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Your Image is Your Business

Linda Bertaut November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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In the beauty industry, your image is the first opportunity to establish credibility with the people you meet. As a walking advertisement for your business, the attention you pay—or don’t pay—to your appearance speaks volumes. If you were to walk past your reflection right now, would it be an accurate representation of your personality and your spa? Would it convey who you are, both on the inside and out?

The nature of things

Despite the age-old maxim that cautions against judging a book by its cover, it’s human nature to perceive physical appearance as an indicator of what’s inside. The brain works at lightning speed to take in visual information and interpret its surroundings. Making decisions based on appearance is simply a part of that natural process.

Have you ever gone to a holiday gift-exchange party where you had to choose a present without knowing what it was? The table usually is filled with options of all shapes and sizes—some extravagantly wrapped and others presented in simple brown paper bags. Which gifts were selected first? The largest ones with the prettiest wrapping, right? Some boasted inviting packaging but contained average contents, while some of the less attractive ones revealed the most valued prizes.

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Personality Adjectives

Consider the adjectives that people use to describe you in order to gauge how you come across. Compare these descriptors with how you would like others to see you.

  • IF the adjectives used by others to describe you reveal someone who mainly gives and nurtures others, then you would benefit from learning to take care of yourself first. Most likely, you think of other people at the expense of everything else. It is not selfish to look out for yourself. It also is OK to look good and spend money on clothes that convey all of your wonderful inner qualities.
  • IF you find that no one uses visual adjectives to describe you, then you may need to work more on your external image. Hire an image consultant, or use a personal shopping service at a department store. A good consultant will ask a series of questions in order to help you select clothing that reflects your lifestyle and personality. If you don’t like what they suggest, try working with someone else.
  • IF the description you receive of yourself is more superficial, bringing out your personality should be the focus. Take classes and workshops that help you to express your inner strength and beauty.

Image Makeovers

A makeover can help to jump-start self-esteem by enhancing the outside. However, nothing can replace the inner work required to determine who you are and to guide you on your unique path. The following makeovers brought to the surface the true personality characteristics of each model.

Makeover NO. 1: Corey F.

Corey’s adjectives:Beautiful, confident, credible, classy, sassy, fun and easy-going.

Three years ago, stay-at-home mom Corey took a break from her career as a newspaper journalist and photographer to start a family. She commented, “Since quitting my job to have children, my personal maintenance went from minimal to zilch.” After deciding to start her own photography business, Corey realized that she would have to address her image in order to be taken seriously.

After her transformation, Corey says, “My makeover makes me feel like a movie star. It seems as though people are noticing me, and I feel more confident. When I walk around the financial district, I can’t believe my reflection. This is me, only better. This must be what movie stars feel like on the red carpet.”

Makeover NO. 2: Tonia W.

Tonia’s adjectives: Attractive, fresh, together, updated, confident, credible, powerful, radiant, original, healthy, progressive and experienced.

Tonia is a very talented esthetician and massage therapist with a youthful look that can be perceived as inexperienced. She has invested a lot of time and money in developing her professional and personal skills, and wanted a look that would reflect her confidence and expertise.

Tonia sums up the results of her makeover this way: “It makes a huge difference in my day. I get compliments everywhere I go. Sometimes you see makeovers and the person is so different that it is not believable or practical. At the end of my makeover, I still felt like me, but more polished. I now appear more credible as an esthetician.”

Makeover NO. 3: Karen K.

Karen’s adjectives: Confident, successful, stylish, contemporary, modern, fun-loving, credible and adventuresome.

Karen’s previous job as a social worker impacted how she dressed for work. She didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable around her by looking too successful or overdressed, so she downplayed her wardrobe and look. However, her adjectives indicate that she was suppressing her true self. She since has changed careers and currently is working for a fashion publication while pursuing other more creative interests.

Karen comments, “Since the makeover, I feel really beautiful and am surprised at how good I can look. Because I’m interested in fashion, my own sense of style and makeup is important, and the makeover gave me the tools to keep developing my own image.”

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