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Why being yourself is the most important beauty tool of all

Beauty Editor, Donna Francis explains why she believes that ‘you doing you’, even when showing your vulnerability, is where true beauty lies 

Donna Francis
Contributing Editor US
May 27, 2024
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Authenticity is something that I’ve always championed during my career as a Beauty Editor. I have always believed that there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ definition when it comes to looking or being ‘beautiful.’  And this notion couldn’t have rang more true for me than a couple of weeks ago when I met with four of my best friends from school after living out of the country for almost three years due to relocating to America.

I have known these ladies since we were teenagers, when we were all extremely privileged to have attended a very exclusive all girls private school in London. A school that I loved but one that I felt that I stood out in. I felt different because I came from a working class family who had worked very hard to pay for my education. The headmistress even asked my mum after my interview if she had won the pools (which was like the 80’s version of the National Lottery)!  My dad was born to a fishmonger in London's famous Chapel Market, and was homeless at 12 and my mum was raised around the corner in Islington by my nan who held down three jobs to make ends meet. 

Donna learnt the importance and beauty of being yourself when she was a teenager at school
Donna learnt the importance and beauty of being yourself when she was a teenager at school

So I was aware that I had a different background and I sounded different amongst the girls, with clips of cockney flowing through my accent. My dad sometimes picked me up in his work van, which stood out on the school run amongst my friends’  luxury cars. I would have birthday parties in a family friend's pub. But I was proud of all of it. I was proud of my roots. And I was adamant to hang onto them. I didn’t try to sound posher. I didn’t ask my dad to pick me up down the road in his van. And my pub parties became legendary.

READ: Why it's time to end the pretty privilige era

And it was during this time at school that I first realised that being yourself, your true authentic self, that doesn't worry about slipping up or being different and is just as proud to show off their vulnerabilities as they are their perfections, is where true beauty lies. 

Learning about the importance of authenticity during my teenage years was a blessing, as this is often a period in our lives when we just want to fit in. Eventually age gives us that glorious gift of not caring what people think, but during those vulnerable younger years we often strive to tick the right boxes socially and physically. But I was lucky, my friends loved me for being me. 

Donna and her classmates that taught her the importance of authenticity
Donna and her school classmates that taught her the importance of authenticity

Now nearing our 50s, I looked around that table at lunch and I realised that my friends looked more beautiful than ever. Yes, the collagen levels have depleted since we sat in the school common room together over 35 years ago, but we weren’t focused on that. We were just happy to be back together, and we felt comfortable around each other, like no time had passed. You know when you feel so easy around people that you don’t have to second guess everything you say? Or worry about what you look like? You can truly be yourself. Even though we are all very different - we come from different backgrounds, we look different, we have different political beliefs, we sound different - but we are all very happy with who we are and are not afraid to show it. 

No serum, cream or makeup product can disguise inauthenticity. And there is no beauty product that will make you look more beautiful if you are not happy in your skin. And that is why being yourself is where true beauty lies.

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