Friday, August 15, 2008

Beauty is Sexist

You know how magazines always feature gorgeous spreads of luscious creamy/sparkly/glossy lip colours, artfully spilled bottles of nail polish, delciately sprinkled pretty blushes, and it makes you want to overhaul your makeup bag/bathroom cabinet and go spend your wages on all these wonderful products that are really only in there 'cos the eds got them for free? And how you spend more on anti-ageing products of spiffy new cleansers than your man spends on clothing in a year? And THEN you contasntly read about how men age better then women. Men on tv and in movies are older, more "dignifed" with not as much pressure to look youthful. Why? Possibly because they are not persuaded to cover their faces in loads of expensive crap, which essentially causes alot more damage then good and then need to go buy more products to fix it all up (aha! clever clever marketers)?

Makeup and skincare is fun. It's one of those girly things that makes you feel good. There's no harm in that. And men are of course being catered to by beauty companies and slowly convinced to cleanse, moisturise and treat. I only recently found out that my partner has been indulging in my beloved Body Shop Seaweed Scrub every few days. And he's the type that convinces me I don't need another new lippy becuase "you look beautiful without it" which is an annoyingly foolproof argument. My dad used to use mum's ye olde Olay face cream on his hands when he ran out of the supermarket cheapie moisturiser she bought for him (he works with his hands so they got all crakced and yuk otherwise). Men do like a bit of self-pampering, even if they won't admit it, but women have been forced to like it. One can't look old, despite the "embrace your age" articles recently permeating the glossy magazine spehere. Embrace your age, but don't look it. One of my high school/Uni holidays/between travelling jobs was at Priceline, in the old days when you could actually get service (oh, nasty!) and I'll never forget a lady who came in looking for some Vitamin E cream for her face. She said she was in her mid-60's but her skin was magnificent, smooth and glowing and with natural smile lines - and all she'd ever used was Vitamin E! Needless to say I got me little pink tub of the stuff asap.

ShoptilyouDrop have an article this month about the softly, softly approach to beauty - I haven't read all of it yet because Charlotte knocked my cup of tea over it - but it just makes so much more sense than the piling on of harsh chemicals and god knows what else. Prevention not cure! Even the new metro man's skincare lines only have the bare neccessities. Is it some well-kept secret they never told us? Men have the secret to better ageing, or at least the genetics.

I'm going to lay my cards on the table now. Go look in your bathroom cupboard. Assuming items like toothpaste and loo paper (which one male member of this household who shall remain nameless but is referred to as Daddy taught Charlotte to call Poo Tickets) and tissues are neutral territory, my partner has soap, hair gunk, shaving cream and razor, nail clippers and deodorant. I have 4 bottles of Fructis shampoo and conditioner (I appear to be stockpiling them in case of a specific Armageddeon which wipes out department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and discount beauty stores. One simply can't have greasy hair in a post-apocalyptic world, it's so done), 2 bottles of Dove Shampoo and Conditioner, 1 Johnsons body wash, 1 spare and 1 Dove body wash, 1 Body Shop Strawberry body exfoliant, 2 bubble baths, 2 body butters, 1 shimmery body lotion, 1 self tan body lotion, 1 Venus razor with spare cartridges, wax strips, tweezers, nail file, cuticle stick, hand cream (x2), tea tree oil for blemishes, Garnier deep heat face mask, SK-II cleanser, afore-mentioned Seaweed exfoliant, eye cream, vitamin c serum, Olay moisturiser, vitamin e moisturiser, 3 deodorants...and that's what I can remember off the top of my head and doesn't include my overflowing makeup bag (I didn't actually get up and go look in the cupboard, naughty naughty).

I don't need it all, but I want it all and I like it all. Thus I have convinced myself I need it all, even though deep down (well, not too far down) I know I don't. Taking a lesson from the men and simplifying, gentlifying and minimising would go a long way...That said, I've made myself a list from this month's mags and am off today to happily test, smell, feel and play with some new colours and products that will make me a better and better looking person (pft). If beauty begins on the inside, well a girl's gotta be happy...

(Ed's note: bought a lush Revlon mineral lipgloss today, smells like cakes and slicks on a treat. NOW I'm happy!)

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