Natural beauty

Posted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

When it comes to looking good, who really wants to look like a plastic doll?

In a world obsessed with botox and cosmetic surgery, many women feel they have to fit in with society's version of flawless beauty. The media constantly tells us we have to look younger, with the likes of Joan Collins, Carol Vorderman et al looking younger now than they did twenty years ago.

Madonna seems ageless, having been snapped going about her business and looking great without a scrap of make-up. So if it's not make-up or digital airbrushing, the chances are, looking that good can't be natural.

So why should women have to constantly find new ways of turning the clock back, going against nature, when surely it's inevitable that one day, even Joan Collins will look her age? There's only so much botox you can take before the body says 'no more' and you have to stick with what you've got, accepting the fact that you can't look young forever.

Since when did wrinkles become a 'flaw', anyway? Everyone will get them at some point, it's nothing short of a mathematical certainty. So why are people shelling out a load of money to inject poison into their faces just to temporarily delay the inevitable? Growing older is natural and should not be seen as a bad thing. After all, if Mother Nature intended us to stay young, she would have made us all immortal.

Perhaps it is because we are so fed up with the nation's thirst for celebrity and cosmetic beauty that we are now bolder than ever about being ourselves, or so suggests new research by leading haircare range Harmony.

The survey found that 65% of women said they would not consider cosmetic surgery to enhance their looks and 64% said they were happy to step out of the house without make up, and what's more, over half of the men surveyed prefer them this way.

Maybe there is hope after all, especially as both men and women agreed that a great personality (32%) and a natural complexion (28%) were the best definitions of beauty. Plus, although only 43% of women said they were happy with their looks, the majority, 80%, believed in making the best of their natural attributes.

However, far from suggesting that the way we look is no longer that important, over 90% of the women in the survey said it certainly influenced the way they feel about themselves and almost as many believed it influenced the way others perceive them. Over two thirds of women admitted just having a bad hair day put them in a bad mood!

Even at a time when celebrities dominate our lives, however, only 15% said the high profile, rich and famous had any influence on the way they looked, with nearly twice as many being more concerned about impressing their partners.

“One of the most interesting conclusions we can draw from this survey is that women seem to be confident in their own bodies and are perhaps not as obsessed with cosmetic surgery and perfect looks as the media would sometimes have us believe, says Harmony maketing manager Debbie Epstein. "It seems more the case that whilst we continue to be fascinated with the subject of beauty and what the celebs are doing to look their best, both men and women appear to agree that natural and inner beauty is actually what really counts”.

Indeed, over 80% of men and women surveyed said that women should be happy with what they've got. Well, that's comforting, and certainly cheaper!

How far would you go to enhance your looks? Or do you think natural is best? Share your thoughts below.

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