Friday, August 24, 2007
The face of beauty

What makes a person look beautiful? Genetics? Clothing? Make-up? The beauty industry is a $200billion industry. The reason for its success and growth is simple. We're all looking for the next big thing, the one product that will make us look better, younger, brighter, and maybe even richer. Companies tap into that search and promise to deliver.

Aerin Lauder told me her grandmother (the beauty empress Estee Lauder) taught her that "every woman can be beautiful if (she) just (took) the time." Rebecca Korner of Korner Skincare shares the same thinking. Her grandmother also taught her that "there are no unattractive women, just women who don’t take the time to take care of themselves." There is something to be said about that.

I don't like wearing a lot of make up. I don't like to spend a lot of time primping. I even get antsy when I'm at a spa! Trust me folks, I'm working on those impatience issues. But perhaps that's the idea of these beauty and skincare companies. It's not necessarily just the product they're promising will deliver the glow but it's also about the time we should take just for ourselves. The five or 10 minutes to get ready for the day or to decompress after a long day should be just about us. It's tough when women have jobs, kids, families, etc. to focus on. We usually put ourselves last on the list. I know my mother was always that way. Her beauty regime was and still is very simple. She never takes more than five minutes to "put her face on." When I was little she was always running around after us, going off to work, and then coming home to make dinner and take care of the household. Today, even though us kids are out of the house, she still heads off to work but again, doesn't take more than five minutes to get ready.

We are all judged by the way we look. The thing is, who is doing the judging? We all know the photos of models in magazines aren't real. Computers can do wonders these days. Unfortunately computers can't tell a young girl reading those magazines that she is perfect just the way she is. As a woman who is on television my looks are always the first thing people notice, not my work - that comes after. But that's the way it is. It's the nature of this very visual business. It also means that it is very subjective. Bottom line, as long as I am happy with who I am and know that there is a fairly functional brain in my perceived-pretty head, then no one else's opinion matters (except for my boss' of course.)

We will always be judged for something. That's why it's so important that we don't judge ourselves and the people we care about ... especially about the way we look. There is no perfect face, perfect look to aspire to. The only perfection is the one you see in the mirror.

I guess somewhere along the way, we are taught that spending time on ourselves is actually selfish, that looks aren't everything. But here is one instance where being selfish is a good thing. See, if you are doing something that you feel makes you look good (whether it's putting on your make up, lathering on lotion, styling your hair,) chances are you will also feel good about yourself. Your self-esteem isn't found in a bottle but what's in the bottle may give it that extra boost.

There are times when I do think if I just had that perfect perfume, make up, hair, clothing that all will be right in my world. And that is often the marketing mantra of the big beauty companies. And while the occasional shopping spree does lift my spirit when necessary, I know it won't always solve my problems. But it's not necessarily about that is it? I say there is nothing wrong with a little retail therapy. I've always found that when I'm feeling low, I do a little primping. I take that extra time to make myself look and feel good. Maybe in my rushed day when I don't think about what I really need, that feeling is a reminder that I need to take care of me, if only for a few minutes. Trust me, a little gloss on a dull day always works wonders!

Posted By Monita: Friday, August 24, 2007
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CNN anchor Monita Rajpal blogs about her experiences filming the "Art of Life" show.

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