Be smart about beauty: Get back to the basics

Be smart about beauty: Get back to the basics
Be smart about beauty: Get back to the basics

I sum up “Smart Beauty” in four short phrases because beauty is elemental. It’s basic. It’s less about putting on, and more about exposing the raw materials, artfully.

Self Care
My first beauty basic - do what I can do on my own.

Whether that’s using the beautifying power of a good night's sleep or a diet that’s filled with vegetables and lacking in artificial ingredients, I take personal responsibility for my health and do what I can to reverse the aging process naturally. With a power combo of fitness, hydration, rest and meditation- fine lines and “angry 11’s” be gone!

Another smart beauty biggie: prevention. That means reminding myself to apply moisturizing SPF on both my face and my neck. …and the backs of my hands!

Self Knowledge
Knowing my body and loving it. This starts with being honest with myself about what my best assets are, and learning makeup skills and fashion tricks to let them shine. It’s fun to discover which stylish silhouettes accent the best part of my body and diminish those I don’t feel like flaunting. Same goes for learning how to apply a great concealer and highlighter so that I radiate. If anyone asks, I let them think it’s the meditation and green smoothies at work!

Going deeper, self-knowledge also means knowing the difference between a unique quirk and a blemish that causes me pain- physical or emotional. Working to love my quirks, the fewer pain points I have. There is no magical beauty tonic, but there is a transformative power in loving myself more.

Information Gathering
Then it’s time to gather facts. ALL the facts. I do this before purchasing a $10 cream, let alone proceeding with anything more substantial. For products, I want to know what's inside: are there parabens? Sulfates? Formaldehyde?!
And what about the company behind a product? Do they value my health or do they use trendy marketing claims just to sell product?

If I were to consider something more in-depth, then I need a lot more information. I want expert research on the procedure, the recovery time, and the projected effects on my body in 6 months, and for the next twenty years. What are the surgeon’s certifications? Is he/she an expert in the field? What’s their bedside manner like? Perhaps most importantly, do I trust them?

Having as much information as possible lets me feel confident in my choices. From products to procedures, a savvy consumer is an empowered and sexy consumer.

Attitude and Action
Smart beauty is radiating inner kindness and taking the actions to treat others well. When I was younger, I didn’t quite understand the phrase “beauty is only skin deep and ugly is through and through” because I always understood that beauty is holistic. If I don’t like what’s on the outside, I start by changing what’s on the inside.

Smart beauty isn’t complicated- it’s just being smart about how beautiful we already are.

About the Author

Mary Cunningham is a health and wellness writer and co-founder of the lifestyle site, Girl Around Town and travels regularly between New York, Austin and Houston. She loves speaking about the beauty we have inside and how to do the inner work to let that beauty radiate. Prior to leaving the corporate world to start her own company, Mary worked at the GRAMMYs in Los Angeles, before moving to Manhattan, where she joined Nokia's Digital Music Department.