My #BeautyStory: Pretty is as Pretty Does

Sponsored Post: I am being compensated by Lunchbox in partnership with Dove Beauty for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Growing up, my mom always told me, “Pretty is as pretty does.” You can be the most beautiful person on the outside, but if you’re ugly inside, you’re not beautiful.  It was a life lesson passed down to her by her paternal grandmother, who shared not only taking care of what was on the outside but working on the inside too. She always stressed how it was important to work on you as a person first, rather than be caught up in the beauty comparison game.

My mother had another strong woman in her life that impacted her: my maternal great grandmother, who taught her the importance of treasuring the skin you’re in. For her, it was all about Dove Lotion Bars, which made her skin radiant into even her twilight years. I remember growing up using these to gently cleanse both face and body and could always count on Dove to not irritate my sensitive skin.

My Beauty Story: Pretty is as Pretty Does / hellorigby seattle beauty blog

A few months ago, I would have been ashamed to show you what I looked like without makeup. My skin decided to have a meltdown, and I too with it. I was getting a new crop of zits nearly every day. And not just a little zit, these were cystic acne that were deep and painful.

I was embarrassed. Humiliated with how I looked. I looked in the mirror at my jawline and neck and wanted to cry with what I saw there. I guess you could say I was lucky that the place where it showed up was covered by hair or by scarves, but it didn’t feel like luck. I even had a facial around Christmas time and saw someone different, and she suggested that I wasn’t washing my face enough. Seriously? I was probably doing the exact opposite. When I took my Bahamas cruise in January, even the masseuse took notice of my skin. She sent me away with samples of some “magic” rose capsules that she claimed would heal my problem skin… for the low, low price of $80 for a 30 day supply. Oh, okay.

So what did I do? I started reading. I read about diets and green juice and candida. I considered throwing out all my skin care and starting over. I thought about never eating cheese again. I considered throwing away all of my beloved dark chocolate because for sure those things (that I loved) was what was making my skin explode.

But you know what it was? It was me. I was so busy focused on the negative and looking perfect that I forgot to go easy on myself. To forgive myself (or, in this case, my skin) for having a moment. And the more pressure I was putting on myself and the harsher skin care I was throwing on it was only making it worse.

What’s worse was I wasn’t pretty on the inside during this time. I was snappy; I felt ugly. I acted ugly. All because my skin was freaking out, which was probably exacerbated by my stress levels.

Dove Beauty Story No Makeup Look / hellorigby seattle beauty blog

So I stopped. I took a breath, stopped checking the mirror every chance I got, stopped touching my face, and I focused on me. And when I stopped being so upset about how pretty I didn’t look, my skin calmed down.  And today? Those struggles are just dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and some are not even there. Yes, there are scars, but they will fade. And the best part? If I don’t feel like seeing them, I can cover them up with a little makeup. Those cystic pimples? Yeah, not so much.

I guess what I’m getting at here is that what matters most during the struggles is to be pretty on the inside. To focus on treating yourself in a kind way, and to treat others that way too. And when all hell breaks loose on your face? Be kind to it. Go back to the basics, whether it’s your plain old water, a Dove Beauty Bar you’ve used since you were little, an exfoliating face scrub every so often, or something else.

So that’s part of my #BeautyStory, and now it’s your turn to share yours, like this 4 generation family of women who know what beauty really means. Watch their story and share yours on social media with #BeautyStory, or in the comments below!

Do you have someone in your life that has inspired your #BeautyStory? What life lessons and traditions did they pass on to you?


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67 thoughts on “My #BeautyStory: Pretty is as Pretty Does

  1. Lindsay

    How you felt was exactly how I felt one year ago. Only I was having allergic reactions to anti depressants and it was coming out through my pores. My face looked like that of a junkie and it was the most awful thing ever. Begging my doctor to get me off that junk because my quality of life was being affected and my liver and kidneys were also in protest of that toxic pharmaceutical junk I was on.
    It’s taken me one year to heal and I have scars now and the odd flare up; which pisses me off because I had perfect skin before. But whatevs I guess, there are worse things in life.

    Thank you for sharing and being brave sister. :)

    Xoxo
    Lindsay recently posted…10 Things that Made Me Happy this WeekMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Lindsay! So sorry to hear about your skin struggles too. It really is the worst, but am glad you’re on the mend and only experience a flare up now and then. Still no fun though!

      Reply
  2. Mary Lansing

    Kudos to you, Jenn. I have definitely been there when a bad haircut or your face makes you all grumpy & not pretty on the inside. I have Lupus & have had my share of really bad skin times, & I just want to hide. Then, one day I just realized how selfish & self-centered I was being; people really don’t care if you have a butterfly rash or no make-up on. Good people do not judge you like that. Its about whats within! <3
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    1. Jenn Post author

      So true! Sorry to hear of your past struggles, but you’re right it does help you realize who and what is really important!

      Reply
  3. Leah

    I love your story! It’s important to recognize the beauty within, but I totally understand how outward beauty can affect the way we feel about ourselves! Thanks so much for sharing. You are absolutely beautiful in every way! :)

    Reply
  4. Cat

    Way to go, lady! As fun as makeup is, when it stops being fun and you feel like it’s “necessary,” it’s good to take a step back and get a little reality check. Camping for the last week without any makeup was definitely liberating – I didn’t look at the mirror hardly at all and I didn’t stress on the big ol’ pimple that showed up on cheek, and it felt GREAT.

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com
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  5. Lauren Ashley

    First of all, this is an amazing and inspirational story. I actually currently struggle with cystic acne, hyperpigmentation and I’ve had candida several times. It’s a struggle and it makes us more stressed, which in turn causes more blemishes. So I completely, 100% understand you. I’m so glad you were able to overcome this, though! You’ve inspired me to stop worrying so much and to really just let my skin breathe. I think it’s all about attitude too. And yours is amazing!

    Love!
    xoxo
    Lauren Ashley
    http://www.thefashionistasdiary.com
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks so much, Lauren Ashley! I’ve been breaking out off and on for years since I hit puberty, but last year’s breakout was the absolute worse I’ve ever experienced. I found that I was just stressing and drying out my skin with harsh products and a harsh attitude, and when I stopped it really made a huge difference. I hope it helps you too! Cystic acne and the hyperpigmentation it leaves is the worst.

      Reply
  6. Kristen

    this is such a fabulous post.. i used to have pretty crappy skin and i would lay awake crying about it. i changed my diet a few years ago, including drinking more water, and my skin improved but not enough – i would still get random pimples especially the ones that we call ‘blind pimples’ you know without a head but they hurt like a mother? ouch! anyway, same thing – i had to just get over it, stop stressing.. because i was so stressed about it, i was snappy and ugly inside.. it’s crazy how much something can affect you, but it really did. so i had to stop, and just focus on being me and being happy. pretty is as pretty does – love this. so true!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yes! I totally know what you mean. I get those too sometimes, usually it’s when I’ve been eating not-so-healthy food.. oops! :P But yes, glad to hear when you stopped stressing it helped! It’s really amazing how much the mind can control things like breakouts!

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Astrid! I’m kind of jealous you don’t have to do much facial care… my boyfriend is the same way and he’s rarely gets a zit!

      Reply
  7. Kristin K

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m really glad that celebrities are also doing the same right now!! Posting untouched photos of themselves on the internet, or via television. “They aren’t as perfect as the pictures would have you believe!” “They are normal…just like the rest of us!”

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Yep, exactly! And when I did that, all it did was make everything worse, so I’m so glad I backed off on it!

      Reply
  8. Jordyn

    I can totally empathize with your pain! When my hormone levels were out of whack with new birth control my skin freaked out! I would look in he mirror and feel so ugly because my pores were so ginormous and clogged! It’s easy to be hard on ourselves when we don’t feel pretty. The way we look is part of our identities! I try to remind myself that even though I associate myself with my outside appearance that my hair, skin and clothes are only a small part of who I am on a much deeper level.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yes! That is so true. It’s so easy to get stuck on one thing and then make yourself feel terrible about it, but you’re right – it’s only a tiny part of who we are!

      Reply
  9. Aimee

    Hey there! I understand your struggles. I talk about feelings of worthiness a lot with my FB fans on The Burned Hand and how we struggle with self-worth, anxiety, depression, etc. Pretty on the inside is my focus. Gentle hugs!
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  10. Kay R.

    Your mum was so right. Beauty is as much from within as it is from the outside. I love this piece and ps you are beautiful with and without makeup. Never doubt that!

    Reply
  11. Seersucker Sass

    Girl, you are gorgeous with our without makeup! I definitely feel your pain. I had amazing skin in high school, but I’ve recently started getting cystic breakouts, as well. I don’t think I would mind so much if the spots weren’t so painful.

    My beauty story is definitely defined by my mom. She always taught me that less is more growing up, and I wasn’t allowed to wear certain cosmetics until I was out of middle school. She also taught me the importance of great brows wayyyy before “on fleek” was a thing ;)

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, thank you so much! I know, cystic spots do hurt so bad! I never have had clear skin (except for a few years in college and post-college… then it was back to the young adult hormonal breakouts, sigh!) but the cystic breakouts are the worst!

      Your mom sounds like a great role model! Brows really are so important!

      Reply
  12. Tiffany Khyla

    This is such a touching story that so many people can relate to, including myself. I used to think I was so ugly without makeup, and I refused to leave the house without it. Even when I went to the beach, I put on foundation before I went outside just to sit in the sand. It was ridiculous. After I saw Colbie Caillat’s music video for “Try,” I decided to challenge myself to not rely on makeup to make me feel beautiful. I challenged myself to not wear makeup for a month then a month turned into six, and now if I don’t have time to do makeup, I don’t fret about it. Thanks so much for sharing your Beauty Story!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Tiffany! I feel the same these days, but also once struggled with going makeup free! I would even wear makeup to the gym, and now I realize that the people who judge you for your makeup free skin aren’t people worth having in your life anyways!

      Reply
  13. Sherry Keef

    Growing up, my mom always told me, “Pretty is as pretty does.” You can be the most beautiful person on the outside, but if you’re ugly inside, you’re not beautiful. It was a life lesson passed down to her by her grandmother. She always stressed how it was important to work on you as a person first, rather than be caught up in the beauty comparison game.

    My grandmother told me this too. I can hear her in my mind saying “Pretty is as pretty does.”

    Reply
  14. Mai T.

    Mom is my big inspiration. She tries to hide her impurities on her face but I tell her all the time that it’s fine and no one is going to judge her except herself.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      So true! Love that you’re sharing that with your mom – so many women feel that they need to always be wearing makeup!

      Reply
  15. Kerri

    It took me a long time to understand my skin. It used to just be about looking horrible but after a good few years, I realised that wasn’t it. It wasn’t just being ugly, it was a bit of life, it was stress, it was diet, it was something, it wasn’t just “being ugly”. And because it was something, this meant I could change it, or I could understand it. I know now, that when I get stressed at work my skin goes a little crazy… and I’m ok with that. I just try to be kinder to it in other ways to help out, but eventually it goes away when the stress does.

    Working on your inside, is far more satisfying than just fixing your face in the morning :)
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yes, that is so true Kerri! Love that you’ve figured out your skin – it’s so nice to be able to say “Hey, that’s just because this week at work was stressful. It will be gone soon!” and not sweat it too much. ;)

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      I think sometimes it’s just change in general too that can make skin a little crazy. I notice between seasons I tend to break out more, and when I’m traveling or have a big life change it will get a little “upset.” Hope your makeup detox helps!

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, not necessarily, but a lot of people have dairy allergies or intolerances which can exacerbate acne apparently. I stopped drinking cow’s milk which has helped with my allergies and sinus troubles, but I didn’t find cheese made it worse, so I still eat it. ;)

      Reply
  16. Julie

    My grandma always says the same thing. And I definitely agree! When I am super stressed out my skin does all kinds of crazy things. I’m glad you were able to be kinder to yourself and your skin healed in the process.
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