Welcome Ladies (and Gents). This week we move onto Lesson 1A: Facial Radiance from Glorify Yourself: The Eleanore King Course on Beauty, Charm & Personality. My version of this book contains 12 seperate booklets each with a few different lessons and is designed to help you complete your transformation over twelve months. With that in mind I will be posting a lesson every fortnight (two weeks). This week we jump right in.
“You Turn quickly to watch a woman. There’s something compelling, distinctive about her. When you analyse what that “something” is, you realise it’s the way she carriers herself. A lot of it, also, is the way she carries her head.”
The course jumps right in with rule number 1: KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL.
A lot of us use our body, more than anything else, to make our point. One of my personal pet peeves is my husbands over use of his hands while he is on the telephone. Not only does he walk around while on the phone, but he uses these wild hand gestures that no-one but me can see. If he is excited about something he gets these incredible wide eyes that must look terrifying to others as he comes at them with his face hidden behind his biker beard all wide eyed. I think I tend to use my head more tilting it when I am listening or expressing sympathy and bobbing it much like this…
So this is my main goal for the next two weeks. To try to keep my head still. Instead I need to follow Ms Kings advice “Learn to put the vitality you waste in head motions into your eyes and your voice!”
After an anecdote about an unnamed celebrity who ruined an entire day of takes on set thanks to her wild head movements Ms King spills the beans: said celebrity hid a bell in a huge hair style so any time she moved her head the bell rang. Apparently with that method she broke her bad habit in just days. You can chose to do that if you wish (and if you do please write to me to tell me about the funny looks you get from others) or you can follow Ms Kings advice which is just to be conscious of your head movements and enlist a friend to point out whenever you are going overboard.
“Here’s the simplest way to check your head posture. Stand or sit in what you consider to be your best posture. The lobe of your ear should be on a straight, vertical line with your shoulder bone. (see figure 1) Use a ruler or a piece of paper for your test. If your earlobe is forward any distance from your shoulder bone, you know you are fostering a poor head position. Also, you can expect a dowager’s hump on the back of your neck, and flabby chins in front.”
Sure enough I am the unfortunate third lady in figure 1. The only way I managed to get my ear in the right place was by sticking my neck back and hunching my shoulders forward which I don’t think is right. Cursing my bad posture we move on to correcting this problem.
“No matter how poorly you are holding your head right now, YOU CAN CORRECT IT. And you can correct it right on the job as you go about your daily work. Here’s your program.”
- First you have to push your head back every few minutes, taking care not to push your chin back so far that you end up with a double chin. While also making sure you “don’t antagonise others by carrying your chin too high.”
- Pull your head up tall every few minutes. “You can see how this stretching also helps those neck wrinkles.”
- To relieve some of the neck strain slowly roll your head around starting by dropping it forward then rolling to the right, then back, then left. (see figure 2). Apparently it is necessary to let your mouth hang open as you roll backwards. Repeat every hour.
- As exercising your head and neck will ultimately effect your shoulders you should also stretch them. Do this by hunching your shoulders up around the ears before rolling them back and down. Repeat several times an hour.
- Make sure you carry your head balanced equally on your shoulders without tilting it.
“Suppose you already have that double chin and dowager’s hump. The condition of you neck depends of your general posture habits. It’s easy to understand why our necks get old so early. Nature gave you sufficient flesh, tissue and muscle to hold your head erect. However, if, in your effort to get there faster you constantly walk with your head leading then you’re sure to develop what posture authorities call a forward head. (see figure 3)”
If we still have issues with our neck we can learn more about posture in Lesson six and more about cosmetic throat options (that sounds terrifying) in Lesson Two. Once we have improved our head and neck posture we can move on to our facial expressions. This is something I know I am in desperate need of help with, after all I look like I am permanently scowling, even when I am happy. Unfortunately Ms King hits the nail on the head again – years of not-so-happy still register all over my face. We must all be vigilant in our effort to form pleasing facial habits.
Ms King advises us to watch our favourite actresses, lecturers and friends. Personally my favourite actress is Audrey Hepburn. She just lights up the screen with those smiling eyes and that HUGE smile that makes me smile every time I see it. Doesn’t it just seem so genuine?
Now we have mastered keeping our head still we need to learn how to turn and move it slowly and smoothly. Here’s a camera trick we can use.
“When you move your head and eyes, the eyes should move first and the the head follows.” We should practice this in the mirror by moving our head and eyes together, then trying moving the eyes first, then following with the head.
I was quite surprised to see the difference with this one in the mirror. When I moved my eyes first and then my head I initially felt really weird and awkward, but when I moved my eyes and head together in the mirror I looked expressionless, almost robotic. Learning already!
“This, then, is your first timing trick which fulfils the two ultimate laws of poise-building”
- You increase the restraint of your head
- You enhance the expression of your eyes
After talking about the necessity of make up for women (which will be covered more in Lesson two) she moves on to talk about how to be more likeable in regard to the face and eyes.
- Look people in the eye when you are talking to them and smile (or try to look pleasant) while talking to them
- Avoiding giving a person the up-and-down look (you know the one, where you are evaluating them…it’s horrible when it is done to you)
- Don’t look at a persons “imperfections” while talking to them
- Think only nice thoughts while talking to someone as it will show all over your face if you don’t
- Smile with your eyes
- “You will be more flattering to the average person if you smile at his joke or anecdote and look directly into his eyes with understanding than if you throw your head back and laugh heartily as you look away”
- Learn to laugh with your eyes open (apparently this can also help you avoid eye wrinkles)
- “Blink. BLINK A LOT. I don’t mean silly or cheap-looking batting of the eyelids – I mean intelligently registering your emotions and thoughts with your eyes”
- Use only your lids while blinking. If you have trouble with this one hold the skin around your eyes with your fingers and put bandaids/tape on your forehead while you practice.
Some of those make a lot of sense but I feel the last two would make me look like a crazy person. I will keep practising this week though and will let you know if I start getting the “Is something wrong with your eyes?” questions. As much as I love you all and am willing to try a lot of things, I will not be sticky taping my face…
“Perhaps I should pause here and warn you against the over-use of the eyes. Some women, in their endeavour to register interest, dilate their eyes unbecomingly. It’s a habit like so many other unpleasant things. To effect a telling attitude with the eyes – and sometimes it is necessary to feel we are affecting one – think “I am interested, but I must not spoil it by overdoing it.”
Next up we have some eye exercises that have given my husband and daughters a good laugh so far. Which says a lot given they are used to my more whacky ways. Ms King advises copying these onto index cards and practising them every chance we get….including the dentist waiting room.
- First open your eyes as wide as you possibly can, then shut them as tight as possible, trying to contract all the muscles around the eyes as you are doing it. This should be repeated Twenty times a day and we get bonus points for doing it with our face submerged in water. It does come with a warning though. “Don’t practice it for the first time just before a date – you may get water in your nose and make it red!”
- Imagining that our eyes are the centre of a large six spoked wheel (see figure 4). Make sure your head posture is correct and keep your head and neck straight. They shouldn’t move while doing this exercise, only your eyes should move. Start my rapidly looking up at the ceiling. Blink “smartly” two – three times before bringing your eyes back to centre and blinking again. Repeat this six times before moving on to position two. Repeat until you have made it through all six positions.
- Check your posture again. You can keep your head still by holding your chin with your hand if necessary. First look to the left as far as you possibly can. With your right hand trace a large upper semi-circle and follow it with your eyes going as far the the right as you can without moving your head. Repeat this motion six times “blinking as briskly and as often as possible”. When you are finished doing the top, move on to the bottom half. Repeat several times a day. You can also try this exercise with your feet elevated above your head.
- Give your eyes a break from your sewing/knitting/reading (or in this day and age your computer) by looking up and away to a point in the distance for a few seconds every hour. Don’t forget to blink (you should be noticing the blinking theme by now).
- Check your head posture again making sure your earlobes line up just right and raise your chin just a tiny bit. Then using just your eyes look up to the ceiling, before slowly following with your head. Then look down with your eyes, before lowering your head to follow. Look back to the centre with your eyes, before allowing your head to, again, follow slowly. Then let your eyes move to the right, following after with the head. Then repeat the first up/down repetition while still looking to the right. With your head still turned to the right try to look over your shoulder with just your eyes before lowering your head for a shoulder/neck/double chin stretch. Look up to the ceiling (while still looking over your shoulder) with your head following before bringing your eyes back to the centre and then your head. If you have followed all of that, well done – now repeat on the other side.
Moving on to relaxation Ms King talks about Hollywood starlets needing to rest their eyes after the strain of bright lights. Today I think this is more relevant (than any of the other exercises) to us as we spend so much time in front of computers…I know I certainly do.
The first technique they talk about is “palming”. Lying down (or sitting if you are at work), closing your eyes and covering your eyes with the palms of your hands, fingers on your forehead, so that no light gets through. Ensure that you are not putting any pressure on your eyes – more like cupping them for a few minutes if you can find the time.
The next is lying with your feet higher than your head. I did try this one, but without a board (Ms King suggests an ironing board or a surf board will do) it was quite awkward and not at all relaxing. She suggests lying this way, with feet ideally 14in higher than the head, for at least 15 minutes a day. Being the smart cookie that she is, she advises having it set up permanently somewhere as she knows all to well that unless it is easy to do, you likely won’t do it. I think it is time for me to purchase an ironing board…..lying down on it sounds much more pleasant than actually using it to iron.
Once you are used to this the last tip she gives you is adding blocks under one end of your bed and ditching the pillows entirely. As my bed is on castors I had decided that currently this is not a great idea. I toss and turn A LOT and I know it would roll right off and scare the living daylights (or nightlights haha) out of me. I have started lying down for as long as I can without pillows. This has certainly highlighted how badly curved forward my neck is. I am hoping to increase the time gradually and eventually ditch the pillows entirely.
“With such potent aids as these for your neck and yes, there’s no reason why yours shouldn’t be lovely, is there?”
Stay tuned for Lesson 1B: Inviting Lips and be sure to let me know how you go with Lesson 1A