Is beauty synonymous with youth?
I've been researching make-up for a project I'm working on at the moment, and it suddenly hit me that the cosmetics industry is geared towards a youth-obsessed marketplace. It's all about looking younger, minimizing wrinkles and age-spots, camouflaging the body's natural ageing process for as long as you can get away with it. How did I not notice this before? I've been living in blissful make-up free isolation apparently.
I suppose I can afford to be so surprised, I'm still in my early forties and I seem to have lucked out by inheriting my mother's wrinkle-free skin, so far anyway. But still, I feel personally offended at the way ad campaigns blatantly target women's biological realities and offer to fix them.
Can I ever be happy with the way I look, naturally, as I age? Or will I always have that nagging thought at the back of my mind that if I only try harder, find the right product, do more, research the options and spend the money...then, I might look more beautiful? I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
Then I read this article in Zoe Foster's wonderful blog (one of my favourite Aussie beauty writers, she's so funny and sweet and adorable and ...um...young). The main point of the article is not at all about the ageing process but one particular phrase really caught my attention:
"And kind of ageing, to be honest"
Blake Lively is 23 years old, and yet even SHE should stay away from colours and styles which make her look old?
Is it possible for a woman to wear lovely make-up which makes her look beautiful but also HER OWN AGE? I'd like to think that when I'm 80 I'll be able to put on lipstick which will suit me rather than one which will make me look younger. Or is that a physical and/ sociological impossibility?
And before I leave you can I just add one quick thing? I've noticed that make-up and beauty blogs are all written by women, about women, and for women. It's women commenting on famous women's make-up and then advising "ordinary" women what make-up is best. This industry has absolutely nothing to do with men. I don't think men notice what make-up women wear, but women do. Case in point, I took it as my professional duty to buy some new make-up, for research purposes you understand, and then experiment with it. Miss CB and I had great fun, and I even went so far as to apply foundation (a Dior sample tube which is exquisite and a perfect match to my skin tone and is therefore to be referred to from now on as the HG). But then I stood in front of Mr. CB and asked him if he could see anything different about my face...ummm.....not really (he said this hesitantly). To further prove my point, I had my eyebrows shaped today and I thought that the difference was remarkably enhancing, but Mr. CB was perplexed, he saw absolutely no difference in my eyebrows whatsoever (he said this hesitantly again).
HG is Holy Grail, it took me a while to realise that beauty bloggers who were referring to this were not writing about an actual product called "HG."