Gosh, there are so many learning moments in a lifetime to give, so many to take, and so many to miss!
About ten years ago, I was in the process of all three activities where personal beauty was concerned. I am now in the process of getting hold of the last bits of the learning moments I missed.
My dear daughter at that time was an online enthusiast of makeup bloggers. That innovative bunch of babes began their own swatch-and-post photos of various products, primarily foundation shades. Skin is a big thing when it comes to purchasing what color goes on the epidermis, and which undertones are contained within that outer epithelial layer.
I shall admit, right here and now, that, back then, I had not a clue as to the existence of cool undertones, warm undertones, neutral undertones. I’d worn foundation, blush, eye makeup and some lipstick, from my late teens onward, but the focus of my life during my twenties and even my thirties did not involve the finer points of a cool-based lipstick or a warm-based eyeshadow. I was, in fact, completely ignorant of such matters; and fairly happy in my blissful ignorance.
All of that changed rather quickly as I assigned myself the lead instructor of developing and helping to define female beauty for Dear Daughter, and, it turns out, for myself. My peers, the gals working mostly in office settings, were somewhat makeup-phobic, whereas I’d become intensely makeup-curious. My fellow femmes associated red lipstick with streetwalkers, and shimmer eyeshadow with disco balls twirling above the overcrowded dance floor. Perhaps because I’d not taken part in much of the hair/fashion/makeup trends of the 1970s and 1980s, I was almost a blank slate when it came to pre-conceived notions of makeup — its products and its applications.
Oh, I knew enough about the hideous brown lipstick of the 1990s to have run away from it; and the overly done contouring of cheekbones that, to me, approximated drama queen stage makeup. I knew the major cosmetics brands, sold at the department store counters. Even thirty years ago, all of that merchandise was over-priced and over-hyped. Each year, I used to set aside an amount of money for a palette or two, each one with 4-colors, and for a couple of blushes. Primarily, however, I spent my money elsewhere, on barer necessities. My version of the very expensive “No-Makeup-Makeup Look” was to not wear makeup!
During the 1930s and 1940s, cosmetic companies in America utilized Hollywood stars to promote the miracles of their top-secret patented potions, lotions, powders, and lipsticks. By the 1950s, women’s magazines largely promoted makeup, skin care, and perfumes for American women. Once those magazines began to end their very expensive existence, during the late 1990s, the cosmetics companies had to increasingly rely upon the Makeup Counter at various department stores, and to seek out newer purveyors for prettying-up women. Enter the Internet.
By the mid-late 2000s, cosmetics, skin care, and perfumes had become ginormous, globalized businesses. Dear Adolescent Daughter wanted to share with me aspects of her blossoming from a girl to a young woman; and I took up the challenge which, as time passed by, felt more like running a gauntlet.
You see, the actual sense of the uniqueness of any woman, of her own individuality, and of that “empowerment” that was the rallying sales-cry of a certain brand — those precious intangibles had become oppressively pandering sales schtick. Political correctness was, initially, avoided on those makeup-blog websites that began, not coincidentally, with the start of the Great Recession.
The sly shills for the cosmetics companies were out there, online, in force, posing as your friendly beautification chum, wanting to help you with the pressing problems of what shade of blush best suits your skin tone. So helpful! So phoney.
It did not take very long for an intolerant political correctness to become the primary gauge by which these online beauty blogging sites started to boost their highly-coveted Q Score.
By 2010, political correctness WAS the policy of these mostly female bloggers based in urban areas. The Social Justice Warrior plague of the present-day had its first creepy-crawly infestations on those makeup blogs where the gal-pal-gab-fest commentary could, and did, become very vicious. To use any petrolatum (the evil Vaseline) was to invite the onslaught-wrath of Alley Kats. There is nothing like a pack of catty women to claw up an entire house-of-cards, based upon women-helping-women.
Those house-of-cards websites that made up the Beauty Blogosphere are now in their final phases of chasing those companies that went flying off to China. These moralizing makeup-istas must justify their two-faced principled stand of legitimizing the mandated Commie animal-testing for the fat-cat corporations that own their beloved brands — which claim to fiercely reject animal-testing of formulations of those synthesized chemicals.
It’s a true moral crisis for the chaste makeup addicts. Because it’s all about the animals. Crimes committed by Communists against men, women, and children, otherwise known as humanity, are not mentioned by these ardent feministas for ethical cosmetics. Un-caged, free-range chickens garner gigantesque I-net kudos for globalist companies that treat people as if they are beasts in capitalist cages.
We are dealing, however, with makeup. Beauty’s only skin-deep; ugliness goes straight to the bone. And there’s a lot of ugliness behind the companies parasitically boosting the physical-appearance obsessions of self-loathing women.
During my much younger years, any company, whether producing eyeliner or cars, was beholden, sales-wise, to the buying public where that company made and sold its wares. With the escalation of a global marketplace, certain facts about the manufacturer have become murky. Just where are those items made, and of what. And by whom? Entire industries have sprung up to inform the consumer of information that the foreign-supply-chainers would rather we not know.
One bit of information has become abundantly known and clear to me. The distinctly Western Civ-look (American, British, or French) had been a winning PR promotion for the beauty-industry. It now appears that the image of the West sells best in the Far East.
Capitalism does not change; the ploys to promote capitalism do. The latest ones are vile and vulgar: the ad pitch of “all-inclusive, diverse-diverse-diverse, touchy-feely, we-care-so-much-about-social-justice” indicates to me how far down the selling-scale those corporate globules have fallen, even as those companies line up to sell their wares to a murderous Communist regime. The level of hypocrisy reaches global proportions!
I have only just recently caught up on the learning moments that completely passed me by during the past decade. The business model of yore, to slowly build a Legacy Brand, or a Company Built to Last, has been ditched for the gimmick of starting an “indie”, or independent company, one that is pushed by corporate shills on Social Media to a point of earning enough money so that the Global Multi-national Blob buys the start-up business — which, bearing the same “indie” name, then becomes a front for the Corporation.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that the era of Internet influencing what, when, where, why, even how products are bought is ending, just when the idiot CEO heads believed they’d finessed and perfected their game, those atrocious algorithms meant to push our laptop purchase-buttons. During the past few years, American consumers have become very savvy and discriminating about shelling out hard-earned dollars for any piece of merchandise; they are willfully determined to wait out many purchases that, once upon a time, tended to be bought quickly, often on impulse.
Quality is the one key ingredient that these globalist brands now lack, and have been in want of for many years. The Great Recession changed more than dollar amounts in a bank account. It changed the priorities of spending, especially among Americans. The COVID-19 crisis further changed those priorities within this formerly prized-group of consumers.
If it took a Chinese-fueled global pandemic for Americans to finally wake up and see how the capitalist game is brutally played by those dictator thugs in that commie-nation, and then to refuse to engage, as customers, in the PRC-sponsored unfairnesses, crimes and sins, then perhaps the lunacy of this past year was worth something, maybe not quantifiable, but qualitative.
The insertion of sanity into capitalism has been long overdue. One of the most disgusting learning moments that I experienced this past week is the realization that many cosmetic legacy-companies, approaching 100 years in business, debased their brands, and thereby lost market revenue, to the point of now having to pander to the Chinese dragon and all of those potential billions of dollars to presumably be scooped up there.
Such economic gains come with a hideous cost. For me, there is no turning back for any non-Asian company committing the fatal error of thinking the Chinese Communist Party does not run the show, the assembly line, the factory, the scripts, the propaganda, the ads, and the shots in that amoral regime.
I am most thankful to Dear Daughter for inspiring and encouraging my acquisitions of exquisite goods from those once-prestigious companies during the past decade, even though with the Death of the Mall, some of those goods had shown signs of degradation. For the cosmetics companies and their “experts”, an over-reliance on an archaic sales-model, such as The Mall, during the growing trends of online retail commerce, was a costly mistake. If a business does not know how to market whatever it makes, I question the benefit and wisdom of buying from that business.
Newer companies of all kinds will emerge, and joyfully so, in America; hopefully, their business model will not be one of strike-it-rich and cash-out-quick to the Globalist Corporate Pigs. Greed became a very lethal weapon against the company and its stockholders.
It was a sad learning moment for this mother regarding the demise of beauty brands that destroyed their own beauty and their own brand. I’d like for other mothers and their adolescent daughters to be able to explore the worlds of feminine beauty without feeling ripped off during that irreplaceable process of passing down womanly wisdom through self-care, not care of the planet, or care of the victim class, or, ultimately, care of the corporation.
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” wrote English poet Alexander Pope in his Essay on Man sometime around 1724. This philosophical poem was composed in heroic couplets. I’d like to think that this essay applies to women, and that their heroism far exceeds poetry and couplets and palettes of taupe.