Ask Jeanne

THE KIT Lesson in Beauty

Dear Jeanne,
What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever received? And I mean ever. I have a teen daughter who likes to play with hair and make-up. I want to be sure she uses products well and feels beautiful too.


Dear Maria—


Surprisingly enough, one of the very strongest pieces of advice I ever received about both style and beauty came from my late, great dad. Certainly, my gorgeous mum is still quite the fashion plate at 92, and continues to inspire me immeasurably, as she always has over the years. But it was dear old dad who first impressed upon me the importance of image—and how people judge you by the way you dress, because that’s the first impression they have of you. Of course, my father’s sage lessons in character building were dished out in tandem with his sartorial advice: Be a good person and dress well and you’d pretty much have it made!


Now not for a minute am I suggesting that true beauty has anything at all to do with mere outward appearances. We all know that even the most magnificent outfit can wear awfully thin if the person sporting it is miserable or has bad energy. But when people are ultimately kind and compassionate, always putting their best foot forward and spreading good cheer, their physicality is wonderfully enhanced and their sartorial trappings usually take on lovely new style dimensions.


Unquestionably, there is something to be said about teaching your kids to always celebrate themselves and cultivate a fine esthetic for themselves. And if they are indeed encouraged to take joy in being well-groomed and well-dressed, and brought up to realize the importance of that as a means of personal expression and communication, there’s little doubt that they’ll feel beautiful too. They also should be persuaded to always be conscious of their physical and mental well-being, and made to understand that proper diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle can contribute greatly to not only looking good, but feeling great. Of course another important lesson is remembering to never compare yourself to anyone—we are all true originals after all. And then it’s also imperative not to take yourself too seriously. That’s actually what “playing” with hair and make-up should ultimately be about: having fun with fashion, and fun experimenting with your image. We should be encouraged to take ourselves a little more lightly, and explore different facets of ourselves. Getting locked into one particular image of ourselves is limiting for the spirit. What makes us interesting as human beings is our multi-faceted nature. And that also means that our daughters should be persuaded to not only explore and experiment with new looks and beauty products, but also learn about some of the iconic and diverse beauties that went before us, and how they all led interesting and meaningful lives far beyond the boundaries of hair salons and dressing rooms.