Every morning we look in the mirror and see ourselves. Maybe we see a new zit, stretch marks, or any number of factors that make us beautiful. We spend so much time considering this beauty, judging ourselves for imperfections, trying to fix what we think is wrong, and comparing ourselves to others. With all this focus on how we look, is our perception of beauty altered?

There are hundreds upon thousands, probably even millions of beauty articles and videos on the internet, not to mention the secrets shared in magazines and between friends. But beneath the surface, is there beauty we may not spend as much time on?

We are scarcely reminded to take care of our mental health and emotional well-being. And when we are encouraged to do so, this inner beauty is often cared for through meditation, journaling, and other things that make you feel good. Some could argue that relaxing with a good book, going for a jog, or even catching up on TV can help you care for your inner beauty. Relaxation and taking time out for what we love is how we make ourselves feel better.

So then, why are inner and outer beauty so separate?

Although our beauty routines seem superficial, self-love comes in many forms. Our perception of both inner and outer beauty can cover multiple facets. Just as exercise, which helps you physically, can also clear your mind, why is caring for your appearance through makeup not accepted as beneficial to the mind and soul?

Our self-image and confidence are both affected by appearances. As women, we get judged by both men and other women for how we look. How others perceive beauty is through physical appearance. If a woman doesn’t wear makeup at work, there will be comments about her lack of effort. But if a woman wears “too much” makeup to work, she’ll get shamed for giving off the wrong vibe. These judgments can so significantly impact our confidence from grade school throughout adulthood. Our beauty is against us. Yet, when we put great effort into improving our confidence, we are judged for caring too much about our appearances.

Applying makeup and testing out skincare to help us feel good in our skin is not something to be judged for. Loving beauty products is a way to care for ourselves. It feels good to put effort into how we look, whether it is what we portray to everyone else or what makes us smile when we look in the mirror. As much as we may feel judged for caring how we look, this is our right as women. There is nothing wrong with investing in our appearance or even spending hours on it.

Inner and outer beauty seem to be considered opposites. And, of course, inner beauty is more important when it comes down to it. You could be the best at styling your hair and blending your makeup, but if you lack heart, outer beauty will only take you so far. How you treat others, how kind you are, how open-minded and accepting, these are all without a doubt more significant to who you are as a person than what color lipstick you’re wearing. But caring for your outer beauty and putting effort into how you look is not a weakness. It does not take away from your inner beauty in any way.

Taking time out to apply your makeup, put on a face mask, or even shop for the latest trends are, in fact, acts of self-love. When you feel good about wearing a new eyeshadow or bronzer, you’re in a better mood. When you boost your confidence, so many aspects of your life can improve based on your self-image. And vice versa. When you focus on being kind and caring towards others or put effort into making positive changes, you emit an indescribable beauty.

So whether you harbor guilt for focusing on your looks, have been judged for wearing winged liner, or for going bare-faced, know that what makes you beautiful is you. The confidence that comes with focusing on both your inner and outer beauty is what is most important. Accepting and even celebrating your uniqueness, whether that’s your body shape, your skin color, or your sense of humor, are what beauty is all about.