which side of the wall I sit and yet, here I am still heavily invested in how I look.
Hmmmmmm, something doesn’t seem to align
I see the importance that appearance plays, and I also understand true beauty comes from within. Cliched yet true.
Can we merge the two so that they both become a thing of beauty, instead of stress and insecurity? Can we show the world what lives in our heart and still feel good about investing in our vanity?
Both have a vital role in our society and after all is said and done image still talks.
We ALL enjoy looking good.
Vanity can be fun, it has lots of positive attributes, but like with most things in life, there is a fine line and when crossed, it has a negative impact.
My image may take time, money and effort but it also reflects part of who I am.
It’s a visual insight into ME and my creativity.
Let's take the pleasures that our beauty regime offers. Enjoy the new lipstick, enjoy having your hair done and enjoy shopping for that new outfit.
But let's bring clarity on our reasons for looking after ourselves.
Let it be a thing of value rather than an insecurity that we don’t feel good enough.
I will always take the time to look after my physical self, because I enjoy it. And as I get older and wiser, I realise how I look does not define who I am. It is merely a window of information for what lives in my heart.