Tagged beauty

The best color for spring; gray!

Gray haired women collage; janebalshaw.comIt is quite the topic here in the studio; to gray or not to gray.  For those of us who have voluntarily or involuntarily chosen to let our hair go that way, I want to offer encouragement.  Gray is a magical color because it makes every other color next to it look better.

Photographers know this. Rolls of neutral gray back-drop paper are manufactured to set off still-life objects.

Graphic artists know this. The gray-scale in computer design software points to a 50% gray as the perfect tone for balance.

And nature knows this. Ever wonder why colorful autumn leaves look so intense on an overcast day? Or why an aging face looks so bright? It is that frame of gray that points out and showcases the color it surrounds.

This colorless color is the combination of all colors so it harmonizes with every color. Softened with light, it visually gives rest to the optic nerves so color can be perceived without distraction and helps to delineate form.

Color case in point; this spring’s most popular color in fashion “rose quartz”.  Here it is all alone…pink but sort of flat looking.Rose quartz no grayHere it is with a little gray…rose quartz collage whiteAnd with a lot of gray…now that looks pink, don’t you think?  rose quartz collage grayNotice here that the photographer choose a gray background to photograph against …New-York-Rose-Quartz-FashionAnd in this photo the stylist accessorized with gray to punch up the soft tone of pink.Fashion-Fix-Rose-quartz-2

NOTE:  I just created my own version of rose quartz here in the studio for lips…Tinted Sheer lip color in this all-natural lip-conditioning formula of plant oils and waxes plus loads of vitamin E keeps lips soft.  $15.

Rose Quarts tinted sheer lipstick; janebalshaw.com

Gray eye shadow teams well with soft lips and helps to shape the eye by letting its color be the focus in the picture.  Because gray has red, yellow and blue in it, grays vary in tonation so there is a perfect shade for each skin color and eye color.  Brownish gray, purpley gray, blue gray, silvery gray…want to know which shade is your gray?  Book an appointment. jbalshaw@comcast.net

Gray eyeshadow; janebalshaw.com

So when the gray hair starts to come in, consider that this is a gift that nature gives us.  It softens the changes in our skin color, showcases our eyes and blurs any wisdom lines.   Love, Jane

My varying shades of grey; janebalshaw.com

Good skincare helps stimulate blood flow and helps your skin to renew and enlivens its color.  Can I help you with a skincare routine or a facial?  Can I help you with a new look at make-up?  Or can I simply hold your hand if you decide to go gray.  Let me know ….please reply or comment.



Beauty and personal style; Bloom where you are planted

414136772_dd9b2ec29fThere comes a time when we realize that as a woman we hold the power to be our best self.

…that we can settle in on and embrace who we have become and set aside the angst-imposed beauty-striving in favor of beauty-thriving.

…to bloom where we are planted in life.

As Kevin Kline’s character famously said in the movie My Old Lady, “A perfect flower is nearly old”.

It is the accumulation of our unique qualities that define our personal beauty.  Whether we have short legs or thick ones, low brows or non-existent ones, a wide back or thin lashes or whatever “they” tell us is imperfection, these are the very things that work to our advantage to help define our  personal style.

OUR unique personal style.  Why not set aside the scattered/obsessive, insta-flashing, tweetering and glossy layouts of information out there about how we should c h a n g e ourselves, instead why not BE ourselves?  We alone hold the power and I would like to encourage it.

All this spring I am going to be writing on this topic.  Some of what I am thinking about is how body proportions are trendy & how to embrace our own, how facial bone structure contributes to how our skin ages & how to be OK with the results and what goes too far in the world of skin rejuvenation.

Let start a dialog, OK?  Please leave a comment.

Gorgeous roses at the end of their life.  Their color is intensified and their shape is perfected.

Gorgeous roses at the end of their life. Their color is intensified and their shape is perfected.


What is beauty?

What is beautyA friend recently asked me if some of my clients features were more difficult to beautify than others.  When I responded “No.  Why do you ask?” she said, because she felt that some people “have more to work with” than others.  That statement really got me to thinking.

 How do we define beauty?

As a make-up artist I have trained my eye to make sense of the structure of the face relating the singular features through the use of color, emphasis and de-emphasis to reflect harmony resulting in personal beauty.  A stroke of the brush here or a stroke of the brush there…it is the same number of strokes on each person…but all are aimed at “balancing the face” to a proportion that we perceive to be beautiful.  But why do we consider this proportion beauty?

We recognize beauty in the familiar.

This mathematical proportion that we recognize occurs throughout our universe.  We see this Golden Ratio in the way leaves of a plant relate to their stem or the gradation of color in the rainbow and also in the construction of the healthy human body.  Because it is who we are and what we subconsciously recognize as familiar, we see those proportions as perfection and therefore beautiful.  Ask someone to walk into a room organized in a way that does not bear these proportions and they will immediately feel uncomfortable.  Look at a face that does not bear these proportions and we think it is unusual.

Dr. Stephen R. Marquardt of the Marquardt Beauty Analysis Foundation has been able to demonstrate this by creating a “beauty masque” using the Golden Ratio proportions that can be laid over a face as a measurement.  Faces that fall within the confines of this mathematical proportions we tend to see as classically beautiful.


However, we also recognize subconsciously that there are imperfections in nature including the human face.  In a recent On Being NPR broadcast, the astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser    stated that the more we study physics the more we realize that “imbalance is life and that symmetry is stale”.  Artists know this; the painting that is slightly off-balance is more appealing that the one that is perfectly aligned.  An asymmetrical furniture arrangement is more inviting than those lined up symmetrically.

A natural, healthy face is not even side to side.  Even in a classically beautiful face that “fits” the Golden Ratio proportions, comparing side to side, one brow is lower than the other, one jaw is more protruding then the other and smiles are crooked.  Which of course is the problem with most plastic surgery or filler injections; they create symmetry where asymmetry is more natural.



It seems then that we recognize true beauty as some slight variation of the norm and that, as seen in nature, imperfection is the acknowledgment of life.

So this make-up artist cautions us all against the relentless striving to “correct” our features through injections, surgery or the over-use of cosmetics and instead learn to embrace that…


This interesting video demonstrates the Golden Ratio principle applied to a woman’s face.  Note that while the proportions fall exact in her face, there are still symmetrical imperfections.