After 40 years of making Hollywood stars beautiful by doing up their faces, celebrity makeup artist and best-selling author Tara Starling had an epiphany.

“Making somebody look like a movie star is the easy part,” Starling writes in an email interview. “But if I merely put a bunch of fancy products on her, and then the ‘beauty’ she sees on the surface washes off at night, then I haven't served her at all.”

So she started the Taking Back Beauty movement, which empowers women to feel beautiful without all the products. And if you cringe at the thought of going makeup-free—even just for a day—you may want to attend Starling’s “Celebrity True Beauty Boot Camp,” happening this weekend in Sandy.

But before this Beauty Myth Debunker touches down in Utah, here’s a sneak peek at the advice you’ll get at her workshop. (I recommend printing and taping this next to your mirror!)


Beauty expert Tara Starling believes makeup should be a 'crown, not a crutch.'

1. What’s the most common misconception women have about beauty?

“The deeply damaging belief that the media and beauty industries have the authority to define beauty, and that our worth, value and abilities are in some way inextricably tied to how closely we can resemble that artificially-manufactured image of ‘perfection.’

From the time women are young girls, we are indoctrinated by social bias with the beliefs that beauty is something we have to buy or become, and not something that we already have.”

2. What product is the most damaging to a woman's beauty?

“Makeup can either be used to mask our insecurities or to magnify our own unique beauty.  It can enslave us or serve us, as either a crutch or a crown. When we are held captive to the false beliefs of the beauty myth that says we are inherently defective, then every product we put on our face is damaging because we are, with each step, further subscribing to the belief that we must ‘fix’ ourselves in order to be beautiful, to be loved and to be successful. But the reverse is also true. When we use makeup as a tool to celebrate the unique beauty that we each possess, then every product we use can be a beneficial instrument in expressing our authenticity and individuality.  

The most beneficial product a woman can use is actually knowledge: Truth about the intrinsic beauty, worth, and ability she already possess—no matter what size, shape, age, etc. she is—and the understanding of which tools, colors, makeup formulas and application techniques most effectively and powerfully communicate that truth visually."

3. What are a few ways a woman can start feeling more beautiful NOW?

“There are three simple things that every woman can do right now to begin feeling more beautiful—and they have nothing to do with a beauty product.

a)      Write your own Beauty Manifesto to declare your truth about what the real definition of beauty is. Not what society tells you, or what the media has taught you, but what you believe to be true. Not until we choose our own new belief about beauty—based on truth and our own values instead of those of the media and beauty industries—will the broken beliefs of the Beauty Myth begin to lose hold on us.  

b)      Literally reject the messaging that the media and beauty industries feed us about what we must look and how our bodies must be shaped in order to qualify as ‘beautiful.’ Rip the advertisements that objectify women and perpetuate unhealthy and dangerous expectations of beauty right out of your magazines, and throw them away! Turn off the television or change the channel when commercials, programs or music videos come on that convince you of the belief that you will never be thin enough, pretty enough, or perfect enough. Taking such pro-active measures against socially irresponsible advertising and the demeaning treatment of women will immediately begin—on a subconscious level—to diminish the power of these dangerous messages that leave us feeling like we can never ‘measure up.’  

c)       Find a way to create beauty in the world around you. Pay for the person's order behind you in the drive-through. Buy a candy bar for the clerk at the gas station. Call up a friend and tell them how much they mean to you. You cannot create beauty for very long without beginning to feel beautiful. And when you feel beautiful, you glow with a radiance that cannot be obtained from any bottle, or for any price!”

That inner-to-outer beauty is something Starling believes makes women not only the “stars of their own lives,” but agents for positive change in the world.

“I know that when a woman not only looks beautiful, but feels beautiful, she automatically begins creating a more beautiful world around her. And that's the kind of makeover I am truly interested in.”