The Power of Feeling Beautiful

“It's not vanity to feel you have a right to be beautiful. Women are taught to feel we're not good enough, that we must live up to someone else's standards. But my aim is to cherish myself as I am.” - Elle McPherson

I believe there is so much power in feeling beautiful.

I believe that caring for yourself, taking the time to do what makes your eyes twinkle just a little bit, makes you stronger.

I have personally lived the experience of going from desperate and invisible, to building a life in a new country, all thanks to red lipstick.

I have seen transformations with my own eyes, women who went from invisible to powerful in the span of an hour. And I have seen how their lives were changed because of it.

Caring for yourself is NOT vanity

I grew up on the beaches of Southern California. I don’t think I even owned a pair of pants until I went away to college in cold and foggy San Francisco.

Because our skin was always exposed, I grew up in a culture where skin care was important. Exfoliating, hair removal and hydrating were absolutely the norm.

When I was in college, one evening as I was applying lotion to my legs after a shower, I noticed my roommate looking at me with contempt.

When I asked what was wrong she spit ‘I just cannot believe your vanity’ and walked away.

Now, I feel compelled - more than 20 years later - to point out that while I care for my skin, I have always been a simple girl. I exfoliate and hydrate - nothing more nothing less. Before developing my Skin Polishes, I used body lotion after showers and used face cream.

I was as low maintenance as a 20 year old girl could be but somehow the mere act of applying a body lotion to my dry skin was vanity.

Obviously that moment has stuck with me over the years. It still to this day makes me question my beauty routines.

And it makes me angry every time I think about it.

No woman should ever be made to question or be ashamed of taking a few minutes for herself to feel good, to be more comfortable in her skin.

I truly believe that when a woman feels beautiful everything is possible.

I owe everything to my red lipstick

"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That or a kick-ass red lipstick." - Gwyneth Paltrow

My move to Italy in 2005, while the realization of a dream of living in Europe, was hardly a perfect moment in my life.

You see, I moved to Italy with my ex. We broke up as the plane landed in Milan!

I found an apartment and literally lived on wine and gelato for a week. I spent that first week in that tiny apartment watching Italian tv (without understanding a word of Italian) and wondering how in the world I was going to create a life in this foreign country.

Then one night, after my shower, I stared in the mirror for a few minutes and came up with a plan.

I would allow myself a 1 week pity party. After which, every single day I would force myself to have a shower, style my hair, get dressed up, do my makeup and leave my apartment. 

I had to speak to 1 person each time.

Now, granted, some days I left the apartment at 10 at night. I rarely wanted to, but I did it. And every time I would put on a kick ass red lipstick.

Little by little I felt my spirit coming back, little by little my courage grew, little by little asking for my coffee turned into a chat in broken english.

And with that courage growing within me, I found a job and eventually made the life of my dreams.

And I owe it all to that red lipstick. It made me feel good. It made my eyes twinkle just a little bit and made my smile easier.

With every positive encounter, it gave me the courage to stand a bit taller, to be a bit friendlier and to hold my head higher.

THAT is the magic of feeling beautiful. I certainly was not some supermodel. But I was happy with myself and I projected that.

I met an invisible girl, and then suddenly she had power

When I was performing facials at my spa in Milan, I saw how one client’s life in particular changed when she felt beautiful.

She came to me through a promotion for a facial. She was a woman who wanted to be invisible. She was unremarkable in every way, tiny and timid.

As we began the facial she told me she had no idea how to care for herself and literally used shampoo as face and body wash. As I worked, and peeled away the years of neglect, a beautiful skin began to emerge.

She had stolen my heart, just the sweetest human being you could ever meet, and I did my best to pamper her and to show her just how beautiful she was.

When I finished and showed her the results she began to cry. She had never seen herself so beautiful before.

The woman who left the spa that day was not the same who had entered. As she paid for her facial, she glowed, she laughed, she held her head high.

I saw her a few weeks later. She was wearing a red dress. She had cut her hair and was wearing contact lenses.

She had begun socializing with coworkers after work. She had asked for the pay raise that had been due to her, and got it.

Her whole life changed. She hadn’t gone on a diet, hadn’t gotten plastic surgery, hadn’t done anything except that she now FELT beautiful.

Beauty in simplicity

As a busy mom it is not easy, I know from experience.

When you have to divide yourself in half to take care of everyone and everything, the very first thing to sacrifice is you. No time for makeup, hair pulled into a mom bun every day. I’ve been there.

I am not suggesting to get dressed up for a day of cleaning the house and changing diapers.

What I am suggesting is to keep up with the minimum. Wash your face morning and night. Apply face cream. Use a Clean Beauty Swiss Skin Polish at the end of your shower.

Keep a basic routine. A little bit of attention on yourself goes a long way. Applying creams and polishes to your skin - however ‘lazily’ and carelessly - releases serotonin and endorphins, important feel good hormones.

When you maintain a basic skin care, a basic self care routine, you just feel better about yourself. You and how you feel becomes a priority.

It really doesn’t take much. Less than 5 minutes a day to feel beautiful, to make yourself a priority.

Self care is not vanity, its sanity.