Dove Real Beauty Campaign {Part 1}

I’m not going to lie, this was a difficult blog post for me to write.  I don’t have a good self-esteem, not by a long shot.  I constantly find myself scrutinising my appearance and finding fault.  This isn’t going to be one of those ‘tell yourself you’re beautiful’ or ‘name one thing you love about yourself’ blog posts.  Because for me to tell you that by telling yourself you are beautiful, and after saying it enough times, you WILL start to believe you are beautiful, is absurd because I know it’s not that simple.  I’ve tried telling myself I have beautiful hair, a soft and feminine body etc.  But still that little voice remains inside my head, making me doubt myself.

I’ve been thinking about the Real Beauty campaign for a while now and in order to change the way women see themselves, we need to go back to the beginning.  Why do we only see the negative in ourselves?

I think it goes back way further than actually being able to understand what real beauty should be.  Before your early adult life, when you start thinking that physical appearance isn’t the only thing that makes someone beautiful.  I say early adult life because no teenager walks around looking at her friends / frenemies thinking:  “Wow, that girl is just delightful.  Her actions really make me want to be a better person.”

So here’s what I think: It starts in primary school when you and your friends judge the overweight girl in your class.  When your friends call the girl with the glasses ‘Four-Eyes’ (by the way, in primary school a boy once called me four-eyes and I promptly shoved him off his chair), or when they call the tall girl ‘Big Bird’, you laugh with them at the time but then go home and think to yourself:  “I’m tall, that must make me ugly too.”  Then later in life, you start watching TV and read celebrity gossip magazines, where women are judged for having a blemish on their chin, or cellulite on their bums.  All the judging (even though not directed at you) creates that horrible voice inside your head (I call mine Regina George from Mean Girls) that keeps picking away at your self-confidence.

I think there might be a solution to this.  Surely the opposite must be true too?  If women could stop being so judgemental and negative towards each other; if we could support each other and see the real beauty in one another – and VOICE them – don’t you think that would make a difference in how we see ourselves?  In complimenting your friend, family member or even a stranger you condition your brain to see the positives in someone, before the negatives.  And when you’re alone, standing in front of the mirror, your brain will be filled with the positives and you’re bound to see something positive in the reflection.  In addition to this, when you compliment someone on her long lashes, and you also have long lashes, you will start to love that about yourself.  So, this is my challenge to myself (and I’ll be challenging you too a bit later) – compliment anyone and everyone on a physical feature you admire about them (especially when you think you might have similar features).

I hope I’m making sense here…?

Here’s more research, and I only speak from personal experience:  I’m not fond of photos of myself.  It took me a full year of being on Instagram, before I could muster up the courage to post a full-face selfie.  I even hashtagged #awkwardselfie because it felt so foreign to me – foreign because it opened up a door.  A door that let random strangers in on what I actually look like.  Even a door to perhaps have women hate on my photo and call me names.  I’ve seen how women are on Instagram, Youtube and blogs – some girls / women can be so harsh!  Anyway, the feedback I received after posting the selfie was great, people I’ve never even met told me I’m beautiful.  I was surprised by everyone’s positivity (still am) and I speak the truth when I say it really made me think that maybe other people see something that I don’t see.  To cut a long story short, since then I’ve loaded 2 additional full-face selfies, and about 5 photos of certain parts of my face (even though I still feel quite awkward taking and posting them) and fortunately I’ve always had people compliment me.  This really does boost my confidence.

Take a look at some of the photos I’ve loaded of myself on Instagram:

So here’s the challenge:  Comment below and tell me who you will be complimenting today (or tomorrow, or next week) and what you will be complimenting them on.  To sweeten the deal, I have 5 Dove hampers to give away to 5 lucky ladies who reside in South Africa!

For additional entries:

1.  Like the Pink Peonies Facebook page here.

2.  Follow me on Twitter here.

3.  Tweet about this giveaway by posting: “(A friend’s name), you are beautiful because (fill in what you think makes your friend, or anyone for that matter, beautiful – it can be physical or personality-wise) #RealBeauty #PinkPeoniesBlogGiveaway”

Winners will be drawn and contacted on Friday (18 October 2013).  Make sure to leave your email address in the comment in order for me to contact you, should you win.

A {Part 2} blog post of this campaign will be up later this week where I’ll be telling you a bit more about the interesting findings of the Dove global market research campaign.  Plus a sneak preview of the hamper you could be winning!

I’ll leave you with this video – Neal actually told me about it and to be quite honest, it really spoke to me.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches



  1. Samiola_88 14 October 2013 / 09:29

    I try my best to remember already to compliment one person a day be it there hair or makeup or clothes or voice or smile, anything really that I take notice off. People get so happy and it really makes a difference. I will be complimenting 5 different people this week on any special traits :)

  2. Samiola_88 14 October 2013 / 09:31

    Oops I forgot email add which is angel_sam369(at)yahoo(dot)com. Have liked fb page, follow on twitter and tweeted as well :) ps I love the fish plait you did in the pictures! I wish I could do my hair like that!

  3. Chicara 14 October 2013 / 10:06

    Wow! I loved this post. It’s so personal and heartfelt. And you are beautiful so you can believe the strangers on Instagram :-)

  4. Michelle 14 October 2013 / 11:31

    Love this post. I can relate on so many levels. I hate photos of myself and only have one #selfie out there. This post feels like it was written just for me. You, however are really beautiful. It’s always so interesting to me how what we see differs so much from how others see us.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Heather de Bruin 14 October 2013 / 11:38

    Funny enough this article is about my life motto. I was bullied and ridiculed all through school about my weight , I am still plus sized and at peace with it , so much so I started a blog to uplift plus size women called and I too have featured the Dove campaign and Video :).

    I make a point of complimenting and sharing love with everyone i meet whether it be in person , online or otherwise and so today I will be doing that again …no specific person because we all deserve love and we are ALL beautiful.

    Thank you for this post , your lovely blog and for being the beautiful person you are , I love your pictures and I admire your bravery.

    Take care , have a magic Monday …. and pick me :)
    x x x Heather

  6. Bronwyn 14 October 2013 / 11:43

    I think I have reached the point where I have accepted myself the way I am and the things that I can’t change I don’t worry about. You really are beautiful by the way! I did the challenge of taking a photo of my makeup every day for one month, and after that I realised it isn’t that bad and I can control what my photos look like, so I have embraced it…as you have noticed! Lol. You should try it :) I try to compliment people every day, but I don’t think you can plan compliments in advance, they should be spontaneous. :)

  7. Bronwyn 14 October 2013 / 11:44

    P.S you are really so pretty there isn’t one person who would disagree with me. If you post more pictures I am sure you will get a LOT of compliments and it will boost your self esteem :)

  8. Margs 14 October 2013 / 11:49

    LOVE this post. thank you for sharing. and you are gorgeous and I love love love your fishtail pony-tail! stunning.
    So that’s who I’m complimenting today!
    Plus I’m going to make an effort to compliment my hubby on something personal – perhaps his shirt or hair – but genuinely, not just to get what I want!!! (but you do that so well, dear… don’t you want to just do it quickly for me? hehe)
    I compliment my daughter all the time because I want her to grow up with a healthy self esteem, unlike her mother who still suffers terribly from non-existent self esteem :( So I’ll be telling her today, tomorrow, every day how gorgeous she is, what a sweet kind girl she is, what a clever clever child she is… I try to balance beauty, personality and brains in my compliments.
    So, have liked, followed, tweeted and commented and here’s my email:
    have a beautiful day.

  9. Lauren 14 October 2013 / 13:59

    This is a great post and its so true, as a kid I was teased because I was “overweight” and I wore glasses, I was the kid that nobody really had time for and I still hear those voices in the back of my head.

    I dont want my child to grow up with the same problems because of it. I make it a point at least once a day to tell him how good he is at certain things, and just give him that reassurance that he is awesome just the way he is.

    And also, you are beautiful, inside and out and you dont ever need to feel different about it (I know its just words from someone you dont know, but as you say, its nice to hear it every now and then) :)

  10. chantal 14 October 2013 / 14:41

    I think I will complement the “mean Girl” in fitness class. I hate it how women can be like children and break each other down and find fault an criticizes when we all know how bad it feels and how we all do it to ourselves as well. I will complement her on…. Her hair rally always looks so good! Very well maintained. A little superficial I guess, I might even complement her dedication to working out.
    I always try and compliment people , mainly because I don’t want anyone to feel like they aren’t beautiful or worth it, that’s coming from someone who also can’t always take a compliment, but I’m working on that to. Instead of just brushing it off or adding something negative I try and say thank you and take it to heart now.
    I love the video posted, it had me in tears and Goosebumps the first time I saw it. It really hits home!

  11. Tjoppie 14 October 2013 / 14:44

    You are my beautiful, talented and brainy daughter! From your lovely hair, cute cupid mouth to your dreamy eyes!
    Do you remember being Miss Menlopark in primary school? So my dear, remember all the lovely compliments you have received from a very proud mom and I’m sure from your hubby and all the others!
    And today a special compliment on your perseverance as well as good looks!
    I make an effort to compliment my friends and sometimes even strangers, especially older ladies, they really appreciate it!

  12. Ana Iram 14 October 2013 / 17:45

    A lovely post, Madame Peony! My advice to women would be to stop watching TV and reading celebrity magazines. To cultivate an individual style. What is the point of looking like everyone else and following the style of the flock? Booooooring … baaaaaaaaaaaa!
    Anyway, with age many of one’s issues about one’s physical looks disappear – they simply become less important. One becomes quite bold (well, I have) and really does not mind as much what other people think.
    I often compliment complete strangers – on their style, appearance, even something as simple as a stunning brooch they may be wearing. I know how a compliment from a stranger can make one’s day!

  13. adajeannie 14 October 2013 / 19:02

    Hi Luzanne…. it was wonderful to meet you in person today. (Although i was so embarrassed! Looking a bit scruffy to say the least…. at least i had makeup on :) You are even more beautiful in person by the way… I think everybody goes through the same difficulties growing up, and what you might loathe about yourself, is the one thing that others would kill to have! (I wish i was tall, and one of my best friends wishes she was shorter. I use to have the worst self-esteem, but now that I am older, I realize that there is so much to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful kids, my health and such a privileged life. Oh, and of course my sparkling personality! I also use to avoid being photographed! And one day I realized, I don’t really have any photos of myself with my kids. I was horrified. What if something happened to me, how will they remember me? Oh well, that changed! (I still have difficulty with it though. Whenever I see a photo i always look at myself first to make sure I look okay-ish)

    I have always made a point to compliment people, and this comes so naturally to me. If I see something I like, I say it. One of my acquaintances at the gym phoned me out of the blue the other day, and told me never to loose this great quality and to thank me for always making her feel good and special. I was so surprised and that in turn, made me feel great. Kudos to me I guess…… Enough rambling. Thank you for your great blog, you inspire me! I have to start a blog and you will have to teach me!


  14. Lily 14 October 2013 / 19:52

    Love this Luzanne, so heartfelt. I think everyone goes through the “criticizing” themselves times. There are times where I just sit in front of a mirror picking out all of my flaws, instead of noticing the good things. Society makes it difficult to see the beauty in ourselves, you are 100% right.

    One of the reasons I have yet to upload a video to YouTube is because of all the hate women get. I see all of these gorgeous beauty gurus get so much hate, it makes me even more insecure.

    All in all, women need to encourage and lift each other, instead of bashing one another.

    Wonderful post Luzanne, you are such a beautiful person inside and out. You have truly a heart of gold, and I’m so glad you have “met” you. Please don’t let others tell you otherwise.

    Love, Lily

    PS–I will be posting this video to my Facebook page, I love it!! <3

  15. Neal 14 October 2013 / 19:53


    I sit here, a very proud husband. Reading this post of yours has humbled me, and reminded me just how beautiful your soul is, to understand and interpret the concept of real beauty so eloquently.

    Real beauty, to me, is not only physical, but also spiritual. Put differently, real beauty it not what you see in a mirror, it’s how you feel when your eyes are closed. To be beautiful, really, is to feel beautiful, and others will see and feel that around you.

    My compliment today, is to everyone who has commented on and who follows this blog, and I guess to Dove too :). Your passion, effort and beautiful compliments have motivated Luzanne and boosted her self-confidence to feel beautiful enough to share her thoughts in this post, to post images of herself and most of all, to live out her dream of having her own blog.

  16. Johlet 15 October 2013 / 11:05

    You are beautiful! Really! :)
    I think more ladies should motivate and compliment each other!

  17. Ronel Marais 15 October 2013 / 16:15

    Wow Luzanne, this blog post actually made me tear up (and I’m not the emotional type at all).

    You and I sound very alike. I used to be the girl with the “stokkies bene” and I still have issues with this. I just can’t seem to build muscle.

    You have inspired me today – I will tell my best friend she’s beautiful becoz she’s always there for me (deur dik en dun).

    It was such a pleasure reading this post, Luzanne, and watching that video. Reading through all the comments has brightened my day. x

    That husband of yours is a keeper btw!

  18. rehana seedat 15 October 2013 / 21:49

    My mum is beautiful she is a selfless person with a Heart Of Gold that took care of 7 kids. All steps done. Tweeted @rehanaseedat

  19. Zee Mohlapi 15 October 2013 / 22:58

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this blog post, Luzanne. It has really made me think about when I was a child, you are completely right. It does start way back when…

    I am not the skinniest person in Africa, but I am learning to love my body for what it is. It holds my soul, and for that I am grateful.

    I try to tell everyone around me they are intelligent, beautiful, sympathetic, anything… But I will make a point of it to do it more often tomorrow.

    I really loved reading this blog post, Luzanne. You are a wonderful blogger.

    Z xxx

  20. Lauren Henderson 15 October 2013 / 23:03

    I wish I lived in South Africa and I wish we were friends with you because I would SO give you a hug right now!

    Well done on publishing this blog post, you are truly and inspiration!

    I was blessed in that I am quite confident when it comes to my body, not that I’m the perfect size 0 but I’m not overweight either.

    I can’t enter for the competition but will still compliment someone as often as possible. We all should do it, whether there’s a prize linked to it or not.

    Your post has humbled me, Luzanne, and I thank you for that.

    Lots of love,

    Lauren xOx

  21. Diva Desle 16 October 2013 / 07:27

    Such an amazing post that I think all women can relate too. You are truly beautiful! Don’t forget it:-) Xxx

  22. Nicola Meyer 16 October 2013 / 13:49

    A fabulous campaign and blog post! I am going to compliment my sister @VintageKitchy and tell her that she is not only special for being my sister but also for her kind and giving nature

  23. Kaye-Leigh Killian 17 October 2013 / 10:41

    Such an ingenious idea! We all need a little encouragement and to feel good about ourselves, and having someone else add to that makes it all the better!
    I aim to compliment the ladies in my office on their remarkable weightloss in our ‘Biggest Loser’ competition. they’re all achieving amazing results :-)

  24. Charlene 17 October 2013 / 11:04

    Hi Luzanne, i was reading your article over and over. It is one of those articles that makes you think, think and think again. How do we see ourselves…. it is all in the brain and we are the ones that educate it. It is merely starting all over again and saying to ourselves that we are beautiful and to be thankful. We must say thank you, that we can see the day that God gave us. Hear our kids laugh and play with them, just thankful for everything we have and to stop pondering about the little things. Each body is beautiful and we must embrace it. You are such a beautiful woman and you must flaunt it… :) I try everyday to compliment my colleagues, i.e. one looking very lovely in her dress today with her rider boots, the other glowing as she is pregnant. It makes you feel good and it gives them that extra lift to the day! Thank you for the blog it has touched a lot of ladies.

  25. Lulu 17 October 2013 / 13:45

    I agree with your hubby, beauty also comes from within and is certainly more important. I’m sure that your inner beauty is your greatest asset which you share with family, friends and especially the fourlegged ones in your instagrams! A bonus is that you really look beautiful on the photos. Love the pink lips, what a cute mouth you have!

  26. Sasha Martin 17 October 2013 / 17:25

    We love this campaign and would love to try out all the Dove goodies. This blog post has made a huge difference and has had great impact on me personally. Blog crush officially formed!!!

  27. Dhesh 17 October 2013 / 18:13

    I am going to compliment my beautiful, smart sisters and mum – they should know how special I think they are.

    dhesh at webmail dot com

  28. Ursula 17 October 2013 / 18:15

    All a women wants and needs is to feel beautiful , No matter the age or what type of look you might have. I have a soft spot for the elderly and feel joy when I compliment an older lady that she looks beautiful. I can see heir eyes light up mad I know I have at least made their day better for noticing and taking the time to give a compliment, my biggest fear is growing old alone and forgotten.

  29. Dhesh 17 October 2013 / 18:17

    I have like your FB page and following on Twitter too.
    and my email address in my first comment is wrong. It is

    dhesh at webmail dot co dot za

  30. Farnaaz B 17 October 2013 / 19:52

    Love this post and I can relate on so many levels. It’s hard to deal with ridicule and bullying at school level- and it does alot to dampen one’s self-esteem, leaving that person scarred emotionally and constantly unsure of themselves. Children should be encouraged from a young age to treat others with respect and to compliment one another in order to bring out the best in others. Seeing the positives in others will not only make them feel good about themselves, but by encourgaing someone and bolstering their self-esteem will automatically make you feel good about yourself!

  31. hb13 18 October 2013 / 08:12

    I love complimenting my sister who is a mother to two young girls. She has very little ME time to spend on pretty-ing herself but I still think she is gorgeous!

  32. Carla Abrahamse 18 October 2013 / 08:59

    Ok so after entering on the wrong page and being too over excited for this giveaway I gave decided to keep this post short but sweet :) every woman has flaws which could be a body part they unhappy about or a scar such as as scretch marks or something on their body which they do not like. We need to embrace that and be role models for all the young women out there and know it’s ok to not be a 100% perfect because we are not super models.. we are women and deep down we are all our inner models. Dove products and the Dove campaign is something truly remarkable as it encourages all of us to to be there for each other and help each other out on those off days we get. I love Dove products. I use all of them religiously and I would LOVE ADORE HOPE PLEASE to win these. Sorry for entering wrong. Stay beautiful ladies and remember your worth xo

  33. Michelle 18 October 2013 / 13:34

    Some true and wise words.. It hit home when reading this. One is very quick to be negative towards oneself and also looking at others and saying I wish I looked like that or I had the specific feature.. One needs to take a step back and look at oneself and see the positives and compliment yourself on that.. Negativity towards oneself causes negativity towards others. I think a person should compliment themself first and then others. You will feel a whole lot better and confident..

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