Scrolling through Instagram last year, I found myself on the page of a very popular newly-minted esthetician and business owner from Texas. In one of her posts, she's obviously celebrating her birthday, and the caption is "cheers to looking 22 forever!" It's just a simple, fun caption by a young woman who is thriving (I LOVE TO SEE IT), but it did give me pause. No one is 22 forever-so why should they look it?
The beauty business is many good things, but it's also a beast. It's no secret that we're constantly inundated with photoshopped, filtered, and perfected images. I've spoken about this ad nauseam (and will continue to do so) because it perpetuates unattainable beauty standards, but there's so much more to it than scrolling though unrealistic looking images. It's bad enough that there are brands selling us a standard of beauty we cannot attain, therefore brainwashing us into thinking there is a problem with how we look naturally, but they're also selling endless products and treatments that promise to fix those problems. This seems a lot like punching someone in the face and then selling them an ice pack.
When I started my business, I decided to never edit an image of myself in any way. I've mostly received messages of support and gratitude when I've spoken about my choice to do this, but I've also heard from people who see it from a different perspective. I want to make it very clear-it is never my intention to make women feel that what they CHOOSE to do is right or wrong. It's their choice, and I respect it. I don't think that using a filter for your Facebook profile pic is a big deal. I don't judge injections or fillers or surgeries. Many of my friends and clients have them! Here's where I take issue: if a high profile makeup brand is posting about a new foundation and only sharing images of poreless, smoothed skin that's been digitally altered, it's safe to say that the foundation will not look like that on an actual person. But ACTUAL people are the ones buying the product. Beautiful eyeshadow applied by a professional makeup artist looks completely different in the behind-the-scenes unedited photos than they do in the published photos. Why? Why use a computer to make the shadows look seamlessly blended in a way that the human hand could never accomplish? Instagram influencers editing photos and then telling you what products you can buy to achieve the same "results" is frustrating. You can buy all the retinol you want, you are not going to look smoothed to poreless perfection, glowing to the gods, no line or texture in sight. Certainly not forever, anyway.
Recently, well known makeup artist Wayne Goss released a new line of products, and the campaign featured models that hadn't been airbrushed. One of the captions said, "With my cosmetics line, I want you to see the beautiful models. But realistically. As they really are. Beautiful. That includes pores, lines, and texture. Because we all have them. And they don't take away from anyone's beauty. It's important that you see a true representation and not an overly airbrushed portrait. Be you. Be beautiful." My jaw actually dropped when I saw the photos. Being able to see how the makeup looked on actual human skin seemed WEIRD because I'm so used to seeing the altered images from most companies! Seeing real skin should not be so surprising, but it's so rarely done in the beauty world. I hope that more brands follow Wayne Goss' example! And because I know how beautiful it ACTUALLY looks, I can't wait to purchase the products.
I don't call these things out to shame anyone. I don't think that I'm better than anyone because I'm pointing out the lines or texture in my face. I DO think that it's important to regularly remind women that the images they are seeing are not anything they should aspire to achieve, because they aren't real. I understand that influencers and brands have to sell a certain image in order to sell products. I just personally prefer to see more of what brands like Wayne Goss are doing. I based my entire business around being affordable and accessible to every type of person, so it's important for me to present myself in a way that the average person can relate to. I'm not interested in helping my clients to look 22 forever. Women who look 42, 62, 102 are all just as gorgeous and deserve to feel represented by the beauty industry. Making my clients of ALL ages feel good about themselves as they are, and not like they should be reversing the hands of time, is a top priority. I want you to have YOUR best skin at any age.
To all of my fellow women, I hope you are looking in the mirror every night and admiring yourself instead of comparing yourself. Society is tough enough on us, we don't need to add to it. While scrolling through social media or flipping through a magazine, don't compare yourself to what you're seeing. Celebrate all of your fabulous features. Beauty is for all of us!