Why do you do that Mommy?” my six-year-old exclaimed, as she walked into the room while I was putting my makeup on.
Without even thinking, I replied, “I have to put my face on.”
Watching her face scrunch up both stunned and confused, she answered with an extended, “What!?!”
The line I have used dozens of times with girlfriends, with no need to explain its concept, left my little girl perplexed. Looking at her face staring at mine in the mirror - a ready to apply blush brush in my hand, the skin of my face made evenly smooth by a thin base of foundation, my lashes extended with mascara and my lips puckered in a shade of red a few flushes lighter than my own - I wanted her to know that this was not what made a woman beautiful. I wanted to clear up any misconceptions she may be acquiring, watching me ‘put my face on’ – that this is not where beauty begins.
In an era where there is an endless array of possibilities available to correct the possible ‘imperfections’ of one’s face and body and make everything more systematically ‘beautiful’ – an old cliché remains steadfast and true: Beauty is still revealed from the inside out. No amount of work to the exterior of one’s self can create the radiant glow that can only come from within. This ‘interior’ is a two-part system – the internal health system that reveals the effects of a healthy diet, and the internal spirit that radiates the effects of a healthy heart and soul. How to convey to my six-year-old daughter that this is where beauty indeed begins…
The health of your skin, hair and nails will not reflect not the applications of products you put onto them – but rather the nutrients you supply them with, to constantly reproduce them. Research has shown time and again that a diet heavy with junk food, refined sugar, red meat, diary and fried foods will leave the skin looking heavily wrinkled, both oily and dry, and flax of radiant color. Individuals who have diets rich in vegetables, olive oil, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, melons, apples, whole grain oats and drink ample volumes of water, will exhibit the fewest wrinkles.
Water, at least 64 oz per day, is required to replenish moisture to the skin, hydrating it from the only source it can be hydrated from: the inside. Lean protein found in poultry, fish and beans adds vibrancy to skin and shine to hair. Omega 3 fats found in fatty cold water fish and flaxseed, provide the healthy fats your body needs to add a protective layer to your hair and skin. Fresh vegetables, fruits, brown rice and bran give the body the fiber it needs to flush out unhealthy and toxic waste. Multi-vitamins with the key components Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin E, and B-Complex vitamins support healthy looking skin, hair and nails. And there is one component of internal health that has its most apparent day to day effect on the body: rest. Sleep, which for most people is seven hours per night, is necessary for the body to rejuvenate itself. The effects of a good night’s rest are evident to all of us first thing in the morning!
Nutrition, rest and exercise are advice well known for the smooth running of a healthy internal system. But there is a second, more indefinable aspect of the internal that contributes to overall health and provides some of the underlying radiance that exudes the body and makes one truly beautiful. That is the spirit and condition of one’s heart and soul. Years of research proves over and over that ‘happy’ people live longer, heal more easily and have better overall physical health. This illusive ‘happiness’ requires its own set of work to improve. What science is finding out more and more is that the state of one’s spirit is not so distant from the state of one’s health. For many, this seems like a mental state of sorts, a happiness to be found within the intellect and through reasoning. Others seek it through faith, connecting to a spiritual foundation. Underlying all of this is an understanding that individuals with good self-esteem have a solid sense of self-confidence that exudes an indescribable component becoming what we all identify as beauty. Those who love themselves find it easiest to love others, and in this, radiate a form of beauty that is unattainable through physical appearance alone.
Just as work is done to keep the body in shape, and time and energy are expended to make sure one has supplied the body with the proper diet, an equal amount of time and energy are needed to look ‘inside’ and find ways to heal the heart and spirit. The inside will make its way to the outside, a healthy soul coming to the very surface of one’s skin.
As I returned from these thoughts, I put the blush brush down, cupped my daughter’s face in my hands and kissed her cheeks, her forehead and her chin.
“You are beautiful,” I told her.
She smiled, the glow of being loved and loving herself, in return making her beautiful. b