Beauty is the beast

I was in the “quest for perfect gift” phase that everyone goes through when their friend gets married. I did a clean-sweep of the limited operating parts of my brain and ended up with ‘bouquet’. When the 3rd page of google wouldn’t throw passable results, I called on my girl friends to pick on their brains. This endeavor led me to believe that owning a Victoria’s Secret product was every girl’s zealous desire.

The next couple of days were spent on finding the cheapest(read 1000 bucks) VS product on Amazon. I finally settled on a perfumed body lotion (with a fanciful name – love spell) but to my dismay, the delivery would take longer than expected. This prompted me to take a stroll to the nearby beauty shop.

Enter beauty shop. Aisles and aisles, rows and rows, tubes and tubes of whitening creams and body products.There was foundation in 100 different shades, then a tinted moisturizer, bb cream (lighter than foundation but better than moisturizer),cc , dd creams and a zillion other products of these combinations. And this was just a small corner of the “Face” section.

 I was disconcerted by the assortment and expanse of products. Beauty products were supposed to enhance our looks, not force fit it into an actress’s look. Earlier, multani metti and gram flour face masks were used before important events like weddings. Now, concealers and mascaras are used everyday.

Cosmetic industry’s advent in India started in the early 1990s and is expected to grow by ~20% each year. 1990s – does it ring a bell? Flashback 1994 – Miss world pageant when Aishwarya Rai won is alleged to be a corporate move by the cosmetic industry to penetrate the Indian market. Well, seems to have worked perfectly well for them.

What is the need to live up to the set standards of beauty? Why strive to reach there artificially ? Why even set standards in the first place? I am who I am. If I try to look like someone else, won’t I lose my identity? If all girls are tall-legged, slim, fair, powdered ‘beauties’, won’t that make this world a delicate, sculpted doll-house? Time to teach ourselves to invest more in self-development rather than temporary appearance. Time to feel confident about ourselves and how we look. Time to embrace who we are. Time to accept our looks with pride. Time to love ourselves.

(P.S. I walked out without Victoria Secret’s Love Spell that day. Apparently, it wasn’t part of the gazillion products they sell, but “we have similar ones – passion spell,love struck – in other brands , madam!”. Phew. I will never understand this beauty game. So much for the gift hunt)


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