Monday, July 14, 2014

When Beauty Comes At A Price.

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Courtesy - Google images

Back in India, a visit to the salon meant being plied with concern for my thinning hair, calloused feet or my unwhitened skin. I’d go into a daze as the ‘beauty expert’ would wax eloquent about the benefits of Morocco returned sea-kelp that would have my pores break into an aria or the ultra-luxe herbal holistic pedicure that would make my feet soft as a baby’s bum.

I get it. It’s your job to make me feel ugly and it’s my job to dig deep into my pocket to have you beautify me. After all discontent is the mother of all enterprise. Imagine, if women one day suddenly decide to be content with their body size, skin tone, wrinkles, greying hair, and the size and shape of their nose and breasts, entire industries would collapse!

Fortunately for the beauty industry, most of us are rarely happy with what we have. We are all waiting to be lighter, thinner, softer, shinier, clearer, spotless versions of ourselves. It helps that we are constantly bombarded with images of women Photoshopped to perfection.

We can thank our lucky stars that we live in a world where there’s a fairy godmother waiting to wave her magic wand for every Cinderella distress. In fact, she’s so earnest that even if we’re perfectly happy with our reflection in the mirror, she will take out her magnifying glass to make us feel terrible about our sun-spots, dark-underarms, not so taut skin and hair that doesn’t glow like a 40W bulb. She comes with an array of sparkly bottles and jars that promise us a happily ever after with skin pumped with vitamins and minerals whose names we can’t pronounce. All we need is a dollop of that “Sea of Spa Black mud shampoo Enriched with Obliphica Oil” to transform our shamefully dry hair to salon perfect bouncy tresses. What’s more, with our underarms smelling like roses and skin fairer than your judgement, we also get to land the choicest of jobs and men.

Who doesn’t want happiness that can be bought over the counter, that our mundane jobs, demanding family and an exhausting schedule seldom provide!

But trust these doomsayers to deny us our little joys. As if knowing that millions of monkeys were stuffed with lipsticks before they were declared safe for womankind’s lips was not enough, we have to put up with annoying findings that rubbish the tall claims these potted miracles make. It’s distressing to know that it’s our shampoo that’s causing our hair to fall and hair dyes are carcinogenic. The toner that claims to deep cleanse is in reality making our pores look like moon’s craters. The box of cornflakes that promised us Lara Dutta’s waist was simply bluffing its way to the cash registers. Why, just the other day I broke down into tears when I read that the expensive creams I had been using to look like the 20-year old promoting it was in reality as ordinary as the modestly priced over-the-counter moisturize!

Another study suggests the habitual use of facial moisturizing creams and lotions is not only unnecessary, they could be doing skin more harm than good. Most creams simply sit on the surface of our face, encasing it in a layer of cream that gradually blocks pores and glands, and prevents them from functioning efficiently. In fact, we are better off simply increasing our water intake.

We are filled with disgust when we discover that our tube of exfoliant that promised us dewy fresh skin in reality contains plastic beads which in turn is contaminating our water bodies. It makes us wonder what stops manufacturers from using natural ingredients like apricot kernels like they used to!


It also makes me think since when did fitness become more about fitting into that pair of skinnies and less about good health? Why do we feel apologetic about our not so perfect selves? It’s not a crime to have greying hair, sagging skin or dark circles under our eyes. Some women will always look better than us regardless of their fitness and skincare regime.

I feel the trick lies in in accepting that there are no shortcuts to great hair and skin. It’s a combination of genes, balanced diet, regular exercise and inner-contentment that no brand however expensive can replicate. And if you can’t, big deal!

It also lies in moderation which in turn lies somewhere in between accepting and rejecting every new research that rubbishes claims made by findings before it.

What I’m trying to say is, it makes sense to be informed before we start filling our shopping bags. We don’t need separate creams and lotions for every subpart of our bodies. Our Moms managed pretty well without those under-eye and elbow nourishing creams and so can we. A good moisturizer with an SPF 15 or greater is as good or even better than those expensive anti-ageing creams. So next time when you go to the store, spend some extra time to read the fine print at the back of the jar and decide what suits you the most.

Less is more even though Fairy Godmother would have us believe otherwise.



http://theillusionists.org/2013/04/the-problem-with-dove/


59 comments:

  1. "I feel the trick lies in in accepting that there are no shortcuts to great hair and skin. It’s a combination of genes, balanced diet, regular exercise and inner-contentment that no brand however expensive can replicate. And if you can’t, big deal! " - True, true, true.
    An advert on Youtube, which doesn't let one skip it even, calls a certain Lakme mascara "life saver", with the woman thanking God Himself for inventing it. Need I say more? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a friend suggest that I experiment with false eyelashes and all I could say was, why?

      Delete
  2. My grandma used malai or curd on her face and had glowing skin that a 100 creams that I have used are not able to replicate! You are absolutely right,it is a combination of genes and a healthy lifestyle. It’s amazing how 30 seconds of a model praising a certain cream or make up brand on TV sway us enough to splurge so much on skin care products !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too bad that malai stinks :/
      It's not as if we don't know that the best skin care remedies lie in our fruit and veggie baskets, yet we continue to have more faith in branded skincare.

      Delete
  3. I have consciously moved to homemade stuff for both my skin and hair. I hardly spend much time on my skin care. Seriously I have a lot of doubts about the shiny stuff in the bottles loaded with chemicals. And seriously comparing ourselves with others is silly. These damned ads and movies are all hyping picture perfection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachna, why don't you write about the homemade stuff you use on your blog?

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    2. Yes, good idea. Will do soon.

      Delete
  4. Makes so much sense. Agree with Ruch, nature care is the best. And a lot depends on your health.

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    Replies
    1. And the way life has treated you :-)

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  5. That brings me to the question, when I see this written on a bottle "not tested on animals" what does it mean? It was directly tested on some human being?
    As for me I just cut off a small slice of the Alovera from my garden and directly rub it on my elbows. . . . . I see those black elbows disappearing !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it means that it's safe enough to be used on humans since the ingredients are mostly natural.

      Agree, nothing works better that Aloe Vera gel. Too bad that it smells so odd.

      Delete
  6. I am so in the favor of every word your wrote here, Purba.
    I am a regular reader here. But thought I should comment on this one. I totally agree how beauticians find flaws in your hair, skin, nail and all just to make money. And I think that when we use a cosmetic product or undergo a procedure on a regular basis, our skin (or hair) become habitual to it. If we skip it once in a while, we look like a mess. I had a myriad of complexes about my body as a teenager. Now I am totally content with whatever I am and look like. Articles such as this one that I read while growing up put some sense in me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More women should talk about it, share their experiences on social networks! It will help women who are still battling with self-esteem issues.

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  7. Young kids need to read this. It is alarming to see how many brands of creams there are today. And even more alarming to see youngsters running after one brand after another. My son was very impressed with a men's face wash advertized by John Abraham. He had absolutely clear skin before he began to use it... and is now struggling with severe acne. :(

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    Replies
    1. I hope he has throw it in the trash bin, Obviously the product has chemicals that are harmful for the skin.

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    2. Oh yes he threw it. And I had a difficult time not smirking and telling him- I told you so. The sacrifices we make! :D

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  8. Excellent ! I am so lazy that I rarely apply anything.My teenager is at that stage, where she is trying & getting disappointed.And yet, she keeps on trying new & expensive products which do more harm than good.Moreover,she fails to understand that her pimples,acne etal are receiving a boost by usage of all such products.I trust ,she will soon give up all make up.

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    Replies
    1. Aww....it must be her hormones. I think it makes more sense to go to a skin specialist.

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  9. well well well phewwwwwwwwwww :) i say that because thankfully i dont use any of the so called beauty creams NOT that I need one .. I am beautiful enough he he he he :)

    I think its all marketing gimmicks and we the humans spend loads of money to look beautiful and the idols we look upon who shud be thinking of the fans who follow them and make them idols get millions to just put that stupid cream once on their face :)

    and the actual people who profit from all these gimmicks are the companies that sell them SIMPLE.. I have never seen a person get more beautiful using the creams .. you are right nature has provided us with lots of things that help us but because they are not marketed or come in a shiny wrappers we think they are No good ..



    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bikram, I am aghast that you are not doing anything to arrest the seven signs of ageing! You better start watching the ads carefully and start filling up your shelves with tubes and potions, ASAP!

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    2. yes mam.. let me grab the remote and put the tele on right now ... :)

      Delete
  10. A lot of people my age, should definitely give this a read. We whine about beauty products and splurge on any cosmetic that promises us the look of a princes,, whereas it makes us nothing else but plastic.
    This was a reminder, that beauty lies within. And its free :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeez! Now I can't even use this quote by Jean Kerr - “I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want, an adorable pancreas?” :D

      All I am saying keep your eyes open and don't fall for the tall claims these products make :-)

      Delete
  11. That is why every an advert. comes on t.v i say aloud"LIES" all "LIES"!!! Its their job to sell and ours to steer away. And its true that all shampoos cheap or expensive are all the same and all creams are the same . sad but true! Thank god i knew all this before stepping into 40s otherwise i would have been spending a bomb on anti-aging creams. But a little pampering in parlours is nice for us women!Although its only pumping blood circulation in a facial!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do get my facial once every 12 months and every time I promise myself that from now onwards I'll be more regular :D

      Delete
  12. Being content with what one has I believe is the key here. As my grandma used to say, "Beauty is of no use if you don't know how to smile. A simple smile can make even a bat look cute."

    All this hoopla around beauty products is just for the companies to mint money.
    "Oops! This year's sales target is slipping. Our incentives are at stake here. Let's re-brand these expired creams as the All-In-One."
    This is what would be happening behind the scenes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more you read about the skincare con, the more you're convinced of your foolishness.

      And your Grandma was absolutely right!

      Delete
  13. Yes ! And genes play a major role... whatever we apply we cannot change our genes and it is in acceptance of ourselves that we find beauty !

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  14. oh yes, and the beauticians will give you tons of advice on how dander can only be destroyed through hair spas and blah blaah blah. Its been a few months since I switched over to non chemical stuff for hair care and my hairdresser says my hair is much healthier than before!

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    Replies
    1. Tell us more about it, Seeta. I'm sure there are many women who are dying to switch their bottles of shampoos and conditioners with natural remedies but are not because of lack of awareness.

      Delete
  15. Well, you can mock the female beauty industry all you wish, but please don't even whisper that deos like Axe and Hottt and the rest of their ilk can't get the men that girl of their dreams. It is with great difficulty that we have even begun to realize that we might have a BO issue!

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I put up with the deadly combination of drying sweat, foot odor and Axe all through my teaching life and survived to tell the tale.

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  16. Natural products are any day better than chemical concoctions.Clean your face with a swab of unboiled milk and see the dirt that comes out.We all know about the benefits of lemon,mango papaya etc. but i guess it is the ads that twist our grey cells.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's more out of laziness and the belief, the more we spend on our beauty regime, the better we'll start looking.

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  17. Agreed Purba , most of us never pay heed to the leaflet that comes with the package. I always swear to shop for a magnifying glass whenever I try to read one ( God knows how they make it that small..why..that is obvious ! ).

    BTW , an elbow-nourishing cream ? :-D :-D do something like that really exist ?

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    Replies
    1. If we can have deos that promise to make our armpits fair and lovely, why can't we have creams that nourish our elbows :p

      Delete
  18. I read and commented yesterday but not sure where it got lost :(
    anyway I just was saying it is important to read these posts which act as reminders once in a while. How much ever we deny, these things - color or size do rule mind most of the times !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry about your comment disappearing, I wish I knew how to fix it.

      Writing this article was an eye-opener for me as well. I have made certain conscious decisions and plan to stick to them.

      Delete
  19. The rural beauties still manage to look beautiful without all the gloss so the advertisements focus only on clientele that has money to dole out:)

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    Replies
    1. Heh! I wish I could agree with you. But then beauty does lie in the eyes of the beholder :-)

      Delete
  20. Very enlightening! Just when I was thinking it's about time I start browsing catalogues for anti-ageing creams, I read this. What timing! :)

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  21. Very enlightening! Just when I was thinking it's about time I start browsing catalogues for anti-ageing creams, I read this. What timing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't. They are a waste of time and money. A regular face cream is as good.

      Delete
  22. Awesome post Purba....the take on Aloe Vera is so true, it has always worked wonders for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And they are such low maintenance plants.

      Delete
  23. It is all genes and depends on our lifestyle and eating habits. If only society would understand what you have written. A bottle of water would do a lot good than dollops of cream outside.

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  24. Replies
    1. Lol. Look at the brighter side. You have a bigger forehead.

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  25. Am such an expert on tthe subject, I can barely spell it right !
    The economic sense...Looking good (sans clothing) is a 55 billion dollar industry, A sound business acumen and a drifting know how of on the subject is all it takes to bite into the Herculean pie.
    I am toying with the idea of starting a head softner that massages your thinking. Partnership anyone ? Astronomical profits in store.... :D

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    Replies
    1. I'm rooting for a fairness cream that makes the user fair and non-judgmental :p

      Delete
  26. Beauty definitely comes at a price and what a price it is ! I hardly use makeup. There I have said it :). My idea of makeup is a little lip gloss and kohl on the eyes. Considering that I was blessed with a face with acne, I could hardly touch most of the products with a bargepole for fear of my acne responding with a vengeance. When I eye the cosmetics on the store shelves, I am always surprised at the price tags and the extent to which the cosmetic industry has gone.

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    Replies
    1. I don't have the patience for makeup. But I do love experimenting with eye-colours.

      Delete
  27. It is all in the way it is advertised. I saw a middle aged man discussing a car - Volkswagen, with a sales rep. He asked if I give right indicator and turn left? If I press accelerator instead of brake? Sales man said car has airbag, car has side bar to protect from an accident from side. Gentleman gifted the car to his daughter. Question is car was sold, what about the untrained driver? Is this kind of advert not unethical? Same goes for cosmetic ads. They promise heaven to customers. Infact they may have a lot of adverse effects, that is not disclosed. Because, they are not legally bound to disclose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But we should we smart enough, well informed to read between the lines.

      Nobody likes being taken for a ride.

      Delete
  28. Thank god, haven't fallen for those marketing gimmicks! Not because I was smarter but because I was lazy! But seriously, don't we all behave like teenagers in this matter - turning a deaf ear to grandma's beauty and fitness secret and grabbing the readily available products because the packaging appeals to us?

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    Replies
    1. Isn't ironical that we are coming a full circle and finally accepting that our elders were right all along!

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  29. You made me smile throughout the post, Purba. But, jokes apart, it's a capitalist marketing tool I guess and as a man I don't disagree coz I am a compulsive buyer,.of course, not beauty products. Honest post:)

    ReplyDelete

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