natural beauty
Adwoa Aboah

Beauty X-Factor: An abudance of freckles, crooked teeth and a shaved head have only helped make her one of the top models of the past year

Seen here at: Dior S/S’18

“Come on sparkle and shine”, read the invite to Sephora’s holiday launch event for press in October. “Sparkle and shine” in this case partly meant – as often with beauty events – complimentary makeover stations for guests to get all dolled up with the beauty giant’s upcoming products There was one difference though: Instead of glamorous, picture-perfect ‘dos and makeup looks usually associated with the see-and-be-seen party season, the maxim for the evening was to have fun, be experimental – and be yourself.

What a sea change from just a few years ago, when the beauty conversation was all about ways to prevent, conceal and fix every crease, speck and flaw. Having spent years in the industry, I’ve lost count of the number of times that therapists have responded in horror whenever I told them I was off for a beach vacation (one of my favourite indulgences) lest the sun spots and freckles manifests on my cheeks. ( I do apply sunscreen liberally to protect myself against the possibility of skin cancer.)  Or when I ask my naturally wavy tresses to be styled as is after a blow-out, only to leave begrudgingly with flat iron straight locks (uh, don’t they make my face look rounder?).

natural beauty
Lily Mcmnamy

Beauty X-Factor: A strong nose, ultra pillowy lips and bunny teeth that have made her a hit with top designers and poster girl for i-D

Seen here at: Miu Miu S/S’18

But with game-changing brands like Glossier, which unabashedly declared that beauty should be “imperfect and personal”, and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, who famously insisted that her brand would gave 40 shades of foundation for users of all skin tones, we’ve all become so much more comfortable with embracing individuality – imperfections and all. The fashion runways in the past three seasons say it all. Be it at the playfully progressive Balenciaga or understatedly confident Bottega Veneta, models of all shapes, ages and skin tones are increasingly having their turn under the spotlight.

natural beauty
Danielle Zinach

Beauty X-Factor: The Jamie Bochert of the ’90s; still modelling at age 42

Seen here at: Helmut Lang S/S’18

 

natural beauty
Amber Witcomb

Beauty X-Factor: Beaked nose and lazy eyes that deliver one chillingly cool gaze, and earned her campaigns with brands such as Celine and Burberry

Seen here at: Stella McCartney S/S’18

Influential beauty publications such as Allure have helped move the needle further too. The American magazine which put an effortlessly elegant Helen Mirren on its September 2017 cover, announced that it would no longer use the term “anti-ageing” in its pages as a way to combat the ageism that’s often prevalent in society.

All this talk might seem skin deep, but it is probably no coincidence that this is happening in a watershed year for women all around the world. From the global Women’s March for gender equality to the #MeToo social media storm that’s seen women speak up to destigmatise sexual harassment and assault, diverse voices are emerging from the chaos. After all, expression comes in many forms, whether it is through the way one looks or the causes one supports (although doing both is strongly encouraged!).

 

natural beauty
Sohyun Jung

Beauty X-Factor: Dainty Asian features set against killer cheekbones and one mean buzz cut have made her the new It girl of South Korea’s modelling scene

Seen here at: Givenchy  S/S’18

So this festive season, let your hair down in devil-may-care waves. Swipe on a bold lippie without worrying about keeping within the lines. And, at the end of the day, remember that a cosy self-care routine could just be the ultimate holiday present to gift yourself.

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