Sunday, January 15, 2012

Inspired: Dove Evolution

The video has been around for awhile. You know the one. A time lapse video of a model being put through the ringer of blow drying, curling, makeup, styling...and then, Photoshop - all to achieve someone's "ideal" of beauty. I have a few friends who've done their own versions of this, both in video and pictures, and I've always meant to as well. But, usually when I think to do it, I'm half way through my routine.

Yesterday, I made a point to take the few extra minutes and photograph myself after each "step" of my process. See, this is more than just jumping on a bandwagon that has been around for years. This is important to me. Not only as a woman, but as a member of a society that is so (unfortunately) based on appearance. Without going off on a tangent here, I'll just say this. While I clearly go along with some of the very hype I am dissing, I have a real problem with how the media/society/our peers make us feel that we aren't "enough" if we chose NOT to straighten our hair, apply coats of make-up or wear the latest fashions. There are many, MANY days when I wish I'd never picked up that first tube of mascara. My Mom warned me. "Once you start, it will be hard to go back." Boy, was she right. I have now grown accustomed to seeing myself with my hair done a certain way and a full face of make-up.

Many woman will tell you "Woman don't dress up for men. They dress up for other woman." I HATE that mindset. As if it has to always be a competition. I've thought long and hard about why I feel the need to do it all. I actually think I go through all of the blow drying, the straightening, the curling and the make-up application for ME. Which is why I am okay doing it. It makes ME feel good. I've reached a point where I really don't care much about what other woman, or men, think. Now, I do care what my husband thinks because really nothing makes me feel more beautiful than when he gives me that certain "look", but more importantly I care how I feel. And I feel like the best version of me when I've put in the work.

I said I wasn't going to go on a tangent, didn't I? Oops. Let me get to the point. I think it's an important part of self-acceptance to embrace your "before" just as fully as your "after". So, here's mine, 100% unedited and raw.

Wet, naturally curly hair. Zero make-up.

Post-blow dry.

After flat ironing.

After curling.

And finally, after applying make-up.

Thank you, Dove, for inspiring me.


  1. Hey Rachel, its Mandi, from high school -
    I haven't commented on your blog before, but I do read it (call me nosey!). I love how you are very true to YOU and wanting to better women's views of themselves, and I'm not just talking about this current post. It's inspiring for you to write what we all think in our heads. More than once I've gone "thank goodness someone else has the same thoughts about their (weight, hair, makeup, clothes, ect...) that I do."

    Anyway - what inspired me to actually comment today on this post is this: you are a gorgeous, strong, confidant woman. I was looking through your photos of you at your "stages" and thinking "Rachel needs to STOP buying into the hype!!" Your fresh, rosy skin is so beautiful - stop hiding it! Show off those natural curls! Love what your Momma gave ya!

    Yes, I know, you will continue to wear make up. And curl your hair (after you straighten it!). But don't let all the artifical stuff cover up that inner beauty that radiates out of you in that natural state! (Your inner beauty is still beautiful even with the makeup on though...!) Stay true to who you are. And like you said, if you do all those beauty routines for you....well, thats fine. You have to do what makes YOU feel good. But don't be afraid to embrace your natural self - cuz you are beautiful, inside and out.

  2. Hi Mandi!! Thank you SO very much for your response. It left me with tears in my eyes. I so, so appreciate all you had to say - and I'm glad you enjoy my blog :) (It's certainly not nosey! I wouldn't write it if I didn't want anyone to know about it!) The fact of the matter is, I think a LOT of women feel the way we do, but so few stand up and say anything. That's part of the reason that the Denton Women's Collective is such an important part of my life. It's a group of woman who have done just that! Shoot me an email if you have the time (rachelnaslund at gmail dot com). I would love to talk to you more about this. :)
    Hugs & Love