Extreme Beauty

With all that is enhanced, filtered and edited in the social media-fied world of beauty…how are we ever to know what’s achievable (or real) and what’s not? Are those actually her lips? All contouring, no fillers? (I don’t think so). Oh yeah, we are going there…

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On Monday I went to see a screening of The Neon Demon and from what I knew about it / the trailer, I thought it was just about the cut throat world of modeling and the high value we put on youth and beauty…which it was, but if you see it you’ll realize it’s a hell of a lot more (in a super fucked up yet visually stunning way). After the screening, Elle Fanning (who stars in the movie) and Nicolas Winding Refn (the director) had a Q+A, which got me thinking about the themes of the film even more…and pondering some questions I wanted to ask myself and of course ask YOU.

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Beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing was by far the most memorable quote from the movie, which I agree with to an extent…but it’s not just about looks. If you think about it in the context it was given, it’s extremely superficial. But if you’re a creative, you probably enjoy pretty things (whether it’s a photo, a flower, a building, a landscape, etc.) so wanting to be surrounded with as much beauty as possible isn’t such a crime, is it?

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There’s a scene in the movie where Elle Fanning (playing a model named Jesse) admits that she thinks she’s beautiful and everyone wants to be her — this was something that was brought up during the Q+A with the director and he went on to talk about how that was an important part considering that’s not something we typically discuss / admit. So is it okay to admit you’re pretty? Regina George might not think so, but it’s not such a bad thing to pat yourself on the back every once in a while (as long as you’re not obsessed with yourself, like some people…)

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That leads me to the makeup question — how do you express yourself? Do you wear the minimal amount and rock your natural beauty? Do you experiment with different colors and shading? Can you not ever be seen without eyeliner and foundation? Is your ideal look a little something like this?

Although I am obsessed with the Kylie Lip Kits (don’t judge…those June obsessions will likely be pouring into July) I don’t think you need to look like you were injected and plumped to rock those colors (even though most people on the @kyliecosmetics Instagram account look like that). It goes back to that debate of makeup on Instagram vs. real life (which truthfully, I prefer the real life look 100%). I’m not sure how that over the top filled-in / matted look got so popular (I’m sure we can blame a [if not all the] Kardashian[s]) but I don’t think it really does anything for anyone. It doesn’t necessarily make you look younger or cooler (in some cases, it makes you look like a clown). Now I’m not trying to make fun of anyone, as I know many think of makeup how I view clothes — they like to experiment and express themselves, and I’m down with that. But if you need that amount of makeup to think you’re pretty or feel confident, is that always going to do the trick? Or will it lead to more extreme measures?

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There’s three levels to your beauty preferences that are best explained with a series of photos. There’s what we just discussed — the Kardashian-ized look (photos taken from, you guessed it, @kyliecosmetics!)

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There’s that “I’m not trying to hide the fact that I’m wearing makeup but I also still want to look like me” vibe.

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And there’s the “no makeup makeup” look (or you can literally choose not to wear makeup at all).

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There’s no right or wrong answer here but just think about that for a minute and figure out where you fall on the spectrum…and most importantly WHY. I’d say I fall under the “no makeup makeup” look but every once in a while if I’m feeling fancy I don’t mind a little eye makeup (I just need someone to do it for me as my use of shadows and liners are equivalent to a two-year-old trying to color inside the lines).

Fashion and the ability to express myself through clothes is what makes me feel confident, so if wearing a full face of makeup and fillers is what makes you confident, I can’t knock you for that. But when it comes to your appearance, it should be something but it doesn’t need to be everything or the only thing. We’re bombarded with all these beautiful [yet highly Photoshopped] images, promises from skincare and makeup companies, convincing articles about preventative fillers…where does it end? How far do we have to go to feel beautiful?

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I’m not saying I’ll never go under the knife or get any sort of injections because I can’t make those promises at 28, but considering I’ve always been pretty conscious about what I eat and drink (minus college…those four years don’t count), what I use on my skin and generally being aware of how my body feels — I have high hopes for no sharp utensils near my face. I don’t feel the need to get injections or wear 4 lbs of makeup on my face (honestly the more makeup I wear the more self conscious I feel…how about that for a twist?) I’ll experiment with lipstick but that’s about the extent of it. Basically where I’m getting at here is that regardless of what you see on Instagram or in magazines (or in a crazy ass movie), beauty doesn’t have to be so extreme. You don’t have to “wake up like this” (because let’s be honest, no one thinks they’re camera ready the moment they open their eyes in the morning) but there’s a happy compromise.

Whether it takes 0 minutes or two hours for you to feel good about yourself — when Regina George asks you if you agree that you’re really pretty, the answer is always YES. These are the things that make me feel good to go for the day (plus a shit ton of water)…what about you?

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Images via V Magazine, Pinterest, & Vogue 

2 comments on “Extreme Beauty

  1. Is it really such a big deal to be obsessed with myself? Just kidding. I agree, thinking you’re pretty is nothing to be ashamed of (I definitely joke with my friends that I’m one of the prettiest person I know, but I try not to have too big of a head). I’m actually currently living in Korea, and their society can definitely be looks-obsessed. I recently had my TMJ treated with botox here, and the doctor was worried that my cheekbones might end up too prominent. I was like, it’s ok, I just don’t want to worry about my jaw locking open when I yawn. (Prominent cheekbones are not considered to be idealistic here, and botox is regularly used to slim the face). My cheekbones aren’t super prominent right now, but I’m not going to lie… I’m a bit worried I’ll end up looking like the guy from Saw.

    Anyways, I think the important thing is to feel confident. If going under the knife let’s you more confident, I think you should be able to do it without being judged. On the other hand, I feel bad when people think your features should look a certain way to be considered beautiful, and people wanting to go under the knife because society tells them they should look a certain way. Plenty to think about in this post.

    Arielle from Casual ‘n Couture

    • Hi Arielle. Thanks for sharing! It’s so interesting to hear what the “ideal beauty standard” is from country to country. I really appreciate your insight 🙂

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