Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bloggers Respond to "Why I Love Beauty Products"

After I wrote my "Why I Love Beauty Products" post last week, I e-mailed a few of my favorite bloggers and asked them to chime in on why they love beauty products, why they thought that products hold such power over women, and whether this is a good or bad thing.

Stephanie over at Back in Skinny Jeans was the first to respond, and here is what she had to say (you can read the whole post here ). My comments are italicized.

Beauty is a source of power, and those who are designated as "beautiful" also gain power, in the form of adoration, privilege and access. We believe that products will make us more beautiful, therefore making us more powerful, and giving us a "better" life.

This is totally true. Whether it's going to a party, a bar, a class reunion or a job interview, when you're all done up and very confident about your looks, you automatically feel more powerful and more likely to succeed. And people treat you better as well. Just compare how people treat you at the same store or restaurant when you go in sweats, pony tail and clean face or when you're dressed to impress, hair, makeup, the works.

When we look pretty (often a direct result of the use of products), we also feel more desirable and accepted. This can be dangerous, as allowing ourselves to define our self-worth by our physical looks undermines the importance of other aspects of ourselves that affect our total beauty (such as kindness, humor, intelligence, etc). There is a healthy medium, but it's easy to slide into overemphasizing the importance of our looks.

I completely agree.

Without a doubt, makeup and products are fun. It's especially fun having someone else pamper you and make you feel glamorous, at a makeup counter or a spa. In these instances, it's not so much the products as the person applying them that makes you feel good.

Some women certainly gain more pleasure than others from makeovers and manicures, but for most of us, it's a pleasure to be pampered. Beauty products make us feel more feminine, and there's an element of escapism when you shift your focus from the stress of work, family and relationships to debating which nail polish will look best with your date outfit that weekend. There's also a definite social element that Stephanie touches on, where beauty products provide a bonding opportunity between women. It also frequently occurs between friends; using products with other people somehow loosens everyone up and makes them more open and relaxed (which probably explains the prevalence of gossip at hair and nail salons).

When you purchase a product, particularly one that a makeup artist used on you, you're buying the dream that you'll be able to replicate a day or time that you looked your best (whether it's at the store, after a makeover, or many years earlier). You may never achieve that look again, but you at least try, and the product becomes a reminder of a time when you felt most confident about your looks.

"Hope in a jar" for sure.

I want to thank Stephanie again for her thoughtful and insightful post. If you have yet to check out her blog, stop by and take a look, she's always got something interesting to say.

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