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The Demanding Beauty Culture

The Demanding Beauty Culture

 

I sat down to write this blog about hair photos on Pinterest that create unreasonable expectations for clients.  They are colors that have AT LEAST taken a complete work day, sometimes even weeks to achieve.  The look is always extremely heat styled and the color is filtered to death before a client sits in the salon chair for an hour and a half appointment and begs us for the same result that we are gazing at on their iPhone.  They’re hoping we can give them some tip on how to get this look without using professional color safe shampoo, conditioner, and products that have clearly been used on the hair in the picture, and hopefully without having to style it (preferably wash and go).

 

These expectations are not even close to reasonable.  If this client sounds like you, I am here to tell you that it is not your fault.  Media, advertising, and social media have put beauty standards in general in a very scary place.  I was reading an article by Jennifer Weiner in the New York Times that really put things into perspective for me (“The Pressure to Look Good” May 30, 2015).  While explaining herself caving into the pressure of using botox, she wrote, “And so, because I had a television appearance coming up, and I have always been susceptible to peer pressure, off I went, to add “injectable toxin” to my list of pre-TV-show prep, a list that already includes “get hair cut and colored,” “have eyebrows waxed,” “clip in hair extensions,” “glue on false eyelashes” and “squeeze into viselike undergarments and heels so high that I can barely hobble from the green room to the set and back again.”

 

In the same article, Jennifer explains how cellphones with built in cameras have changed the way society demands that we always be on point and camera ready, “Then along came cellphones with built-in cameras and blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Suddenly, you weren’t just that one tiny picture, you were every picture anyone might happen to want to snap, and to post and pin and share, images that would be tweeted and retweeted, scrutinized and commented upon and invoked to dismiss you as jealous, overweight, bitter, sexually frustrated and, maybe, illogically, also a sexually promiscuous hag. For some critics, a woman’s looks remain the first place they’ll go when they disagree with her opinions.”

 

Not only are these unrealistic “hair goals” photos filtered to death, so is Facebook.  All of Facebook.  All of media.  Almost nothing online or in print is 100% real now.  It sets beauty expectations so unachievably high that, according to this YouGov article ( https://today.yougov.com/news/2012/07/10/morning-routine-30-spend-over-week-getting-ready-e/ ), people (men and women) waste approximately a week each year getting ready.  If you are a woman, that time frame can increase exponentially.  This article reports that over 38% of women take over a half hour a day primping (not including a shower or brushing their teeth and hair).  According to this CBS News article,  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/women-spend-three-years-primping/ , women spend over three years of their life “primping”.

 

If the thought of wasting three entire years of your life doesn’t make you gag, let’s translate that into money.  Theblanance.com places the average American salary in 2016 just over $44,000.  This means that if that same time was used for work instead of primping, the average American Woman would have an extra $132,444 in her savings account (I’m thinking that sounds like a huge addition to a solid retirement fund).  This number also doesn’t include the thousands upon thousands that we spend on makeup, hair services, nails, facials, skin care products, botox, and the list could literally just keep on going.

 

The moral of this story, ladies, is to relax.  Simplify.  Remember that everything you see in print and online is photo shopped and filtered.  We are all beating ourselves up chasing unrealistic goals.

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