Beauty Really Is the Key to Happiness

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Nadine Haobsh is a beauty writer and blogger who often gets knocked for doing something others consider "vain" and "shallow."

Yesterday, she wrote a post responding to that accusation and the ones that call her "too smart to be into something so silly."

But is beauty silly and vain? Can't a smart woman also care about some frivolous things as well?

Haobsh responded:

"There is a need for levity and whimsy and excitement and joy and entertainment -- beautiful, all! -- in this world. Beauty connects us, whispers tantalizing promises, pleases the senses, inspires us, gets us through ... So, no -- it’s not rocket science or disaster-relief. But anything that makes the world a little more pleasant is beautiful and worthy, indeed."

I agree.

We all get bogged down in daily life. We have to get up early, make sure we're eating right, walk the dog, dress the kids, change the diapers, mow the lawn. The news is full of horrible stories and depressing truths. Our to-do lists are endless.

Beauty/pampering -- pedicures, manicures, facials, products -- offers us an escape.

I had a friend in high school who was very concerned with appearing "deep." She went to gallery openings and discussed "Quentin Tarantino's view of the meaning of life" after viewing Pulp Fiction. She dyed her blond hair black.

She told me that she could no longer be friends with me if I continued to get manicures. I was the same woman who wrote long essays that won prizes, who aced AP English and history, and went to gallery openings with her, but manicures made me "too vain and shallow."

I still get manicures. But she and I? Don't talk.

Obviously, there's a balance. Fall too much to one side and perhaps you've ventured into shallow territory, but a smart woman can read The Economist and The New Yorker, donate to political campaigns, and still care what color eye shadow she wears. It doesn't automatically make her shallow or stupid. Here are 10 reasons beauty matters:

  1. It brings women together: There have been many times I've met up with girlfriends over a pedicure or had a friend teach me a makeup trend (smokey eyes) I couldn't do myself.
  2. Getting over a breakup/job loss/promotion pass-up: There is no quicker way to rebuild confidence than to make a big physical change. Try a new hair color or nail polish and see how that changes you on the inside, too.
  3. Building self-esteem: If you look good, you feel good, which boosts your sense of place in the world. When I don't feel good about myself, I want less sex. When I want less sex, my husband and I fight more. And then I feel worse.
  4. Sense of control: The world is an out of control, crazy place. Sometimes it's nice to know that you can change your hair color or try a new mascara. Sometimes it's all you need to restore balance.
  5. Reminds moms they are women: Moms get spit up on, pooped on, used as napkins, and licked all day long. It's nice to do something to remind us that we're also women with needs of our own.
  6. Allows creativity: For some artists, the medium is canvas or walls; for others, it's our faces and bodies.
  7. It just plain feels nice: I love showering at night, putting on scented lotion, and crawling between clean sheets. I feel as nice as I smell.
  8. Beauty makes us human: To say that aesthetics don't matter is to deny who we are. What man wouldn't rather caress a freshly waxed leg than a hairy one? There may be some, but they're certainly outnumbered by the ones who appreciate our efforts.
  9. Outward goes inward: When we look, we feel good, period.
  10. Quick pick-me-up: Feeling low? Buy a new beauty product or head to the makeup counter and experiment. Sometimes it's nice to be mindless for a short time.

Why do you think beauty matters?

Image via Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr


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