When you think of beauty what comes to mind? Is it truly found in the eye of the beholder, or that of the cultural conditioned eye of the beholder as a collective? The distinguished philosopher Denis Dutton based his findings about beauty on his observation of Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution. He concluded that beauty is one or all of these things: a natural landform, a work of art, a skilled human activity, and of course, a human being. “The experience of beauty,” he said, “is one way that evolution has of arousing and sustaining our fascination, even obsession, toward making the most adaptive decision for survival and reproduction.”
For the past few centuries, Western societies have defined beauty as youth and aesthetics, which biologically we are programmed to admire — but a combination of natural selection and sexual selection also comes into play. For example, the peacock’s tail has nothing to do with survival, it results from mating choices. For humans, it’s about shiny hair, slender figures, lighter-hued skin, height for a man, small waists and round hips for a woman; all representing what our caveman brain is wired to desire in assurance of a healthy mate that will procreate strong offspring.
That is one component, as is physical symmetry. Those impressions are the equation propagated during the European Renaissance, known as the golden ratio and adopted by modern scientists as a mathematical formula that determines why some people are considered beautiful while others aren’t.
This ratio affirms that someone beautiful has his or her face 1.5x longer than it is wide; the length of the ear is equal to the length of the nose; and the width of the eyes is equal to the distance between the eyes.
In 1932, Max Factor, the cosmetic giant and father of what is referred to today as “makeup” devised The Beauty Calibrator, a facemask comprised of flexible metal strips that conformed closely to the face. It could detect flaws, allowing the cosmetic professional to disguise them with corrective makeup. Already, Hollywood had begun to manufacture, by means of cinematography, the false illusion of perfection.
As a leading makeup artist, Artistry Executive at Make Up For Ever and Co-Founder of The Makeup Mob, Maggy Torres believes beauty is not solely about symmetry; it also has a lot to do with genuine confidence. “Think of makeup as a vehicle that accessorizes your wardrobe,” she says. “It is an extension of how you feel…beauty is about feeling confident.”
So what about our palpable obsession with youth? For Torres, she believes it has a lot to do with identifying youth with freedom, fun and purity. “I consider that the secret of being beautiful is held in doing things that make you feel young,” she says.
For Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Julio F. Gallo, M.D., he recognizes the significant force of the media in convincing Western cultures that they are inadequate unless they package and present themselves in a certain culturally sanctioned way. “When a person feels beautiful, they exude an allure that transgresses into power and confidence,” he says.
Allure, grace and seduction are components of something even better — fascination, an ingredient thrice as lethal as beauty. In 1937, a twice-divorced, once-impoverished ex-debutant that soon became a socialite via marriages, and probably the least beautiful woman of her time, Wallis Simpson, almost brought Great Britain to its knees when King Edward VIII abdicated the thrown to marry her.
Since she knew she was “nothing to look at,” she determined that the only thing she could do was “dress better than anyone else.” Simpson used fashion as a weapon with her stealth demeanor, impressive collection of jewels bequeath to her by her lover and later husband, and her immaculate tailored suits — a potent mixture of glamour and sexual magnetism, she projected royalty with an added punch even if the title was forever denied her.
According to Board-Certified Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. John J. Martin, Jr., M.D., for some people their power may make them appear more attractive. “They may not have what we would normally consider a beautiful face, but their confidence and manner makes them more appealing,” he says. Dr. Gallo agrees. “Although ideals of facial beauty change, a well-proportioned face, long neck and aquiline nose are features that have stood the test of time and trends,” he says. “Beauty is intangible as it encompasses a charisma which cannot be described.”
In the end, beauty is about much more than just physical appearance…it has a lot to do with an individual’s state of grace, their self-esteem or what the French call: amour proper. It has to do with a sense of purpose, the power to enchant, the capacity to nurture the child within and the courage we exude under fire. And lastly, it also includes the ability to see beauty.
Tangible or intangible, what we can do to keep us happy, healthy and looking gorgeous is following these expert insider secrets on tricks of the beauty trade.
Sunblock is what all the experts kept harping on and if you want the top products that won’t give you a chalky look, opt for La Mer the SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid or Sanre Organic Skinfood with SPF 30.
The Youth Serum
For that baby’s bottom suppleness and glow, use retinol nightly, and for a non-invasive lift treatment to rid yourself of sagging eyes or a doggy jowl, the Ulthera ultrasound machine is your answer.
Dr. Julio F. Gallo recommends drinking lots of water and using an egg white, lemon juice and avocado facial mask before a night out to tighten the skin and give it a dewy glow that will last all night into the morning.
Primp & Primer
Makeup maven Maggie Torres advices not to over-apply primer because it creates a barrier that will not allow the foundation to adhere. Instead mix both together; for every pump of foundation use a quarter pump of primer.
For that luminous gaze, once you’re finished applying your makeup make sure to add a bit of pearly-white iridescent eye shadow to the inner corners of your eyes to really take your look to the next level.
A quick remedy for the cumbersome blemish is to dab a drop of Visine on it, just as it gets the red out of your eyes, it can also help to diminish the redness around an infected pimple that can ruin your look.
Start early with your beauty regimen. If you dabble lightly in Botox and fillers by your mid-30s, you’re looking at doing maintenance work as opposed to having to perform an overnight overhaul by your 50s.