What is beauty?

What is beauty to me? Probably the best way I can explain it is to tell you about the first woman I thought was beautiful. She had gorgeous chocolate skin and red nails so long they curved. I thought she was the absolute pinnacle of beauty with her boisterous laugh and the way she seemed so comfortable in her skin. By mainstream standards, she wouldn’t measure up.

Because we traveled so much when I was young, and had no TV and limited access to magazines, I didn’t associate beauty with consistent physical traits. My linchpin was the amount of comfort a woman had with herself, whether she seemed to live in her skin, and how often she laughed. There is a certain energy women give off when they love themselves this way, and very early on I found this beautiful.

As I got older and settled into one place, I learned different rules existed, and I got caught up in them too, in a big and soul-destroying way. I learned that I was never quite enough and that I was supposed to compare myself and place a high amount of emphasis on those areas where I fell short. I learned that feeling beautiful and sharing this with others is not acceptable in our culture. As girls and women we constantly chronicle our faults and rarely celebrate our strengths. We are taught through many channels that our beauty is measured by individual physical elements.

In this environment I became hyper-focused on my looks: my nose was too big, I was too tall, I was too skinny, and then I was too fat. I tried every diet, got caught up with makeup, my needs and anybody who told me I was beautiful. I tried starvation diets, following trends and gurus, extreme amounts of exercise far past what was healthy for me. My skin, naturally, was in an uproar – my entire system was out of balance, and our skin is often the first place to show this unrest. I am always one to go to extremes, but in different variations, this is the way many of us live. From one day to the next we are always seeking confirmation that we are okay, that we measure up.

I eventually arrived at a place where I realized that this was not the way it was supposed to be. My body was my body, and no matter what it looked like, it was mine: my vehicle, my haven, unique.

If ‘beautiful’ is a comparative term, one interpreted by others, then if we are beautiful to someone, we are in fact beautiful. I like the fact that we get to choose how we see ourselves, and I wish more women knew they had this choice. I think when we do this in a culture that values beauty, we begin to acknowledge that we have value; and when we do this, everything begins to change. A woman who feels this sense of comfort and joy in who she is spreads this to the people around her. The beauty industry is a visual industry, often based around manipulation rather than celebration. It is an industry that thrives on highlighting our imperfections and promising resolution of them. It is an industry that grows bigger by playing with our insecurities. In that way, it is a destructive animal, grown out of control.

There is a funny thing that happens when we realize that no external solution is going to make us more or less beautiful. We start to embrace and celebrate our own unique beauty: we stop purchasing skin care to heal or fix our ‘flaws’ and find ourselves no longer buying into the negative cycle that tells us we aren’t enough. We choose products that support our lives and deliver on their promises. We are less prone to getting caught up in the latest advertising campaign and we are more focused on whether the things we buy are working for us. I’ve designed products for when you have arrived at this space – a space that wants results, healthy skin care products, and holistic beauty that allows us to live strong lives. I create products that empower rather than detract from our lives. Exuberance is the antitheses of need or ‘not enough’. It is knowing that you are already beautiful, just as you are.

So what is beauty to me? I see all shapes and forms as beautiful. I see self-care as beautiful; someone who is honoring her body, no matter what size or shape it is. I see it as an artist sees it – that the best works of art are not about the perfection of the piece but about the accidental strokes, the ones that we didn’t intend, the dabs that are unique to the piece that turn a painting into a work of art. When self care, love, peace, and acceptance are a part of our lives, then holistic beauty naturally begins to flow, like a tumbleweed gently gathering speed, until the wind it creates is sweeping everything out of its path.

This expression of beauty reminds me that beauty is possible in the world, that it is as natural a state as any chaos or broken thing. It reminds me of our link to the divine and that is the most beautiful thing I can imagine.

My very hugest love to you (and with the deep, true knowledge that you are beautiful),