As I sat down to write this post, I was wearing a grubby t-shirt and sporting wind-blown hair after my morning walk. Deciding I could not in good conscience write about how to be pretty when I felt like a total slob, I stepped into the bathroom with a mission. I changed clothes, put on some new makeup, and even added a necklace. Thank you, dear readers, for saving me from another slob day.
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My grandma always says, “Pretty is as pretty does.” This universal truth does not negate the fact that, as women, we still want to FEEL pretty as well. Let’s delve into how to be pretty every day without a complicated beauty routine or expense.
Disclaimer: In writing this article, my fear is that someone will think, “She must believe she is the epitome of beauty and grace.” Not so! I’m just a regular mom who wants to feel as good about my appearance as I did as a teen. I definitely don’t always make the effort to do all the things on this list. But, it’s what I’m striving for. That’s why I thought this would be a fun post – inspiration for myself on how to be pretty. Hopefully you will find some inspiration as well.
First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way. Beauty is your birthright. Sometimes we are so focused on not being vain or selfish that we go too far… in the opposite direction. We neglect ourselves or worse – cover up our beauty completely out of fear that we will be seen as self-centered. Ladies, it’s not a sin to be beautiful. In fact, God made you with a desire to look as lovely as possible.
In taking care of yourself and putting your best foot forward, you declare to the world “I am made in God’s image, and I value myself.” So let’s all embrace this desire and have fun with it!
Below are the top tips for embracing your natural beauty and becoming unforgettable.
How to be Pretty – 19 Timeless Tips
1. Make yourself a priority
First of all, if you want to learn how to be pretty, you must first realize that YOU MATTER. I used to think it was selfish to spend time taking a long bath, working on my appearance, or clothes shopping. This was a complete mistake. When I didn’t take care of myself, everyone else suffered because I was not interacting with them as my best self. It is absolutely worth it to find out what means the most to you in terms of your wellbeing.
Ask yourself: what act of self care makes me feel the most energized? Exercise? Home facials? That salon appointment? Don’t let it fall by the wayside.
2. Find your special trait.
Everybody has one. Maybe your smile is dazzling, your eyes sparkle, or your skin glows. Play it up! Slap some bright lip color on that mouth, spend extra time with the mascara wand, or dab highlighter on those cheeks. If you don’t know what your best features are, ask someone close to you. Research ways to make it stand out.
3. Get a signature fragrance.
In days gone by, many women had a “signature scent” that left their essence behind everywhere they went. It’s amazing how scent can bring up memories and feelings in less than a second. I don’t have one currently, but I’d like to find the right scent for me soon. Any recommendations?
Last week, I found this My Burberry Blush sample in a magazine and fell in love. I need a light scent because perfumes have given me headaches in the past. A healthier option is, of course, essential oils. They are everywhere right now and there are some incredible fragrances out there, plus you can reap the aromatherapy benefits. This is our favorite brand of essential oils for price + quality. This Peace & Calming blend is also one of my favorites. A couple of simple options that are inexpensive and smell great on everyone are rose water and jasmine water. Plus, they’re all natural. Pretty in a bottle!
4. Don’t underestimate the Mani-Pedi.
I don’t know what it is, but something about having my nails done always makes me feel extra put-together and pretty. I used to think it wasn’t worth the extra time, but it absolutely gives you a sense of polish (pun intended). If you don’t have the budget for the nail salon, a bottle of polish and Netflix session work just as well. Every woman needs a red, nude, and white shade that they love. Sally Hansen miracle gel and OPI wear the longest.
5. Learn how to do your makeup naturally.
The biggest mistake I see women making is wearing way too much makeup. Been there, done that. As a teen, I was getting ready for my senior formal banquet and decided for the first time to use eyebrow pencil. The result was, well, unnatural. My mom said, “Honey, guys like the natural look better.” Her advice still rings in my ears today, and if makeup feels overdone to me, I take it off immediately.
If it’s fake, people can tell. Embrace who you are. Pick one feature to accentuate. And please, no more spider eyes and crazy penciled brows.
6. Try a bold lip.
You might not think it’s for you, but never underestimate the power of a bold lip color. Instant glamour! It works for everyone as long as its the right shade for your skin tone. Go to a makeup counter and ask them to recommend the perfect shade for you. My most recent favorite is Revlon ColorStay Mineral Lipglaze.
7. No sweats rule.
This is one rule I seriously stink at, but I’m working on following through. Especially if I don’t have anywhere special to go that day, it’s easy to throw on a t shirt and sweats. But even if you’re not going out, you never know who might show up at your door. And the most important person to get dressed up for is YOU. If you don’t feel good about your appearance, everyone else can tell.
One thing that can help with this is laying out your clothes the night before. This will save you time and ensure that you feel good about yourself throughout the day. And if someone calls and asks you to lunch, you can answer, “I’d love to!” without hesitation.
8. Find your personal style.
Go on Pinterest create a “fashion inspiration” board like this. (And follow me while you’re checking it out. 😉 ) Anytime something catches your eye, save it to your board. Looking at everything in one glance will really help you pinpoint what styles of clothing you are drawn to. You might be surprised at what you pin the most often.
Would you define your style as classic, boho, or romantic? Knowing what you like will save you time shopping and eliminate buying those unworn items that look perfect on someone else but just aren’t “you.”
9. Cut back on portions.
If you’re clothing is feeling a little tight, don’t diet. Instead, just make your portion sizes a little smaller. This strategy has been extremely effective for me and I’ve never felt deprived. Chocolate is a daily occurrence for this gal. My favorite book to explain this concept in detail is French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Giuliano – you should check it out, it’s a game-changer! Magnifique.
10. Carry yourself with elegance.
Posture truly does make a difference. If you slouch, hunch over, or stomp around with no grace, you’ll feel like the ugly duckling even if you’re dressed to the nines. On the other hand, you could be wearing the most casual outfit you own – but if you’re standing tall and walking light on your feet, you’ll feel like a movie star. Think Audrey Hepburn. This post from Elegant Woman explains how to do this in detail.
11. Invest in pretty shoes.
This goes hand-in-hand with the posture rule. When your shoes are awesome, you feel awesome. It’s ok to spend a little extra on shoes that are comfortable and will make every outfit pop. Every woman should own a cute ankle bootie, feminine flats, sandals that make your feet look lovely, and the perfect pair of heels. Other than tennis shoes, that’s really all you need. (Ok, ok. I’m breaking the rule about heels… I just don’t find them comfortable enough in this stage of life. But I hope to get there again).
12. Prioritize Skin care.
Your skin is the foundation for your beauty, and taking care of it will serve you well as you age. The best thing you can do in this department is keep it simple. I only use gentle goat milk soap for cleansing and a good natural moisturizer like this one from LilyAna Naturals. It absorbs super fast and makes my skin crazy soft. (Girls. I cannot rave about this moisturizer enough. Favorite beauty buy of the year.) If you prefer a daily moisturizer with SPF, try this one by Yes to Carrots. Or, you can simply use aloe vera gel or jojoba oil for extra moisture.
Other tips? Get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet and never, ever sleep in your makeup. Duh. But really, it makes a difference. You can’t fake a glow 😉
13. Own the basics/classics for your wardrobe.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a wardrobe that is chic. Invest in a few key pieces that won’t go out of style. Think white top, black pants, all-occasion dress, perfect-fitting jeans. I love the tips from fashion vlogger Kim at Secrets of a Stylist. Check out her tips on the essential pieces every woman should own.
14. Wear skirts + dresses more often.
Maybe you’re not a skirt girl, and that’s ok. But dressing up every once in awhile makes you feel more feminine. What works for me is wearing dresses and skirts that are SUPER casual. I love my basic black merino wool skirt and comfy dresses. That way I feel pretty but I’m not sacrificing comfort.
15. Find a piece of jewelry that’s “you.”
This is sort of like the signature scent idea. Find that one piece of jewelry that you absolutely fall in love with. Maybe it’s a pair of diamond studs, a dainty necklace, or a chunky bracelet. For me, it’s a gemstone ring on my left hand. On my trip to Europe I got a silver ring in Greece that stayed on for a decade and just became a part of me. I had to replace it, but it was fun updating my signature piece (here’s a similar one). What’s yours?
P.s. – I’m also in love with this gemstone necklace right now; it goes with everything.
16. Get your beauty sleep.
Getting your beauty sleep is more than a cliche. This is probably the most important piece of advice, but it’s one of the hardest to follow. When I don’t get proper sleep, it shows immediately on my skin (breakouts, puffiness, even fine lines)! Check out the top tips for a great night’s sleep here.
17. Wear colors that flatter you.
Amazingly, it took me until age 30 to realize which colors look best on me. 70% of my closet is blue, and that’s not my most flattering color. Sigh. I have a yellowy/olive skin tone, so I look best in colors with warm undertones. Check out this video by french fashion designer Justine Leconte to find out what colors work best for you.
18. Embrace YOUR hair.
For the longest time, I doted over long, thick tresses. I wanted to be that girl whose hair reached her waist and looked gorgeous, like this. Then I finally realized, this style does not flatter me. When my hair gets too long, it starts to look thin and stringy. Once I embraced the texture and thickness of MY hair and got an appropriate haircut, I started to get a lot more compliments. Bounce and volume returned to my hair, and I felt more confident being me instead of trying to be someone I’m not.
19. Dress appropriately.
Incorporating trends into your wardrobe is great, but trying to look many years younger than you are… not so much. Nobody wants to look matronly, just think twice before shopping in the junior section when you’re a mid-lifer.
Also, modesty is always in fashion. Showing too much skin is the opposite of class. When the way you dress reflects how you value yourself, you up your pretty factor big time.
Finally, a post about how to be pretty would not be complete without a quote from the queen of beauty herself, Audrey Hepburn: “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness. And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
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Tell me: what beauty tips would you add to this list?