Let’s stop and think about this question for a moment.
What is beauty?
A woman can be beautiful. A child can be beautiful. A gift can be beautiful. A sunset can be beautiful. A holiday can be beautiful. A piece of music can be beautiful. If you ask your partner, he might say a touchdown can be beautiful. Ask a mathematician, and they say an equation can be beautiful.
What do these things have in common?
Some of them are things you can touch, some aren’t. Some are events. Some happen in just a second, and some last longer. Some are created, and some just occur. Some are thought out, and some are what comes together in the moment. Some might be beautiful to many, some might be beautiful to a very small number of people. So what makes them all beautiful?
Let’s simplify things… We probably all agree that the image of the woman above could be considered beautiful by many (after all, her brows are Brow Artists International™ perfect!). But would she have been considered beautiful four hundred years ago? Maybe not.
Back then beauty was defined as “plump and fleshy”. So perhaps beauty changes over time. This question so bothered a group of people (mostly men) in Germany over two-hundred years ago, that they started a whole movement to decide, once and for all, what beauty is. This movement was known as the “Aesthetics Movement”.
For all their enthusiasm, those men never did come to an agreement on the answer to the question ‘what is beauty?’ and the movement eventually became Aesthetics, and the Aestheticians became the power behind it.
As beauty artists, we are the modern champions of this movement. It is our privilege to help the world discover what beauty is.
So perhaps we should be able to answer the question for ourselves!
What Beauty is NOT
“What is beauty?” is a pretty big question. So let’s start with something simpler. Let’s look at what beauty is NOT.
Many thousands of years ago, Greek philosophers decided that beauty might be about symmetry.
Symmetry means something is the same on both sides. Have you ever seen a photo of someone whose face has been altered so it is the same on both sides? We can all agree that there is something slightly “wrong” with this. And the philosophers figured that out too.
So, beauty is NOT when things are exactly the same. A whole world of women who are absolutely identical wouldn’t be beautiful, it would be boring!
While the Greek men were sitting around talking about beauty, the Greek women were practising creating it. They tried all sorts of strange products on their faces and skin, some of which were poisonous, and some of which were slightly gross (like bleaching your hair with urine!
Thankfully they discovered that vinegar and sunlight seemed to work just as well, and didn’t leave the same type of smell…).
While we have a whole range of wonderful makeup products to choose from now, we can still appreciate their core beliefs about how to use cosmetics. Their main belief was NOT that imperfections should be covered up, hidden, painted over; but that our beauty should be allowed to shine out through best features.
In other words, don’t worry about what isn’t beautiful, focus on what reveals the beauty within.
What the Greek men learnt from the Greek women, was that beauty is about simplicity and truth – finding the beauty within, and allowing it to shine through.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
We’ve all heard this expression, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
Doesn’t this mean everyone’s opinion about beauty will be different? Yes! And what’s wrong with that? Not everyone will find the first picture in this article beautiful, but many of us will.
While our opinions may not be exactly the same, there is a lot we can agree on in terms of beauty.
Each sunset is different, and perhaps yesterday’s sunset will be “perfect” for you, while today’s will
be “perfect” for me. Yet, we can both appreciate the beauty and simplicity of a sunset.
You might think music will never get any better than 80s pop (long live the Eurhythmics!) while I might think nothing will ever beat the old-style jazz of smoky Louisiana clubs. Despite our
differences in taste, we are both connecting with something that represents truth and beauty to us.
What does this mean in my business?
So what does this mean to you as a beauty professional?
It means two things…
1. There is no specific formula for beauty
2. Beauty is about finding what is special and making the most of it
There is no specific formula for beauty
A formula may be a beautiful thing to a mathematician, but there is no specific formula for beauty.
You cannot say, “For every client who walks through my door, I will pluck three hairs, apply a mahogany semi, blowdry with a roundbrush, give them an avocado and shea butter scrub, and gel coat their nails in blush.” Clearly this is not going to work!
Beauty is about finding the inner essence of each woman, what is special and unique, and helping that to shine through.
Allow the inner beauty to shine through
No client comes to you as a blank canvas. Each person already has a face, a body, skin, hair.
Your art, and your skill, lies in finding your client’s inner beauty, and assisting it to shine through.
Take the time to sit with your client. Let them talk and really listen to them – not just their words, but their values behind those words. Their hopes. Their dreams. Allow yourself to feel their concept of beauty and seek the best way to help them achieve that.
No-one is entirely without beauty. It is about finding the beauty within each and every client and drawing that forth.
We are the beauty professionals of today. We are shaping the beauty of tomorrow.
Just in case you’re wondering…
The equation at the start of this article is what launches a rocket. You may not find the equation beautiful, but how about that sparkling golden tail, arcing across the vastness of a star-studded deep-space sky?