Five Ways To Be Fashionable On A Budget

So, the latest issue of the biggest fashion magazine is talking about the best concealer since sliced bread. You are excited beyond belief about it and make a mad dash to the counter and shell out thousands of dollars for it. But, when you try it for the first time, you realise you don’t like it and kick yourself for spending so much money on something that will probably still be on your vanity table six years from now, and still full. Of course, we never learn our lesson until it’s way too late and the same thing happens upon hearing about the next wonder product.

Make your life easier and your wallet full. Here are a few tips on how to be a budget beauty shopper:

Try the product before committing

If it’s the foundation, test on your jawline if it’s the right shade (it should disappear), check if you like the consistency, if you’re ok with it having SPF, and all that. For eye shadows and blush, check if it has strong pigment. Sometimes a color can look striking when it’s sitting in its container, but when you try it you find that you have to apply 3 to 4 times just to see a wash of color on your eyelids. Even worse, they sometimes fade off well before the day is over. Better yet, ask the people behind the counter if you can get a sample of the products you are interested in. Some of them may be able to give you trial-sized versions that you can test out for a week before you make a decision.

Make a list – and stick to it!

It’s like when you go to the grocery, you should never go without a list because you end up buying things you don’t need. Impulse buying is one of the worst ways to burn up your funds. More often than not, you come home and look at all your packages and don’t know what to do with half your purchases. Either that or you use it once or twice and forget about it. If it’s just loose powder and a new blush that you need, stick to that and don’t even look at the new lipsticks and eye shadows. Making a list of what you do need will give your trip to the mall some purpose and you will leave happy, fulfilled, and with still enough money to buy dinner.

Read between the lines

Don’t get carried away with product slogans that claim to perform miracles. You may just be disappointed when you buy a cream that claims to be a wrinkle eraser and you find yourself two months later, still with wrinkles. Read the labels carefully. The word ‘reduce’ is not the same as ‘eliminate’. Remember, this is make-up, not plastic surgery.

More expensive doesn’t mean better

Different products work for different people so don’t feel the need to buy the most expensive eye cream just because your best friend swears by it. Even makeup artists don’t agree with all products out on the market. What one loves, another may despise so if that $3 tube of lipstick works for you, then why not take advantage of its low price?

Ask for expert advice

Schedule an appointment for a consultation with a beauty expert so you can determine what products will be right for your skin and what colors will look right on you. If you must pay for the session, remember that it will be cheaper than buying everything and relying on a hit or miss process of elimination.

When to spend

So, now that I’ve officially made you unwilling to spend for anything, I am flipping it over because there are times when spending is acceptable, if not necessary:

If you have sensitive skin

Some products are made especially for people with ultra-sensitive skin and sometimes they cost a bit more. It is better to buy these products at a higher price than scrimping and ending up with a face full of rashes. Buy a quality item that you know you will use and is good for your skin. Usually, you don’t use too much at a time anyway so you won’t have to buy too often.

If it makes you feel smashing

There are some ‘wonder’ products out there, but all of these are subjective. If there is a certain bronzer that really lights up your face or mascara that gives you lashes for miles, then, by all means, buy it! Anything that will get that much time on your face is definitely worth spending for. We all have that one favorite product that we swear by. For me, it’s Shu Uemura’s Cleansing Oils. It’s a bit expensive but cleanses and moisturizes my face in a snap. I don’t even need any other products in my bathroom anymore. Think of what your must-have item is, and give yourself a break. Let that be your luxury item whenever you go make-up shopping.

Source: The Australian Filipina

6 Gorgeous Makeup Trends to Try In 2022

By Chi de Jesus

“Beauty” is a billion-dollar industry that never goes into recession. Pandemic or not, this industry continues to be relevant by inventing and re-inventing to keep being relevant. As the beauty industry evolves with the needs of its market, forecasts, predictions, and recommendations are the most anticipated information one has to find out to get into the groove.

After scouring through different sources – Tiktok, Pinterest, YouTube, and online beauty magazines here’s some info that will give you a bit of an idea on what level of beauty everyone can be in 2022.

For the overall look, 2022 looks more natural, effortless, and fresh for the day look working with minimal concealer and barely-there foundation or tinted moisturizer which makes use of the terms “soft glam” and “chil.” For more glam situations, “luminous” is the keyword – focusing on the lips, eyeshadow, and highlights. Think shimmer with a sprinkle of glitter to enhance those dewy highlights.

Don’t be shocked though with the introduction of mood make-up. The last 2 years may have concealed our inner turmoils but 2022 divulges what you feel through make-up depicting self-expression. Burst of colours will be “in” for those moody times working neon and ditching the pastels. To edge it up a bit, say goodbye to blending! Lines, blotches, and strikes with the occasional futuristic embellishments accentuate this “back-to-the-80’s” look for when you’d want to roar, kill and devour … glamorously, of course.

For those arched wonders, brows still continue the upward trend with a feathered brushed-up look made famous by Tiktok followers. They are called “soap brows” inspired by the 1940’s-50’2 when make-up artists discovered that soap could be a better alternative to keep the brows in place creating a lifted or laminated look.

Given the mask situation in 2020 and 2021, drama was focused on the eyes with bold colours and sultry designs. This year, this trend continues with coloured eyeliners, bejewelled eyes, pastel matte eyeshadows, and “dopamine-fuelled eyes” using neon orange and other reflective colours. Though fab lashes are still in, a refreshing take on the winged liner will be in-trend – welcome “kitten eyeliner” which provides a more youthful look. This takes the place of uber elongated cat eyes. If you’re wondering what it looks like, the best example I always give is Gal Gadot’s diminutive flick of a liner – cute, savvy, and tasteful.

For the cheeks, subtlety takes a back seat with the bold blush. Reminiscent of the ’90s across the face, sun-kissed look. According to beauty sites, the monochromatic look is gone and the healthy glow takes its place giving more emphasis on being in the “pink of health.”

And finally, to seal the deal with a kiss, dark lip liners are back! So think ombre lips, extended pouts, and even “grunge” burgundy lips of the 90s can be a good reveal when you take off those masks – so make sure it’s long-lasting or super stay. However, in allowable situations, which right now may be a number of occasions, a splash of fabulous gloss provides the more in “high shine” lips. On more special events, “celebratory lipsticks” with specks of glitter and shine may be in order. So, glam up!

Get ready to get out of your comfort zone because 2022 will definitely shake this year to its fabulous core – even if it is making a moody statement. One thing definitely is a 100% in – multifunctional make-up. These are products that do not only colour your life with a lot of “luminosity” but also take care of your skin from the harsh elements of the environment and keep it hydrated because healthy will forever be in.

Source: The Australian Filipina

What is Streetwear? The 101 on Fashion’s Biggest Buzzword

Before we start, let’s make one thing clear – streetwear is not urban wear. If you’re visualising baggy jeans and white basketball sneakers – you’re thinking of ‘urban wear’.

Not many people agree on what ‘streetwear actually is, but most people agree that streetwear was born in Las Angeles in the late 1970s to early 1980s with heavy influence from the surf and skate cultures. As with all ‘street trends’, the style and definition of streetwear have continually evolved and today we see a style that is influenced by things such as hip hop, the ’80s and ’90s, and even couture fashion. The fashion-conscious generation today is managing to effortlessly blend all three influences together, combining smart cuts and tailoring with classic streetwear pieces.

Due to the combination of designs and styles that would have previously been considered contradictory, streetwear brands have begun to include items that are a lot more refined, but still, keep the authentic relaxed look of original streetwear. This shift in perception and acceptance has meant that high-end companies such as Burberry now include streetwear products in their runway lineup.

The people behind Unparalleled Apparel give their interpretation of the changes we see in the streetwear trend: “It’s like, the owners of the brands start the companies as teens and twenty-somethings and the designs reflect that. But as the owners and consumers grow up more, so do the brands. We see more fitted cuts becoming prominent, fewer materials, button-up shirts appear more in lookbooks. It’s because you can’t just be baggy jeans forever. Someday you have to grow up, at least just a little.”

In saying all of that, possibly the most attractive element of the trend of streetwear is that it is different for every person and encompasses so many ideas and interpretations. “There is so much opinion visually apparent on the street; its restless nature means that it is constantly evolving but in a totally disordered manner that can only be controlled by one’s personal style.”

One thing is for sure, in a world that seems to grow smaller every day; streetwear will be increasingly influenced and interpreted by people, trends, and cultures from all over the world. This is the beauty and the heart of streetwear.

Editorial credit: Mauro Del Signore / Shutterstock.com

Top 10 Fashion Myths You Have to Stop Believing In 2022

Is your wardrobe ready for 2022? In case you haven’t heard yet, flattering our body through the trendiest and stylish clothes is a full time job. It requires a sophisticated sense and a smart discernment to know what fits our style otherwise, you’d be a full-fledged fashion disaster trapped in an awkward and highly-outdated collection!

Inexplicably, fashion has been a reflection of women empowerment and equality. We have Tory Burch, Donatella Versace and Coco Chanel whose names are all hailed in the glittery world of fashion. The truth is, as much as it holds a glamorous and powerful impression, dressing up in trends can sometimes be daunting especially if you are haunted by the enormity of misconceptions that might salvage your way towards dreamy couture and elegance. As the year kicks in, let’s take a fashionable glimpse at the most popular fashion statements that we might be holding on to for years.

1. Black makes you look skinny

Is your diet giving you false hope? Well, your pretty black dress won’t. A black outfit only works by using illusion. Women appear slimmer because of the colour black’s ability to blend into the background – smoothing away flabs and folds.

2. Maxi dresses won’t suit petites

This one absolutely holds no truth. Maxi dresses in summer are great and anyone regardless of height and weight can definitely pull this off so long as you know your body frame and shape. You should know your ideal length and wear it!

3. Denim on denim

Well, time changes. What might look unfashionable years ago may appear trendy in the age where anything can be styled and enhanced. Denim on denim may be a brave fashion statement but really it’s just a matter of elegantly mixing colours and design.

4. Sequins all day and night

Due to sequins’ highly-stylish nature, many deemed that it can only be worn at night but as fashion evolves, sequins are, in fact, a great piece to wear anytime of the day since they give a huge eye-catching factor.

5. Tall women should avoid high heels

Fashion icons know that high heels can make legs look great. Women gifted with height should not shy away from wearing heels as these complete a classy glam-up look.

6. Too many bold colours are too much

Like the comeback of vintage styles, mixing bold colours more than once is considered fashionable. Figure your body like a canvass waiting to be painted on. Combining different hues, either bold or bright can launch a posh take on your wardrobe.

7. Open-toed shoes and stockings do not go well together

Some might still argue about this but wearing stockings with open-toed shoes or sandals may appear really inelegant.

8. Horizontal stripes can make you appear bigger

Stripes are actually one of the famous prints that can turn your fashion look in an impressive direction. Choose stripes that are fitted well to your body and the ones that highlight your assets.

9. Your shoes, purse, and belt should match each other

Honestly, who bothers adhering to this fashion rule anymore? The tip is to find these accessories in the same colour family and make them complement your outfit.

10. Wear the real you

This, in fact, is the biggest truth in fashion. While following trends and styles may be fun and exciting, your taste should not be dictated by others’ views of it. Dress according to your personality and be proud of it.

7 Useful Tips To Keep Your Skin Glowing In Summer

After what seems like weeks of incessant rain, finally, much of Australia will have summer-like temperatures to look forward to, with some locations having highs of 40ºC.

Warm weather can form new challenges for all sorts of skin types. This seven-step guide is here to help you make the most of your summer and master the perfect glowy skin.

The experts at WeThrift have shared their seven top tips to help you live out your hot girl summer dreams and have the most desirable glowing skin.

Seven Tips for glowy skin this summer:

  1. Wear SPF

If you are a skincare enthusiast you’ve probably heard this plenty of times before, but wearing SPF is a vital part of your routine. You can go to your local aesthetician or your favourite skincare YouTuber and they will all most likely say this is the most important step to protect your skin from sun damage and help you to achieve that glowing summer look.

With how hot the sun gets in Australia it comes at no surprise that you may need to reapply that sunscreen to maximise the effect. Always make sure you apply SPF as the last step of your skincare routine.

  1. Use makeup that has SPF 

I know most of us would rather go bare-faced on these hot summer days. But for those of you who want an extra glam look or have exciting plans that you feel the need to wear makeup for. Make sure that foundation or BB cream has SPF in it, this helps protect your skin even further.

Pro tip: try and use a lightweight foundation to ensure your pores don’t get clogged up otherwise breakouts can happen.

  1. Wear protective clothing 

Dust off your favourite sunglasses, grab a sun hat, and protect yourself from the beaming rays –  this simple step can benefit your skin more than you think. It’s particularly important to protect your eyes and the skin surrounding them, including your eyelids.

  1. Make sure to exfoliate 

Regular exfoliation is important, this doesn’t mean exfoliating every single day, twice per week is considered the appropriate amount. Using a gentle scrub is enough to get rid of the dead skin which helps give your skin a fresh and radiant look.

Pro tip: make your own homemade face scrub that has natural sugars and oils to maintain a summer glow.

  1. Use a multipurpose moisturiser 

To reduce the number of products you use, try using a multi-purpose face moisturiser if you have acne-prone skin or you tend to have a lot of blemishes. A combo of moisturiser and SPF will be your new best friend.

  1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate 

Hydration is an extremely important factor when mastering your ideal summer skincare routine. Making sure you drink enough water throughout the day should be your priority, we often get extremely dehydrated without even noticing. So grab the biggest water bottle you can find and start drinking…

In addition to the many health benefits, drinking water can also help maintain your skin’s elasticity, reduce puffiness and prevent acne amongst other things. You can even switch it up and add lemon or strawberries to make your water taste even better.

7. Add vitamin C to your routine 

Many dermatologists will advise you to use serums or any products that contain Vitamin C. Particularly in the summer season, as it is known to protect against harmful UVA rays. All you need is just a few drops to help combat hyperpigmentation, improve fine lines, and aid collagen production.

Whatever your plans this summer, we hope a summer skincare routine is a priority for you!

Source: Wethrift

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Kudzai Chinez @ JBH

Photo by chris howard from Pexels

Shoppers Asked To Pressure Popular Fashion Brands To Step Up

Major fashion brands in Australia, such as Just Jeans, Lorna Jane, Myer, and Peter Alexander, must be open about how and where they manufacture their clothes to help lift the women who make them out of poverty, Oxfam has declared ahead of the Black Friday sales and Christmas.

The international development and human rights organisation has released its updated Naughty or Nice list, which congratulates brands that have made commitments around living wages and calls out those that can do better.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said it was particularly unfortunate that some brands had failed to make commitments to ensure the payment of a living wage during the pandemic – a time when the industry has grown yet many garment workers have lost their jobs.

A living wage means enough money is earned to cover basic essentials for a family including food, housing, healthcare, clothing, transport, education, and some money for unexpected events.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why transparency around issues of power, whether business or politics, is so important,” Ms. Morgain said.

“Three major clothing companies in Australia – Lorna Jane, Myer, and The Just Group – have failed to take the basic step of publishing key information about where they manufacture their clothes.

“It’s particularly disappointing to see brands that promote the wellbeing of women, such as Lorna Jane, failing to be transparent about the factories in which their clothes are made. This supports a culture of secrecy that is harmful to the wellbeing of all women, including those who make our clothes, and entrenches the massive power disparity between brands and garment workers.”

While those three companies have found themselves on the Naughty list, others have taken positive steps towards backing up their commitment to a living wage. Those on the Nice list this year are Best & Less, Big W, Bonds, City Chic, Cotton On, Country Road, Dangerfield, David Jones, Forever New, Gorman, H&M, Kmart, Mosaic brands (including Rivers and Katies), and Target.

Oxfam’s recent report, Shopping for a Bargain, revealed that poor business practices – including aggressive price negotiation, inaccurate forecasting of orders, short lead times, and last-minute changes to order – are having a profound impact on the lives of workers.

“To help combat this, last year we asked brands to commit to separating out labour costs to ensure there was clarity between factories and brands about the expectations of payment to garment workers. It’s been so heartening to see so many brands step up to the plate,” Ms. Morgain said.

Meanwhile, other brands – such as Jeans West and Zara – have made some progress, but still have work to do to catch up to the Nice brands on their living wage journey.

“What is at the heart of this issue is the garment workers – mainly women in low-income countries – who makes our clothes. These women aren’t paid enough to build a better future for their children, because their low wages keep them in poverty.

“It’s time for Australian brands to acknowledge and use the power they have to ensure these women are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty through the payment of a living wage.

“This Christmas, we want shoppers to demand better from the brands they love so that our celebrations don’t come at the expense of the women who make our clothes and their families.”

Shoppers can check where their favourite brands sit on the 2021 Naughty or Nice list here.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

Inside The Lives Of Social Media Influencers

Life as an Influencer is becoming an increasingly stacked game. In a world of paid likes/followers, fickle algorithms, and those ‘lurky bots’, it’s become even harder to market yourself in 2019. With more Instagram Models on the scene than ever before; this creates a higher level of competition overall.

Gaining traction on social media often means hitting that elusive fan quota. However, it’s often a vague figure that allows you to qualify. This begs the question: how many people have to follow you or like your page in order to make you a legitimate Influencer? What will warrant enough credibility amidst a miasma of hashtagging and 24/7 responsiveness? You should start with applying a thick-skinned approach to negative comments (ironically, with much skin on show) and all ‘round people-pleasing.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. What does an Influence Marketer and/or Instagram Model actually do? Well, they create ‘sponsored content’. That means someone sends them something and they promote it to their audience, eg. “OMG this skin cream is the bomb, I now have no pimples”, or “this teeth whitening product is so great I can now allow myself to smile” – all the whilst being paid to give, let’s face it, an entirely biased review.

Influence Marketing is most usually carried out on the platform of choice: Instagram. According to Forbes Magazine, an Insta account with over one million followers can attract upwards of $50k for a single sponsored post: that’s certainly big bickies! What you may not know is that the social media landscape is continuing to change, and it’s not always in the interest of an Influence Marketer.

For example, have you heard of the term ‘Micro Influencer’? These are commonly described as ‘ordinary people’ (whatever that means) with a decent following of around 3000 followers. Usually, they aren’t ‘big-fish’ enough to score entirely free products, and they don’t always garner a genuine ‘hard-dried-ink’ modeling contract with, you know, an actual brand.

While the demand for Micro-Influencers grows (and will continue to do so during 2019); so does earning potential decline. This demographic is more often than not, underpriced. With so many people putting their hands up to assist e-commerce operators, for example, accepting the offer to post about a beach towel whilst wearing a bikini, this means that the value of a Micro Influencers’ engagement is vastly cheapened. It’s just supply and demand – economics 101.

The fact is, being a Micro-Influencer is generally not something to be taken too seriously. That’s because you can only ever earn a mere fraction of what your more socially mobile counterparts (you know those Insta peeps with the covetable green badge) can attract per post. What does this ‘Verified Badge’ on Instagram actually mean? Well, according to the platform itself, “a verified badge is a check that appears next to an Instagram account’s name in search and on the profile. It means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.”

How do you get your very own Insta Badge? You can apply to get one by going into your platform’s settings tab, providing your ID, and waiting for that all-important response. However, there are no guarantees! But, that’s always the way, isn’t it? After all, there are no 100 percent shatter-proof formulas for achieving success in online marketing. Keep in mind that those ‘masterclasses’ will surely tell you differently, though.

Being an Instagram Model and marketing yourself is but a means to an end. It is not necessarily something to hinge your ‘bread-and-butter’ upon. If you are reaping the rewards as an Influence Marketer then more power to you. If you are still struggling and wondering why it’s not actually working for you, then remember things are never what they seem – especially when it comes to the world of social media/influencer marketing!

Photo by julie aagaard from Pexels

Choosing The Best Bikini For Tanning In This Summer

According to Google search data, searches for UK-based holidays are on the rise. Some destinations, such as Dubai and Ibiza are seeing growth, but the majority of searches are related to staycations – especially those with hot tubs.

Searches for holiday cottages started to rise at the end of the first lockdown last year, before falling and slowly rising again. These trends can be seen across a number of UK holidays, including ‘Cornwall holidays’ and ‘Holiday cottages UK’. Although Dubai holidays were one of the most popular searches for holidays abroad, peaking in December 2020, shortly before the four-tier system was introduced, searches for ‘Spain holidays’, ‘UK holidays’, ‘Cornwall holidays’ ‘Mexico holidays’ and ‘Ibiza holidays’ are all on the rise, suggesting people are looking to book stays for the end of the year. However, searches for UK-based holidays are rising more than ones abroad.

With this in mind, it’s expected that you will be getting ready to pull on your bikinis this Summer. That said, from tanning safely to choosing the best bikini for tanning in, Boux Avenue has pulled together some of their fave tanning tips together for you.

HOW TO GET YOUR TAN ON SAFELY

Whilst getting a suntan is something we all LOVE doing, it is important to remember to do it safely. Whilst using your fave fake tan is probably the safest way to get a glow, there is no denying how good it feels to get a natural tan and feel the actual sun on your skin.

The most important thing to remember when sunbathing is to always wear SPF and reapply it regularly. It’s best to wear SPF on your face every day, even if it doesn’t look sunny! When sunbathing in the summer sun you should always wear factor 30 or above to avoid burning. Looking after your skin with SPF means you will get a better, healthier tan and avoid any serious sun damage to your skin that burning can cause!

THE BEST BIKINIS FOR TANNING IN

When it comes to choosing what to wear to sunbathe, there are actually a few factors to consider. Boux Avenue pulled together some of their fave styles for sunbathing so you can throw on your best bikini as soon as the sun returns.

Their fave bikini style for an easy tan is always gonna be a tie-side one. The strap style on the top means very few tan lines thanks to the easily moveable straps.

Their Paros check triangle bikini set is so cute for Summer, you can see how gorgeous Georgia looks in the lilac gingham print. Or another of their tie bikini set faves, the Gili bright stripe triangle bikini set. Whether you want to tie the straps around your sides to avoid halter neck tan lines, untie them completely when you’re lying on your front or follow Tiff’s lead and slay the upside-down bikini top trend – these tie strap bikinis are always the perfect tanning choice.

If you are worried about tan lines on your bum then you are in luck, as thong bikini bottoms are a big trend this year. Their Ibiza bikini set makes a great bikini for tanning in, ensuring limited tan lines on your back, plus the support in the underwired bikini top means extra confidence all day.

A final factor to consider when choosing which bikini you are going to wear when you’re tanning is what colour it is. We all know wearing white is a great way to emphasise your tan, but did you know neon bright colours are also great for making your tan look even better (without having to sit in the sun for as long)?

Their Kasos trim pink bikini set that Courtney looks so good in is a great choice for making that tan pop! The low plunge and gold detail are so sassy you’ll feel and look fabulous (plus the pink will have your tan glowwwing!). If red is more your thing, then the brightly coloured Martinique pleat bikini set is for you. Turn heads and set your ‘gram on fire when you werk this gorj bikini with a fresh tan.

We hope you get to enjoy some safe sunbathing this year, whether it’s in your garden or in Ibiza – just don’t forget your sunscreen!

What’s Your Definition of Your Beauty??

Defining beauty as a concept is akin to holding sand in your hands. You can grasp at it and you certainly can seem to understand what it looks and feels like, but it is by no means solid. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this cliché certainly holds true. Approach anyone in the street and ask him or her to explain their ideal of beauty and you will undoubtedly get substantial variations in response. What you might come to discover is that defining beauty is closer to “I know it when I see it”.

It becomes very obvious then that defining beauty is as subjective as one’s taste in music. The search for it has spanned centuries – a relief in the tomb of the Egyptian nobleman Ptahhotep (who lived around 2400 BC) shows him getting a pedicure. Cleopatra wore kohl, a precursor to the modern eyeliner. Incarnations of what is considered ‘beautiful’ have ranged from breath-stealing corsets in the 19th century to achieve a tiny waist to our modern-day gravity-defying, ankle-threatening stilettos.

And that search is an expensive one! According to National Geographic, in the US, billion were spent on makeup, hair, and skincare. Billions were also spent on diet products and services, and billions more on health club memberships and plastic surgery.

But what for? Experts from all different fields have weighed in to define beauty and why we search for it. Studies by anthropologist Don Symons at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and psychologist, David Perrett at St Andrews University in Scotland, all show that men consistently showed a preference for women with smooth skin, larger eyes, fuller lips, and a smaller nose and chin because “all these traits are reliable cues to youth, good health, and fertility.” Essential characteristics we instinctively know (honed over millennia) are vital for continuing the human race. However, that hard-wiring in our brain circuitry can be altered, especially by culture, according to Douglas Yu, a biologist from Great Britain whose studies, for example, found that indigenous tribes in Southeast Peru preferred body shapes regarded as overweight in western culture. “A fuller, evolutionary theory of human beauty must embrace variation,” says Yu.

So, who’s been shaping the modern definition of beauty? That modern definition that has us worshipping Victoria’s Secret models, A-list stars, and beauty queens, and has us comparing our bodies to theirs? That has us modifying our eating habits that in an ever-growing number around the world, have resulted in eating disorders? That has us losing our sense of self-worth and self-esteem? It’s so easy to blame the media – magazines, TV, movies – as the culprit. But who buys those magazines, watches those TV shows, goes to the movies?

We do.

In a twisted sort of way, we ourselves have been responsible. What we watch, what we buy has inadvertently shaped what modern society now considers beautiful. So, in recognizing that, can we then be the instruments of change?

I am an aunt to three beautiful little girls and I find myself sometimes terrified when I think of the challenges that face them when they grow up. I was fortunate enough to have grown up surrounded by strong, confident women and in that most essential stage – the teenage years, the high school years – when your perception of yourself in relation to others is shaped, I was blessed to have had a group of friends who couldn’t care less what anybody else thought of them. They were proud of who they were and in the dreams and ambitions, they had for themselves. After high school, I again found myself, in the form of my two best friends and the women in my Christian youth group, with kindred spirits whose values and integrity meant more to them than superficial cares. I look back at those women, grateful that I knew them, and praying that my nieces will have women like them who will stand steadfast against today’s shallow perception of beauty.

When I was researching this article, I decided to have a look at the dictionary’s definition of beauty. According to Merriam Webster, beauty is:

– The quality of being physically attractive
– The qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.

Now that second part got me thinking… “qualities that give pleasure…” Isn’t that a healthier way of thinking about beauty? I mean, something can be physically attractive or ‘beautiful’ but deadly like a poisonous plant, and in that same vein, someone can be stunningly gorgeous but be a horrible person inside. So, I think instead of aiming to be beautiful, we should aim to be attractive. I mean, let’s face it, there is no way you can look like those models in the magazines. Do you know why? Because you don’t have the same genes they do, It’s as simple as that.

So, what do I mean about aiming to be attractive? Being attractive means that you’re the sort of person people are drawn to – like two magnets being pulled towards each other. Not drawn to you because of how gorgeous you look, but because they actually want to spend time with you. They are drawn to you because you are a person with a good heart, whose confidence and positive nature are just as irresistible as honey is to a bee. It’s a challenge, yes. And much more difficult for some to achieve than others but that’s what my circle of strong, confident women taught me – that my heart is more important than my face. Because ultimately, when I’m at my most unguarded when the only critic I face is me and I ask: “Do I love me?” and when I can say: “Yes”….that’s when I feel beautiful.