Opinion pieces · Writing exercises

Beauty for the Better

By Jasmin Ashton

I’m vain. I like eyeliner and make-up, having good hair days and bright red lips—sometimes knowing I can make myself look like a pin-up goddess gives me that extra bit of confidence to take on the world for a day.

People can be keen to diminish the positive effects that makeup can have on its wearers, but I love what Sali Hughes says in the latest issue of Dumbo Feather:

 “Anyone who dismisses beauty and makeup as an irrelevant pursuit by the vain not only knows nothing about women but has zero understanding of the complex effects of illness

In her interview she talks of female survivors of concentration camps in WWII, whose first act when freed was to put on lipstick, reclaiming who they were before their lives were turned upside down, and humanising themselves after their trauma.

In times of hardship, it’s easy to see make-up and self-care rituals as less of a priority. Most people put things away and tell themselves that ‘we don’t deserve lovely things now, that they are for another, more refined woman, or a time when we can justify treating ourselves’. Giving up or spending less time on self-care may seem logical, but it’s not worth it- self care allows a

Here are some great organisations and individuals making people feel better on the inside, by helping people love what’s on the outside:

Nasir Sobhani is based in Melbourne and spends his free time cutting the hair of people living on the streets and more importantly, listening to their stories.

“I just figured human interaction with them, companionship, from someone who just genuinely wants to know about them is going to really help them out. Letting them know that they are worthy of human interaction is actually the main thing here.”

He calls himself The Street’s Barber’ and has found a way to use his strong Baha’i faith and special skillset to give something to the community. Every time he gives a haircut he photographs the before and after, and shares the image and story of the person on his instagram account. Sometimes he distributes clothes and accessories as he goes, and sometimes a makeup artist companion accompanies him to add that extra special something to people’s days.

“I want to help them… get on their own two feet and just bounce up and be like, you know what, I can do this”


Makeup, hair, and fashion are ways of saying “this is my house, I’m going to paint the walls whatever colour I like” When you might not have control over much in your life, least of all your health, you can reach out and choose your own lip colour and clothing, learn a skill that will let you lift yourself out of a rough situation, or go to a job interview with confidence and training. The positive effects coming out of these charities and the actions of brilliant people are helping all different kinds of people that may be struggling, and gives them access to things most people take for granted.


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