For those who don’t know me I am the peroxide blonde who wears too much make up and sits to the front of Hampshire sceptics in the pub. With this in mind it may surprise you as much as it does me to find that I am writing a blog post on the subject of cosmetics and their woo factor.
Rightly or wrongly people wear make up, and most of those people are women. There is a lack of up to date information that I can find but one source reports that in 2003 the cosmetics industry in the UK was worth £4.5billion, a staggering figure – goodness knows what that figure is now in 2010. It is no surprise then that manufacturers and their advertising exec’s need to come up with more and more fantastical reasons for people like me to buy their cosmetics. One section of the market as an example, exhibits a plethora of ‘natural’ cosmetics; these come adorned with added minerals, vitamins, herbs, spices, et cetera, et cetera and it is still not clear that these added ingredients provide any benefits at all to the consumer so I remain sceptical. However, this is not to say I don’t succumb to the promises made by anti ageing creams and potions and I do have about fifty lipsticks in every shade one might imagine! Partly this is to do with liking a change of face every now and then, a lot of this is to do with media pressure and a great deal of this is to do with the fact that cosmetics are often the only luxury item I can afford in contrast to say, a Prada dress. It’s a treat, and like many women I treat myself to a small piece of self esteem over and over many times a year.
When we purchase cosmetics we women should be aware that the studies of ladies who would recommend the product as claimed by the manufacturer may only have contained a couple of hundred subjects or less; we should notice that often the advertising has to carry a (usually very very tiny) footnote to say that the luscious lids of the mascara’d madam portrayed, contain infills or have been CGI’d; we should question the relevance of the same old cream with dubious added ingredients and wonder if those ingredients really help to keep us looking younger. We should think about the amount of money we spend on said cosmetics and if it’s really worth it. Finally we should demand proof that these cosmetics work, and this is something I hope to address in so far as contacting cosmetic companies and requesting data and, oh OK I might ask for the odd freebie as well. Hopefully I will have some wild claims of fountain of youth face creams and details of imaginative ingredients to report back with later in the year.