Beauty comes from within.

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The fashion and beauty industry is wonderfully vivid, highly influential, and constantly changing. It’s the driving force behind the trends we follow and is always keeping us on our toes waiting for the next big thing. Over the years, my work behind the scenes as a makeup artist has granted me the opportunity to see the fashion world from the inside out. It may be glamorous, but it is also very demanding. Early mornings, sleepless nights, long hours and a hard day’s work all come together to create the world of beauty that we know and love so dearly.

In the midst of all the excitement and energy, I sometimes lose focus of the things that matter. We all have those days where we don’t feel our best, and making it through with a smile on our face feels like a tall order. We have #skingoals and #makeupenvy and dissect every picture we see on Instagram or Facebook to try to figure out how we can look like the models and celebrities we admire. But if there’s one thing I’ve taken away from my experiences and interactions with some of the world’s most beautiful people, it’s that beauty starts with your health.

Feeling great about yourself starts with taking care of your body. I cannot stress enough the importance of your health as the number one tool for looking and feeling your absolute best. The models I’ve gotten to know over the years have broken out of stereotypes and really impressed me with their personal philosophies on beauty. They opt to eat clean and healthy. They exercise. They maintain a positive outlook on life and truly utilize proper nutrition as the vehicle for their success and beauty. They are kind to themselves and one another. A genuine love for life and yourself is so important. You can’t fake a happy mind or a healthy body.

Proper nourishment is essential for putting your best face forward every single day. Everything else will follow suit. Beautiful skin does not come from expensive foundation or social media filters. Beauty is not the absence of imperfections. Embrace your individuality. Flaunt those freckles. Take pride in the lines on your face as reminders that you’ve lived to see another day when so many have been denied that privilege. Beauty is undefinable. So, instead of splurging on quick fixes, choose to eat the right foods, invest in your health, and support companies that create products with your health in mind. Good health and nutrition are the foundation upon which we build the best versions of ourselves and share them with the world. Without that foundation, we have nothing.

Lycored Beauty Ambassador Veronica Velez is a New York City-based makeup artist specializing in fashion, commercial shoots, and beauty. She has worked with an impressive roster of clients, including stylish brands Alice + Olivia, Rebecca Minkoff, Banana Republic, and Honor as well as champion gymnast Nastia Liukin.