Cosmetic Collective Care Now!
The Don't Buy List: Issue #46
Hello, dewy dust bunnies, and welcome to another edition of the The Don’t Buy List! People are referring to their forehead wrinkles as “WiFi lines” now and it’s making me want to upload my consciousness to the cloud/escape my corporeal form forever.
Speaking of clouds: Following in the footsteps of glass, donuts, dolphins, jello, Saran Wrap, slugs, succubi, and aliens, clouds are the industry’s latest non-human beauty icons. Teen Vogue reports that “cloud skin” has “a blurred effect and light coverage … the goal is to still have a subtle natural look but with less of a glean,” whatever that means. The article goes on to note that the self-objectifying trend is “about glowing from within” — curious, considering it exclusively recommends products you apply to your outsides.
Have you seen TikTok’s Bold Glamour filter yet? The technology — which MIT warns is so advanced that viewers don’t initially clock it as a filter — transforms users into uncanny approximations of the (racist, colorist, classist) Western beauty ideal: arched brows, wide eyes, chiseled cheeks, plump lips, a slimmed and sloped nose, smoothed and lightened skin, and a full face of makeup.
It’s been used by over 18 million people so far, and Slate calls it both “scary-good and scary-scary in its potential to further deteriorate our fraying relationships with our own faces.” This, naturally, has disastrous implications for our physical and mental health. But what to do about it? Slate quotes one expert who claims “the burden cannot be on the user” before it concludes that “those of us who want to preserve our mental health will still have to figure out a way to muddle through.” And like… no. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough. We should carry the burden of protecting our communities from the devastation of beauty standards! We do have a responsibility to the collective here!! We owe each other things!!! Of course we need policy change and regulation and corporate action too, blah blah blah. That’s a given. But we also need to recognize our own agency and obligation as individuals, and opt out of behaviors that we know negatively impact others and ourselves. COSMETIC COLLECTIVE CARE!!!
Or, as James Greig put it in a recent DAZED article: “Everyone needs to grow up.”
I was a guest on the Impossible Beauty podcast the other week. Listen in for my thoughts on the skin-brain connection, the corruption in the beauty media, and beauty standards as a spiritual crisis.
Re: Corruption (or at least sketchiness) in the beauty media: