The women (and one beauty-obsessed dude!) in my life are incredibly important to me, no matter if they’re insanely close friends or just people I know via Twitter. I think they’re all beautiful, special and wonderful, and they’re so different and unique that each one has a piece of advice I take to heart. I asked them to tell me the biggest beauty lesson they’ve learned – I didn’t necessarily want a product or a tip, but rather something they encountered in their lives that stuck with them.
1. “Another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own.” -Taylor
2. “The weight you lose from smoking cigarettes is not worth the wrinkles.” –Justine
3. “A good haircut and color can make a world of difference in how you feel about yourself and your confidence. You should find a stylist who can actually do your hair better than you can! If you have to go home and redo it, it’s not a match.” –Heather
4. “Always know that in five years, you’ll wish you looked the way you look today.” –Jolene
5. “Keep a great photo of yourself on hand if you ever need a reminder that you’re beautiful just the way you are.” – Meegan
6. “DO NOT OVERPLUCK.” -Jackie
7. “To me, the most impactful lesson has been to understand what you’re working with – picking the right eye makeup look for your eye shape, the right colors of your skintone. It’s something that came with experience for me. It’s been a journey of self-awareness or familiarity, plus self-acceptance.” -Katherine
8. “Water, avocados and oily fish will do better things for your skin than any mask.” –Amanda
9. “The lack of “beauty lessons” I learned growing up have informed my style more than anything else. My mom never taught me how to do makeup or fussed with my hair (other than french braids for volleyball games), so I have always just thrown on a little mascara and walked out the door. I used to be jealous of girls who had cool eye makeup or perfectly curled hair, but now I know what makes me comfortable and just embrace the fact that Sephora terrifies me.” – Maggie
10. “Less is best!” – my mom
11. “Play to your strengths. It’ll wash off. It’ll grow back. And most of all – have freakin’ fun with it.” –Colleen
12. “My mom always told me women who’re beautiful and intelligent can take over the world.” –Dagny
13. “Stay true to yourself and don’t let every beauty trend take over. Also, bringing a photo of Mary-Kate Olsen to the salon does NOT mean you are going to walk out looking like Mary-Kate Olsen.” –Erin
14. “Don’t compare yourelf to someone else or someone else’s idea of what your beauty should be. Accept, own and embrace who you are. Work from the inside out in all respects: health, mental, spiritual. Find your own authentic, unique voice. There is no magic cream, elixir, fluid, concealer, foundation or color palette that will make you love yourself, like yourself more or make you feel loved beyond owning who you are.” –Suzy
15. “Eyeliner isn’t actually for everyone. Anyone can pull off a pixie, but pulling off a pixie grow-out is an entirely different ballgame. Thin hair and fine hair are two different animals. Just say no to dreadlocks.” -Athena
16. “Work with your natural hair texture rather than fighting it. Your life will be easier.” –Becky
17. “Disregard terms like ‘flattering’ and following rules like, ‘You’re a winter, only jewel tones for you!’ I’ve been so much happier [now that I] do what I want with the way I look and ignore what’s supposedly flattering.” –Natasha
18. “Use sunscreen! No tanning beds. I’ve had skin cancer twice. Back in my teens and ‘20s, I used baby oil and tanning beds daily.” –Jennifer
19. “It’s not about ‘covering up’ as much as it is playing up your features. Also, HAVE FUN. Makeup is fun, dammit.” -Caitlin
20. “Practice gratitude for what you’re born with. I believe my extreme height is a blessing, not a curse. I may be taller than most men, but it’s proven that tall people are more powerful and make more money. I have really fine hair and wish I had thick luscious locks, but throw in some tape-ins and I can deal. I have really big eyes and they’re probably going to get really wrinkly someday, but at least they don’t look like anyone else’s. It’s all about seeing your unique features as assets, not liabilities.” –Sophie
21. “I used to think having curly hair was an absolute nightmare and would torture myself trying to blow-dry and straighten it … but I eventually learned that it’s important to explore the products and routines that work for your hair AND your lifestyle. Finding a stylist who can support and inspire hair confidence is also life-changing.” –Ashley
22. “Growing up, I navigated the ‘waters of beauty’ by myself; my mom has used the same products for years. As a result, I had some ‘interesting’ looks which were the catalyst for a lot of arguments with my conservative mom. In the background of every fight was my dad chiming in, telling her, ‘No matter what her hair/makeup looks like, she’s still the same person. If it makes her happy, who cares?’ Cheesy Totally. But it’s something that has stuck with me all these years and gave me confidence to get a pixie when everyone had long hair, dye it purple when my friends were getting highlights and rock a red lip with my head held high.” –Melissa
23. “Dedicating an hour a day to ‘me time’ – going to bed an hour earlier, taking a long bath with a glass of wine – does wonders for my mental health, which in turn gives me a more positive outlook on myself. I feel revived and beautiful. Soul-pampering to keep my brain in-check does more for my outlook on myself than mascara ever could.” – Liz
24. “Always wash your face before bed!” –like, everyone I asked
25. “Always invest in really good skin care. It’s worth the money. Some of my girl friends who are my exact age look a little older than me, and I’m certain it’s because I use great skin care and they do not.” –Sarah W.
26. “My grandma Betty always said, ‘Pretty is as pretty does.’ I like the underlying ‘Be good to others’ vibe.” –Christy
27. “Drink more water! When I start feeling like I need a salty snack, I drink a big glass of water. Staving off cravings and staying hydrated helped my skin clear up.” -Mandy
28. “Filling in my eyebrows! I have very dark hair but my eyebrows are like … beige … bad enough where you can’t tell where my forehead ends and my face begins. This is the #1 reason I have my Facebook photos set to private, because I didn’t realize this until I was 23. It’s bad enough that my future mother-in-law saw a picture of me in high school and was like, ‘So … this was before you discovered your eyebrows, huh?’ Thank the lord for brow powder.” –Sarah H.
29. “I used to break out a lot; I have incredibly sensitive skin. I would worry and be sad every time my face broke out. I tried cutting sugar, changing products, going to spas, dermatologists, you name it. Then I went to see an intuitive in LA and she told me I was a powerful manifestor. Meaning I was bringing to myself what I was thinking about and I needed to practice more self-love. I began telling myself every day, ‘I am beautiful and confident.’ Even though I didn’t believe at first, I must have brainwashed myself to believe it. It works. Love yourselves, ladies. We may never be perfect, but obsessing over our flaws only hurts us more.” –Emily U.
30. “I had just been hired as an assistant in a high profile salon. I was shampooing my bosses clients’ hair and she had just had a face-lift. This was 1985, I was 19, and face-lifts back then were much more invasive than they are now. I was being quite careful as she was in a lot of pain and I was trying to keep the stitches from getting wet. At the end of what seemed to be a painful shampooing from me, she grabbed my arm and said this to me, ‘Young lady, if you listen to one thing an old lady tells you, stay out of the sun or this will be you at the age of 55.’ I will NEVER forget those words. I’m seven years from her age and nowhere near needing a facelift. I believe I ‘listened’ quite well.” -Becky
31. (And one dude): “The one thing that sticks out in my mind is when my mom told me to never spend less than $40 on a fragrance. She’s usually all about being smart with your money, but what she meant was that you get what you pay for. That, and one time she was like, ‘Don’t have a hairy back. Just don’t be a really hairy guy.’” -Tynan