Breaking Beauty

Beauty is pleasure, pure and simple

But rare is the beauty that is pure, and rarer still the beauty that is simple. Fact is, beauty fades. Cherry blossoms and rosebuds are celebrated not just for their bloom, but also for the fact that they bloom so briefly. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” because Shakespeare never compared thee to a winter’s day. But it’s the twenty-first century, and even though we know well enough that rest, diet, and exercise are the three mainstays to looking best, we’re doing all we can to conjure miracles from modern science that will prolong the springtime of our years straight through to late autumn. We’re extending the human bloom through research and development that produces vats of creams and care products and services that promise you and your insecurity that you’re just a purchase away from the anti-gravity.

When you take a look at the sales statistics, it’s glaringly clear that beauty is a clear priority. For starters, the beauty industry is immune to economic downturns: worldwide cosmetics sales have not declined in the past 18 years; annual growth rates average around five percent, with 2016 global estimates for the skin care market alone around USD121 billion. The takeaway from this is that we feel that beauty is a necessity, not a luxury. The other takeaway is that there still seems to be room on the shelves for another miracle in a tube or spray or treatment – because all the others APPARENTLY haven’t quite delivered on their promises.

The other takeaway? Beauty – the kind you find on the first floor of a department store – is overrated. Agree with me: it’s eye-candy and mirrors and hollow, fading feathers. It’s a swan dive into a shallow pool. Choose health instead. It’s vegetables and fish oil and early morning exercise discipline. It’s maintenance, it’s practice, it’s fine-tuning. Health’s a lifelong swim against a tide of quick fixes. The goal should not be to have the most expensive face in the room at 60 years of age; the goal should be to have the least expensive bill of health in the room at 60 years of age. And as for the face, I’ve long heard that you get the face you deserve at 50. In my understanding, that means you should spend the first four decades living a life that keeps the fire glowing in your eyes. Keep the fires glowing, and keep the sunscreen flowing, and leave the rest to the dandies.

In this issue, we look at human beauty from both sides. From what used to be in vogue to what is currently cutting edge. We show you those who are seen as so very this second and those that have played the long game in obscurity. And we pull examples of what’s the latest word or procedure from all corners of the earth, with the warning that this year’s corners may be next year’s curves. Enjoy!

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