We all have days when we roll out of bed, look in the mirror and think ‘eugh’. It’s easy to spot those dark circles, every pimple and imperfection, the fact our hair needs an appointment at the best hairdresser we can afford and that we should probably start going back to the gym, but those imperfections are what makes us unique. Those areas we don’t necessarily love about ourselves may be the one reason someone loves us even more. If we look closer and past the bits we don’t necessarily like, there’s always something to celebrate – from bright blue eyes that you can get lost in, to an infectious smile and a nose you just want to kiss, we’re all beautiful in our own special way. I’m as hard on myself as the next person, having really struggled with the way my body had changed since hitting thirty. My bum got bigger, my hair turned grey in all the wrong places and my face started to show the first signs of those inevitable wrinkles, but looking past that I can still see and celebrate the great things my body has provided me with. Dove’s latest campaign really struck a chord with me and made me stop and think: why don’t we all see the beauty in ourselves and celebrate it more often?
The embedded video above illustrates a very simple concept – that we often don’t think we’re beautiful, when in fact there’s beauty in every single one of us. Around the globe Dove set up two doors that allowed women to enter everything from a shopping centre to their office using one of two options: either the ‘beautiful’ door, or the ‘average’ door. Unsurprisingly the majority of women chose the ‘average’ door because that’s how they feel – both because they’re hard on themselves and because they’re comparing their own beauty to the images we see plastered all over our television screens, magazines and social media feeds. These often photoshopped, highly styled and unrealistic images give us an outlook on beauty that’s somewhat distorted; if we don’t have the lips of Kylie Jenner, the backside of a Victoria’s Secret model or the hair of a movie starlet, then we just don’t think we’re beautiful.
I truly believe the bloggersphere has created a whole new wave of problems for young women (and men,) as well as those of us that are hitting our older years and still expecting to look like Elle MacPherson. With the ease of Instagram filters, editing apps and photoshop, even the ‘real women’ we feel we can relate to are showcasing an edited and rose-tinted view of their life. Fashion bloggers have even admitted that they’ve been editing their images to remove spots, slightly sticky-out tummies and thighs they perceive to be too big. I’m equally as guilty of posing to make my face look as thin as possible, or occasionally airbrushing away some tiny wrinkles from around my eyes, for fear of critical comments from readers and followers.
Over the years I’ve been on the receiving end of comments that have shaken my confidence for days (sometimes weeks,) which prevented me putting myself ‘out there’ and integrating photos of myself into product reviews. However, this year something changed… Although I could do with losing a few stone, would love to wake up without massive dark circles and curse my father for giving me the grey hair gene, I’m finally happy in my own skin. My youth was spent yo-yo dieting and buying everything that promised to make me look better, but now I’ve hit my thirties I’ve suddenly woken up and smelled the coffee: my imperfections and wobbly bum is what the man in my life loves most, so I’ve learned to love them too.
So here I am, completely without makeup and having just stepped out of the shower. I’ve nothing on my face, I haven’t done my hair and my dark circles are there for all to see. My pores may be visible, my eyebrows sparse and skin-tone blotchy, but I’m cool with that – plus, that’s what makeup is for! I spend so much of my life telling people how to look better, cover imperfections or enhance their features, that sometimes I just want to yell ‘BUT IT’S OK JUST TO BE YOU!’ When I first watched the Dove video above, I genuinely saw the beauty in every single one of the women featured… Be it their incredible smile, fabulous hair, stunning figure, well earned wrinkles or outlook on life. We’re all under so much pressure to be successful, juggle multiple roles and age gracefully that it’s about time we stopped being self-critical or worrying about those niggles that other people don’t even notice. Choose beautiful, because there really is beauty in every one of us.
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