For the third and last installment of my series on the Ten Commandments of Authentic Beauty, we will look at those paint palettes that almost every woman has stocked up in her bathroom like a modern day Leonardo da Vinci. If you have been following Commandments 1 through 7 from my previous posts, cosmetics should now evolve from a tedious ritual to mask imperfections to a couple quick dabs of color just to enhance your innate goddessness.
8. Thou Shalt Be a Lipstick Vigilante
Generally cosmetic sales people are on commission or get bonuses for pushing certain products, so be wary. Consult an independent make-up artist if you really need help with your paint box, they won’t pressure you to purchase what you don’t want, like or need. And always research products on consumer safety databases like Skin Deep (www.ewg.org/skindeep/), but arm yourself with a box of Kleenex. You might find out that your favorite products are rated toXXXic and actually create inflammation, leading to premature aging and disease (e.g. cancer). Francois Nars is the make-up artist to make-up artists and his products have high pigmentation, lasting much longer than the competition (available at Sephora in Kirchberg). A model friend known for her fantastic skin swears by Nars’ Orgasm Multipurpose Stick and Yves Saint Laurent’s Illuminateur Silky Highlighting Veil in Dare To Glow. They both give an angelic golden rose color that goes well with virtually any skin tone. I love Annemarie Borlind’s organic eye shadows and eyeliners and DM’s Alverde Color and Care Make-Up (a tinted moisturizer), although “natural” mascaras tend to end up where my blush is supposed to be. Remember, the more organic make-up you use, the less skin problems you will have.
9. Thou Shalt Buff, Polish and Shine
I am going to break a few hearts (and careers) by saying this, but nail extensions are out. Actually, no working model-slash-actress was ever caught dead in them, unless it was for a role as a hooker in a B-horror movie. Everything in nail salons is carcinogenic although non-toxic nail products is a rapidly growing sector. Don’t renounce the pleasure of mani/pedis, but bring your own (safe) products, for which the salon should give you a discount. Chic chicks have gently rounded nails, never longer than the pad of the finger or toe. And if you aren’t 12 years old or a Ozzy Osbourne groupie, don’t even think about blue, green, black, or grey nail polishes – it looks like you had a nasty accident with a hammer. If you like polished nails, do nude, pink, coral, or red, even violet or plum for an ultra-vixenish day.
10. Thou Shalt Not Doodle On Your Forehead
Young, healthy girls have thick, luscious eyebrows. Old women have five or six hairs that they doodle back together with a pencil. If you look like you spend your evenings hiding in the bathroom, angrily attacking your brows with tweezers instead of being out dancing, you’ve got eyebrowexia and it makes you look old. Go cold turkey then after a month, only pluck the stray hairs that fall distinctly outside the actual brow. As a nurse told me when I cut open my eyebrow, they won’t necessarily grow back so be sure that whatever you pluck, you won’t ever miss. If you need to draw eyebrows back on, use a lighter color, not darker. Rogaine may help eyebrows grow back if you have that Svetlana from the Seventies look.
Since the beginning of time, beauty has always been reaching for the Holy Grail, pushing the limits of comfort, nothing new about that. However today’s technological advances in medicine and the media have hijacked our definition of beauty. In the good old days, there were as many different conceptions of beauty as there were countries and we didn’t have the Internet beaming artificial attractiveness into our living rooms 24/7. They want us to believe that there is only one kind of beauty which, of course, is only yours if you hand over your credit card. Ironically, most of us would agree that purchased prettiness has only provided us with armies of perfectly symmetrical (read: boring) androids.
In reality, our imperfections and differences is what is fascinatingly beautiful. We all know at least one person that is so irresistible, so charming, so seductive, and yet has a nose hors normes or is deliciously more voluptuous than the magazines want us to believe is sexy. Next time you gaze in the mirror and judge yourself harshly, remember that lasting beauty is not obtained through consumerism but through respecting nature, the human body and having the courage to be confident in spite of society’s rigid definitions.
By Kristina Svensson, February 2013