You’re More Beautiful Than You Think

Why you'll eventually love the photos you hate today.

| November 11th, 2011
Getty images (2)Bette Davis before and after
Bette Davis

As women, are we ever really happy with the way we look?

Whether the grievance is skin, hair, weight, or even face shape, it seems we’re always harping on some perceived problem. In fact, a YouBeauty survey of over 15,000 women found that 49 percent were “not happy” when they looked in the mirror, while an additional 24 percent said they felt “neutral” at best. 

Yet there seems to be a catch-22 that emerges later in life for most women; those photos that made you wince with self-consciousness in your earlier years can suddenly look pretty darn good when you view them in hindsight.

QUIZ: How Satisfied Are You with Your Face?

In one of her last televised interviews, cinematic icon Bette Davis explained the phenomenon to journalist David Hartman. “I had always loathed my face—I would be haunted by this hideous person,” said the actress of her young days in Hollywood. “And to get to this age, and to look at those shots. No doubt about it—I was the best looking thing that ever lived! Just beautiful,” reminisced the 73 year-old star.

But here’s the conundrum: Is it possible to get to that moment of self-actualization, without having to first wait out a lifetime of feeling miserable about a litany of imagined flaws?

Beauty brand founder and makeup artist Bobbi Brown—whose successful “Pretty Powerful” campaigns celebrate real women of different ages and ethnicities—says that even she was struck by feelings of ugly duckling in her younger years.

STUDY: Others Rarely Notice Our Flaws

“When I first started out as a makeup artist, I didn’t exactly feel confident. I was surrounded by models that were very tall, skinny and blonde, and I was short and brunette, so it was a challenge,” Brown tells YouBeauty.

“I learned that I was never going to compete, and I shouldn’t have to. I created a brand inspired by the idea that every woman is beautiful. It’s about being who you are and appreciating what you have. Instead of focusing on the negative, enhance what you like about yourself, which will make you feel prettier and more confident in the end,” advises Brown.

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