Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 2

By now, you should be getting some ideas as to how to market to the millennial crowd. But there are still other characteristics you may want to consider before finalizing your marketing strategies.
Millennials are civic-minded (good citizenship) with a strong sense of community – locally and globally. Remember, they’ve been instilled that they are here for a purpose. They prefer to work for companies that sponsor events outside of work, especially so, when these are charity events or when the company supports volunteer opportunities.  They also care about supporting local businesses and promoting local employment. In fact, more than 50% of millennials make an extra effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about (research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency). They’re also twice as likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to care how their food is produced and whether or not is organic (Boston Consulting Group).

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Salon: You’re small and you’re local – you’re already half way there! Connect and submit a proposal to a few local companies that provide wellness programs for their employees. Present monthly lunch-and-learns at the company site, then provide discount coupons to the person in charge of benefits in the HR department so that they can be handed out to the employees. You can also connect with a local charity and co-host a fundraising event. Don’t know which charity to give to? Survey your clients before they’re out your door. Provide them with 3 or 4 options and extra space to add their own. Majority wins. 

Millennials are not individualistic but rather group-oriented, as long as these groups are formed by members of their own generation. They are willing to sacrifice their own identity – to not stand out among their peers – in order to be seen as part of the group.  This stems from the fact that parents of millennials have taught their children that every voice matters and equality is worth fighting for. Millennials have a strong sense of justice. They can be compared to the “Flower Child” of the Baby Boomer era.

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Salon: Provide opportunities to experience your services and products in groups!  Offer BOGO’s and…don’t cringe… extend the Loyalty Program to their best friend (only one friend) so that they can share it. 
Millennials like collaboration because they are community-oriented. They want everyone to get along. So, the possibility of collaborating with businesses and brands, is high in their list of interests. Alex Castellarnau from Dropbox, the popular file transfer cloud service, said: With millennials, “a new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it’s finished by the customers. Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you. Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge.”
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Salon: While the observation above mainly refers to the technology sector, there are many ways in which a salon can collaborate with their millennial clients. Surveys are a great way to learn what people think, feel, need and want. Use MailChimp or Constant Contact to reach out to your clients. Choose your more loyal millennial clients and ask them how they would solve a specific problem you’re having and make it fun, like a contest. Provide a raffle opportunity for every participant and 1-month free membership, for example, to the winner of the contest. Talk about engagement!

Millennials are high-achievers. They’ve probably been put in career tracks since grade school. While Baby Boomers made their mark in the humanities and arts, millennials are leaving theirs in science and math. However, they care about balance between work and life. They are healthy-minded and actively seek out potential employers that offer fitness and wellness programs for their employees.

Because they are high achievers, they don’t like to waste time. When it comes to in-store experience, millennials will instantly grab their cell phones to do their own research about a service or product.  However, if the in-store experience can provide the knowledge they seek faster and better than it would take for them to browse their cell phones, that would prove to be a real value to the millennial.

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Salon: Having well-trained and knowledgeable employees is very important if your target market is Gen Yers. 

Millennials are adventurers. This is also the generation that has traveled the most. They consider business travel is an opportunity to explore a different place. As the adventurers they are, they crave new discoveries even within the daily and mundane. Shopping is no longer for “needed” items. They want the whole experience: the lighting, the colors, the textures, the music, the scents, customer service, testers, demos, and if possible, the history of the product or service and how the product or service is helping sustain our planet! They want to feel pleasure inside the store. They want to talk about it and share their experience with their peers (remember, they’re group-oriented). This is, in part, the reason why cuisine in America has become so eclectic, from expensive fusions to cheap messy food trucks. Millennials are always searching for the new, exotic, memorable, and even perhaps, dangerous experience.

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Salon: Because millennials are so keen to traveling and to new experiences, providing regular new experiences will keep the millennials’ interest. These experiences can range from product launches to workshops to surprise monthly “late night” hours. Get creative – the options are limitless.

As I’ve said before, millennials are a highly social, group-oriented generation, and they socialize over every single experience, offline and online. They are the experts on social media. They live, eat, breathe social media. It would only make sense that businesses that want to target millennials have all their knots and bolts in place to provide exciting, engaging and up-to-the-last-minute social media campaigns. Have you heard the saying “You snooze; you lose?” If you just can’t keep up with DIY campaigns or can’t afford a social media marketing company, there are other very affordable ways you can accomplish this. A highly recommended, trustworthy VA (Virtual Assistant) could become your savior!  If you’re not active on social media, you become irrelevant to millennials, who are quickly moving to the next and best thing in seconds.

 

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Salon: It is important to bring social media into the store. First, you can let millennials know where you are online by posting decals from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, YouTube or whatever social media networks you use. Ask them to “check-in” and provide incentives when they do. Foursquare offers ways to earn badges and win freebies or discounts (incentives) for check-ins that you can control.

Millennials were born in the digital era; so when it comes to technology, they expect it to work flawlessly, period.  From home computers to internet to cell phone texting to online gaming where millennials interact with others, to sharing music – the world is at their fingertips and they expect the information to be available exactly at the moment when they need it. Millennials, for the most part, don’t watch TV, don’t go to church, rarely smoke and hardly sleep. A Pew study concluded that 80% of millennials sleep with or near their cell phones. Not only is the cellphone a way to communicate (call or text), but it’s also a way to learn the latest gossip and news, to hook up, to make new friends, to remind them of tasks or appointments, to recommend travel experiences and to research information about products, read their reviews and compare prices while shopping. They also post reviews and share their experience with a particular business or product IRT (in real time), so they feel they are part of the collective decision-making. Millennials even donate to charities through their cellphones!

Because millennials are all about convenience, making it easy for them to pay for your products and services is key to successfully close a deal with a millennial. This may require an upgrade to POS terminals and add the necessary software to make all transactions as easy as possible. When it comes to Loyalty Programs, there was consensus, at a recent Microsoft Envision Conference, that it must be digital in order for the program to succeed.

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Salon: It would only make sense to make your website and create fun apps that are mobile compatible. Include Loyalty Programs and Discount Coupons that are easily scanable with your POS terminal. For example, you could have the technology in place to safely store clients’ data, including credit card information.  Consider using NFC (near-field communication) contact-less payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Venmo. Even Facebook is beta-testing their contact-less payment app. It would also be advisable to have quality WiFi in your store – a huge convenience for millennials in exchange for your lack of flexibility…

In summary, the fact that you are a small, local business gives you an edge. But don’t stop there. Sell unique products and services and help support a cause by engaging in fundraising events or providing online or app charity donation ability. Make it easy for millennials to see, feel, taste, buy, use, research and review your product or service. Give your salon employees the option to download your payment app (Square, PayPal, Venmo) so that they can more easily check out your clients. Provide an outside-the-salon experience by having an engaging website, online appointment with easy self- rebooking and cancellation, preferably with texting capability. Create your very own business app. Consider upgrading your POS terminal and necessary software such as CRM (Client Retention Management) and accounting system, as well as offering easy access WiFi and cellphone charging station. Have all your social media accounts updated and managed by a professional. Virtual Assistants are an affordable way to go, especially when you need to be on alert to manage your online reputation. Offer Loyalty or Perks programs, memberships and the ability to purchase gift cards and eGifts (www.Yiftee.com) through their cellphones. Provide surveys and opportunities to provide testimonials to make millennials feel part of your business. Offer virtual consultations through Skype or FaceTime and offer express services or technology-based services including the use of ProScope (microscope for phone on-the-go skin analysis) and a SkinScope Scanner for skin analysis. You’ll have them at…hello!

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Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 1

Fifteen to twenty-five years ago, the buzz word in our industry was “Baby Boomers.” Marketing efforts emphasized how we needed to market our services to this segment of the population. I remember taking countless workshops on how to develop specific treatments and service menus to ensure that the Baby Boomer generation’s health and beauty needs were being properly addressed in our industry. Millennials who were born in the 1980’s have also been taught that our industry’s lead consumers are Baby Boomers. While Baby Boomers are still a huge part of the target market we serve in our salons, the new buzz word that has been…well, buzzing for a while, is “millennials”. But we have been so conditioned to target Baby Boomers, that millennials are still an untapped segment of the population by salons and spas, and marketing efforts to attract this generation have not been completely successful because we just don’t know how to address their needs.

Salons and spas need to understand the psycho-social attributes of millennials if they want to be successful at targeting this generation. Millennials, or Gen Yers, are simply different. Born approximately between 1980 and 2000, they can be characterized by very specific traits, which must be carefully considered when offering services, products and the space where they will experience these services and products.

Dubbed as Generation “Me”, millennials are highly confident and tolerant, while also demonstrating a strong sense of entitlement and narcissism. They feel special because their parents have instilled in them that they are vital to our world – that they were born for and with a purpose. They have been celebrated and praised; therefore, millennials expect to receive frequent positive feedback. They are assertive. They believe they are “right”. They crave attention.

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Salon: Use words in your marketing campaigns that allude to being special and how they can conquer the world with great skin. Your customer service must be impeccable. 

However, millennials are also a highly protected generation, having been coined the “Peter Pan” Generation. They have grown up in a world where there have been increased safety measures (school lock downs, warning labels, safety laws). They don’t like to deal with unpleasantness because their parents have advocated on their behalf throughout their lives. This, along with financial uncertainty, has caused a tendency in millennials to delay certain rites of passage into adulthood like living with their parents for a longer period of time and delaying age of marriage and having children. Emerging adulthood has been established now at 25 years of age.

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Salon: Emphasize on their need for safety by promoting your salon’s sanitary and safety procedures. Produce videos on your sanitation/sterilization processes or how main supplies are actually disposable rather than re-usable.  

Honesty gives us all a sense of protection. Millennials, in particular, highly value transparency – that is, open, genuine, truthful, authentic and honest relationships with everyone, be it their employers, their service providers, their family members, their peers and the products they buy.

Millennials have accumulated more debt (student loans) than any other generation prior, and experienced firsthand a global financial crisis and the highest unemployment rates in US history – second only to the Great Depression. And, considering that data from a 2014 study of US Millennials, which revealed that over 56% of that group considers themselves as part of the working class, and that only nearly 35% consider themselves in the middle class, transparency seems to be the most powerful motivating factor for millennials as consumers of goods and services – not money. Millennials are loyal to brands that they feel convey authenticity, trustworthiness and reliability and are willing to pay a premium for that trust, even if they can’t afford it.

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Salon: Along with providing more affordable services, provide a service menu with very clear pricing parameters and add-on’s. Once in the room, don’t offer an add-on without providing the additional cost to the final bill ahead of time. No one likes it and millennials much less. Learn your ingredients well and make sure that when you say whether or not a product contains XYZ ingredient, that this is actually accurate for the entire line(s). Millennials will research everything you tell them and will question you. Besides, transparency transcends space and time.

Millennials feel the pressure to succeed at all costs. As children, they had tight schedules with structured activities (school, sports, arts, socials with friends). This generation has had more hours of homework and less free time than all previous generations. What Baby Boomers and Generation Xers once enjoyed – spontaneous play in the rain, makeshift hero capes with towels and houses on a tree with bed sheets – millennials have not experienced.  They are multitaskers and have a hard time handling free time. They can juggle many responsibilities at once, but they are also easily distracted with social media, not to mention texting. They take on a lot, and then expect others to be flexible with them when there is a scheduling conflict.

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Salon: Flexibility is difficult to provide when we are in the business of scheduled services. However, providing other conveniences and trusted services and products to millennials will prove effective in having them develop brand loyalty toward your business.  Additionally, as professionals, we were trained to serve the Baby Boomer generation who didn’t even imagine what the internet could do. We need to serve millennials differently. Salon services need to be cut shorter and/or allow time for millennials to check their cellphones. Relaxation has another meaning to them. And if this idea makes you cringe, perhaps your marketing campaigns could address the effects of radiation and gravity on the skin.Read these article from Skin Inc: Tech neck, cellphones, and selfies.

Anal Bleaching and…Love?

Anal bleaching and love: these are two terms that, together, most people would think are a joke. Well, it isn’t. If you are following my blog, you’d know by now that this is my niche service and I have been offering it for years. So, I have a clue or two as to the type of client that will call me requesting this service, and I can even tell you *when* they will call me to schedule an appointment.

The first thing that my non-industry (skincare/wellness) friends or acquaintances ask me when I tell them what I do is “why would anyone do that?”  I give them general answers, but the truth is that most people do it because of love.

We, as humans, have the innate NEED to love and be loved. Love looks differently to different people. The point is that we all seek out love. But what does anal bleaching have to do with love? Well, for most of us, love is expressed through our sexuality. Just like love looks differently to different people, so does sexuality. And when people have sex, there are certain body parts that are exposed in ways that can make a lot of people feel too exposed, vulnerable and self-conscious.

Most clients that come to me for Intimate Skin Bleaching (I prefer to use the term “Intimate Skin Bleaching” because it also includes the vaginal area and other areas the client might consider intimate or private) are women who have recently gotten divorced and are now back in the dating scene. Others have been single and celibate for years, and they’ve decided it’s time to become sexually active again. I’ve had clients who have met their new “lovers” in another country, and after a time having a long distance relationship, they’ve decided to get together and make the encounter “special” by making sure that their intimate parts look they way they think their partners will like. As you can see, these are all cases of people yearning to be accepted and loved.

Another characteristic of Intimate Skin Bleaching clients is the day when they call to schedule an appointment.  In my experience, most calls come in on a holiday; and it’s become sort of an inside joke between my boyfriend and I. Whenever my telephone rings on a holiday (and I don’t recognize the number), my boyfriend says “someone needs anal bleaching.”  And low and behold, he is correct. And let me clarify, although we make light of the situation, we have seriously discussed the possible reasons as to why this may be happening. And we have come up with the theory that perhaps people feel lonely on holidays, and that gives them time to ruminate and focus on what’s “wrong” with them, causing them to go beyond the physical and look further into their most intimate areas. This, dear reader, is not funny at all.

Low self-esteem is definitely the culprit of why people seek out Intimate Skin Bleaching services.  And while women (and some men) deal with self-esteem issues as they relate to their intimate body parts, there are, on the other side, a group of people who vilify those who offer such service or products.  I’ve been “attacked” by some of these people who tell me that I encourage low self-esteem.

I disagree. Firstly, I have come to understand the reasons why people seek me out – they want to be accepted and loved. I’ve learned this from my hundreds of conversations with clients about their lives and what they’re willing to share with me over the phone (voluntarily and without being prompted) as to why they “need” Intimate Skin Bleaching – the “acceptance and love” that we’ve been talking about.  Secondly, I have found out, through trial and error and research, those ingredients that are effective yet safe for the client’s health. Thirdly, because of my training as a Health Educator, I am able to provide proper counseling as to the risks of such treatment, including conversations about self-esteem. And lastly, I am empathetic and project, through my actions, that I do care about their physical as well as their emotional well-being, while also projecting a non-judgmental attitude. These last behaviors are what the client is also looking for as part of that “acceptance/love”: empathy, caring and non-judgment.

There are indeed unethical providers and product manufacturers out there. And yes, there are indeed commercials that perpetuate low self-esteem by exploiting the feelings of the characters through rejection simply because their skin is not “light enough”.  However, in a world full of people who are emotionally affected through these media images and messages, there are other qualified and properly-trained professionals who are able to provide Intimate Skin Bleaching services in a compassionate manner and discuss with clients the importance of self love.

Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss Supplement

Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss Supplement.

Does it matter what size?

I came across this blog and just had to share.  I don’t follow celebrities too much these days, but apparently, Tim Gunn (Project Runway) criticized Kirstie Alley for being a size 10 (or whatever). Of course, it HAD to be a OLD man…but back to the point, WTF is this old fart doing criticizing Kirstie Alley for her dress size.  The woman is 62 years old, for gods sake!!! She is smoking HOT!  But the reason why I am sharing this blog is because the writing is superb! This has got to be one of the best written blogs ever. To the point, concise and clear, and most of all…AWAKENING!

http://www.blogher.com/dear-tim-gunn-does-it-really-matter-what-size-her-dress

What’s Sleep Got To Do With It?

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What’s Sleep Got To Do With It? Actually, everything!

Let’s start with learning what exactly the word, or activity of sleeping, means.  Wikipedia describes sleep as “a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli… Sleep is a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems.”

This definition provides a very powerful explanation of why sleep is so important.  During an anabolic state, tissues found within the human body obtain energy for growth and maintenance.  It means that our bodies NEED sleep to repair itself.

So what’s sleep got to do with it? It’s got to do with everything!

Sleep and stress

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When sleeping, your stress hormone levels return to normal. Stress hormones are only meant to be present for short periods of time.  Not bringing these levels back to normal for long periods of time leads to sickness, disease and weight gain.

Stress is probably the number one cause for sleep deprivation.  The National Institute of Occupational Hazard and Health has found that “80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.

What are some things that cause stress and sleep deprivation? Since we spend most of our waking hours at work, most stress is work-related.

– Overthinking (relationships and work, co-worker issues, troubleshooting problems, etc)

– Caffeine (coffee breaks)

– Overscheduling (demanding boss, heavy workload)

– Anxiety (over losing job, pay)

– Physical conditions at work (commuting, uncomfortable working set up, hazardous environment)

However, family, relationships, home/household, vehicle, bills, accidents, illness, care-taking – sometimes a few or all of them combined – can cause serious chronic stress.

Sleep and health

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Chronic stress leads to excessive amounts of cortisol hormone, which can disrupt sleeping patterns.

Some hormonal changes needed for healthy development occur when we sleep.  This is the reason it is so important that children sleep the correct amount of hours.  This is also the reason why teens “like” to sleep so much! They are using a lot of energy going through changes and they need the sleep to recover and keep growing.  Children and teens who don’t get adequate sleep tend to have serious health problems as adults.

What is adequate sleep time? The following chart offers a guide established by the National Sleep Foundation:

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Sleep is cumulative; if you lose sleep one day, you feel it the next. If you miss adequate sleep several days in a row, you build up a ‘sleep deficit’, which impairs:

  • Judgment
  • Vision
  • Information processing
  • Performance
  • Motivation
  • Vigilance
  • Patience
  • See chart below for more effects:

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Fatigued people also experience more moodiness, aggressive behaviors, burnout and more stress.

Sleep and beauty

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Not getting enough sleep detracts from skin health and your health in general:

(The following excerpt was copied from and medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH published in Everyday Health)

  1. It worsens existing skin conditions. Increased inflammatory response shows up as increased acne and rosacea breakouts, increased skin sensitivity, increased allergic contact dermatitis reactions, and increased irritant dermatitis — and more severe conditions mean more treatment and skin care.
  2. It detracts from your skin’s natural beauty. Increased inflammatory cells in the body lead to an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give the skin its glow, bounce, and translucency.
  3. it makes immune-related skin problems worse. Increased inflammation in the body throws off the body’s ability to regulate the immune system, which leads not only to getting sick more often, but also to flares of immune-related skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Psoriasis is not just a skin disease; it’s also an indicator of body inflammation. Many people with severe psoriasis actually have an increased risk for heart attacks, which is even more reason to keep stress low and get good quality sleep.
  4. It results in less beauty. While you’re sleeping, the body’s hydration re-balances. Skin is able to recover moisture, while excess water in general in the body is processed for removal. Not getting enough sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles.
  5. It accelerates the aging process. During deep sleep, the rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to become repaired. Without the deeper phases of sleep, this won’t occur, allowing daily small breakdowns to accumulate instead of being reversed overnight. This results in more noticeable signs of aging.
  6. it contributes to weight gain. Sleep also helps with weight management, which is good for your skin. Sleep makes you feel less hungry.  Recent studies have linked sleep deprivation to excess snacking and calorie consumption.

Just as a side note, this is the reason why night serums/creams and skin treatments are so important.  Because the skin (and our whole body) is in its repairing state, these products are specifically developed to work with certain cellular functions of the epidermis.

What can you do to get a restful night’s sleep?

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– Exercise –  burn off the energy that is keeping you awake

– Set the mood – Dim the lights, breathe calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, rosemary, sandalwood, bergamot or citrus

– Get into a routine – train your body to shut down at a certain time.  Make sure that you stop doing mentally demanding work several hours before coming to bed – give your brain time to calm down before you try to sleep.

– Try herbs or natural supplements – Valerian root is known to help with insomnia and nervousness. GABA, melatonin and magnesium are also known to decrease anxiety and cause sleepiness. Check with your doctor first!

– Restorative yoga, meditation and thought management help with nervousness, anxiety and calms the mind

– Read – a book non-related to work or issues at hand. Read in bed so that when you get sleepy, you can just put the book aside and go to sleep. Try reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes, again to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that are worrying you.

– Write persistent thoughts and worries down in a notebook and then put them out of your mind. Review the notebook in the morning and take action if appropriate.

– Don’t eat a big meal too late in the day – you may get indigestion or heartburn and disturb your sleep.

– Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but not late at night – otherwise you will be going to the bathroom several times during the night and interrupt your sleep.

– Sleep under a warm blanket in a cool, dark, quiet room – nothing like feeling cozy under a blanket.  Make sure that your mattress is comfortable and sheets are clean and soft. Use breathable cotton sheets and wash them regularly, so they don’t collect dust mites and bacteria. Use laundry detergents that don’t have strong fragrances, which can be irritating to skin.

– If your skin tends to get dry and itchy at night, keep a really good moisturizer on your nightstand and lather your body with it before going to sleep.

– Keep electronics out of the bedroom – it has been know that electronic equipment in the bedroom affects sleeping pattern.  Teens should not have a computer in their bedrooms!

– Cut back on caffeine and alcohol – Some people find that they sleep badly if they drink coffee or cola after 4pm. Others find that if they drink alcohol to excess, they wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep; not to mention feeling horribly sick in the morning.

– Seek professional help – if all else fails, it’s time to make a visit to a doctor or mental health professional.

Sleeping positions

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Sleeping positions have also been found to affect your sleep.  The most common sleeping position is on the side.  According to a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 people performed for mattress maker Tempur-Pedic, 57% of us at least start the night on the side position. That’s followed by the back—17% and the stomach – 11%.

Each sleep position has benefits and disadvantages, although sleeping on the stomach generally isn’t recommended because it can constrain the neck. Lying flat on your back may be good for the lower back but can exacerbate digestive and breathing problems—and snoring.

Always sleeping in the same position can cause problems. Consistently compressing the body on one side or stretching another side over time can create an imbalance and result in soreness or pain in that area or exacerbate an existing condition.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, the following is recommended:

– Obstructive sleep apnea/snoring – Stay off your back (get a sleep test and get it treated.  You may need a C-Pap and your life, like mine, will change!

– Acid Reflux – Sleeping on your side can help this condition

– Back pain – The rule of thumb for many back problems is that sleeping on the back is the most comfortable.

– Shoulder pain – Avoid sleeping on the side with the painful shoulder. Sleep on your back with a small pillow to support the bad shoulder. Or, if you sleep on the other side, hug a pillow.

– Neck pain – Avoid sleeping on your stomach.  Turning the neck to the side compresses the joints. Sleep on your side or back.

– Hip pain – Use a pillow between your legs or on your back.

During Stress Awareness Month (April), make a drastic change in your life.  Make changes that will relief stress, get a better night’s sleep today and everyday of your life, and be younger and healthier.  See chart below for effects of sleep deprivation and don’t let it happen to you!

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WHAT IS BEAUTY, REALLY?

BEAUTY THROUGHOUT THE AGES

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The dictionary will tell you that beauty is “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic sense, especially the sight.”  However, beauty could be more skin-deep because the second definition provided in the dictionary states that beauty is “a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect and moral sense.”  

So, can beauty be defined by age, gender, color, body shape or size? Who gets to decide? Are there objective standards of beauty? Or is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Multibillion-dollar beauty and fashion industries both shape and depend on the cult-like worship of what physical attributes are considered beautiful. And for the most part, it is women the ones that feel the effects of those decisions.

Dr. Robert Tornambe, a NYC Plastic Surgeon, said in an article published in the HoffPost that “the word ‘beauty’ is the most overused, misunderstood, poorly defined word in the English language.”  He explained, from his own experience, that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the perception of the beholder.  Because we all have different tastes – and because we have been exposed to cultures that perceive beauty in different ways – this affects the definition and perception of beauty.  If in our society, the perception is that a blonde is prettier than a brunette, then we will believe that same perception.  But because we have different tastes, this (mass) perception, in turn, creates confusion, especially for women who are bombarded with advertisements of how she is supposed to look.  And we tend to look at impossible celebrity role models of beauty who pay a (tax deductible) fortune on their image. 

I am an advocate of the second definition of beauty.  Women are more than a look.  Encouraging our daughters to feel proud of how smart, bold, confident, brave, strong, talented and funny they are or can be should be our priority.  After all, society will continue bombarding them with impossible, unattainable images that will only damage their self-esteem.

Dr. Tornambe stated that each woman has a Beauty Quotient (BQ) which is comprised of three distinct categories:

1) Physical Health – examples of how to keep healthy are regular Pap Smears, breast exams, a healthy diet, regular exercises, dental health, etc

2) Psychological Health – involves one’s personality, sense of humor, intelligence, attitude toward life, level of confidence and seriously taking care of any mental health issue present.

3) Personal Appearance – This is your beauty routine which should include a good skincare regimen, hair and makeup routines, wardrobe, posture and style.

Any woman is capable of raising “her Beauty Quotient significantly by simply tweaking various elements within these categories.”  “So much of a woman’s beauty is under her direct control. Learn to take control!”

Oscar Wilde said: You don’t love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her.