It is twenty two years since The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf was published. I read this book avidly, absorbing its every detail, nodding my head in astonished agreement. Yes, she was right. As women gained more and more political and social standing, they also conformed more and more to an increasingly narrow perception of what was beautiful.
I was pondering this the other day while in my kitchen making skincare products. I remember feeling excited back then at the prospect of change. The idea of women being accepted for who they were, not what they looked like. I thought that things would be different for my generation.
Sadly I was wrong and over the last twenty years I have seen women conform on an incredible scale: Botox, hair straightening, lip plumping, eyelash extensions, and the daily slathering of nasty chemicals all over our faces and bodies, believing the hype that these concoctions will remove cellulite, magic away wrinkles, and make us more beautiful.
At the expense of our own health we are pumping billions into an industry that functions by making us feel terrible about our own beautiful selves. I can’t help feeling that there’s something not quite right about that!
I’ve been on a mission for some time to live by the premise that if I can’t eat it, it doesn’t go on my skin. No silicones or petrochemicals for me! I want my skin to breathe. I want to help it do its job, not hinder it. The cream I make in my kitchen has a total of nine ingredients which I’m pretty happy about, but some days I don’t even use that. Just a little jojoba or apricot oil.
When it comes to beauty I truly believe that less is more. Why not work with what we’ve got and not with what we’re told we should have? I’m not saying we should bin our make-up and burn our bras, but just use a little more kindness when we look at ourselves in the mirror, when we choose what we put on our skin. And when we think about how we are going to show up today, why not decide to show up as our true selves?
What do you do in the name of beauty? How many different products and ingredients do you put on your face every day? And do you feel able to show up as your true self?