How Beauty Feels: an Essay on Inner Beauty

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. At least, that’s what we’re always told. While I don’t disagree with that saying, I think  beauty is not just about what other people think of us — but also depends on how we feel about ourselves .

First, there is the obvious “physical” beauty that everybody strives for.

The interesting thing is, how we define beauty actually varies from culture to culture. For example, many Americans strive for a tanned, healthy glow and will go as far as getting airbrush and spray tanning on a regular basis. On the other hand, Asian cosmetic markets are always coming out with new whitening products.  There’s even a famous Japanese saying that favors fair-skinned women: “white skin covers the seven flaws”. Many popular Asian health and beauty television shows dedicate entire episodes to why and how to get  fair skin. Korean actresses are famous for their beautiful pale white skin and Japanese makeup brands led the way with whitening products.

If we look at faces, many Asians naturally admire what Westerners may think of as stereotypical Asian features, for example the ‘oriental’ beauty of the actress Lucy Liu, with the longer, narrower, “single-lidded” eye (without the fold in the lid). It’s also considered attractive for Asian men and boys to have the single lid but …when we look at Asian actresses and models who have ‘made it big’ in the U.S. and Europe, it often seems to be the girls with less typical features, more ‘western’ faces.

we always have to remind ourselves that skin problems do not define who we are and that, someday, they will definitely clear up…
Aside from these cultural differences, there are some signs of beauty that are more or less universally accepted — clear, unblemished skin, for example. For some people, common skin headaches like acne and cysts can be prevented by a carefully chosen skincare routine and various facemasks. For those of us who are not so fortunate, this can be a real downer for our self esteem on the beauty front.

To share a little bit about my own experience, I’ve suffered from fairly severe acne since I was about ten (way earlier than was “normal” to get acne, making it worse). We all know kids can be really cruel. I admit, I’m still not sure whether I’ve fully recovered from all that. Name-calling can have a lasting impact on a person’s life. But I learned to ignore it and move on. Luckily, I found some products that really worked for me. And it was probably also around the time when my hormones began balancing out.

Related: Top 10 Beauty Tips for Women in Their 30s

I’m not going to lie and say that having acne can make us feel beautiful — because I know from experience it definitely doesn’t – but we always have to remind ourselves that skin problems do not define who we are and that, someday, they will definitely clear up; it also helps if we maintain clean skin and a healthy lifestyle.

This leads me to the “emotional” and “psychological” aspects of beauty.

I don’t want to sound like a clichéd self-help program, but how you are feeling on the inside definitely shows on the outside. If you’re busy feeling terrible about yourself, no matter how much physical beauty you might have, nobody’ll be able to see it or feel it. All they’ll see is the emotions on your face.

And of course, as my dad always tells me, never forget the importance of smiling. We often have no idea what smiling can do for our overall mood and attitude (we look a lot better too). Plus, we look a lot more approachable and friendly.

I think the phrase “beauty comes from within” is definitely true. While it might seem like nothing can go right when our skin abnormalities seem to make an impression before we do, we can get past it. Confidence is also beauty—so have some confidence, it’ll eventually work out!

Don’t forget happiness and the little things in life. Because when we have something to be happy about and that smile appears on our faces, that’s another form of beauty as well.

After all my personal blabbering about beauty, I’d really like to know your opinion: what do you think “beauty” is and what does it means to you?

About the author / 

Ana Sanchez-Tan

Ana has always been passionate about Beauty and Fashion. After graduating from Miriam College with a degree in Communication Arts, she pursued her long-time dream to become a make-up artist. Ana completed Hi-Def (HD) Beauty & Fashion Makeup and Hi-Def Pro Airbursh Makeup training at HD Makeup Studio & Academy. With her background in PR and Marketing, Ana is also a Social Media Maven. Offline, Ana loves traveling, reading books, cooking, and anything related to beauty, fashion, technology, cars and entertainment.

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