People

4 women challenging the idea of flaws

In partnership with
Burt's Bees

From the shape of our bodies to the marks on our skin, it’s quirks have so often been marketed as imperfections, but our differences don’t make us any less than flawless. Here we speak to four women who are challenging the idea of ‘flaws’…

Acne, cellulite, stretchmarks… if it’s only skin and bone, shouldn’t we all just accept the way we’re made?

It might seem easier said than done to learn to love your every lump and line, but with a little unlearning and a lot of self-love, it is possible.

From the scars that tell a story to the unexpected shades of beauty, we spoke to four women who defy the ideas of flaws and embrace their natural selves to see how they reframed their mindsets.

1. Manja Mackowski on how her freckles shaped her 

Model Manja Mackowski’s take on ‘flaws’ is to reframe them to think of how they shape you as a person.

“I have freckles. On my nose, my cheeks, my chin, my shoulders…and I love each one of them,” she says.

“They are as unique as snowflakes, and so am I. They have shaped me into the woman I am with all my corners, edges and curves; but they also encouraged me to gain more self-confidence by shaping my unique look. 

I’m really proud of my freckles and always prefer my natural look… I would never want to hide them.”

2. Lex Gillies on normalising ‘real’ faces

“I was diagnosed with rosacea 14 years ago and it can be difficult to explain to others how it feels to live with a skin condition,” says beauty blogger and British Skin Foundation ambassador Lex Gillies aka Talonted Lex.

She now uses social media to counteract the seemingly perfect faces we’re bombarded with every day.

“Social media often gives the impression that everyone wakes up looking flawless, which makes it incredibly intimidating to show a ‘flawed’ face to the world,” she explains.

“But by normalising real faces - and embracing our wonderful differences - we can help each other become more comfortable in our bodies.”

That’s an ethos that beauty brands like Burt’s Bees are embracing with their new 100% natural make-up range, made to counteract synthetic beauty standards and products and help you love the things that make you naturally beautiful.

3. Stephanie Yeboah on the canvas of her skin

Blogger and fat acceptance advocate Stephanie Yeboah, better known online as @nerdabouttown, saw her hyperpigmentation as a flaw for years.

“It would prevent me from living my best life and wearing certain clothes as I was scared about what others would think.”

Since then, Stephanie has come to embrace her tone.

“The shades of my skin tell a story. Showcasing my ‘flaws’ helps others come to terms with theirs, showing them that they aren’t alone. 

The key to acceptance is to normalise our body parts, because we are all beautiful.”

4. Michelle Elman on the story of scars

“What society labels as an ‘imperfection’, I label as merely a ‘difference’” says Michelle Elman, the body confidence coach, author of Am I Ugly and activist known on Instagram as @scarrednotscared.

Having been through 15 operations in the space of 20 years due to a serious illness, Michelle is on a mission to stop scars being seen as something that needs to be covered up.

“All bodies are different, and I never knew I had to hate my difference until I was taught to. 

My scars show my life experience and I don’t care what beauty ideal is popular right now, I think that they’re beautiful.”

Burt’s Bees believes in nurturing your natural beauty with natural products. Their new make-range is made from 100% natural ingredients, full of nourishing oils and colours to enhance your glow. Shop the range now.