Saturday, June 6, 2009


Personal beauty. We all know what it means, even though it's hard to define. Sometimes, I have acted as if I didn't care. Sometimes, I have thought I didn't care. But when the stress that made me think it didn't matter is gone, the longing returns. It rises from my soul as simply, as elegantly, as predictably as the morning sun.

I long for beauty. I love to gaze upon it. I find joy in being surrounded by it. I naturally turn, with hardly a conscious thought, towards being part of it. Not only do I want to enjoy it, I want to belong to it. I want to be beautiful, with a lively and lived-in beauty that is accessible, authentic, and delightful to my husband.

There. I've said it. It feels a little awkward, but it's the truth. And not just for me. If you have any doubts about this, just take a tour in your local drugstore. Walk down the aisle for make-up, skin products, hair treatments, and accessories. There is a vast, overwhelming array of these things. Now, think about the market that has supported all the research and product development. These things are on the shelves because there are large numbers of people who will buy them.

It's amazing that women will buy a bottle of lotion for the face for over $100. It's astounding that they will pay thousands for more elaborate procedures. Why? They want to be beautiful.

Of course, we all know that true beauty is within the person and shines out of the countenance, the personality, the expresssions, the words and the actions. Physical appearance is just one component of beauty. A lovely, real image arises from a lovely, real person. Authentic beauty is unique to each individual. It isn't a contest. We shouldn't compare ourselves to models on magazine covers or celebrities or anyone else. We need to find our own special way to shine. How can we care for ourselves so that our natural beauty shines while caring for our families in a busy life?

When my children were young, I fell into an unhealthy pattern. When things were busy, I forgot about being beautiful. It seemed like a lower priority. Once the school year slowed down, or had a holiday, I noticed my neglected appearance, usually with dismay. The lack of personal care showed. I would make changes, and vow to keep them as new habits, only to find myself dropping them when life grew busy again. My problem was that my standards for beauty, in general, were unrealistic for my lifestyle and therefore unachieveable. I needed to build a routine which I enjoyed, and which was authentic and practical.

All of this is why I am intrigued, and a little encouraged, by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Their commitment to helping ordinary women find their own way to shine is refreshing. I appreciate the decisions they have made with their advertising, and I really like their programs for girls.

On the practical side, I want to share with you today about a set of products that I am currently using with happy results. I have experimented quite a bit with hair products. My hair is hard to style because it's very fine and wavy. I stumbled upon, took a chance on, was surprised by the Dove hair products. I purchase them at Walmart. They sell for a very reasonable price and do as good a job as the more expensive brands. Right now I use the 2-in-1 shampoo, the mousse, and the hair spray. With the 2-in-1 product, I don't have to take the extra step to condition my hair. With the mousse, I can blow dry my hair into place. It takes me five minutes. My style holds all day without feeling stiff or sticky. The hair spray is a non-aerosol, fine mist which I use lightly. It doesn't weigh down my hair or make it stick together like many other sprays. If the spray comes out unevenly, I can take the cap off the bottle, rinse it in warm water, and put it back on. The spray even comes in a small travel size which I can store in my purse for those occasional moments when I need a touch-up. I have been using these products for several months. They do not dry out my hair and provide just enough conditioning to keep it healthy. They work really well in hot, summery weather.

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