I must admit, I am torn between being a glamour girl and an organic back to nature type. I adore the feeling of walking through the beauty departments at David Jones and Myer, whilst simultaneously having the urge to run screaming from the falseness and toxicity to the most ionised mountain air.
I get this from my grandmother who was a lover of the most coveted and luxurious products, from Chanel to Guerlain. She spent her entire life on a farm, yet apologised if she was seen ‘without her face on’, and always had lipstick in the kitchen cupboard in case of unexpected visitors.
It’s powerful seeing Keira Knightley, Gisele Bundchen and Diane Kruger gaze down like goddesses from the Chanel counter. Cate Blanchett is fresh faced from SK11. Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron are flawless from Dior, where even Johnny Depp makes a cameo.
Aerin Lauder is so pretty in floral. Lancome ladies Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz carry their beauty with integrity. They exude the power of women with confidence, women who take care of themselves.
If we embrace the self-love beyond the superficiality, we are tempted to see the whole charade rather positively.
Mainstream product marketing, unfortunately, does not scream health-harmful chemicals. It does not alert us to the fact that by using these products we are exposing ourselves to endocrine disruptors, allergens, pollutants and downright toxic ingredients.
Whilst I am a believer in ‘moderation’, and will still sneak a spray of Coco Chanel when occasion calls, the illusion of flawlessness from such damaging products is a dangerous one.
Like my grandmother, I grew up a country girl, with horses, chickens, mud and bonfires, but I was always attracted to beauty. I was a teenage Priceline addict, on a quest for clear skin, nice smells, becoming a real woman via the art of transformation through makeup.
Products are fun! They’re creative! A woman’s right! I want to take care of myself! It’s a true expression of self to luxuriate in the scents, the smells, the creams, the liners, the colours!
Looking back it’s sad that I had no idea the products I was putting on my skin were making my torturous acne and hormonal problems worse. It’s only when I transitioned to clean, organic brands, that I finally witnessed the most vibrant version of me. And I didn’t have to give up the goo!
Somewhere, like many aspects of society, we have gotten muddled. The ancient Egyptians regarded beauty as a sign of holiness, their makeup had a spiritual aspect and they took their cosmetic palettes to the grave (literally). The ancient Indians of both genders applied makeup, as a means of practicing their religion and culture. Products were made of medicinal ingredients like sandalwood and ghee. Women applied eyeliner to their babies with the belief that it strengthened and protected the eyes, and kept bad spirits away.
Musical goddess Alanis Morissette said on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, “Grooming is a big part of my spiritual practice.” Amen. We should be proud of wanting to take care of ourselves and investing in our confidence as women.
I do try to be inspired by the flawless women’s faces who stare at me from product campaigns, I sincerely admire their talent and I believe they are good role models for taking ownership of our self-love and self-care regimes.
It’s just a shame we don’t seem to have mainstream poster girls for products that are natural and positive for our physical health as well as our self-image. Luckily we can thank the rise of instagram, social media and blogging for the babes (like our very own Emmily from Depths of Beauty!) who are hashtagging the way to meaningful changes in the beauty industry.
Bring back the spiritual, nurturing aspect of enhancing our appearance. We should not merely be chasing vanity in the name of the perfect Kim Kardashian #selfie (though kudos to Kim’s very real portrayal of the feminine). We should be thinking a little deeper into what we use to enhance and decorate our physical bodies, and investing in brands that reflect that purity of intention.
VICKI HEATH www.vickiheath.com.au