Beauty is overrated these days. When Vanity Fair and People release their “Most Beautiful Woman” list each year, heavily altered photos of Hollywood divas brim the magazine pages and, in the process, crush every girl’s self-esteem. They send out a belittling message out to other infamous beautiful women who don’t need four make-up girls and two hair stylists in order to define their beauty.
Several how-to-get-skin-like-blah-blah emails spam my inbox every fortnight. After some insatiable consumption and bookmarking some of them, I realised that Jessica Beil and Gisele Bundchen have the same morning regime and Victoria Beckham was born with her fake tanned slash burnt skin. These beauty magazines and websites were promoting one definition of ‘beauty’, through the medium of many media-pretty ladies. By media-pretty I mean, women whose beauty is forced onto the onlooker. Heard the clichéd saying, ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’? Media-pretty women are the perfect example of that. I never found Angelina Jolie’s pout beautiful, until the media went frenzy over it and forced me to appreciate it. I’m not criticising beauty writers and blogs who guide us with beauty product reviews, but I’ve lost respect for those who rant about Halle Berry’s skin.
As a kid, I used to roll myself in muddy fields, hide in filthy backyards and return home in an attire, which was too dirty to wash. Terms like ‘moisturise’, ‘hydrate’ and ‘skincare’ were incomprehensible at that age. The only caretaker for my skin was my mum, who’d wash my face four times a day and apply creaming lotion each time. I used to think, she’s doing it because she’s bored. Unlike Suri Cruise, who has beaten me to my argument of flaunting natural beauty, most of us had a normal childhood. Leave manicures aside, I wasn’t even allowed to touch my mother’s nail paint collection. It makes me wonder, what forces mothers to make their kids look like something they aren’t? Are they unhappy with their natural beauty? Unsatisfied with their tender features? The blood-red lips, beautiful natural eyes and glowing skin of a newborn baby cannot sustain throughout the lifetime, but the artificiality can remain on the side table till an appropriate age. Perching up your baby in heels, blow drying their small hair strands and applying sparkly pink lip gloss is a slap on beauty – not a shining star.
That beautiful newborn grows up and finds herself behind the bars of “oh-i-am-30-and-OLD”. Then begins another round of creams, pastes, powders, lotions and even needles, in some cases. The thought of going natural and bare usually makes a 30-something jump off her feet. The term “natural” and “make up sans” are inaudible for her. If she wakes up in the morning and sees a line on her forehead, a new petite cream bottle is instantly added to her collection. Any product that shines behind a counter, has a natural-looking celebrity in the advertisement and makes her ego smile, lands on the beauty shelf at home. No matter how many dollars one has a to fetch out for a 20ml container. Who said being beautiful was going to be a cheap affair?
It makes me wonder, what does beauty call for? Will we ever find THE revolutionary ingredient that will reduce wrinkles? Will the half full bottle of under-eye cream ever be used again? Will we ever stop the mindless purchases from the cosmetic scab at Myers? I do understand that Clinique, Loreal, La Prairie, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Dior, all look very beautiful in the bathroom shelf. They make you look even MORE beautiful! But will the quest to look “perfect” every be fulfilled? Will it ever stop?
It might sound a bit vain but my quest has come to an end. I have always been a “natural” beauty lover. Maybe it’s a little too late in the post to disclose this, but I do not apply too much make up. In my shelf, you will find an endless collection of eye pencils and eye shadows, but you won’t find any foundation, bronzer or concealer. Nor will you find branded creams and lotions. Primarily because I have an excuse of being an uni student and all my $$ going towards my perfume collection.
The caked look is not my thing. I bow to Nicole Kidman for ageing so gracefully without any injections or surgeries (well at least hoping so). I am only in my 20s, and have a long way to go before I start criticising botox and wrinkle-lift creams. But currently I am very proud of my take on naturalness. My morning “beauty regime” involves brushing my teeth, washing my face and putting my hair up in a bun. I am not claiming that everyone should throw all their cosmetic pouches in the trash bag and follow my insignificant beauty secret. I do not have the sparkling eyes, sharp features and flawless skin for being tagged as “beautiful”. But I know that a dash of mascara and some lip gloss before leaving the house, makes me smile. It gives me the confidence in the teetering crowd. When it comes to beauty, I know I am a pumpkin. A pumpkin who will never use a concealer to hide her lines.