Beauty... a very personal matter indeed. I’m sure most of us believe it’s what’s within that counts (holding my hand up!), but we’re only human. Who doesn’t like a neat red lip in Dior’s scarlet shade of the season, or a nice blow-out that makes your hair – and, in turn, you – all kinds of fabulous?

Done well, beauty that enhances you on the outside has the ability to open doors. It’s a confidence-boosting, feel-good machine – and, if you embrace it with just a pinch of seriousness, you’ll knock ’em out.

It can work wonders for the soul, too. I was inspired by beauty expert Alessandra Steinherr’s take on it in our Obsessed with the Best feature (p52). Beauty, she points out, is far more democratic than fashion, allowing
us to focus on our attributes rather than the ideals of the catwalk. It’s blissfully independent of weight, race or religion. Obsessed with the Best also interviews other experts whose talents allow us to explore the kind of happiness that beauty offers. From perfumer Alberto Morillas’ exquisite fragrances to Zoë Taylor’s makeup tricks, it’s all within reach – and fun.

Something about beauty products excites us all – from the packaging (my heart skips a beat even at Jess Punter’s pick of men’s grooming products, p78), to the feeling it creates. That could be its ability to transform (see our cover shoot, p56, and beauty shoot, p38, for inspiration) or how we feel when we apply a beautiful scent. (We bring you the best on p108.)

I’ve questioned myself about my attraction to the beauty and fashion industries. The Catholic in me even went as far as seeking a sign-off from a priest before I joined Vogue. Shouldn’t I be saving lives or something? As one of my contributors put it, ‘Let’s face it: what we’re doing is PR, not ER!’ But my spiritual mentor gave a surprising answer: ‘It’s not what you do – but who you are when you do it.’ I realized my version of beautiful is making a difference within my vocation. But I still love a red lip.

so with that, I hope you all enjoy the beauty issue

MINE Editor Astrid Joss