I’m a sucker for a good quote.
The way quotes have played their part in my life has evolved over the years, starting somewhere around the AIM profile (which always not-so-discreetly gave boyfriends clues about my emotional state). This graduated into a rather extensive Live Journal archive of every Bright Eyes song lyric in existence, which evolved to collaged words from magazine clippings pasted on my bedroom mirror, to moodily scribbled poems in my Moleskin notebook. Nowadays, Pinterest gives me all the life source I need through as many inspirational quote memes as I can stomach.
In honor of being a beauty writer and a self-proclaimed smart ass, I thought it would be fun to compile some famous self-love, be-who-you-are beauty quotes -- with a little commentary, of course.
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.’ I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” — Carl Rogers
I was surprised when I found this beauty quote to belong to a man of science, because it’s just so soft and poetic. I find Rogers’ optimism charming, and his see-no-flaws attitude admirable.
But let’s be real. Deep down (or maybe not even that deep), I know that if Carl and I met and I had, say, an oozing chin zit, or a stray nose hair, he might take note and knock me down a few pegs on the beauty scale. (You know you would, too.)
“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” — Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwynnie, I’m definitely with you on this one.
I feel the most beautiful when I am comfortable in my own skin, and that’s only when my skin is adequately moisturized. If my skin lacks a proper lubricant, it becomes tight, dry and flaky all over, and I become wildly distracted by the way it struggles to stretch with my movements. It is, in a word, uncomfortable. And how can I enjoy a kick-ass red lipstick when all I’m thinking about is my alligator scales? Comfortable skin is the key to beauty.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha
I totally hear you on this one, Buddha, but honestly, you’re being a little too idealistic.
While it’s a nice thought that we all can survive on loving affection for ourselves, external validation gives way more sustenance. I, for instance, am at my best when things I think about myself are validated by others. (I’m never sure if my hair looks good until three people tell me, for instance.)
Sure, I have my morning mantras over coffee to remind myself that I’m not a disgusting, worthless, untalented, unloveable mess, but I’m simply more inclined to believe it, say, when my mom tells me.
“Men are just jealous because they can’t wear makeup.” — Carolyn Murphy
This just isn’t true, Carolyn -- mostly, because men can and do wear makeup. Also, men who don’t wear makeup aren’t jealous. Why would they be? My boyfriend is horrified by my eyeliner-stained eye boogers, constantly worried I’m going to go blind.
I can hardly go to bed without washing my face unless I want to suffer the consequences, like broken-out skin and stained pillow cases. And who on earth would be jealous of an extra, near-mandatory part of the morning routine? That’s sleep I'm sacrificing in order to put makeup on. (Luckily, I like putting on makeup. But for argument’s sake, let’s pretend it’s really tedious.)
“Inner beauty is great, but a little mascara never hurts.” — Someone
I have no idea who started this popular Pinterest quote meme, but they are just so darn right! Now imagine me alone, perfectly coiffed, laughing a little manically with a salad, with this quote as caption.
“A girl without freckles is like a night without stars.” — Someone Else
Here’s where I talk about how I’ve always wanted to be a girl with freckles, even though I never have been and probably never will be.
When I was younger, I used to tell people that the sun gave me freckles in the summer because I thought it sounded cool. (It was a blatant lie.) Sure, my body is dotted with a zillion small beauty marks (“moles” sounds so gross), but that’s nowhere near the adorableness of a spattering of freckles all over the place.
In short, this beauty quote makes me depressed. I am a starless night.
“Beauty isn’t worth thinking about; what’s important is your mind. You don’t want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head.” — Garrison Keillor
I understand your sentiment, Garrison. There are more important things in life than the perfect shade of red lipstick (debatable, but true nonetheless). We should focus on our brains and our personalities over the perfect highlight/lowlight balance.
But I must protest the notion that beauty isn’t worth thinking about altogether. In fact, I can enjoy a good smoky eye and a good book -- I do most days on the subway. So let’s not assume that girls who are glam are stupid. WE’RE NOT. I’m (finally) almost done reading Middlesex, which feels like an accomplishment. (Holy shit, it’s so long.)
“To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.” — Alan Cohen
Unless we all get Ebola. Self-love ain’t gonna do shit for that.
Sarcasm aside, let’s never forget the wise words of Tina Fey:
“But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom -- Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick, muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyoncé and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.” — Tina Fey, Bossypants
Do you have a favorite beauty quote?