How "quiet luxury" began with beauty.
Merit Beauty came up on my timeline not too long ago with an ad that made me guffaw so loud someone asked if I was okay. I screenshot it because I refuse to forget the absurdity of beauty culture it represents. The photo was of their "five minute face" products (no less than five separate products) and the copy read: "The antidote to the oversaturated world of beauty." REALLY? The solution to too much product is MORE product? Wild. Absolutely wild.
I know this isn't the point but does anyone else think that the "before" pics where the women are actually not wearing makeup look better? I feel like makeup often flattens features, giving people an uncanny sort of appearance.
every time I see a before and after of a five minute makeup look with comments talking about how stunning the difference is, I’m like... the emperor has no clothes. what are y’all talking about
I think I'm quietly quitting makeup. I haven't worn foundation for years. Not because I'm a natural beauty or get any sort of facial/laser/Botox, etc., but because they all looked like crap on me. So I gave up. I use a concealer for spots and circles, cream blush (I'm older and it works better), some eye shadow that's probably a shade darker than my natural tone (I know), and mascara (stay away from Kosas; the worst mascara I've ever purchased). The older I get, the less time I want to spend getting ready (I think that really is a 5-min face; I'll time it on Monday...no makeup on the weekends, if I can help it). I used to love the art and ritual of it. Now I've got other things I want to get to. xo
"Five minutes and six products later, Power looks just about the same." when I tell you I fell off my chair laughing.....
Could quiet luxury also be reactionary to the fact that logo centric 'loud luxury' trickled down to the masses and got adopted by street styles? There is always a cycle of 'this thing got too popular so we're gonna introduce this new thing to maintain exclusivity' in both beauty and fashion.
The quiet luxury/old money style trend is so interesting considering we’re in a cultural moment of viscious class warfare where extreme wealth disparity is maybe more obvious than ever. Sophie Strauss has a great highlight on her IG about the trend (@sophiestraussstyling old 💰 highlight).
That last line: my mind is 🤯 in the best way
Great read! Like they say: money talks, wealth whispers. By signaling wealth quietly, only the ones they care about will see it: their wealthy peers. To everyone else, they’ll just seem like flawless, perfect human beings deserving of their good fortune.
I ditched my expansive chemicals-from-the-ordinary-filled skincare back in December 2021 (Thanks to you!!) and have relegated makeup wearing to the odd night out where I need the confidnce boost, but yet those 5 min and 2 min make-up kits still call to me SO strongly. I still have that niggling voice in the back of my head that oh if I just wore X and Y I'd be a... Better Woman?!?! More worthy, more valuable? It's so funny how these things stick in your head after months of personal work.
And the look is awfully boring ugly even if the fabric is super luxurious.
I found it interesting about the rise in cosmetic procedures “after” covid, but then it made sense from what I’ve experienced. I am allowed to work from home most of the time now and during Covid we did not go into the office. Since I wasn’t leaving the house I also wasn’t wearing makeup. So for about 2.5 years I went without makeup and got to see the “real” (whatever that means) me. So now I look at myself and think I look haggard/old, miscellaneous negative word here. BUT that’s just what I look like at this age without makeup. So it took me a bit to realize that I’m misremembering what I actually looked like. I think “oh I used to look young/pretty/whatever” but no, I used to look that way because I used to wear makeup. So if I still had to “perform beauty” for my career it would be simpler honestly to have a little work done.Thankfully I’ve learned so much from The Unpublishable that I’m not doing that and I don’t have any energy to wear makeup either. But I’m telling you if I had gobs and gobs of money, I sure would consider it.
Not to mention the endless subterfuge of creating jealousy between women. Keeping us weak and shallow. All looking just the same. Safe, so we are recognized and immediately set into safe categories. Labeled Pink. The classes, the status quo, wow, that hits hard, especially now with all the gauging going on - not to mention how much more our 'stuff' costs!
'Little foxes on the dull side, little foxes made of expensive ticky tacky, but they all look just the same!
Jessica, where would you advise starting with Susie Orbach? Her catalogue is so huge that I keep avoiding buying anything because I don't know where to begin! Which book is closest to your heart?
I don't see them advertised as much now, but I used to get ridiculously annoyed with those Cindy Joseph BoomStick ads. Sure, it's easy to look effortlessly flushed and dewy when you have zero skin imperfections. I've got rosacea that manifests as the hollows of my cheeks, chin, and nose being flushed. Putting blush on my apples just makes me red-faced from eyes to jaw.
I went to a dermatologist and was "prescribed" a proprietary blend that's prescription strength but not FDA approved, so I had to pay out of pocket. That was a bit of a red flag right off the bat, but I was desperate. Did it work? Yes, until I ran out of it and then it came back. The doctor's claim was that it was cheaper to have a compounding pharmacy make it for her to have on hand than to write a prescription for the individual ingredients. Surprise, surprise, they have their own online storefront to buy their products if you're a patient. Forefront Dermatology, by the way. Had I known they were basically the Aspen Dental of dermatology, I would have requested a referral to a different clinic.
I also can't find a foundation that doesn't slide off my oily T-zone in 20 minutes or less. If you use a primer, you have to make sure it's compatible with the foundation, and even then it might not work. Silicone based? No water-based foundation for you, and vice versa. Try powder mineral foundation to get around that problem and I get left with it floating on top with oily pore spots on my nose. My luck, if I went for the laser treatments, I'd be one of the people who end up with WORSE redness than what the rosacea causes.
It's too much, and I give up.
I would suggest Trinny London doesn’t fit in here. She’s all about a 5min face but it’s not quiet luxury or no makeup makeup. The brand is all about colour, colour and more colour and having fun with colour. She’s not subtle!!!