I came across an advertisement like this, and I’m not really sure how this is even allowed. I mean, no matter what I do, I am going to have the skin of a woman who needs yearly mammograms. I could do 10 steps, 20 steps, 100 steps, and my skin will not go back in time.
And frankly, why should I want it to? Why does my skin need to look younger than it is?
To be attractive. To be beautiful. To be desired.
To be loved.
There is the reason. The real reason I’m supposed to want younger skin. I feel like I’m inundated with messages constantly telling me I’m not “good enough” to be loved. I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough. I’m just not enough. So I must buy their product to look better, to be thin, or to appear rich. Their product will help make me enough.
Of course, that’s complete crap.
But if they can convince us to believe it, they have a market for life. A market that won’t be terribly sensitive to price.
Makes me wonder if this is part of what feeds the escapism some of us find in romance novels. In these stories, however old you are, whatever you look like, it’s always enough.
Outside of our fiction, advertisers are doing whatever they can to make us feel we need their product. Most likely because what they’re selling isn’t chocolate cake. Rather, their wares are something we don’t want or need intrinsically so they must create a market for it.
And create a market they did. While there was almost no cosmetics industry in the early 1900s, the global cosmetics market was worth $460 billion in 2014 Let me show you that with the zeros: $460,000,000,000. A year. By 2020, it’s estimated to be a $675,000,000,000 market.
I want you to think about that for a moment.
California’s state budget is $171 Billion.
Okay, so bigger than the entire state of California’s budget. Not just bigger. More than twice as big.
I did some looking, and the cosmetics industry is scheduled to surpass US military spending of $598 Billion.
Could you even imagine if we spent that much money on anything else? What would the budget be to colonize Mars? To end global hunger?
Perhaps I see it this was because I have nothing vested in cosmetics. I don’t “put” on my face every day. You see, I have a strong allergy to most cosmetics. You don’t really want to know what’s in most of them. Even Web MD has warnings.
I can only use dye-free, scent-free products. The dye is an issue, but the scent in most products causes me huge issues. Given what cosmetics are made of, the makers have to use scent to cover it or no woman would put it on her skin.
I used a bunch of different products, desperately trying to find eye make-up that didn’t make my eyes swell. Or foundation that didn’t make my skin red and itchy. Or lipstick that didn’t my lips hurt and make them swell. It didn’t matter if it was L’Oréal, Clinique, or Channel. Nothing played nice with my skin.
One afternoon many years ago, my soon-to-be-husband asked me if I needed to wear it at all. He told me I looked exactly the same with it as I did without, and besides, he hated wearing my lipstick if he kissed me.
That was the last day I ever wore make-up. I threw it all away, bought some dye-free, scent-free lotion that my dermatologist had recommended, and I never looked back. Do I sometimes miss making my long but fair lashes look dark? Yes. Do I miss my eyes swelling, or getting red and angry? Nope.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve changed the lotion I use, but it’s still dye and scent free. And my skin never reacts poorly to it. This says a lot because my skin reacts poorly to a lot of things, including the soap in public bathrooms. I have to carry hand-sanitizer in my purse or risk soap getting caught in my wedding ring and making my finger swell too large for the ring.
Abstaining from cosmetics hasn’t meant perfect skin, and I do get a bit of redness or an occasional breakout, but I stick with a gentle cleansing routine and lotion and it clears up pretty quickly.
I’ve seen other women who struggle with their skin and use cosmetics to combat it. I’ve often wondered if wearing makeup has actually made the skin issues worse for them, forcing them to buy yet more products.
Interestingly, science says my inner skeptic is in on to something . Yes, there is evidence that cosmetics are not good for your skin, which can lead to needing more products. Of course, there is no cosmetic company willing to fund such a study. Or, if they have, they haven’t released the results. So there’s only a handful of research out there.
But, there is also a such a thing as withdrawal from makeup. Because of course there is. You get customers to buy something they don’t need, and it has addictive side effects that include the release of testosterone when you quit using their products. This testosterone spike causes more skin issues, so you go back to using their products.
This isn’t growing into a $675 billion dollar a year industry because people need lipstick. They’ve made us want their product, but it isn’t an innate want.It’s a manufactured one, and they’re going to make it hard to quit them if you ever choose that route.
Not condemning wearing make-up. You do you. Heck, I was so into the stuff at one point that I suffered elephant eyes to wear it. I miss mascara the most. I’ve got long lashes, but they’re fair. Really miss the mascara.
We all make choices and get to decide how to spend our hard earned money, but perhaps it’s something to think about before buying your next tube of lipstick or bottle of mascara. Remember, even in the early 1900s, make-up wasn’t popular and was mostly used by prostitutes. War paint indeed.
The rise of make-up came right along with the rise of advertising so they could make us want it.
Whatever you choose, it’s never unwise to take a moment to think about why we do what we do. To make sure it’s our choice, and we’re really doing what we think is best for us rather than what an advertiser may think is best.
Looking at you, commercials.
How about you? Ever get sucked into a product because of an advertisement? Do you regret it? Or maybe you came to love the product?