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In search of what makes a woman beautiful?

William Ebeagbor, who works at Cherie Beauty Salon in Wuse II, Abuja and has been in the trade for 15 years, is passionate about adding…

William Ebeagbor, who works at Cherie Beauty Salon in Wuse II, Abuja and has been in the trade for 15 years, is passionate about adding beauty to women.  “Actually, in everything you are doing you have to have passion for it’’. I enjoy doing women’s hair, and when I do it for them, I also pet them because that is what they want. When you pet them they feel they are beautiful. We add beauty to women. When they come into our shop we look at them and tell them what to do with their hair, how to shape their eye lashes and eyebrows. But the main thing we do is add to their beauty.  I do it for the money but the passion is also there to add to their beauty.  Women can pay anything to look good,” he said.

He stresses that make-up enhances women’s beauty. “Applying eye shadow, powder, lip gloss or lipstick and mascara in a slight way can enhance a woman’s beauty,” he said.

But he also feels that what makes a woman beautiful is self confidence. “For a beautiful woman, her beauty must come from the mind. The lady herself must know she is beautiful. If she sees herself as beautiful everybody will see her like that. I will say all women are beautiful and it also depends on how she carries herself. Some women will wear eye shadow and it will not look good on them while some will wear it, it will be good on them. So it depends on the woman who wears the make-up,” he explained.

He added that a beautiful woman can be assessed by her hair and face. “That is what will attract you in a woman before anything. Hair is very important in a woman before going down to the legs, and assessing the shape. So to ensure that women are beautiful when they come here, we have artificial hair of different types. We have 14 inches weave-on, short hair for N 4000 but when we bond its N7000,” he said.


Ndeya Williams ( Tara House of Fashion), a make up artist who has been a beautician for two years, said that beauty is assessed based on individual perceptions. “My own perception is that beauty is in-ward not out-ward. When someone is beautiful that means the person has a good heart. The inner character has to radiate on the out-ward appearance for the person to be actually beautiful,” she said.

Williams was also able to explain how make-up complements a woman’s beauty. “Make-up enhances a woman’s beauty. Make-up is not meant to disfigure a woman’s face, it is not meant to change a woman’s look but it is meant to enhance the features a woman is endowed with. It brings out the features like the brow bones. When you highlight a brow bone, it brings it out the beauty. For example, if you have full lips, you can use make-up to make it small, if you have bulgy eyes, you can use make-up to make it small .It depends on what you want.”

She added: “Another way you can recognize a beautiful woman is by her skin type. It must be smooth, radiant and flawless.”

She said that make-up is affordable and since every woman can afford them, it is now left for every woman to make herself  beautiful.  


Abubakar Umar Kyari is a lecturer in the Sociology Department of the University of Abuja and he defined beauty from a social scientist point of view.

“As a social scientist, I will categorize beauty as an ordinary         

variable. An ordinary variable is a variable that defines a precise determination. Usually, we evaluate an ordinary variable like beauty on the basis of some agreed principles. For instance, we know that beauty is relative, a matter of opinion, and as the idiom says, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The way we evaluate beauty is that we usually give ourselves certain principles. For instance, in a beauty contest, the judges are supposed to work base on certain principles on what constitute beauty. It may be height, complexion, brilliance, body features etc.”

He said that in most judgments and evaluations of how beautiful a woman is, people go beyond the physical characteristics such as height, complexion, body shape e.t.c   and go into issues like character and intelligence.

“Most people believe that it is a very good thing for somebody who is beautiful to be morally sound, upright, be of good conduct and of good character, and the absence or insufficient presence of moral imperatives usually reduce beauty,” he said.

Kari said dressing in a particular fashion is a woman’s way of showing how beautiful she is and so does not see anything wrong when a woman dresses provocatively.  

“To me, dressing out of the normal call is another way of portraying beauty. Normally, people have their expectations in terms of dressing. Usually, there is what we call dress code, which also differs from one community or society to another. What constitutes dress code in US may not necessarily be what constitutes dress code in Nigeria. And again, sometimes dress code depends on the weather, fashion trend and creativity of the people and so on. Many people believe that because some women dress against the dress code, that particular conduct is bad. But interestingly, the tailors who sew dresses usually do so, because according to them, they want to expose what God has given them. They want to show to the rest of the society that they are beautiful in there. They believe the only way people can believe that they are beautiful is to give glimpses of beauty to the rest of the society.

“But the important point to me is that revealing parts of the body because of dressing does not reduce the quantum of beauty. The only problem is that it may constitute a problem when we judge beauty purely on the basis of morality. So, probably, those who are evaluating beauty as including good conduct may have problem with that idea of beauty. Physical appearances, revealing body content or shape are all part of the attempt to expose beauty, it does not reduce it,” he explained.

He said another way for a woman to know she is beautiful is when people tell her, even when it is flattery. “What will convince a lady that she his beautiful is indeed when people, especially men begin to say to her that oh you look beautiful or you are beautiful and it becomes a recurring index, and then the woman will have no choice than to begin to believe it; if she comes out of her house and her neighbours begin to comment that she looks gorgeous or beautiful, and she begins to believe it, and probably start agreeing with them that this people are right, they are not flattering me, she can herself feel her beauty.

 “But when a woman feels skeptical when she is told that she is beautiful, then she is just being conscious not to be flattered. Flattery is almost a way of lie, particularly, flattery usually characterize interactions and relationships between the opposite sexes. Or probably, if I want to woo a girl, draw her attention or impress her, I will begin to flatter her. So if the girl is skeptical about what I am saying to her, she is only been conscious not to be flattered,” he said.

Kari also sees beauty as a self conscious thing. “There are those who already agree that they are not beautiful and anybody who says they are beautiful is either up to some mischief or simply trying to flatter them. There are those that all their lives they have made up their mind that they are beautiful. Probably, they have been using beauty therapists, patronizing beauty drugs, being conscious about the way they dress and so on. So to these people, it is a natural thing to be referred to as beautiful.”

He concluded that: “The traditional criteria as earlier stated are the variables that make up the term beautiful. In everyday when we talk of beauty we refer to this criteria’s directly as what constitute beauty. I don’t want to believe there is an ugly person on this planet. God who created us did not consciously create us as ugly. We are beautiful in different ways. We should have no problem with expressions such as you are beautiful! To crown it all, relatively, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”         

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