Friday, July 8, 2016

A Beauty Bar Resetting the Bar on Beauty


I remember marveling at my mother's complexion when I was growing up.  She was blessed with great skin genes that made her look kind of like she was carved out of marzipan, even as she got older.  I, on the other hand, have lots of freckles and moles that  my mother sweetly called "beauty marks." I remember a cute guy in college telling me that those moles were "a reverse constellation of stars" across my body ... which I've always cherished, but that's another story.

My mom's skin care advice was simple: protect from too much sun, drink lots of water, moisturize at night and wash daily with Dove soap.  That's right: plain, simple Dove soap.  

So I followed her advice, and  started off on a habit that I've continued for decades.  Dove is still my daily cleanser.  I have tried others, but I always come back to Dove soap , although they call it a "Beauty Bar" -- which is perfect for me to wash all those damned beauty marks.

It's cheap, it doesn't dry my skin or make it break out, and it's pretty basic in its ingredient list.  Win win win!

The real me, makeup free!  (Okay, a little lip gloss and really great light.  We're not torturing ourselves here, people.)

I also try to follow another example set by my mother.  She always managed to exude beauty at every age of her life -- even through the ravages of cancer and chemo -- not because she stayed artificially young, but because she always loved her changing looks.  She never had a facelift, and never got fillers or Botox.  She just kept wearing fabulous makeup and jewelry, kept putting on gorgeous outfits and kept believing that she could bloom at every age.  She was always glamorous.  It was her niche for her entire life, regardless of what society might have told her was appropriate for her various ages.  I have to love the fact that she faced the world on her terms -- and those terms always involved lipstick, dangle earrings and a beautiful scarf.

 As I head fully into middle age in a youth-obsessed world, I try to remember the way my mom approached her own aging and beauty.  As I watch my pre-teen daughter begin to question her own changing body, I want to set a good example for her by always being myself -- freckles, marks and all.

I have found something even better than the obvious skin benefits of using Dove as a cleanser:  the fact that the company is dedicated to empowering women to love the way they look -- at every age, in every size and shape.  

Within an industry notorious for shaming, exploiting and discarding women and girls -- Dove is resetting the bar for beauty to one that is attainable by all of us.  And that makes me want to cheer.

Just read Dove's mission:

We believe beauty should be a source of confidence, and not anxiety. That’s why we are here to help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential. 


Dove's global research has shown that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and anxiety about appearance begins at an early age.  (Who here remembers puberty?!)

6 out of 10 girls are so concerned with the way they look that they avoid activities like swimming, playing sports or even offering their opinions.  As the mother of an 11 year old, I can hardly stand knowing these statistics and I want to join forces with those dedicated to positive change.

It is up to all of us to lead the way.

Fashion magazines and style bloggers exceed at creating almost flawless worlds for us to visit ... and it can be fun.  But there is a strange, homogenous perfection that can make our own lives seem dull and flawed (or not skinny enough, or too old, or without the latest shoes) by comparison.  I have to constantly hold back from over-editing pictures of myself.  I'm a photographer, and the urge to use the tools I know can be overwhelming.

The edited image might make me look better, younger, smoother ... but it is a literal blurring of the lines and freckles AND BEAUTY MARKS that make me who I am.  

The latest Dove Campaign is summed up in the hashtag #MyBeautyMySay, and it's a philosophy at the heart of Chic Contraire.  Rather than trying to live up to to a beauty standard set by others, choose to be who you are, and love the way you look.  Be sure to watch the great video about this project at the top of this post.  
For even more from one of the fabulous style bloggers who participated in the project, take a look at Jessica's story below:

Right on!

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