The Don’t Buy List: Issue #63
My daughter just turned 9 and all she wanted for her birthday was expensive skin care products. Literally, the only thing. I went to Sephora with her for the first time and almost had a panic attack. She and her friends talk about skin care products ALL THE TIME. I'm a feminist Gen X-er whose entire skincare/beauty routine has been sunscreen and Neutrogena moisturizer and generic bodywash for 30 years. I feel like I've entered hell, and I have no idea what to do. Do I keep her off YouTube... permanently? Take her to a therapist?
It was this section of The Cut article that just made my heart hurt for these young women.
“Even if I get tired of doing [my multi-step skin routine], I just push through it knowing that at the end of the day, this is all gonna be worth it,” [22 year old Bennis] says. “Eventually it’s gonna be like, ‘Wow, you’re 40 years old and you don’t even look like you’re 20.’”
Because, frankly, that payday isn’t coming. It is never going to be worth it. There’s no good evidence that this kind of routine keeps skin looking young - her skin just looks young now because she IS young. And when she’s 40, she’s going to look 40 (give or take a few years) no matter how much gua sha she does or retinol she uses.
Even if - and it’s an enormous if - her skin routine is effect-producing (and, again, nothing to suggest it actually would be), she’s not going to have this amazing satisfying “I made it!” moment at 40. Because she’ll still have 50, 60 and 70 to worry about.
I probably sound judgemental- I don’t mean to be. It just makes me very very furious how aggressively companies target young women’s fears - create them, even! - to sell products.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It's gotten completely out of control. Eleven-year olds with drawers and bags of cosmetics. Soooooo upsetting.
BABY skincare ??? Cancer causing hair relaxers???? EDITING runway models to be WHITE???? Why is this week so crazy?????
14 year olds using retinol and the baby skincare line truly make me want to evaporate into thin air 😭 every day, we stray further from god’s light!
and re: beauty brands staying silent, i would so much rather prefer that then see a bunch of ham-fisted PR statements about a humanitarian catastrophe. i get that people want to “buy from brands that align with their values” (skeptical on if that’s even possible since every brand values profit above anything else!) but the expectation that brands (and influencers) need to make a statement about every geopolitical conflict or global tragedy is bewildering to me. oh thank god, the brand that makes my favorite eyeliner finally confirmed they’ve chosen the right team to root for in this devastating war, now i can continue consuming guilt free!
Ugh. The whole ‘go to war but make sure your face is perfect first’ is a giant bridge too far. Who goes there? It’s just bizarre.
Meanwhile I’ve been waiting about a decade now to see anti-aging products marketed to the young as something else. I wanted to throw my shoe at the TV when Jen Garner slid her jar of Neutrogena retinol to her, what, 13 year old daughter? (She might be a little older, I’m so bad at guessing girls & young women’s ages anymore.) But for her it’s a ‘brightener’ and ‘evens skintone’. There may be few exceptions where it might be warranted. But en masse? Can’t these companies just find their products niche and be happy at that and not sucker teenage girls into forking over $30 or whatever (or more!) for something that isn’t even necessary and will only make them slaves for life. Tobacco company tactics! It’s bad enough they capture and keep grown women on the hamster wheel, and hey, there are more every day! The greed. It’s endless.
The baby skincare line is sending me. I can't believe that's a real thing.
You might consider a copy editor...your most recent column is "The Don't BUT List" lol
I wanted to read the Such Womanly Touches article, but the link didn’t work. Was able to find the article with google, but I thought I’d mention it, so you can fix the link
I’m not one to comment usually, but I do enjoy your work a lot!
JESS this is so informative as usual. Now I want to crawl back into bed and cry. Baby perfume.
So I go over to read the Madeline Howard piece on NYLON, and what else is there on the page....advertisements for E. L. F.! I’ve never used it, but somehow I made it on their algorithm.
Another 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 edition!