If someone had told me, even 5 years ago, that I would ever be writing a blog post about how to feel naturally beautiful, I would've laughed. What began at the age of 5 with a seemingly innocuous affinity for my first tinted lip balm, turned into a long and ridiculous love affair with makeup, beauty tools, hair styling appliances and products, and whatever else I could get my hands on.
By the time I was 21, my purse carried no less than 10 beauty tools and cosmetics at any given time and I was constantly finding myself checking my compact to "fix" whatever atrocities occurred to my lipstick, lip gloss, powder, concealer, hair, and whatever else could possibly could go wrong. I was essentially the epitome of lost causes in terms of embracing any natural beauty (although I think, to be honest, I just didn't believe I had any).
So if you have ever struggled with any of the above, this is the list for you:
1. Stay hydrated: If you're like me, you're probably thinking this is either a. a waste of your time or b. something you're already doing, because I resisted this advice for years. I also lived with horrendous dark circles under my eyes that needed more concealer than should ever be humanly required. And even though I was drinking the required 6-8 glasses of water a day, I wasn't compensating for my activity levels and gym time. This is by and far, my number one rule to feeling (and looking) naturally beautiful.
2. Skip the hair dryer: I went from being someone who used a hair dryer for at least 30 minutes a day to someone who hasn't used a hairdryer in almost 2 years and the results have been a-mah-zing. Have you ever tried so hard to get your hair to do that one thing? Part that one way? Lay that one certain way? And then you pile on the hair products to try to get it to stay that way? I'm going to tell you a secret I learned: your hair can be more beautiful just the way it is. Of course, you have to start with the right cut. I started washing my hair the night before a salon visit, letting it air dry, then heading in for a haircut the next morning for a dry cut (not everyone specializes or has experience in this, so check around). I also request no styling products. This pretty much ensures that what I now wake up to each morning is exactly what I left with from the salon. And I have an extra 30 minutes to spend on enjoying my mornings.
3. Use natural products: Argan oil for hair, coconut oil for skin, apple cider vinegar for acne, etc. I used to struggle with split ends, frizz, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and breakouts. I still struggle with those (I mean, nothing is perfect), but switching to more natural products made a huge difference in how my skin, hair and body react, such as the difference between going makeup free and having some people ask if I was sick, to having some people say I look better without makeup at all.
4. Affirm your beauty: Some days, it's easier just to feel ugly. Whether due to illness, injury, lack of sleep, a bad day at work, or something else, negative self-talk can start to take over and that feeling of ugliness becomes something we start to project to the world around us. Drowning out those thoughts with positive affirmations can change how we feel, how we carry ourselves, and even the expressions on our face.
5. Look for beauty: This is actually something I discovered naturally at a time in my life when I was going through a lot of heartache and it's what inspired me to start Achene many years ago, before I even really knew what Achene was going to become. If you've tried all of the above and none of it seems to be working, this is probably the one meant for you. Taking some time in your day to appreciate the beauty in nature, in others, in things or places can really help bring a true sense of beauty to your heart. If you haven't found any beauty today, look harder. And try again tomorrow. Eventually you'll find it and you'll see what I am talking about.
6. Embrace your flaws: This can be a challenge, I know. I used to resist this, too, because I thought all of my flaws made me ugly. But I'm here to tell you that isn't true. In fact, it's the opposite. Even naturally beautiful celebrities know this. Your flaws are what make the world more beautiful and they're what give you your unique beauty. So never resist anything that makes you memorable- embrace it with confidence. (Also, see quote below).
7. Less is more: Ok, all you naturally beautiful girls, so I still love makeup and I do still wear it, but I've learned a few things. No foundation is more beautiful than healthy, natural skin. Mascara looks much better if it doesn't leave crumbs or smudges on your face. Leaving lipstick marks on a glass can be kind of embarrassing and annoying if you're at someone else's house. Darkening your eyebrows, wearing blush or contouring your face can look really weird in certain kinds of light. Etc. The point is, if you're worried about all of those things, you're probably not enjoying yourself. So just limiting your makeup, focusing on highlighting one or two features, can give you the peace of mind in feeling naturally beautiful. And that's really what it's all about.
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