This past year has involved many transitions into how consciously I consume things. I've written more about this in the post I wrote about consciously living. Having completely re-structured my diet and cut back on unnecessary purchases (mainly fast fashion), the next thing on my list was beauty products. This is a tricky one for me. For the last decade I have worked (and continue to work) as a makeup artist - I have more products than most people would own in a lifetime, thankfully not unnecessarily so-most of which I own is used regularly as part of my kit. However, most of the brands I have been so loyal to over the years are now distributing in China. By law in China, all cosmetics must undergo animal testing before being approved for sale. Companies which previously prided themselves on being cruelty free, are now favouring mass sales to this huge market over supposed company morals. A lot of what I own has been purchased over a long period of time, and therefore, will not go to waste. However, going forward, both ingredient list and ethical values will have to take priority.
As a woman I feel bombarded by the media to engage in buying product after product to look as young as possible, or to reverse the ageing process. But why? Why has the general population subconsciously made an agreement that signs of ageing are unattractive? Buying products to put on our skin which contain ingredients which we cannot pronounce and in some cases, injecting chemicals under our skin to halt the ageing process, not because it's how you want to look, but really, because that's what is accepted as 'beautiful' in our society. Having worked in the beauty industry for a long time, it really upsets me when a woman I'm working with cannot bear to look at herself in the mirror without makeup because of all of her 'flaws' (90% of which, I cannot see). Honestly, we do see ourselves completely differently to how others see us. We are far too over-critical of how we look au naturale. It seems that more makeup and procedures are being used now than ever, I'm all for self expression, but the issue here seems to be far deeper than what it may appear.
Having spent many years as a beauty and makeup junkie, I can certainly relate to the passion people have for makeup as an art form and interest in skincare. 6/7 years ago I would not have left the house without a full (and I mean FULL) face of makeup on. Nowadays, I rarely wear any at all. This has been a long process of self acceptance and general realisation that I looked like a completely different person without makeup on - this person was being hidden away due to imperfections. However, deciding to now own my imperfections I feel more uneasy these days with a lot of make up on. The insecurity still exists of course, and like the devil on my shoulder still tries to illuminate all of the doubts I have about my own appearance. It's certainly easier to control with age, but my focus now must be prominently focused on what I have to offer to the world, as opposed to what I look like, a concern which, for the most part has been instilled in us as women by society and the media.
I'm not really any authority on what the best cruelty free makeup is, but this is something I'm looking to learn more about. I'm still interested in makeup as an art form and highlighting natural beauty - which is something that can be different for every individual. For me the thought of an animal suffering for any particular human vanity is completely unacceptable and while it's normal to want to look nice and enhance what you have, it's time we asked ourselves - at what cost?