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As anxieties around COVID-19 have segued into a deeper and more consistent malaise, a longing for simpler times has caused people to reshape everyday behaviour’s around comforting goods and long-established beauty rituals. The “new normal” has transformed the beauty industry, particularly the production and consumption patterns. Holistic care, mindful products, ethical production cycles and good value products are the key aspects for brands to flourish post-pandemic. 

A Sense of Normalcy

Being locked within four walls at homes, the pandemic has given us the time to be more mindful and pay attention to ourselves and our body as a whole which we may have overlooked in the past. Rather than investing in a magical foundation for flawless skin, the consumers are now more inclined towards a product that makes them feel better. Shoppers are seeking products made out of natural vegan and safer ingredients that mainly emphasize efficiency and functionality with a deeper meaning attached to them. 

To meet these expectations, beauty brands are trying to penetrate consumers’ minds and respond to their needs by introducing a product that fulfils the same. These brands are evolving and focusing more on self-care routines to provide a sense of normalcy. 

Back to Roots

Consumers want to turn back the clock and teleport into older and simpler times. They want to embark on a journey to explore new products and brands which reflect nostalgia, hence, leading to an urge to reconnect with their roots which helps ease anxieties. For decades, the beauty industry has been focusing on the look, rather than the “feel-good factor”.

The new-age consumer seeks transparency and is willing to make an effort for meaningful buying decisions. They want to relive and see through their personality via their product choices. This evolving landscape has given a boost to newer brands whose DNA respects the old age rituals and practices which are rooted in nature – the constant adapting and healing source.

Whether it’s about engaging brand narrative or adding a charming aspect to cosmetics via nostalgic packaging, many brands have been focusing on native practices as part of a holistic approach to wellness to establish trust with a consumer base. Thus, the question arises – How is this sense of nostalgia impacting beauty and wellness habits in the current scenario? 

The Impact of Nostalgia Marketing

Tapping into the nostalgic fond memories of millennials to stir a sensorial experience that teleports into a different time and space is the new tool found by the brands called Nostalgia MarketingWith the ongoing hectic lives, reliving a “blast from the past” positive memory that makes us smile is most likely to move our emotions.

Following this trend, beauty brands are taking leverage by reigniting their products and campaign strategies. The brands are identifying those special moments from the pasts which millennials crave. They are incorporating them in the form of impactful storytelling, a visually appealing packaging design with a familiar motif, icon or colour palette, by offering special services like customization and personalization or establishing an emotional hook by producing creative marketing strategies for brand promotions on varied online/ offline platforms. 

Nurture with Nature

The chemistry of ancient rituals along with nostalgic narrative has given birth to a new age oomph beauty segment. The nostalgia centric goods can innate optimism and produce meaningful content for maximising social media visibility through different mediums.

This trend has also led to the birth of many brands on a global scale. One of such newly launched brands is Fable & Mane which focuses on centuries-old ayurvedic rituals for a healthy scalp or hair. Founded by the sibling duo, Nikita and Akash Mehta, the brand is rooted in introducing authentic Indian hair care rituals and practices.

It pays homage to their grandmother’s traditional hair oiling routine with a blend of handcrafted plant oils and formulas for long, lustrous hair. With reminiscent packaging which is a reminder of ancient Indian beauty secrets along with powerful branding, it is a perfect example of a nostalgic brand, catering to the idea of “east meets west” at the same time.

Moreover, the COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for hope for the beauty industry. The shift in consumer preferences and values has altered the otherwise regular expression: a sense of well-being and the vitality to nurture the nature around us is turning out to be as a key priority. And the nostalgia factor has acted as a feather in the cap by introducing a renaissance period for the beauty industry.

It’s time for ‘beauty’ to evolve, being in sync with the past & present, mutually. 

Hairstyles are a key part of self-expression, in the same way that makeup and clothing are. The way that we style our hair can be a manifestation of our personalities, even if this is done unconsciously. However, for those of us with curly and coily hair, it’s not as easy to express ourselves as it may seem.

The Burden of Societal Pressures

It should be no surprise that women with curls feel an external and societal pressure to straighten or relax their hair.  To some people, for whatever reason, curly hair automatically represents a lack of seriousness, with it often being classed as ‘messy’ and ‘unruly’. 

Dr. Marianne LaFrance, a professor of psychology, women’s and gender studies at Yale University has previously shared how:

From early on, women are given the message that appearance is massively important, and it can become a marker for their success in life.  

The desire to meet society’s Eurocentric beauty standards creates a barrier in many women’s self-expression, and this is evident across many different countries. In particular, many women in Egypt can be forced at a very early age to straighten their hair, all to align with European standards of beauty. Moreover, the beauty standards for Dominican women can be highly criticizing too. The term “pelo malo” (bad hair) is used towards women with curly and kinky hair.

Targeting Black Women

Black women in particular face a much larger stigma when wearing their hair naturally. More so for Black women, rocking natural curls seems to be a lot more political than it is aesthetic. Not only is natural hair a barrier in self-expression for Black women, but it can also be a barrier in scoring careers or even going to school. The UK school system specifically seems to have a problem with afro-textured hair, as Emma Dabiri (author of ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’) emphasises. Pupils have previously been excluded for fades, locks, braids, natural afros and more. 

Fashion is Psychology’s very own founder and editor-in-chief, Shakaila Forbes-Bell, also offers her own perspective. 

I avoided being natural due to an ingrained belief that my hair wasn’t beautiful and being teased for the tightness of my coils.

Underlying messages and racial stereotypes presented by society can have a deep impact on self-esteem. Black women are consistently told that they have “nappy” or “bad hair” and begin to internalise self-hatred. In order to reduce these social pressures of adopting a more Eurocentric look, we must target the beliefs adopted at an early age through socialisation. 

Forbes-Bell agrees, emphasising how

There is a lot of unlearning we have to do when it comes to how we maintain our curls and coils and how we feel about them. For decades Eurocentric beauty norms have been instilled in women worldwide so it’s understandable why straight or relaxed styles have their appeal.

The Curly Hair Movement

The curly hair movement has represented a crucial shift in attitudes towards embracing curly and natural hair. Although natural hair has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years, the curly hair movement has been supercharged by recent lockdown restrictions. Not only was most of our time spent inside, but professional treatments have not been possible for many months.

According to recent research from L’Oréal, Google searches for “how to make your hair curly” have increased by 50%. Not only are more people with naturally curly and coily hair embracing their style, but there seems to be an overall increased interest in having curly hairstyles. 

Editorial director of naturallycurly.com, Alexandra Wilson, states:

The natural hair movement really ignited in the 70s when black women were wearing their afros.  

The acceptance of natural seems to have been a long time in the making, with many factors playing a crucial in its rise.

The Social Media Boom

One of the most important factors to consider is social media. Social media has created an accessible community in which people can learn from each other in a way that wasn’t previously possible. A quick search into YouTube can tell you what products and techniques are best for your curl type and texture. Social media is especially impactful for those who are not used to seeing people with similar hair types and textures to them. Being able to witness other women embrace their curls has inspired others to follow suit.

According to one study, Instagram online communities have contributed to making hair types mainstream, and have educated people with a new perception that black women’s hair types are actually beautiful.

Positive Psychological Shifts

Importantly, this new acceptance and appreciation for curly hair has led to a psychological shift in those who are embracing their curls. The curly hair movement can perhaps go hand in hand with the culture of body positivity and acceptance we are experiencing as a society. 

For example, one woman has previously shared:

Discovering my curls and embracing exactly who I am has granted me many incredible opportunities to share my individuality and promote self-love.

However, it’s crucial that we keep this positive momentum going, as there is still a long way in how we approach and perceive natural hairstyles. 

Forbes-Bell offers an interesting insight regarding the perception of Black women in particular: 

Instead of being seen as the gold standard, straight hair needs to be viewed as one of many styles that Black women can rock with confidence. There needs to be increased texture representation in all forms of media and there also needs to be more education on the various ways that curls and natural hair can be taken care of – ones that don’t break the bank!

We must continue to embrace our curly and natural hair, while also reversing problematic Eurocentric beauty norms.

I’m sure I can speak for us all when I say my screen time has significantly gone up throughout the pandemic. As much as I don’t like to admit it, it’s the result of mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. However, research suggests that the app may contribute to adverse psychological outcomes and poor appearance-related self-perception or as some call it ‘influencer envy’.

The rise of technology has meant the ability to manipulate the way we look has become effortless. Subsequently, new generations are exposed to much more than just airbrushed photoshoots in magazines. A few scrolls down our feed and most of us will see Instagram models, influencers and even peers who perpetuate an unattainable standard of beauty whether it’s “knowing your angles”, a face filter or smoothing out your skin. Apps such as Facetune allow physical features to be manipulated entirely with the click of a few buttons, removing imperfections to whiten teeth, slim waists and reduce sizes to be accepted as beauty ideals.

Comparison Culture

Social Comparison Theory’ suggests individuals drive to evaluate their progress and in the absence of objective standards, people compare themselves to others to know where they stand. However, on Instagram, we can compare ourselves to these edited pictures or individuals with cosmetic surgery (without realising). You may think you easily spot editing; however, only 60%- 65% of the time people recognise edited photos.

A debate has arisen about whether it should be compulsory for manipulated faces and bodies to be labelled as edited on Instagram. This has been proven somewhat controversial- what is your take? On the one hand, it creates a warped sense of beauty, especially for vulnerable women with lower self-esteem. However, is it right to police people’s bodies, especially when it may make the poster feel more confident? Researchers found that viewing an idealised image from social media had a negative influence on women’s body image, no matter if it came with a disclaimer or not. Although, disclaimers lead viewers to form a less favourable impression of the poster. This suggests it may do more harm than good as the posters emotional wellbeing may lower with no effect on the viewer.

A rise in cosmetic surgery 

Evidence suggests social media pushes us to take part in life-threatening beauty trends in the interest of acceptance and social compliance in society, affecting emotional wellbeing. WomensHealth found that those in their 20s desired the fox eye effect of having eyes stretched upwards and back (as if pulled in a secure high ponytail) more than any other age group. This leads to surgery involving implanting dissolvable threads under their skin to hoist it up or Botox to raise their eyebrows. This was most likely the result of repeated exposure to this popular beauty trend and wanting to look more like models such as Bella Hadid. It seems women persist in internalising these beauty ideals as a model for their own comparisons. Consequently, steps need to be taken to help those affected by idealised images on Instagram.

With that Being Said Positive Psychology Can Help…

Positive emotions broaden momentary ‘thought-action repertoire’ (so, like how joy sparks the urge to play), which widens an individual’s mindset. Having an open mind while scrolling down the gram means you are more receptive to different information types. Putting you in an excellent position to judge whether the image is altered and whether or not you should engage in social comparison. These actions then become internalised and lead to feelings of acceptance.

In a 2020 study, women either observed ‘Instagram vs reality’, ‘ideal’ or ‘real’ images. Viewing the ‘Instagram vs reality’ and ‘real’ images whilst identifying the ‘ideal’ images as fake, disrupted the ‘social comparison process’ and reduced body dissatisfaction. This research suggests Instagram can enhance self-esteem with the photos associated with hashtag trends such as #instagramvsreality and #nomakeup as they promote self-acceptance. 

“If positive psychology teaches us anything, it is that all of us are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. No one has it all. No one lacks it all.”

– Christopher Peterson

Therefore, follow some ‘real’ accounts representative of yourself to minimise the risk of engaging in unhealthy social comparison. 

Here are my recommendations for excellent reality-checking and body positivity accounts: 

1.  @danaemercer

“Reminding you you’re special.”

2. @planetprudence  

“Helping you see that your thoughts aren’t alone.”

3. @celebface

“WELCOME TO REALITY.”

4. @stephanieyeboah

“Self Love Advocate”

5. @hi.ur.beautiful 

“Here to remind you that there is no bad way to have a body.”

So what’s stopping you from using Instagram as a tool to foster an appreciation for the full spectrum of beauty!

I was delighted to speak with Glamour once again and share my insights into fragrance as a sensory escape.

“Lockdown has really proven to be a double-edged sword. Not only are we mentally struggling with the likelihood of people experiencing irritability, sleep disturbance, decreased libido and depression increased, we’ve also missed out on the psychological benefits of travelling. Research has shown that foreign travel boosts your energy, improves cognition and promotes interpersonal growth.”

“Smell is one of our most powerful senses as it plugs into our limbic system – the part of the brain linked to instincts and emotions.” We can utilise fragrances to transport us to different times and places due to the ability of our sense of smell to evoke strong memories. Scents that remind you of a cherished time and place will be especially powerful. Think of the smell of the hotel you stayed at in Jamaica or the restaurant you ate at in Italy, those scents will transport you back to those places, allowing you to escape the confinement of our current realities.” 

Check out the full piece here!

The coronavirus pandemic has seen many industries continue to struggle financially, the beauty industry, in particular, seeing a significant change. Given that the majority of the world is still having to deal with the realities of social distancing, mask-wearing, and working from home, it’s not surprising that makeup has become less of a concern to those who usually wear it. NPD, a market research company, reported that in the first quarter of 2020, makeup sales were down 22% compared to the year before. Not only is it awkward to struggle with wearing makeup under a mask, but buying makeup online is a much more different, and difficult, experience.

A new reason to get all dolled up

However, it’s not only important to consider how the practicalities of wearing makeup have changed, but also the reasons that we wear it. For many, makeup is used as part of a regular morning routine to start the day ahead, but there now seems to be a shift in these aims. The president of L’Oréal USA’s consumer products division, Nathalie Gerschtein, has said how people are instead “dressing up and doing their makeup for virtual happy hours and dinner parties”, demonstrating that wearing makeup has now become a way for us to celebrate the things that bring a sense of normalcy to our lives, despite the circumstances. 

Skincare is the new makeup

While we may be seeing a decrease in makeup sales, the global beauty industry is not seeing a decrease in all of its sectors; skincare has become an increasing part of people’s lockdown routines. This shift in the beauty industry can easily be seen through much of what we see on social media. For example, if you happened to be scrolling through apps such as TikTok in the first few months of the pandemic, the surge in videos concerning people’s skincare routines and their product recommendations was hard to ignore. Products from brands such as The Ordinary and CeraVe were consistently sold out both online and instore, as consumers took a renewed focus towards their self-care routines. 

This shift towards self-care is not surprising, given that taking the time to focus on a skincare routine can be of extra comfort when experiencing stress. In a situation such as a global pandemic, many people feel that they can do little, besides staying at home, to control it. Therefore, it’s understandable that we place more attention on aspects of our lives that we do have some control over. The rise of the wellbeing industry has also been made evident, given a spike in purchases of bath and body products. The fragrance company Diptyque has reported that candle sales increased 536% in the weeks after lockdown. 

Lessons from Beauty Psychology 

So not only has skincare seen a boom in sales, but the whole self-care and wellbeing industry has seen a sharp rise in interest. Nonetheless, it’s also important to consider the behavioural and psychological responses to the shutdown of the makeup industry, as not everyone will have the same reaction towards more time spent at home. Since people with lower self-esteem are generally more likely to wear makeup, does this rising interest in skincare apply to those who wear makeup to feel more confident? Interestingly, a recent study by Pikoos and colleagues (2020) found that during the pandemic, those with low dysmorphic concerns (i.e. “a preoccupation with a perceived defect in physical appearance”) invested less time in their physical appearance, but that restrictions caused by the pandemic presented risks for individuals with high dysmorphic concern.

Therefore, despite a general decrease in makeup sales, this change does not necessarily mean that people are more comfortable with the way that they look. Although having to face less people than in a pre-pandemic society, people still find themselves concerned about the way that they look and a boom in the skincare industry does not necessarily mean an increase in self-esteem. Rather, it seems to be more the impracticality of having to wear makeup that has had a factor in this change. 

With the world facing a turbulent time, many of us have been experiencing physical signs of our stress, and one particularly pertinent change is in our skin. 

You may be perplexed by your so-called ‘lockdown acne’ but there’s a reason why your skin isn’t on top form right now. By spending more time at home our skin is inevitably exposed to less pollution and we’ve had more time than ever to dedicate to our skincare routines – so why is it taking a downturn? Here’s a couple of reasons why:

Hormones

Our skin is extremely sensitive to its surroundings, but it’s not only what our skin encounters on the outside that affects its condition; how we feel on the inside can have an impact too. Following environmental changes, our bodies are prone to enter a stress response. This response causes an influx of hormones like cortisol, which cease non-essential functions as your body enters a fight-or-flight response. While this would have been beneficial for the survival of our ancestors, in modern, less threatening circumstances the consequences to this reaction can add to our worries! As cortisol causes inflammation of the skin, and the skin glands to produce more oil,  it in turn becomes more acne-prone too.

The way stress indirectly impacts your skin

Poor Sleep

Nevertheless, there are more indirect impacts of stress that can also be affecting your skin. Poorer sleep is a common consequence of stress, with people reporting less sleep, more disturbances, and lower sleep efficiency (Kim & Dimsdale, 2007). With it being well-established that sleep is incredibly important for our bodies to rest and repair, interruptions to our sleep pattern inevitably make it harder to combat precursors to our skin troubles. For example, compared to poor sleepers, good sleepers showed less skin aging, better recovery from skin irritation or redness, and better perception of their appearance (Oyetakin‐White et al, 2014). Therefore, prioritising something as simple as sleep could help to contribute towards healthier skin and more positive self-perceptions even if the skin is troubled.

Poor Diet

Stress is also intrinsically linked to diet quality; the more stressed we feel, the worse the quality of our diet becomes (De Vriendt et al, 2012). While some of us have a propensity to over-indulge as a result of stress in order to comfort ourselves, others tend to restrain their eating and instead snack of highly processed, convenient foods (Wardle, Steptoe, Oliver & Lipsey, 2000). With our skin being extremely responsive to the food we consume, it’s likely that dietary changes during a period of stress can also contribute to changes in the skin.

3 things you can do to rescue your skin

If you too have been experiencing skin troubles during a stressful period, you can make a few simple changes to bring it back to life.

1.     Relaxation  

Taking just ten minutes a day to focus on yourself and be in the present moment can do wonders when it comes to relieving stress. Practicing yoga, meditation or mindfulness can help to ground the mind and bring things back into perspective when they feel a little out of control.

2.     Consistency

Maintaining a simple, sensitive skincare routine can provide your skin with the nourishment it needs to help it recover. Try to use unperfumed, natural products in order to avoid further irritation.

3.     Diet

Try to be mindful of the types and quantities of food you are consuming when you know you are facing a stressful period. As over and undereating can prevent the skin from making a speedy recovery, it may be helpful to plan meals in advance so you can assess the quantity and quality of what you will be consuming. Research has found a link between consuming foods with a high glycaemic load (e.g. sweets and chocolate) with the exacerbation of acne. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to these as they can also provide a short-term mood boost

If like us, you were fascinated by episode 1 of Netflix’s new docuseries [Un}well then you know that scents are incredibly powerful. Scents hold a unique power to instantly transport us back to times of intimacy, joy or even despair. Over time the glass bottles that decorate our dressers can house something much more than the notes describing their contents; they become time capsules that can momentarily awaken emotions deep within our conscience. In our new 3-Part Psychology of Scents series, we’re investigating the scientific importance of scents. 

Scents hold memories.

Although each of our five senses contributes to the recollection and reconstruction of memories, scents are the most significant. A study by Dr Silvia Álava titled ‘Smells and Emotions’ found that people remember 35% of what they smell, but only 5% of what they see – and the majority of participants noted how specific scents reactivated happy memories.

This phenomenon can be otherwise known as the Proustian Memory Effect, the idea that scents evoke more emotional memories than other memory cues (Chu & Downes, 2000) is hardwired into human nature. Fast connections between brain regions are responsible for the processing of scents and retrieval of emotional information, or memories (Eichenbaum & Otto, 1992). For example, products are often more appealing when they are associated with pleasant scents, and so, they will also have a greater positive emotional appeal (Sugiyama et al., 2015). As there is a human tendency to remember highly emotional information, by association, it means the scent alone can trigger accurate recall of product information. But these associations don’t lie with objects alone.

We judge people based on their scent.

The fragrances we choose to wear could also influence other people’s impressions of our personalities. For example, one study had 90 women smell three perfume samples and rate their level of agreement/disagreement on the types of personality traits a hypothetical wearer would display, as well as their subjective liking of the scent. The results were precise; perceptions of a person’s personality differed depending on the composition of the fragrance – much like how visual differences in appearance can influence prejudgements.

In comparison to oriental (citrus) and chypre (herbal, woody) scents, wearers of floral perfumes were associated with those who hold fewer ‘masculine’ traits and are likely to be more inhibited (e.g. less flirtatious, dramatic, fashionable). What’s also interesting is that the more similar two fragrances’ were in scent, the more similar their wearers were in personality. Therefore, there may be more to managing your impression than the simple presence or absence of a fragrance – it’s specifically what you choose to wear that seems to count.

Scents can change how you act.

Sure, these fragrance-based first impressions could help secure a job or find a romantic partner, but they also affect how likely you are to be supported, or help another, in a time of need. Being surrounded by pleasant odours such as roasting coffee, pastries, or perfume can cause strangers to act more prosocially. We see this effect both in busy shopping malls and at pedestrian crossings (Baron, 1997; Guéguen, 2001). As a subtle sniff of a pleasant scent can trigger recollection of associated positive memories or feelings, it helps to lift our moods. This mood change subsequently increases prosocial behaviours, which can be for several reasons. 

Smell good, feel good, do good.

What’s equally important, and perhaps more relevant to day-to-day life, is how we can use fragrance to help ourselves. As the practice of mindfulness teaches, tuning into our senses can be incredibly grounding and ultimately, improve our mental wellbeing. It can be challenging to detach from past and future demands, but being surrounded by pleasant sights, sounds, tastes, touches or smells can make a significant difference when trying to create a moment of peace and relaxation. One study by Field and colleagues showed that after sniffing a lavender-infused cosmetic cleanser, adults became more relaxed, had an improved mood and completed maths calculations faster than before. Therefore, specific fragrances can be particularly useful at calming both the mind and body, improving focus on the present moment. Something as simple as using a lavender-scented fabric softener, or burning a candle in the evening could help to ease anxieties.

With this in mind, it is clear that fragrance has far more power and purpose than merely adding or masking an odour. The perfumes we all choose to wear can share something about who we are or change how we feel about ourselves. In the same way, we might think about what we are wearing; perhaps fragrance should be given more considerable thought; try asking yourself, how does this make me feel, or how do I want to feel.

Stay-tuned next week for Part 2 of the Psychology of Scents Series, when fragrance experts will reveal the key to finding your signature scent!

This post was featured on Links à la Mode fashion roundup by Independent Fashion Bloggers.

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Self-care is a term we are all aware of; its importance in maintaining psychological wellbeing is well-recognised, yet few of us seem to engage in it. Self-care can involve anything from cooking to cleaning, taking yourself on a walk in the woods or reading a book in the garden. However, one simple and easy way many of us could take care of minds and bodies is through the humble manicure.

However, there are far more benefits than first meet the eye when taking the time to care for your fingertips. By focusing on the intricacies of filing, shaping, moisturising and painting each individual nail encourages us to be mindful. By concentrating on the present, it gives our minds a moment to break away from the recurrent list of responsibilities we are regularly reminded of. As polish dries relish in the respite; for fifteen minutes there’s nothing to do but remain still. Even checking your phone can be difficult, which brings the rare opportunity to switch off from your online existence too.

But if this restful style of relaxation isn’t your idea of peace, painting your nails can also provide a way to bond with friends and family. Unlike other popular activities of indulgence like shopping, there is much less emphasis on body shape and size and therefore offer less of a chance to engage in unhealthy comparisons. Even when going to the salon isn’t an option, hosting virtual manicure sessions with friends could be a fun way to unwind and catch up.

The benefits of having neat and tidy nails extend further than the momentary mindfulness the process creates. Although only a small part of our appearances, our nails can in fact implicitly portray a particular image to others. Pleasantly presented hands and nails have been associated with holding a position of power and in 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported nail salons as being popular locations for meetings amongst professional women.

Much like the colours of clothes we wear, the shades we choose to place upon our nails can reflect aspects of our personality and influence our mood. Some scientists have suggested that certain colours can affect our heart rate and brain signals in different ways, and in turn how we think and feel. These biological influences seem to be reflected in our behaviour too – whether it is consciously or subconsciously. Patterns have been identified amongst nail salon customers when it comes to selecting the colour to decorate their nails with. People often opt for shades that either match or help to modify their current mood. Here are just a handful of ways your go-to nail varnish might be revealing aspects of yourself, you never even realised: 

  • Black – symbolises mystery and can be worn to share a slightly more rebellious, daring side of yourself.
  • Blue – is thought to reflect trust and peace; this sense colour’s sense of tranquillity can be soothing in times of uncertainty. 
  • Orange – is an optimistic colour, portraying someone who is self-assured and sociable. When confidence is running a little low, glancing down at your orange fingertips can instantly inject a sense of positivity! 
  • Pastels – provide a soft and delicate finish, perfect for times of relaxation, comfort and signifying new beginnings.
  • Yellow –an energetic, eye-catching shade often chosen by those who have a positive presence. This colour can be chosen when experiencing burnout, to reignite an inner energy.

In essence, there is far more than first meets the eye when it comes to manicures. Serving as an act of socialisation and self-care, the benefits of the beauty treatment can be significant for us all. If investing time and effort into your fingertips brings you joy, confidence and helps to wind-down after a busy day, there should be no shame in dedicating an evening each week to doing just this.

If you’ve ever suffered the misfortune of losing a loved one as well as witnessing a friend experience loss, then you’ll know that grief looks very different on different people. Although scientists such as Barbara Fane have revealed that individuals experiencing grief suffer from a similar disruption to the following brain areas, the outcome can vary. After losing someone the parasympathetic nervous system is impacted, resulting in insomnia and shallow breath. The effect on the prefrontal cortex/frontal lobe can impact your ability to express your emotions. The impact on the limbic system, can cause you to be easily triggered by things that remind you of your lost one. Whilst experiencing this biological onslaught, after losing someone, many people put their appearance to the back of their mind. However, as our contributing beauty writer Alysha Yates recounts, relief may come in the form of your beauty routine.

My mother would always dress herself in red. Her toenails gleamed with a glossy merlot finish come rain or shine.  In a reoccurring six-week effort to mask her relentless greys, she’d blitz intruders with her favourite semi-permanent dye, Crazy Colour- Fire. When she discovered my Sleek eyeshadow palettes, her request never wavered, “red with a little smoke on the sides.” Of all the ways she’d wear red, nothing served her better than sporting her signature scarlet smile.

So when I lost my mother in 2015 to the beast that is breast cancer, I couldn’t look at red the same for a while. My memories of overturned bloody dye bottles and dwindled lidless lipstick applicators brought me nothing but instant flashbacks of what I had lost.

Days after she passed, at each family gathering, I’d be swarmed by sympathetic apologies and faces filled with commissary for what could not be helped. With each pat on my back, I grew to fear the pain of my mother’s memory, serving only as a reminder for the unnerving fact that I’d no longer see her bright red smile again.

Alysha Yates Fashion Psychology
Alysha Yates Wearing Mac Dance With Me & Fenty Beauty Uncensored

Nevertheless, I had already agreed to write my mother’s eulogy for her funeral. I had run out of words while trying to finish writing and I decided to search for inspiration. I sat knee deep in photo albums, flicking through images of my mother, wadding my way through years of her life, buried in her memory. Hour after hour went by and I found myself with her again. She was aged 20 at a party, posed arm in arm with a best friend, both with matching classic square red manicures. Aged 25 on her wedding day, lips deep scarlet pursed and pouted for a glamorous flick.  She was aged 36, hair tinted and aflame, head down styling one of her clients at her hair salon.

Tears met my lips as I surrendered to her vivid red memories and I felt her with me once again. Fond memories rushed back and gave me the comfort I needed as I saw how attached my mother had been to this colour, how she would always endeavour to express herself throughout her life with these red accents.

At her funeral, we wore red rose brooches and our lips beamed a deep raspberry red. My mum loved to wear a mix of MAC’s Rebel with Russian Red. On that day, we brought her memory to life. Now, as her 4th year anniversary approaches, I soothe my grief by wearing red and my most treasured way of remembering her is by embracing a beauty routine that reflects my mother in spirit.