This is an exciting time in the world of natural beauty, with people everywhere flaunting what makes them one of a kind. The jury’s in: Embracing our natural beauty—so-called “flaws” and all—is possible and powerful.
A paradigm shift
We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what’s considered beautiful in one culture doesn’t necessarily translate to another. But society’s messages are strong, and being told that a particular feature isn’t attractive can take its toll.
Thankfully, whether it’s social media movements, new perspectives from beauty companies, inspiration from other countries, or simply an idea whose time has come, there’s a strong trend toward embracing our natural beauty. It’s refreshing and empowering to realize that rather than covering up our flaws, we can celebrate what makes us different.
4 Imperfections to love
If you’ve got it, flaunt it! Here are just a few erstwhile “flaws” that are now being embraced.
1. Freckles and birthmarks
Forget matte finishes—these days, freckles are so sought after that people are even drawing them on. To embrace your own, choose a sheer, tinted moisturizer or BB cream rather than a heavy foundation.
When it comes to noticeable birthmarks, there’s also no need to hide. Cait Dixon knows this all too well with her own birthmark. “It is small and close to my eye in winter,” she explains, “but with summer sun exposure it extends down my cheek. It often gets confused with a black eye or a huge mascara smudge.”
It hasn’t always been easy for Dixon to embrace.
“It took time for me to accept me for me, birthmark included. I would get super embarrassed when people asked about it, especially when they thought I was just sloppy with makeup. But it makes me unique, and I’ve come to love it.”
These days, other than being careful with sunscreen, she doesn’t bother to cover it up. “What matters is that you feel comfortable,” says Dixon. “If you love your birthmark and embrace it, rock it!”
2. Bare skin
The #nomakeup #nofilter movement is still going strong. Made famous by celebrities like Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Katie Holmes, the barefaced beauty trend has many embracing their own fresh-faced complexions.
Here, a great skincare routine is key. If you’re not sure where to begin, ask for product recommendations at your local natural health retailer. Beauty department staff will be able to suggest cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and treatments suited for your skin type—without harmful chemicals.
3. Under-eye circles
The French believe that dark eye circles are beautiful and mysterious. C’est vrai! Skip the concealer and invest in a good natural eye cream with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Of course, if there’s an underlying issue like chronic lack of sleep, consult your health care practitioner.
4. Body hair
Sick of shaving? You’re not alone. Many people find hair removal leads to irritating ingrown hairs or inflammation. The good news is that going au naturel can be extremely empowering, with many women tossing their razors altogether.
If you’re considering doing the same, remember that shaving helps to exfoliate, so you’ll want to exfoliate your armpits and legs every so often to prevent flaky skin.
Eco-friendly exfoliators can be found at natural health retailers. Avoid harsh ingredients like crushed nut shells, and instead choose exfoliants like jojoba beads or fruit enzymes. Then follow up with a lotion filled with nourishing oils.
Not feeling flawsome? Change how you use mirrors
“What we see when we look in the mirror depends on the distance we are from the mirror,” says Dr. Maureen Whittal, a psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. Since whatever we focus on increases in perceived size or prominence, when we get too close and analyze a so-called flaw, “the importance and severity of the flaw will grow.”
One trick is to only use the mirror “as a source of information, as in, ‘Is there something in my teeth?’” and then move on.
Supplements for skin health
Essential fatty acids
Researchers suspect that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, found in fish oil) and evening primrose oil may help those with eczema.
Scientists and dermatologists alike are excited by the potential benefits of healthy bacteria to help rebuild the skin barrier, treat dermatitis, fight acne, and heal wounds.
This compound, found in the famed curry spice turmeric, may offer anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial skin benefits.