Unmasking the Beauty Within

“Perfect is boring, human is beautiful.” 

~Tyra Banks

It’s been roughly one year since all sense of normalcy swiftly vanished. Weeks have passed, and yet we are all still in the same position, with nowhere to go and no one to see. And as I watch my nail polish chip away, my highlights grow out, and the ends of my hair split, I find myself feeling slightly uneasy with these new changes. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself to be a professional beauty guru or gym enthusiast, but nonetheless I can confidently say I do try to keep my body healthy and my appearance presentable. Sure, my routine is nothing extravagant, but it’s simplicity keeps me happy and feeling well. 

assorted beauty products on white and brown wooden drawer cabinet Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels Daily, weekly and even monthly routines have been interrupted and halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the lack of cosmetic availability, women in particular have been significantly affected. There has always been such a great pressure on women to conform to Western societal beauty ideals. These expectations can be extraordinarily high and sometimes contradictory. We’re told that we should have a thin body, porcelain skin and a narrow face with nice cheekbones. But, we also shouldn’t be too thin or too plump. We shouldn’t wear too little or too much makeup or else we’ll be considered “cake faced” or “fake”. By having any type of plastic surgery done, we’re immediately considered to be all “plastic”. Women are scrutinized whether they conform or reject these standards, so does it actually matter which path we choose? We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. 

woman sitting on a chair next to a window Photo by Tatiana from Pexels Quarantining has been bittersweet. In regards to cosmetics, options and opportunities have drastically decreased. Now, more than ever, we are forced to come face to face with our natural selves and authentic beauty. Hairdressers, estheticians and cosmetic surgeons are no longer necessities in our lives, but rather luxuries. We are forced to reveal who we are without any additional cosmetic assistance. This provokes a great sense of vulnerability in many. 

Sheet face mask skin care product Photo by cottonbro from pexels

I think it is safe to say that ideals have drastically changed since the beginning of this pandemic. With little options available to us, we have had to make do with what we have. Embracing our imperfections has allowed room for the growth of confidence. During such a frantic time, I wouldn’t say that the worry of appearance has subsided, however, it has definitely offered us a new perspective on what is truly important. Sure, some of us may have put on a little extra weight or faces aren’t exceptionally clear or nails are not freshly painted—but is this as big of a deal as we have made it out to be? Perfection is overrated and unrealistic. Lately, many young females with large social media platforms, have assisted in normalizing and promoting authenticity and naturality. Vulnerability is a part of being human and being simply human is exactly what we are. Luckily, we have been given the opportunity to embrace and welcome such vulnerability. 

various female legs lined up together Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels We have begun doing beauty on our own terms, rather than simply following what is trending. Being experimental with our style, hair or makeup has been the norm for the past year. The chains which have held us women back from embracing our originality are slowly being loosened and priorities have most definitely shifted. We are now focusing on appreciating our bodies as well as our appearance, rather than seeking to abide by any standard. We are moving past conformity, and it is a step we need. I for one have learned to set aside the expectations others have for me, and instead create my own. 

Hungerford is correct in saying that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. The only definition of beauty we need to abide by is our own.