You just aren’t pretty enough …or My Beef with the Cosmetics Industry

I went with my wife to Ulta the other day which, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is a rather large beauty products store.  As such, they have a large variety of cosmetics and hair products, as well as their own salon.  (It really is amazing the number of brands of hair products that are sold… and not just for women.)  So we walk down the Covergirl aisle and I see the handful (probably more) of well-known actresses endorsing different colors and varieties of the multitude of products they make.  Now, I don’t know how much these celebrities get paid to endorse the products, and I know that companies have to advertise, and I get the concept of the celebrity endorsement, but the first thing that popped into my mind was “how much profit is this company making on their products that they can afford to pay all these celebrities?”  Covergirl was just the first one I saw while there and the one that seemed to have the most celebrity endorsements.  Others had them, as well, while others used more unknown or undiscovered models.

My beef with the cosmetics industry isn’t really the profit they make, though.  That’s just good , old-fashioned capitalism.  My issue is the way they created this culture, and not just in the U.S., that a woman has to wear make-up to be pretty or to look young, and for that matter, that a woman needs to continue to “defy aging.”  And women have bought into this whole-heartedly.  They flock in droves to places like Ulta and the cosmetics counters in department stores to buy the latest products to remove wrinkles, or hide lines, or make their lashes longer and thicker, etc., etc.

The other morning I was driving in to work and noticed the ad on the back of a car:  Mary Kay – Enriching Women’s Lives.  Which women’s lives are they enriching?  Those who’ve bought into perpetuating the myth that women need cosmetics to be attractive and feel good about themselves?  How does getting someone to buy your brand of make-up enrich their life?  Is their life that shallow that it is better because they put cosmetics on?  According to the cosmetics industry and current culture, sure.  In reality, very doubtful.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some uses for cosmetics on a daily basis –covering up the dark circles under/around the eyes, for instance.  But you’ll never convince me that there’s a need to use eye liner, eye shadow, blush, mascara, etc. on a daily basis.  For a special night out on the town or some other special reason, sure, glam it up, but for every day work or home use, it’s ridiculous.

My wife uses more make-up than I think she needs… on a daily basis and especially when her cousins come to town.  Her cousins are full-blown, make-up caker-oners.  Well, maybe caker-on is a bit excessive, but they do use foundation, blush, eye liner, eye shadow, manicured eyebrow… the works.  Because of this, my wife thinks she has to put more on when they come to visit.

And for those who are so insecure about they way they look that they cake it on to go “clubbing,” don’t.  We (the folks you’re trying to attract) can see how much you’re wearing and if we’re looking for something more than a “hit it and quit it,” we’d rather see what you really look like, not the mask you’ve put on.  And, yes, colored contacts, coloring your hair, and adding hair extensions are all part of being someone you aren’t.  Alexander O’Neal has a great tune that kind of sums up what I’m talking about: Fake.

I will be fighting letting my daughters wear make-up and am adamantly opposed to them ever coloring their hair.  Time will tell, I suppose, how effective I am at winning those battles.


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