Like most women I enjoy reading magazines. So much so, that friends used to joke that the UK Glamour- Magazine was my "bible". I used to think that in order to be happy, I needed to look like those girls and women in there. Cue the eating disorders and shopping sprees. To cut a long story short, it didn't make me happy. And as a sociologist I know that these pictures and articles (or many of them) portray a completely unobtainable picture of beauty- I mean, photoshop! But with a bit of distance I have come to the realization that caring about the way I look does not make me a vain airhead. I read somewhere that in France, people get dressed with some thought in order to show respect to the other people they'll meet when they leave the house. This thought has stuck with me, because I find it very beautiful. Since then I'm always dressed in a presentable way, just so I don't have to be embarassed to open the door to the mailman. Presentable to me means in such a way that I could go to the shops or the playground without getting changed.
But even more important than clothes (to me) in this conversation, is make-up. As a teenager and all through me 20s I suffered from cystic acne. I NEVER went anywhere without a thick layer of make-up. Even my housemates rarely saw me without it, and only if they managed to get up before me ;). So, along with the acne I ended up with dermatitis due to the heave make-up. I finally went to see a dermatologist when I returned to Germany and got the acne taken care of. And simultaneously, I switched to natural beauty products.
Ta-dah, no make-up. Still not completely at easy with going make-up-free but it's a start.
I haven't looked back since. My skin has never looked better, I haven't had a bout of dermatitis in years and acne flare-ups have become very rare. So much so, that I now only put on a tinted moisturizer and concealer, when I actually leave the house. I finally feel good in the skin I'm in.