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Most of us would agree that beauty means being aesthetically pleasing to the senses, especially the sight. In layman’s terms we would say that this means looking good but is being beautiful, really just about how we look or is there more to the whole concept than meets the eye.

Beauty is a complex subject. You don’t have to be a genius to work out that looking your best is important. After all, many of us have been brought up on sayings like ‘first impressions count’ and you know from life experiences that long before people get to know you instant judgements are made based on your appearance.

Outer Beauty

Let’s face it, for the vast majority of women looking beautiful is hard work and it’s made even harder by what the media presents -female bodies plastic surgery enhanced and airbrushed to perfection – as the ‘body beautiful’ today.

We’re bombarded with what products to use for our hair, nails and skin. Teeth whitening, hair removal and, heaven forbid, wrinkles seem to have taken on gargantuan proportions in the quest to be beautiful. We’ve had so much advice on make-up that we have a draw full of stuff that was high fashion yesterday but is nowhere to be seen today. Oh, and don’t forget we need to smell great in order to be alluring and sexy. Where does it all end we might well ask. Well it doesn’t . . . so let’s concentrate on where it all starts.

Before you start buying any ‘magic’ products start by making sure that the everyday choices you make will ensure that your source of beauty – your body and the skin that protects it – is in the best condition it can be.

Outer Beauty – Keep your skin looking beautiful

Watch your diet. What you put in is what you get out. A healthy diet, plenty of Vitamin C, reduced carbohydrates and fats, more fruit, vegetables and fish will all improve your complexion. You also need to limit your caffeine intake as it is dehydrating and may dry out your skin.

Exercise regularly.Working out improves your circulation which in turn nourishes your skin. The increased blood flow feeds your skin with nutrients and oxygen and helps carry away waste products, including free radicals.

Get enough sleep.Burn the candle at both ends and it shows on your face. Dark rings under your eyes, skin that sags and bags and lacks lustre are all telltale signs. The good news is that beauty sleep is free and you can start right away by getting eight hours sleep tonight.

Limit alcohol.Excessive drinking is bad for your body and your skin. Alcohol is a diuretic which facilitates the loss of water and resultantly dries out the skin. It also dilates blood vessels which often gives heavy drinkers a flushed, red face.

Stop smoking.Not only is smoking bad for your health, it does irreparable damage to your skin as well. Smoking causes wrinkles by narrowing blood vessels in the outer layers of skin. This causes less blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that can get to the skin [source: Gibson].

Minimise sun damage.Basking in the sun not only feels good, short term it also makes you look good. But over time the damage from the sun can range from sunburn to wrinkles to skin cancer. Limiting exposure and protecting your skin by applying a broad spectrum sun screen are a must.

Get your vitamins.As much as you need to apply products to your skin that contain vitamins such as C, E and A and the mineral selenium you need to make sure that you’re feeding our body with them as well in order to nourish the skin and help protect it from the ageing process. If your busy ‘grab and go’ schedule means that eating sensibly is something you often sacrifice a vitamin supplement might be the answer for you.

Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise.With a harsh South African climate and pollution to contend with you need to keep your skin healthy by keeping it clean. Regular washing, toning and moisturising at least twice a day, morning and evening, should form part of your beauty routine.

Inner Beauty

While everyone wants to look good there is a far greater prize to be had and that’s inner beauty.

What is inner beauty – it’s all those wonderful attributes that make you a truly lovely person. It’s all encompassing. It’s about behaviour – kindness and empathy, honesty and compassion. It’s about our beliefs and how they help us to understanding the meaning of life, love and relationships and give us the courage to share our knowledge.

Sadly, and all too often we hear someone say ‘the only thing she has is her looks and they won’t last forever’. It really is what is on the inside that counts and what will sustain us as youth fades and we start to age.

Confidence is Beauty

No matter how beautiful you look if you don’t feel beautiful it’s worthless.

Much of what we inwardly feel about ourselves shows outwardly. If we truly believe in ourselves, if our self esteem is high we will radiate a beauty that is far more appealing and interesting than superficial beauty.

So, in a nutshell, when you’re comfortable in your own skin you feel confident. And, when you feel confident you feel good and when you feel good you look great.

Each and every one of us is beautiful in our own particular way. Make the most of your beauty starting today.

Now that’s a beautiful way to look at things, isn’t it?

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