They say that beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin without the want to change. Quite obviously, 'THEY' are wrong.
Because according to research, the Beauty and Cosmetic industry is approximately a 378-billion-dollar industry worldwide. So, yes, the people who say all that are probably people like me. The ones who don’t pay much attention to their skin or are amongst the fortunate few who need nothing to be done to their skin or body to meet the ‘impossible standards of beauty as set by the aforementioned industry’. In case you’re wondering, I’m very much in the former. My weight alone would disqualify me from the latter category because I’ll need at least five size-zero models to balance out the scale. I digress, but to summarise it, 'Beauty is definitely in the hands of the person holding the makeup bag’.
How to get that perfect natural look: Take five different makeup products. Use them together and voila - L'aspect Naturel. Irony much?
My mother always had one complaint about me. No, actually she had about 245 of them, but this one ranks right up there with the rest of them. She always says (yes, she still does - in fact she said it about a week ago when I last met her) that I have the skin of someone who slaves away day in day out in the paddy fields, tills the earth, and walks barefoot through the coarse land. Of course, the fact that I never refuted this observation didn’t help either.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much that I don’t take care of myself -(though my wife might strongly disagree here). It’s more of the fact that I don’t feel the need to invest in hundreds of different moisturisers and beauty products. See, I could generalise and probably say that it’s a guy thing. That on average, most men don’t believe in spending all that money (and effort) in making sure they have fabulous skin. But I can’t. At least not in 2016, when everywhere I turn, I see adverts and posters of macho men moisturising their hands to make them supple, applying fairness creams in their quest for success and talking about pimple-destroying-blackhead-chopping face washes. Metrosexuality has taken the world by storm, and sadly I think I missed the memo.
Well, perhaps not entirely. I have to come clean here and say that once, in what I’d call a rare blue moon occasion, I too have let my curiousness take over, have succumbed to peer pressure and ended up buying one (or more) of these products. Of course, my skin, that up until this particular point had always been blessed with plain water and some soap, and the occasional face wash smuggled from my mother’s/wife’s cosmetic stash, objected quite vehemently to this sudden attack by foreign molecules. I swear that had my skin learnt to talk, it would have said ‘WTF were you thinking? This is not for us!’ But since my skin is speech-impaired, it responded in kind. Over the next few days, I was ‘gifted’ with pimples of varying shapes, random rashes, white patches and a few other unmentionable ‘souveniers’. Well, that was the end of that.
Now my wife on the other hand, much like most modern women (yes, I’m generalising) loves her cosmetics. I use the word love quite loosely here - it isn’t like a major chunk of her salary is spent on beauty products, but she’s definitely an ‘above-average’ user of branded products. Fortunately, she’s narrowed down most of her makeup products to one or two brands and knows exactly what she wants. Having said that, it wasn’t the case always. Back during our ‘courting phase’ I remember accompanying her to many different makeup stores. In fact, many a time, I’ve ended up with various smudges / spots on the back of my palm from where she’s tried to find a particular shade of lipstick or concealer or whatever else they’re called. Fortunately, her affinity towards moisturisers meant that she always had hand lotion in her purse, which just erased all the spots off my hand with a couple of rubs.
Have you seen some of the ingredients in the moisturisers and hand lotions available today? They have stuff like butter, cocoa, vanilla, lemon, orange zest. I mean, they’re just a couple of ingredients short of a cake mix. Soon, we may have to use KFC’s caption - it’s Finger Licking Good - when it comes to moisturisers. I digress. [Seems to happen quite a lot these days, doesn’t it? I must have been Dory in another life]
So, of all the beauty and body products in the market today, my wife has a special fondness towards one particular item. Shampoos. We sort of hoard bottles of shampoo at home. We have some lined up on the counter, some in the storage box under the washbasin and some in the chest of drawers in the bedroom. There are the less expensive every day ones that you get from your local supermarket to ones that we’ve taken from one of our kleptomaniac-fuelled trips from posh hotels and resorts (Okay - those are probably me - remember my Hotel Kleptomania? ) to super expensive ones that probably deserve to be kept under lock and key with a personal security guard.
The world of shampoos is quite a confusing one. There are, to put it quite simply, limitless options. Normal, Dry, Frizzy, Greasy, Oil, Silky, Curly, Long Curly, Short frizzy - the list just goes on and on. Do you want your hair to be normal and silky? Or long and non-greasy? Or maybe short and extra volume? The options can leave you more befuddled than a set of the toughest multiple-choice answers for a CAT entrance test. Is it any wonder why you find people wandering the haircare aisle of the supermarket, scanning different bottles to find one that works the way all these adverts claim they work?
Shampoo shopping gives most of us this ‘Joe Fox-esque’ moment. Remember the scene from the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’ where Tom Hanks’ character talks about buying coffee at places like Starbucks. If you modify it slightly, I think it works well for shampoos too.
“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino." - Joe Fox
Of course, we know from experience that most advertisements when it comes to the beauty and cosmetic industry must be taken with a pinch of salt. And shampoos are no different. After all, half of the women advertising the various hair care products seem to sensuously dance in the shower as if they’ve discovered the G-spot on the top of their heads. And here we are, normal human beings, busy trying to remove soap suds from our eyes. If any of them had actually worked, I’d have hair like Professor Snape (who could be a kickass brand ambassador for L’Oreal). Instead, I’m this close to the top of my head looking like Voldemort’s.
What amuses me more than the adverts for these shampoos are the ingredients they contain. The large supermarket near our apartment, for some strange bizarre reason, had the shampoo aisle right opposite the chocolate and juices aisle. What caught my attention was that a lot of the juices and chocolates had similar ingredients to the ones advertised on the shampoo bottles - mint, cucumber, lemon zest, ginger, orange, contains real almonds and so on. These days, shampoos seem to have more minerals, vitamins, fruits and nuts than some of us have in an entire day. Maybe, someday it'll count towards our five-a-day.
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Modern shampoo bottles are a great way to find out about fruits that you never knew existed.
A little education never hurt anyone, I suppose ;) Say what you will about the shampoos and the choices. The harsh reality is this:
[tweetbox design="box04" float="none"]Hair : The perfect reminder for all of us that sometimes, we cannot control everything.[/tweet_box]