Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pretty Things: Low Maintenance Beauty

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann

photo credit

While watching Lost the other day on Netflix, I thought to myself: if I was stranded on an island for months, I would look a hot mess! No tweezers, no razors, no makeup or nail polish, no HAIR PRODUCTS?!?! The visual is just too disturbing to contemplate.

This train of thought led me to realize a few things:

* I'm always worried about how I look
* I'm more high maintenance with my beauty routines than I admit to myself
* High maintenance routines are not necessary to look good
* I want to live more simply and require less stuff

Why is it that I am always distracted by thoughts of how I look? Key word: distracted. I love being a woman and expressing my femininity. Don't you? We want to feel good about ourselves, and part of that is looking good. But often we, OK I'll speak for myself, I take it too far and become obsessed with my appearance and allow it to affect my focus on other things.

My preoccupation with beauty can take up a lot of time, and I'm convinced that I could leverage some of this time to concentrate on other areas of my world. My life is a constant juggling act and there are still so many more things I want to do with myself. To create the capacity for more living and loving; I need to simplify - cut back - slow down. I realize that this will require a whole mind shift, but I'm ready to work at it.

Some ideas I've been considering lately:

* How much time do I spend per week on my hair versus how much time I spend writing? If you follow me on my personal blog, then you know that two of my passions are healthy, natural hair and writing. I am so full of ideas and words right now. All I want to do is write, but with a day job and a family, I have limited time. With the time I was spending on my hair everyday, I could be writing and creating.

* How many times am I late to work or a function because I can't get my hair, clothes, makeup just right? Too often, I'm rushing, I'm distracted and I'm wishing I had more time. Shifting my philosophy to low maintenance beauty will allow me to savor my experiences more. For example, I'd rather have two pair of jeans that fit me perfectly, than 10 pair of jeans that just take up space in my drawer. See what I mean? Simplify.

* How do I define my ideal outward appearance? My current response would be healthy, big hair in perfect disarray, clear blemish free skin that doesn't get oily, having the perfect outfit for every occasion....I could go on. With this wish list perpetually on my mind, no wonder I always find myself trying to improve something about how I look. Why not look in the mirror, be content and feel blessed? I'm a woman, a mother, a daughter, sister, friend and more, and when I see myself through their eyes, I know that I am beautiful just the way I am without a lot of frills and fuss.

Developing a "work smarter not harder" mentality about my beauty routines, is just another way to be true to my current reality and keep my priorities in check. By honoring my time and spending it wisely, I'm loving myself and creating the space for new experiences. I still want to feel beautiful on the outside, because this makes me feel more confident to express my inner beauty. So, my intention is to work towards that unique balance of inner and outer energy that attracts the life and opportunities that I desire.

This excerpt from zen habits speaks to this concept of simplifying and savoring life:

Savoring life starts with a mindset. It’s a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness, isn’t ideal. It’s a mindset that tries instead to:

do & consume less
slow down
be mindful & present
savor things fully

In what small ways, whether related to self-image/beauty or otherwise, have you been able to simplify your life? Is the time you spend on your appearance or other external factors distracting you from simply enjoying life? What can you do about it? Do you disagree with this philosophy? Why?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci


Redbonegirl97 said...

I did a huge purge earlier this year. I got rid of so many clothes, products and other things that were overwhelming me on the daily basis. It feels good to sometimes not have that many choices.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Bella said...

Now that you've posed that question, it is honestly making me question myself as to whether or not I really need 2-3 hours to "glam" up before I go somewhere? I mean I seriously need to give my own self the side-eye with that! 2-3 hours?!?! Damn Kimora and all her fabulosity antics! I too am late for work and every event that I attend because I'm so focused on entering a room drop dead gorgeous all the time. NOT NECESSARY. Not to mention by the time I get there, I'm so totally exhausted from thinking about how I look and from the prep time, really for real? I am missing out on life and I do need to rethink some things to simplify and just BE plain ol' me. :-/

GG said...

@Redbonegirl97 - Exactly! It just makes all your decisions take longer, you know? I'd rather have a small quantity of quality things to choose from.

@Bella - I'm so glad you get this! It felt really good to admit this to myself and then write about it. Let's face it, there's so much fun to be had being a girl and playing with our looks but for a purpose driven woman, there's just really no reason that our appearance should get more time and attention than our personal and spiritual development.

Alexis said...

This post is great. I have been dealing with some of the same issues. After cutting my hair and going natural I started wearing full face makeup more often. I also spend a lot of time getting my twa to be perfectly even with perfectly defined curls. I soon realized all of that was way too much. Now, I do exactly what I used to do, eyeliner and lip gloss and keep it moving. I do full face whenever I feel like getting extra cute, but it's not as manditory as it was before. Also, some affirmations to consider (some that have brought me peace in times of rushing and stress): "I am on time." "I have plenty of time to do everything I need to do." Setting your intention to do and be what you want makes all the difference in the world. Other people's schedule will adjust to fit yours magically when you first set peacefully, fulfilling and abundant intentions. :)

GG said...

Hey Alexis! That's great advice. Just this morning on my way to work (running late) I repeated to myself "I am on time" "I will get to work safely and have a great day" This really helped me get out of that rushing, sloppy, manic monday mode. And do you know a big part of why I was running late? I tried something new on my skin a few days ago and had a bad reaction (SPOT CHECK WHEN YOU TRY NEW STUFF PEOPLE!) and I was trying to work magic with concealer and powder to cover it up. :-/ It's probably not even that noticeable to anyone but me. Oh well, I'm working on it :)

Carmen Cardoza said...

That's exactly what I've been thinking. I do like feeling and looking beautiful, but I've been working on how to accomplish that with less.

The stranded island imagery is one of the reasons I started doing a process of elimination with hair products and skin-care products, so that I could learn about the natural elements that the universe provides for us to maintain and nurture ourselves - and to see what I'd look like naturally!

Tisha Matthews said...

This post had me thinking about my fairly new beauty habits. A few years ago, my spouse asked me why did I spend so much time making myself up. I told him that I was suppose to, then he said to me that I didn't need to, I am beautiful just the way I am.

From that moment I decided to ignore all of the "You must be glamorous to be beautiful" messages and just concentrate on keeping my self healthy on the inside, because when your insides are healthy, which is your mind,body and soul then that natural beauty will show on the outside.

Great convo ladies! Oh.. I have an award for you.

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