If you are a baby boomist like me, or even from Planet Gen X, you may have noticed the astonishing increase in cosmetic choices since the days when you first started to use make-up. Back then, in the beauty Stone Age, we chose from a few drugstore brands like Cover Girl, Maybelline and Max Factor and even fewer (what were then considered) high end brands like Estee Lauder and Clinique.
Now there are thousands of cosmetic lines, sold in stores ranging from Target to Bergdorf Goodman; cosmetic specialty stores such as Ulta and Sephora, and brand specific stores like MAC. These outlets sell like gangbusters online as well, and let’s not even get started on the hypnotizing shoppertunities offered 24/7 on QVC and HSN.
Speaking of excess, one website lists over 650 active beauty blogs remarkably narrow in content and written by mostly 20 and 30-somethings. In a mind-numbing attempt to be thorough in my research, I am visiting each and every one. Scary statistic: there were 530 blogs listed when I first conceived of writing on this topic six months ago.
On these sites, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of product reviews, accounts of bloggers’ latest make-up “hauls,” and photos of things like a giant made-up eye, or a hand striped with various eye shadow swatches (what one’s hand has to do with anyone’s eye is still a mystery to me). Most of these blogs are produced by everyday people who like to write and who are in love with – actually, are besotted by – beauty products and all things that Make You More Beautiful.
On MakeupAlley.com, a website with a membership of over one million, you can find 2.5 million reviews of about 150,000 products and filter those reviews according to your age, skin color and skin type. If you’re retired, or spend enough time at work goofing off online to be a good candidate for more free time, you can join the thousands of members who post on the various boards upwards of 45,000 times per day.
Then there’s YouTube: at last search, I found 3.7 million make-up tutorials and 2.4 million make-up reviews.
You might say that we’re a little obsessed. And in spite of having facilitated all of this vital cosmetic product development and world healing online social activity, we are no less confused, no more confident that we can use beauty products to our advantage, to be more attractive, to be more loved, to stop time.
Remember that Virginia Slims slogan, “you’ve come a long way, baby?” We haven’t.
Don’t get depressed; come back to visit and we’ll sort this out together, as adults.
Less hope, more wisdom.