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What is beauty?

This is a subject close to my heart as a makeup artist, having studied faces for many years. Early on whilst training, I found out that an actual scientific beauty formula exists for the 'Ideal Beauty'. The mask of the human face is based on the Golden Ratio or sometimes referred to as a "divine proportion". In essence, the proportions of the length of the nose, the position of the eyes and the length of the chin, all conform to some aspect of the ideal beauty. Perfect beauty is often determined according to individual preferences, but, scientists came up with a mathematical ratio - namely Phi or 1.618 to determine the ideal facial measurements mentioned above.

Dr. Stephen R. Marquardt, a leading oral and maxillo-facial surgeon based in Southern California became fascinated with defining beauty following his observation that, despite his expertise in facial reconstruction, some of his patients would still lack the

beauty aesthetic following surgery. Having consulted many beauty experts and finding none able to provide a clear definition of beauty, Marquardt began a lengthy research project, seeking to establish if nature provided a mathematical formula that could assist him in enhancing beauty. Studying Pythagoras, Euclid and Da Vinci, Marquardt used the laws of symmetry and the golden ratio to create a facial mapping grid that could be overlaid onto the faces of his patients and others. For more information on this check out this website:

Nowadays trends and celebrities tend to dictate what a current look is, depending on the season.Year on year, one trend that hasn't changed is colour. Let's talk colour. The whiter "the purer", the more tanned "the healthier". As human beings, as women more importantly; body dismorphism is a big issue. Society in general plays a big part in controlling public attitudes to beauty. It starts from a very young age. I vividly remember my favourite Aunty lathering her body in whitening cream, saying to me 'I want to have your colour'. I remember her darkened knuckles and patchy face. Red and raw looking in places. She spent lots of money and energy, and from the looks of it, pain too just to achieve her perfect shade of brown. "White means pure" a claim made by Dencia of 'Whitenicious' fame. It pains me to see the lengths some women will go through to achieve their perception of beauty. Not forgetting men too!


As yet, we have no real indication of the long term effects of creams such as these, surely that in itself is worrying. The whole world is awash with many different varieties of folk who are constantly on a mission to improve themselves through colour. Caucasians who spend a lot of time and money to look tanned-glowing and healthy. African women using chemicals to lighten their skin to achieve their perfect shade of brown. Many Oriental women also subscribe to lightening, and the product ranges available in places like Japan are pretty extensive. Masks, peels and tons of different creams. They even go as far as to make sure they are fully clothed through the rough summer months- full length gloves for driving. Hats galore. All to maintain the soft porcelain skin, with visible blue veins just beneath the surface of the skin.

It saddens me that my African sisters want to change their beautiful dark brown hue. As a makeup artist, I have the greatest pleasure enhancing darker skin tones. The mixing of undertones and layering that goes on when I match my clients skin tone. I get to the very nature of variation, art. Very rarely will I have the need to do this for Caucasian skin. While everyone has the right to feel happy in their skin, I think weighing up the possible long term side effects should also be thought out thoroughly . Sun sensitivity for life, the need to apply 50+ SPF to avoid pigmentation and extreme hypersensitivity to name but a few.

To each their own and in the end, beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder.

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