I feel somewhat conflicted about the topic of appearance. Since I am against the hyperfocus on a woman’s appearance and the negative affects on women’s body image, I am generally turned off by women’s fashion magazines. I haven’t been into using a lot of make-up since high school, having become more of a make-up minimalist in my adult years. However, I also have noticed that after gaining weight, I lost all joy in my appearance. I started wearing frumpier clothes and never putting on more than blush to brighten up my face. So while I don’t think too much focus on appearance is healthy, I also think that my nearly total disregard for appearance was a sign of my negative attitude towards myself. I no longer felt that I was able to be attractive or that I was worthy of attention. At one point, I found myself at a friend’s Mary Kay party which is the sort of thing I would normally avoid at all costs. However, it turned out to be just what I needed at the time. Through faking being into make-up for my friend’s benefit, I rediscovered that a little primping can go a long way. I felt prettier and realized that just a little bit of extra attention to myself gave me a little lift. It was a reminder that I had started acting as if I didn’t matter. I now like to have a little face powder, mascara and eye shadow on hand for occasions when I want to be get a little dressed up. Flattering clothes, haircut and make-up really can be a boost to your self-esteem and mood. As with everything in life, it is about balance. Too much focus on appearance isn’t good, but neither is too little focus.

I’m glad that I have already been working on fitness and wellness habits, so a little extra attention to appearance seems like a positive next step. So for part of my “good-bye 30’s, hello 40’s” fling, I’ve decided to include some appearance related treats. I’m thinking about getting some new face products and scheduling some kind of spa treatment. I lean towards more natural product lines like Burt’s Bees and I’m looking at Origins and Aveda for possible fling treats. I’ve been growing my hair out lately (I was tired of bangs) and it is time for a new hairstyle so a visit to an Aveda salon may be on the horizon. While a little fun with beauty is in order, I’ll never change my essential character. I’ll always want low-maintenance hair and minimal make-up. I hate lots of sticky stuff in my hair or coats of foundation on my face. I hate to spend a lot of time on either hair or make-up. When I find that I’m spending zero time on my appearance though, it is a sign that my life has gotten out of balance and I’ve put myself last on my list of priorities. And that is definitely not healthy.