Do our beauty products really need to be so good? Is something more sustainable and healthier good enough, even if it doesn’t work exactly the same as more traditional alternatives?
Green beauty. Clean beauty. As more of us start to question what we put into our bodies, we are also starting to think more critically about what we put on our bodies. I’ve written a lot about the clothes we put on our bodies and just recently started focusing more on the skin care and beauty products I put on my skin and body.
So far, as I have been testing new products, I’ve often asked myself if they work as well as “regular” products. In many cases, they work differently. Shampoo may not lather the same way or leave hair quite as shiny. Mascara may not last as long. Lotion doesn’t smell quite as strong.
I initially thought they didn’t live up to expectations because they didn’t work just like more traditional products I’d previously used.
But then, last week, listening to episode 50 of the Conscious Chatter podcast, I heard an interesting proposition from Lily Tse, the found of Think Dirty. She asked whether we should be asking “Does it work as well?” or “Does it NEED TO work as well?”
Need To. Two words that make all the difference.
She raises two really interesting points.
First, do we really need it to work so well? Does the foundation have to perfectly cover ever blemish or spot or skin color inconsistency as if we were airbrushed? Does our hair need to be as shiny as the model in the commercial? Does our mascara need to make our lashes look that long and thick? Ultimately, should our beauty products continue to perpetuate unrealistic appearance standards?
Second, at what cost to our health and wellness are we paying for supposedly superior product performance? Do we really want our products to work so well if it means using the chemicals and ingredients required to make them work the way they do? Is the fancy smell worth the fragrance that may be disrupting our endocrine system? Are preservatives we’ve started to loathe in our food just as bad when similar life-lengthening ingredients are applied to our skin?
I’m still learning about all the “good” and “bad” and “acceptable” ingredients in many beauty products, so I have yet to formulate too many opinions about my favorite products on the market. But considering whether or not the products I use “need to” be as good as traditional alternatives has entirely changed how I assess whether or not a product makes the grade.
Next time you’re in the market for an addition to your skin care and makeup collection, ask yourself how perfect it needs to be and at what cost you’re willing to have the “perfect” look. Is a potentially more sustainable and healthier option good enough?