It’s a daily routine for me. Wake up, smack coffee into my face, attempt positivity and then try to piece together my self-esteem before looking in the mirror.

We all do it – inspect our faces for new wrinkles or suss out where a new grey hair may have sprouted. For me, on the brink of 35, those wrinkles and grey hairs are now more of the norm and less of a surprise.

And really, that’s okay.

I’ve never been in the business of trying to look younger than I am and – haha - if I take a peek at my diaries, they’ll tell you that I spent a lot of time in my youth trying to look older than I am.

But that’s a moot point nowadays, because I am nearly 35 and I really like the crazy-haired face that stares back at me in the mirror every morning.

A little lesson in self-esteem

That was, of course, until I had to get professional photographs taken for work. We all know and adore the allure of those handy Instagram filters and little airbrushing tools that are on hand when we need them.

But, when comparing my professional photographs with the face that I see when I wake up in the morning, I realized how easy it is to be cruel to yourself, when you look at celebrities.

But what changed?

Well, first off, I don’t have a team of beauticians and hairdressers to primp and prod me when I wake up in the morning. The people we see on television, online or wherever, have had that.

Suddenly, I was looking at a picture of myself where the fine laughter lines have been softened, the flabby arms I jiggle at the world look more toned and there’s not one freckle on my face, thanks to makeup and good lighting. I know I have freckles – I love them! - but looking at those glossy pictures of myself, they are not visible at all.

The lack of freckles showed me something

I guess the disappearance of my freckles was a gift, really, as it suddenly and definitively clicked in my head – the pictures I see online are not something I should compare myself with. Heck, behind makeup, filters and click-click-fix buttons, I turn out pretty darn perfect too!

So I tried it myself

So I did the one thing I had to do – I tried it for myself. I took a crazy-haired, just woken up selfie of myself, with bedhead hair and while wearing old pyjamas. I hadn’t even washed my face or brushed my teeth before snapping, so I was going for extra grunge effect.

And then, within a minute or two, thanks to applying filters, fuzzing out some lines and softening my face, I was glowing. In fact, I did not look like me anymore, at all. My crazy-curled bedhead looked like a well-coiffed creation and my face? My face looked like I’d been visited by sculptor, and they’d hammered out a porcelain princess.

Now that I’ve seen for myself how easy it is to turn bedhead into beautiful, I’m going to be little kinder to that face in the mirror. She’s no porcelain-skinned princess, but she is very, very real.

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