Beauty

Self Care

I’ve really been into self care recently. I know that sounds like such a millennial buzzword, but hear me out. Self care is the concept of looking after yourself and putting yourself first, whatever that act may be. It’s knowing that you only have one mind and body, and appreciating it and doing what you can to keep it in its best shape. Apparently the concept has been on the rise since the election of Donald Trump, with liberals using self care as a form of escapism from the daily disaster that is life: I could probably be lumped into this category. Here is my routine for looking after myself and what makes me happiest.

Physical

I have noticed that, as a generation, we place much more importance on appearance than may be entirely necessary. However, as we are so image conscious, I feel that taking care of how you look is an important part of how you feel. If you don’t feel good on the outside, you probably won’t feel great on the inside either. I think that the physical section can be broken down into three categories: skin, hair, and body.

– Skin
Since the summer, I have gotten super obsessed with trying out new skincare products and fine-tuning a routine that is right for my complexion. It has taken a lot of trial and error but I think I have finally found what works for me. I use a combination of different products, depending on the specific needs at the time (spot treating any blemishes, for example), but it tends to be the same all the time. I was initially going to do the Korean 10 step process but I found that to be a little bit overwhelming so I’ve opted for a smaller amount of steps instead. The one product that I have found to totally transform my skin is the Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment from Keeva Organics. It is a cream that you massage into your skin to help reduce blemishes. I have found it has changed the texture of my skin greatly and made it much smoother to touch.

– Hair
I have been highlighting my hair pretty frequently this year since I decided to go a lot blonder. This can be very damaging to your hair unless you take proper care of it. I’ve started to incorporate an oil into my haircare routine. I favor argan oil which I purchase from The Ordinary for under $10. I also do a keratin conditioning treatment every two weeks and use Aussie 3 Minute Miracle almost every time I wash my hair.

– Body
Since the summer, I began going to the gym at least twice a week (but preferably more). I love doing strength training, especially on my legs and I have seen progress. I can now leg press almost my entire body weight. I haven’t noticed many changes in how I look physically but I have noticed that I feel better and more energized than I previously did.

I also changed my diet. I started taking vitamins. I don’t eat cookies anymore. So many little changes have led to bigger changes than I can even imagine overall. I’m definitely a lot healthier than I used to be.

Mental

In terms of mental health, I’d say I’m in a very good place. I’m very positive nowadays and I don’t struggle with anxiety anymore. I do think that it is important to take some time out to spend by yourself, doing whatever you want to do. For me, I enjoy watching random videos on YouTube like vlogs by Romee Strijd or makeup tutorials. Fun, mindless entertainment that allows you to be alone and totally switch off is so necessary.

I also think that journalling is a great practice. I have a five-year diary that I make a notation in every night before I go to bed. I think writing down what you are thinking is a good way to express your feelings without directly talking about them. Sometimes you don’t care enough to have a discussion with somebody or having a discussion would make something into an issue that isn’t necessary. Most of the time my diary is filled with random pieces of information about my day, but sometimes I put more depth into it.

Finally, I think creating a sense of distance from the digital existence of yourself and the physical existence is a good thing to practice. Don’t share too much online, don’t place too much value on meaningless online interactions, and don’t take everything that you see online as reality. Often what is presented is a highly altered version of the truth and realizing that is the first step to becoming happier overall.

The Instagram Effect

Instagram has a detrimental effect on my self esteem. It has taken me so long to realise this but now I know it’s true. Seeing beautiful girls every day makes me lose sight of what’s actually important in a person. Because likes on Instagram are all about how pretty/hot someone looks in a photograph, I start to think that being beautiful is important to being successful, because on Instagram that’s true. All of the big accounts are run by hot girls (even if they all look the damn same). People’s lives revolve around likes. In a way it’s hella sad. However, I can feel myself getting sucked into that toxic mindset and I want to make a conscious effort to stop it before I get in too deep.

In real life (offline), beauty is nothing. Or maybe not nothing but beauty is secondary. Realistically, you’re not going to get a job just because you’re beautiful if you’re dumb as hell or have no education or are a really rude person. Your life probably isn’t going to be terrible if you look average because honestly most people look average (hence the word).

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I often think about this: how often do you see a truly stunning person in real life? I can probably count the number of beautiful women I’ve seen in real life on one hand. It’s very rare. Yes there are a lot of attractive people, pretty people, hot girls, but true beauty is rare. Instagram is odd because it takes these girls and puts them onto one platform and elevates them into your sight. Normally I wouldn’t be exposed to such a high concentration of beautiful people but due to Instagram and the explore page I am. In a way I hate it. Yes it inspires me to try harder, but it also knocks me down. I wonder why I’m not that beautiful or that photogenic. I wonder why I don’t have 1k likes on every selfie I post. I wonder why I don’t look that way when I’m wearing the same clothes. I wonder why I always look slightly awkward or uncomfortable whenever someone takes a photo of me yet these girls are posed as hell and still look good.

As long as I keep a handle on things and realise that Instagram is not real life, that these girls maybe aren’t even as stunning in person (and if they are, good for them!), and that there is more to life than looks. If you derive all of your value and self-worth from your appearance, what do you have when it’s gone? What more is there than that? I am 100% confident in all areas of myself apart from my appearance. I know I’m smart. I know I’m a good person; I’m kind, I’m loyal, I’m actually nice. I’m confident in my abilities yet I still don’t find myself beautiful because to me externally I am not. So that’s why it’s good to step away from Instagram, in my opinion, or at least don’t lose sight of what’s actually important. But as I know all too well myself, it’s easier said than done.

The Defining Looks of the Decade: Makeup Trends

Every decade can be defined by certain characteristics. The 20s with the skinny eyebrows, dark eyes and equally inky lipstick (aka the classic flapper look); the 60s with the cat eye, winged eye liner and the Twiggy-esque (or should I say Grace Coddington?) lower lashes; the 80s with the high glamour, coloured eye shadow and shimmer intact – all of these are styles that have come to represent each era. Whilst it is unlikely that every woman during this time did their makeup in this specific way, photographic evidence shows that some did and then somewhere along the lines each decade has come to be known by its own unique style: the 2010s are no different. (What do we call this decade? The tens? The teens?) Since we are almost half way through this decade and there are already some key looks that are emerging as the ones that are going to remain, I felt that the time was right to compile this list.

Beauty-wise, I’d say, the 2010s are all about the Kardashian look; faces that are highly contoured and sculpted, a non surgical cosmetic procedure almost. This time 100 years ago, makeup was a hell of a lot less sophisticated than what it is today. The products that were available were lesser, both in innovation and quantity. Now, fortunately, makeup is pretty advanced (in comparison to what it was in the past) and it is also extremely accessible. This means that pretty much everybody can create a complete new look for themselves.

Another factor in the widespread use of make up these days is YouTube. There are girls, or young women should I say, all across the world who film themselves putting on their makeup, upload it to the internet and make a small fortune off of it. I think that YouTube tutorials are such an asset and I really am so thankful for them. There are some truly talented “beauty gurus” out there who provide guidance and help to people, for free, to help steer them away from the awful makeup disasters that teenage girls have been making for as long as cosmetics have existed. I personally wish that I started watching YouTube earlier than I actually did, purely because I used to be terrible at makeup – literally so bad that I looked like a clown, or a parody of classic makeup mistakes. Something about YouTube that I find quite odd is that popular channels can post one video a week, if even that, and make enough money to pay rent, afford expensive cars, dress in head to toe designer clothes and go on holidays that some of us could only dream of. I find it commendable that people can make such success from really just filming yourself doing something that the rest of us do on a daily basis but I also find it very bizarre. I understand that there is a great deal of effort that goes into producing each video, including the editing which some people do so brilliantly (sunbeamsjess is a good example) but I still find the amount of money made from such little output very odd. However, if I were in their situation making that kind of money, no way would I be complaining.

I apologise for veering a little off topic, but the world of YouTube is so strange to me. My main point about YouTube is that it helps makeup looks become so widespread. These gurus teach us how to do things that used to be exclusive to trained makeup artists, although many are self taught, and celebrities and bring it to the public for all of us to try. As a result of this, some makeup looks that used to be exclusive to celebrities is now easy for us to try.

As a more beauty engaged and aware public, there is most definitely a few trends in cosmetics that are sure to define this decade. Although everything seems normal as it occurs, in ten years time it will probably be dated and uncool. So I have compiled what I think are the defining makeup trends of the 2010s (so far..)

CONTOURING

Made most famous by Kim Kardashian, I think it is one of the defining makeup looks of this decade purely because it has become so widespread. In recent years, almost every makeup brand has come out with their own version of a contour kit, something that only professional makeup artists had previously. The whole idea of contouring is to create shadows on your face to make it look more chiselled and defined. Then to counteract the darkness, highlighting is used to bring brightness to the highest points on your face which would most likely be hit by the light. In theory, it sounds relatively easy because you are just creating, or more so darkening, natural shadows that are created by your own bone structure then adding some light to the places where light would naturally hit. However, this look can go wildly wrong. There are many tutorials online of how to contour and highlight well and also the various different methods that can be used. Here are a few of my favourites:

MakeupByEvon’s routine using the Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit. I’d say she achieves quite a natural look and blends well.

Jaclyn Hill’s cream contour and highlighting routine.

WINGED EYELINER

Winged eyeliner is certainly not a new invention but only in the past few years has it been an everyday staple. A person’s makeup skills are often judged based on their ability to wing. Countless memes have been made regarding the liner, including one saying “never ask a girl wearing winged eyeliner why she’s late” which I find sort of hilarious. The look involves tracing around the top of your eyelid, creating a line and then dragging it out and upwards past the corner of your eye, tapering it thicker at this part. It can be created using all different types of eyeliner: liquid, gel, pencil, eye shadow pressed with an angled brush. Liner has been Dita Von Teese’s signature look for almost 20 years now but never has it been more relevant than now. Because it is something that is so difficult to master and a skill that requires constant practise, the abundance of tutorials on the matter are infinite. Once again I have linked a couple that I love:

Chloe Morello’s winged liner tutorial from back in 2012. She really is the queen of liner and does it in many of her videos with ease so if you’re looking to see it in a non tutorial, get ready with me format then have a look at some of her other videos.

Pin Up Beauty’s tutorial using a pot of gel eyeliner. I think that many people find the gel and an angled brush method easier because you have such control.

EYEBROWS

Not since Brooke Shields’ youth have bushy, thick eyebrows been so popular. The reigning eyebrow queen of the past few years has been Cara Delevingne, whose brows I am not really a fan of (too messy). However, there are many other celebrities who have naturally thick yet well groomed brows: Keira Knightley being an example. Not only are naturally thick brows popular but filling them in has become an absolute must in recent times. Products by Anastasia Beverly Hills are popular, including the recently launched Dipbrow pomade and her classic Brow Wiz. YouTube gurus can build up impressive brows from the most sparse few hairs and those with naturally thick show us how to tame them and keep them tidy. Whatever your issue is with brows now more than ever is there likely to be a product out there for you. Here are the best tutorials in my opinion:

Ana Victorino’s Cara Delevingne tutorial in which she creates thick, full brows using a pencil.

TheChicNatural’s perfect eyebrow tutorial where she creates natural looking eyebrows that are almost completely drawn on (the tail of her real eyebrows are non-existent).

MakeupByEvon’s Dipbrow tutorial for a more dramatic look.

 

So that is it. I’d say the three aforementioned are the biggest trends, beauty-wise, of this decade so far. We still have another five years to go and who knows, things could be totally different by the year 2020. If makeup remains innovative, things could change completely. The beauty industry is not stagnant and is worth literally multiple billions per year. With more and more people being involved in and caring about makeup and an increasing amount of platforms to share their work, with YouTube and Instagram only being two, there is no reason that things won’t continually evolve. So let us forget everything we have been told about beauty, abandon the old rules of the pre-millennium and embrace the changes that come in the future. Beauty is brilliant and should be celebrated. If makeup makes people feel good then let us enjoy it!