Sometimes it seems if you want to keep a hand in the beauty game, you have to have unlimited time and a really, really deep pocketbook. I look in the mirror and see enough potential for work to add a wing to a plastic surgeon’s Tuscan villa. Then there’s the Pilates I should be doing, the vegan diet I should be eating, the botox, highlights, laser hair removal, and jillion dollar creams. It’s enough to make a girl throw in the towel.
But a few weeks ago I discovered the key to looking beautiful, and it doesn’t cost a cent.
I had clicked on a video on Garance Doré’s blog where she interviewed a fashion house’s creative director famous for her tremendous style. The still photograph introducing the video showed Garance—a pretty but not unusually gorgeous woman—and the creative director. It was clear from the creative director’s intriguing styling, willowy form, and chic glasses that she was the beautiful one. She was the one to watch.
Then I saw the video. The creative director sounded self-conscious and guarded, and even as a woman approaching a “certain age” her voice hesitated. She seemed uneasy in her own skin, and studiously cold. Meanwhile, Garance smiled and asked questions and came off as warm and authentic. When she laughed, the skin around her eyes crinkled in a way that made me want to laugh with her.
The beautiful one wasn’t the famous creative director at all. It was the woman who was comfortable and open and clearly finding joy in what she was doing. If I met both people at a party, I would migrate straight to Garance, and so would you.
Fire and Ice: Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington.
Think about it: You see two women. One has satin-smooth skin, a precise haircut, and a Vogue-worthy wardrobe. But she won’t look you in the eye and seems vaguely displeased with her company and situation. She picks at her lunch and drops names from the dinner party she was at the weekend before. The other woman wears a wrinkled dress of uncertain provenance, and her hair keeps escaping its bobby pins. Her mascara has smudged, and her laugh lines show. But she smiles when she sees you and rushes to give you a hug. She’s excited about the fascinating book she just read. She has nothing to prove, and she’s happy to be where she is.
Do I really need to ask who the beautiful one is?
Lipo, collagen fillers, and, frankly, even a good girdle are beyond my budget these days. But it costs nothing to walk in the world with openness, joy, and confidence. (O.K., maybe it does cost a little in therapy, but still.) Grandma was right. True beauty doesn’t come in a jar.
~Posted by Angela Sanders for Xtabay. Angela is a regular contributor to the perfume blog "Now Smell This" and is one of Xtabay's first and favorite customers. Thanks Angie!