“True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and with passing years only grows!” — Sam Levenson, “The Beauty of a Woman”
One of my BFFs comes from a long line of debutantes. The kind of women that form the backbones of the communities down in North Carolina, where she’s from. A few years back we had this conversation over morning coffee:
Her: What do you use on your skin?
Me: As little as possible.
Her: I’m serious. You’ve got like no wrinkles. My twenty-one layers are a lot of work and they’re just not working as well now that I’m forty.
Me: *holds up hand* Whoa. You’ve got twenty-one things you do to your face? Every freaking day? Like before you go to sleep? And FYI, I do have wrinkles.
Her: Not really. And, yes, I can’t go to bed until I’ve completed the 21 Layers for the day. (And she didn’t even look overwhelmed by it.)
Me: Dang, girl. I’ve got like two layers, and I can’t even always remember those.
Her: What are they?
Me: Moisturizer and hair spray. I don’t even get my makeup off every night.
If you could have seen the horror on her face… She railed at me about makeup removal for like ten minutes. And, after all that, she wouldn’t even tell me what the 21 Layers are! Apparently, it’s one of those family secrets where if she tells me, she’ll have to kill me.
So for a few years now, I’ve been Googling variations of ”21 Layers of Beauty Southern beauty regimen” and coming up empty. It’s extremely annoying.
In honor of the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest (#BOAW3), thrown by my dear friend August McLaughlin, I’ve made up my own version. [Click that link to be inspired. The lineup's stellar!]
Jenny’s 21 Layers of Beauty – in no particular order
1. Laughter. Not only does smiling shave years off your face, it adds about 7 years to your life. Here’s 15 Health Benefits of Smiling.
2. Sleep. Being a working mom decreases my horizontal time considerably. [Stop smirking!] Sadly, I’ve noticed that sleep not only brightens up my skin, it also takes inches off elsewhere.
3. Learning. Learning new topics and skills brings an extra sparkle to most people’s face. Example: My husband looked at me after I attended and taught at WANACon last week and said, “Wow! You’re looking hot!” (Click that link to watch the recordings – you too will look HOT afterwards.)
4. Teaching. While you don’t have to get up and teach in front of a bunch of people, the act of imparting knowledge hits most people’s passion place. Passion places make us prettier. Mentor someone, somewhere. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Exercise. As much as I hate doing it, exercise amps up your complexion. Maybe it’s my Viking background, but I usually have rosy cheeks for 4-5 hours after working out.
6. Gratitude. In my Margie Lawson course last month, she made us list “5 Great Things” about each day. I could not believe the difference it made. It totally perks me up. Here’s how Gratitude Decreases Stress.
7. Relaxation. Stopping work for a quick walk, to water my garden, or just watch the birds does wonders for me. Here’s a list of 10 Health Benefits from Relaxation.
8. Fresh air. Turns out there really is something to that old saying, “You need to get some fresh air.” Here’s why it’s important.
9. Sex. Need I say more? Here’s an article about How Sex Can Make You Beautiful.
10. Kind words. The same as complainers sap your energy (at least they do mine), giving kind words and a positive attitude to others tends to fill me up. Turns out being kind is good for you.
11. Sassy Undies. Okay, maybe this is just me. If you’ve got your panties in a twist, stuck in an uncomfortable crack, or if they’re flat-out ugly, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve maximum sparkle for the day. Just sayin…
12. Hugs. Hugging builds self-esteem and your immune system. Here’s 10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day.
13. Conversation. The number of one-person households in our society has increased over the last many decades, especially in America. However, all that “personal space” can affect your health. Social Interactions are GOOD for you. (God bless social media!)
14. Friendship. What about the deeper connection of true friendship? I don’t know what I’d do without my friends, even with their ”crazy 21 Layer” habits. They feed my soul, which in turn increases my hot factor. No wonder my dude sends me out with the girls.
15. Loving. Have you ever heard the saying that every bride is beautiful? It’s because nearly every bride is glowing with love. What about those times your face lights up when your child or pet enters the room? Now that’s beauty.
16. Indulging your passions. My guy loves to watch me garden. When I asked him why he said: “Because you look so happy. You’re gorgeous in your garden.”
17. Communing with Nature. Whether it’s the beach, the mountains, the trees or the desert, I’ll bet there’s some place on this earth that makes your eyes shine with wonder.
18. Random Acts of Kindness. My pal, Amber West, is aces at this in her daily life. Go check out her “GoWithout Movement.” It’s easy to do, and will add a sexy swish to your step.
19. Being clean. As much as I’d love to stay in my pajama pants and scrunchie day and night, the fact is I’m not all that pretty unless I’m clean. I’ll bet you aren’t either.
20. Good posture. My mama always nagged me to “stand up straight” and “don’t slouch.” Turns out, standing up straight can make you look 10-20 pounds thinner. Don’t you hate it when your parents were right? Here’s 15 minutes to better posture.
21. Writing. When I’m writing regularly I’m funnier, more confident, more sparkly. All those things translate into beauty. If you’re a writer, for Pete’s sake, WRITE.
As you’ve likely surmised, I think true beauty comes from feeding the soul. However, if you still want to learn how to become a Southern Belle like my pal, or want some Traditional Beauty Tips that Pass the Test of Time, I’ve included those too (even though some of the tips are a wee bit odd).
Which of my 21 Layers resonated with you? What do you think I need to add to the list? Care to share your own thoughts about beauty? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!