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Beauty [n.] \?byü-t?\: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: loveliness. 

Beauty has long been the topic of poets, artists, philosophers and even our favorite pop bands, but what exactly is beauty, and how do we achieve it? What I love about the definition above is that it does not point singularly to appearance as the source of beauty, because there are many more defining facets. As young women, we are bombarded by ad campaigns and celebrity-endorsed products that will supposedly make us beautiful, and it is important to create our own definitions. 

What makes us beautiful is not the hottest trends in hair and makeup, nor is it trying to look like our favorite actress or cover girl (or anyone else for that matter). It is feeling confident and recognizing qualities in ourselves that we love so as to showcase them for the world to see. We should not depend on cosmetics to give us confidence but rather use them to enhance features that already make us confident! 

This year through The Beauty Beat blog on Her Campus St. Olaf, I hope to help you figure out your own beauty philosophy. My name is Molly Fitzgerald, and I am a sophomore at St. Olaf. With my major being in psychology, it is no wonder that my definition of beauty has to do with perception and feelings! Growing up in a southwest suburb of Chicago, I have come to appreciate the loveliness of understated beauty, but my background in musical theater also allows me to appreciate a beautifully bold look. Beauty can be as simple or as daring as you would like it to be.

Take a look in the mirror. What features do you like? Your smile? Hair? Eyebrows? Eyes? Maybe even your freckles? A smile, first of all, is the best accessory, but let’s say that it is your favorite part about yourself. Why not make it the best it can be?

Spend time working on dental hygiene and wear a bit of lip stain for a pop of color that enhances those pearly whites! Love your eyes? Show them off by wearing a color that complements their natural hue. Have some baby blues? Wear something coppery. Are your Irish eyes smiling in green? You will look lovely with a hint of purple. And for those brown puppy dog eyes? Try a light, neutral brown. See? It is that simple!

Beauty is something that is already a part of us. Our job is to recognize it and enhance it, not cover it up! Feeling great is a perpetual cycle: If we feel good about our appearance, then we feel more confident. The more confident we are, the more beautiful we look and feel. This continuing cycle helps us to develop habits that feed our everyday successes. The act of being well-put together is a sign of respect for yourself and reflects your inner beauty as well. In sum, be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Photo: baumorthodonticaligners.com

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