We are in the process of transition in our beliefs about women's beauty. A change in the ideal face is becoming noticeable. Instead of the classic oval, the longer face is coming to the fore as the modern ideal. Interest is stimulated by its imperfection, thereby attracting attention to one feature more than another. As we have discarded the proportions of Venus' body, we are now discarding the proportions of the classic Greek face.
At the same time we are gaining new concepts of physical beauty, drawn from all the quarters of the globe. As distances in the world have shrunk and travel has become more common, we have been given the opportunity to see and appreciate the women of many racial strains that were formerly remote to us.
Women of other continents, though sometimes quite different from the women of the Western world, we now realize are lovely in their own way. This development, too, has helped to undermine our earlier ideal, replacing it with a variety of interesting facial contours more attractive to modern eyes than the outmoded classical oval.
PEOPLE OFTEN go on accepting ideas which have lost their validity. A case in point is that of the classic oval face. We have so long taken for granted that the ideal woman's face conforms to the classic oval that most people have not yet noticed that this is so no longer.
The classic oval is regular and symmetrical. The size of the features and their relation to one another accord with those in the statues of ancient Greece and Rome, or with the madonnas in Renaissance paintings. In a classic oval face, no one feature is more prominent or arresting than another. The effect is smooth, unvarying.
The exaltation of this ideal was a natural growth. In earlier days woman's life was restricted. A great beauty might be a ruler's mistress, a rich man's plaything. In the days when women were not expected to lead active lives outside the home, entertain ambitions, develop wide interests or develop their independent tendencies, their manners were likely to be quiet and self-effacing, their faces passive. Naturally the more their features conformed to the classic oval in symmetry and repose, the more beautiful they were considered to be.
With the emancipation of women, ideals of women's beauty were bound to change. As women developed individual characters and personalities, new kinds of beauty began to come into their own. The classic face of a goddess or a madonna was forced to share the spotlight with other types-pixies, gamins and women with stronger or less regular features which still managed to create an impression of charm or distinction.
With the advent of movies, television and picture magazines, too, we have all become acquainted with a great range of facial contours. We have seen that long, square, round or short faces may also be attractive. We realize that irregular proportions or odd features can be piquant, charming or even beautiful.
This fact should give aid and comfort to those women who have features which annoy them or which they consider defects. How often in my salon I hear women pointing out some feature which others may never notice unless attention is called to it! In one case, it may be large ears, in another, a prominent nose or a square jaw. Such women have in their minds the ideal of the classic oval and make themselves unhappy because they fall short of it.
If you are fretting about some real or fancied defect, my advice is to stop it. If you want to disguise it or play it down by optical illusion, there are ways of doing so, by using something else to overshadow the prominent feature. This might be the color of your hair or the styling of your hair. It could even be the color of your lipstick-anything which will arrest the eye and draw it away from the feature you want to minimize.
The very feature you dislike may be the one that gives you individuality. The world is full of variety and beauty can take many forms. Why shouldn't you be content to look like yourself and nobody else? Women's beauty can take many forms.