At the time of writing this I’ve just celebrated my 32nd birthday. I often think about beauty and how it changes throughout different stages of life, and while I can only speak from my own experience, I feel I have grown more confident with age. When I talk about beauty, I guess I’m talking more about how I define beauty and how I use it as a tool to express myself. I still consider makeup a hobby, something that brings me a lot of joy, but beauty is harder to put into words.
Our society still addresses age like a problem in need of a solution, a negative and something that needs to be irradiated. The irony is I remember vividly being 12 years old and desperate to reach 13 so I could be a teenager, and also being 16 and desperate to turn 17 so I could drive. Throughout my life ageing has only been something to look forward to and it saddens me that so many of us get hung up on ageing, which like death and taxes, is a fact of life.
While I totally believe in looking my best at any age, I do think the term ‘anti ageing’ presents a side of the beauty industry I still really dislike. It implies you can undo it, and its funny the main reason I tend to use products with ‘anti ageing’ in the title are because they tend to be the most hydrating and dewy looking which is an aesthetic I love. Now I’m in my thirties I certainly can see the lines and how my face is changing, and while change can be scary I also know this body is just a vessel. A vessel I can look after really well and enjoy painting however I choose, but age is such a privilege and I really hope I never lose site of that.
I wholeheartedly believe in ‘you do you’ and I believe in celebrating others choices, especially when it comes to what we put on or in our faces. At this point in my life I can’t see me turning to botox or surgery, but then I could feel completely different in ten years time. You just don’t know. The sad thing is the pressure that comes not just from society, but other women. The negative comments (i’m pleased to say don’t out way the lovely & constructive comments) I get via social media regarding my appearance are 99% of the time from women, and while I accept my audience is predominantly female, it always fascinates me what purpose it serves to discredit someone based on their looks? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and any changes I do or don’t make to my physical appearance have to be for me, not because I feel someone else will think I’m more attractive. Attractiveness and youth seem to go hand in hand in todays society and as far as beauty standards go, there’s a long way to go still.
While I do accept putting myself out there in the online world, I naturally open myself up to every kind of criticism and sometimes, especially when its intended to be hurtful, it is. I’m human, and yet with that, it’s also strengthened my belief in my own beauty, because I get to define it. It may change over time, but when I compare to my twenties, I’d hand on heart say I’ve felt more beautiful in my thirties and more sure of who I am than I ever did before. Lots of things still trouble me from time to time, I’m not immune to the same conventional beauty standards and social messaging about what is beautiful that we all see day in day out, but I can let it go quicker than I could before.
For me beauty is less about an idea and more about a mood, and whatever makes me feel great at that particular time. Sometimes thats a ‘harry flick’, sometimes its pink eyeshadow, Sometimes its a much needed makeup free day. I take good care of my skin, I always take my makeup off, and I’m less rigid with ‘what my look is’, yes I’ll always love a harry flick but I’m having a lot of fun wth makeup at the moment, and thats a really lovely place to be.
Photos Kayla Varley
Jeans Topshop | Jumper & Other Stories | Shoes Asos | Bag Loewe
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