The Roman women made masks for their faces, made of things such as flowers, honey, wheat, and eggs. Medieval women applied bat’s blood to their faces. Both men and women used pumice stones to rub their teeth.
Beginning with the sixteenth century, women used white lead on their faces so they could look “pale,” and they used lye to lighten their hair, which then fell out so that wigs had to be used.
Although modern beauty regimes may not be as archaic, as uncomfortable, or as dangerous, the desire to make ourselves, what we feel is, better than natural, has made a bulging one hundred and sixty billion dollar-a- year industry not only for women, but also for men. Sadly, some populations in some countries spend more on cosmetics and beautifying regimes and research for those products than is spent on education.
Perfumes, hair products, make-up, lotions, powders are one thing, but add to the mix cosmetic surgery to go along with the obsession to “look better than we are” and we have a generation of people who are obsessed about looking picture perfect.
What is the thing with beauty regimes that attempt to give you the miraculous “natural” look? The natural look was how we were born and that is without a stitch of makeup on our faces.
Is it only because of personal vanity that so much is spent on beauty? Not necessarily. Studies have been done that show people will judge others based on their attractiveness, i.e., if one is perceived “attractive” one will get a better job, will be waited on faster at establishments, will earn more money, will be perceived as more intelligent, and will be more likely to find a mate for marriage. Of course, it is ludicrous to imagine someone more attractive is more intelligent, but could people that are more attractive have more advantages that allow them to succeed repeatedly?
Older women want to look younger and beautiful, younger women want to look glamorous and beautiful, and they are willing to pay a lot of money to gain those goals. Young women and girls attempt to look older by piling on makeup.
The production of beauty products is a lucrative business. It doesn’t take much money to make many of those products, but the returns on those products are enormous.
Celebrities are playing an even bigger role in the selling of beauty products, and since celebrities are so well-known and many times known for their well-loved characters, people are willing to trust them and buy those products; however, the celebrities are paid well to endorse these products, and sometimes, the products are from their own lines.
What is troubling is the distorted image of what is perceived a woman should look like versus what women really look like without air brushing and camera lighting and without surgeries and layers of makeup.
The beauty of the individual, the unique, the natural way a girl is born and then grows into a woman—that is the beauty that should be celebrated.