Sunday, 9 September 2012

Another Beauty Rant

I was chatting to my dad today about making my own soap (see above, my slightly squishy Lavender and Sandalwood Bathing soap) my allergy to regular shampoo and the chemical make up of beauty products. He was still surprised that pointing out to his female friends that he wouldn't use their products to clean his car, made them hate him. Poor man!

What he didn't realise is, is that 99% of the meaning of a beauty regime is a ritual, that forms part of a woman's daily confidence build up (including getting dressed, eating things we don't like but are healthy etc, etc). Most beauty products have a mystique of science and luxury that make a woman feel like they are spoiling themselves and value themselves (completely moronic, I know, but we are weak), or we are tackling our innate ugliness, because basically society has taught us to hate ourselves.

So, even if he thinks he is being completely helpful by pointing out things like this, he is actually just making women feel stupid about something that they quite enjoy/ are psychologically chained to and builds their fragile self-esteem. SO HE IS THE DEVIL!!!!

That's why one of the cleverest marketing ploys is now exploiting concerns about Parabens and Sodium Laureth Sulfate in products (love yourself, protect yourself against harmful stuff, blah, blah, blah), to make women pay even more money for what they could make in the kitchen at home in an Ikea saucepan (one of my most valuable soap-making items). YES YOU, LUSH, WHERE DO YOU GET OFF BEING SO BLOODY EXPENSIVE!!!

I was never really that interested in what was in beauty stuff before (beyond being concerned, but not actually certain what was tested on animals, and what is destroying the rainforest and I'm still confused about it), because I never had any negative results from what I was using. I didn't buy into the hype of anti-aging this and that and just bought what seemed to work and smelled good (and was relatively cheap). Now I seem to be getting spots and eczema (back in a hard water area, so have to use more product to get it frothy and then it doesn't rinse out so effectively), I am actually looking at what is in things. Now I really resent having to pay more money for stuff, just so I don't have a nasty reaction, just because it is 'natural', when the ingredients still are really cheap.

It's quite sad really, because if we ignored the hype and just looked around the garden, went on more country walks, even to our local parks, we would find loads of things that are great for our health and skin. We could create a more satisfying ritual to be part of (i.e. making it yourself, or getting a keen friend like me to make it from things you find), rather than just opening a pot of cream with some gold writing on it, or using a deliberately 'home-made' looking soap bar from a shop, that has a 500% mark up.

Women in the olden days were just as obsessed with beauty, but then we were more in tune with things that were naturally available, so it seems like that the ritualistic part of things, were not so imbecilic (e.g. enjoying packaging) but actually quite practical. Really, being able to buy beauty products, was all linked to status and wealth and women gradually got shamed into buying, instead of making (as well, as time constraints). A lady of leisure does not make her own soap! A weird man with lamb chop whiskers does it for you!

I saw an advert yesterday that talking about a product being so good that it had a 'spa-like' feel. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. What does that even mean? I had a spa treatment once, that involved an algae wrap that smelt like Hastings Fish Yard. Oh yeah, and a sparkly 'sulfate- free' shampoo ad that was particularly nauseating. What are they putting in a shampoo that makes your hair sparkly, that occurs naturally and benefits your hair? Fools Gold?