Originally posted on AWellHeeledWoman:

IMG_0111I thought this was going to be an easy write, and all I had to do was consult my bathroom and make-up kit. But as I started to think about what beauty is to me, I came to some interesting conclusions. As a former ugly duckling – emerging swan, I’ve never had the typical pretty girl experience in my younger years. I could point fingers at a society which makes dark skinned or women with natural hair feel unpretty. But the reality of it was that I had to get my mind there on my own.

High school was hellish. I could hardly catch a break in the pretty department. I was glad when it was over. Really. Varsity was a significant improvement, not because I had some radical facelift, but because I was able to start from a clean slate. I walked into an environment where very few people knew me, and at a time in my life where I was conscious enough to be able to speak and act in a way that yielded the results I wanted. I still looked the same, but I had the confidence boost of anonymity. Because I felt better about myself, I started to slowly embrace my inner beauty, which is based on my character as an individual. It was a slow journey, but the process of self-discovery and self-actualisation was life changing. It’s almost like my DNA was altered, such that no matter how much society tries to sell its idea of beauty, I’m completely unmoved in my resolve.

What I know for sure is this: beauty for me is an inside-out thing. Pretty fades. Fast. I’ve never given too much thought to my ‘pretty’ because I never thought I was. I have a fantastic character, and statistically perfect body proportions, but comparatively, not much of a face. I play to my strengths, and outside of my character, it’s my body. Strong is the new sexy, and I do strong in spades. When I feel strong, I feel beautiful. So, here’s what’s in my beauty bag:IMG_7807

  • Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 stability running shoes, for over pronators.
  • Nike dri-fit running gear (I have thermal winter and summer gear), Nike dri-fit socks (conveniently labelled R & L), a Nike dri-fit victory compression bra, and a Nike armband for my iPhone which contains my Nike+ running app and my cardio and power playlists.
  • PowerBeats Wireless

I’m an unrepentant Nike lover. In truth, you are likely to see me in #AllNikeEverything than with a full face of makeup. Because I’m active daily, the less makeup I wear, the less I have to take off when I work out in the evening.

My beauty comes from my confidence in my body’s ability to perform as it has been conditioned. The effect is domino like, from my energy and confidence levels, to the clarity and glow of my skin.

Beauty enhancing products and I have never made friends. I’ve recently found a good balance which honours my fuss-free nature and panders to the girly side of my personality. Thing is, you sweat and hydrate as you work out, which results in the most gorgeous glow that cannot be replicated. It also makes applying makeup in the morning a nightmare because my glow is more flawless than my foundations. I usually apply a light coat of mascara – I use whatever I get as a free sample >oh, the shame! <, and Clinique Eye Quick Liner for Eyes Intense. I’m big on lips. I can forgo all the other face stuff, as long as my lips have some red. I use Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liquid in Vampira every day. I occasionally use NYC soft matte lip cream in Monte Carlo, Black Up JUM10 and Bite Beauty Lip Liner in Truffle to add some dimension to Vampira. Because all my lip colours are matte (I have big lips, and don’t want to look bee stung due to glossy lips), I carry Bepanthen bum cream. It’s non-greasy, and does WONDERS for keeping lips supple and moisturised, and it sorts out cracks. It now comes in a convenient 3.5g tube which doesn’t break in half like the 30g tube. It’s also one of the best kept mum’s secrets. You’re welcome.

When I do use makeup, the products are non-comedogenic so that my pores can breathe. I am disciplined about my monthly Ultra Calming facials at Sorbet Brooklyn. My girl Mpho also does my Gelish nails – only neutral colours on hands, pedi’s and waxes. What makeup I have consists of Clinique Anti-Blemish and Stay Matte foundations, and a random assortment of MAC eye shadows which hardly see the light of day

image1I have a good morning and evening routine. My toiletry bag has Sebamed anti-bacterial cleansing foam, an assortment of Neutrogena products which I use depending on the mood of my skin, raw shea butter, Body & Bath Works Japanese Cherry Blossom body butter (because it smells so good), Dermalogica C12 for pigmentation, and Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF 50+ dry touch sunscreen. My must haves are a good night-time moisturiser and SPF 50 sunscreen.

My handbag has Vampira, Body Shop candied Ginger Lip Balm, Sally Henson cuticle oil, and Body & Bath Works Japanese Cherry Blossom hand cream.

Here’s my advice to other women: work on what’s inside first. Be beautiful inside, and that will naturally project outwards. Also, find a low maintenance routine that makes you feel good. For some, it’s a light coat of makeup, for me and my good friends, it’s the feel-good endorphins from a rigorous workout. I do a lot of body work in the background, and I take my Sorbet appointments very seriously. I use minimal products to enhance the work I do on my body, and as a result, I spend less time ‘fixing up’ my face daily. Works for me, and means my 5 year old doesn’t get to mar her prefect skin with products when she plays dress up. Win win!

Read more of the series on #YourBeautiful on AWellHeeledWoman