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Not Always a Good Idea: Change for Change's Sake

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I was walking down the street and ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in years. I barely recognized her. She looked so incredibly chic. I had always thought she was an attractive woman, but her personal style was flamboyant. She had a thick mane of wild curls that she tinted a dark cherry red. She wore strong colorful makeup. Her clothes were always a bit much, and always with one too many accessories. I know this all sounds a bit theatrical, but she could carry off the look. She was a petite woman, eccentric and with a definite flair.

In my normal state of morning unconsciousness, I noticed this exquisite woman with a wonderful A-Line bob haircut in front of me. Her hair was the loveliest shade of sable brown and it glistened in the sun. When she turned to watch out for traffic, I could see her beautifully executed and understated makeup. The color palette gave her complexion a natural, ravishing blush.

As I looked at her, I suddenly made the connection. This was my old friend. We noticed each other at the same second and stopped in our tracks. After our initial greeting, we walked a few blocks together since we were going in the same direction. We did the mandatory catch-up of the last couple of years and then I had to ask about her new look. She simply replied it was time for a change. She had tried every color and style trend. She was ready to go back to a more natural look. She had definitely made the right decision. We parted ways when she crossed the street, but I couldn't take my eyes off her. I finished my walk to work thinking about her new look. Less was definitely best. She looked stunning.

It made me start to think about how many people lose sight of their appearance. I have always said that the hardest person to see is oneself. My old friend was living proof of that. When we lose sight of our appearance, nothing we do ever seems to be enough. Our hair color seems dull, the hair shape is never stylish enough, and the pursuit for the right shade of makeup is never ending. If you even suspect you are developing this tendency -- change for change's sake -- you must immediately stop trying to reinvent your look. This is the time to re-evaluate your appearance; to continue to seek perfection with impetuous changes will most likely work against you.

This is the perfect time to visit a new hairdresser for a consultation. A hair stylist looking at you with a fresh eye will be able to guide you easily in the right direction. Go for more than one consultation. When two or three professionals give you the same opinion, it is probably the right direction to take. Another tip is to look at old pictures of yourself. They will instantly make it clear when you have made a right or wrong beauty decision in the past.

Having said all this, remember that it's your hair and your appearance. You face the world every day. You are the one who must be happy about how you look. Wear your hair and makeup the way you feel the most beautiful. You can always make a change.

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• Ask Louis Licari for advice here