Poéthique celebrates the vast stores of beauty wisdom, refined by generations of women, across diverse cultures. As we journey across the world, seeking the finest ingredients, we have been exposed to beauty in so many varied forms. This has helped us understand that there is not, and indeed, should not be any perfect ideal for beauty.

As a thought exercise, we asked our friends and colleagues: What do you see when you look in the mirror? More precisely, what do you notice when you look in the mirror?

Too many of us look in the mirror and see what we don’t like about ourselves. We see wrinkles or spots on our skin. We see bags under our eyes. We see crooked teeth. Maybe we frown a little bit when we look at our reflections, so the only times we see our own faces? We see a sad or angry one.

When we do that -- when we focus on the things that we think need to be fixed -- we miss our beauty. It gets lost in a flood of negative emotion, and we begin to think of ourselves as a collection of flaws that need correction.

But for every perceived flaw we see in the mirror, we have something equally lovely that only needs to be recognized. We may have wrinkles around our eyes, but those eyes are a gorgeous color, framed by beautiful brows. Our teeth may be crooked, but our smiles are flawlessly genuine. Also, consider where those “flaws” came from. Wrinkles around the eyes are born of laughter and joy! Would we give up happiness in order to prevent those wrinkles? Bags under the eyes may be a result of sleepless nights caring for someone we love -- would we deny ourselves the ability to care for loved ones?

So, really, these flaws are less shortcomings to dwell upon, and more markers of a life lived, loving and caring for others and for ourselves. We are beautiful spirits housed in miraculous bodies. In order to really appreciate ourselves for who we are, we need to acknowledge that our unique beauty comes from our unique journeys. We need to be kind to ourselves and smile when we see ourselves reflected in the mirror so that we recognize ourselves as a friend.

Love yourself for who you are. Love yourself wholly.