Repeat this until it sinks in: No amount of makeup and skincare will make you truly happy. I used to think otherwise up until recently. I’m sure that you don’t actively do so. No one wants to equate happiness to a bottle of serum or a tube of lipstick. But in the back of your mind, having clear skin or a big, luscious pout sometimes makes us believe that our smiles will be more genuine.
To say that physical appearance is not a factor in our self-esteem and how we progress in our lives would be hypocritical. Studies have shown that attractive people do get ahead. “Beautiful people tend to bring in more money for their companies, and are therefore seen as more valuable employees and harder workers,” reports Business Insider. It doesn’t take much to believe this. From the way our celebrities have resorted to drastic surgeries to the models we see in advertisements, we think that being beautiful is an achievement in itself.
There is also nothing wrong with trying to look your best. Cosmetics and skincare all just fall under personal care. It’s important we put premium into how we look physically because it is part of building our self-worth.
I don’t feel guilty with my collection of skincare items which take a chunk from my salary. To me, it’s investing in myself and loving myself. Nothing wrong with that.
It becomes wrong when self-care comes from a destructive place. When we start out hating how we look, subscribing only to the standards of beauty imposed on us, and the belief that we are undesirable, we fall into a trap. We start saying “I will be happy with myself if I have no dark under eyes, if my hair was smoother, if I looked like her.” “Her” being always that woman with a skin tone three shades away from yours and a completely different racial background. You can see early on how the standard of happiness, when tied to physical looks, can be damaging.
In the past, the more I put on makeup, the worse I would feel because I would see all the blemishes I wanted so desperately to cover up.
Makeup became a mask rather than a tool to enhance at a certain point in my life. The more I put makeup on, the more I felt I would be incomplete without it. The more skincare products I would buy, the more I felt I wasn’t good enough and that I needed more. I felt a little helpless when I felt that all I could do was hope for a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon to save me. Coupled with how I don’t have a movie star’s salary to solve my problem, it felt a little hopeless.
What do you do when something that once gave you joy became the source of your misery?
Maybe maturity hit and adolescent insecurities started to fade. I won’t deny that Alicia Keys and Kim Kardashian going makeup-free also helped. My skin is far from perfect but it wasn’t as bad as before. I’m satisfied with the skin routine I’ve discovered. On certain days, I put on makeup and it makes me feel good. On other days, I leave it as it is, showing everyone the imperfections underneath. Either way, I like how I look. It’s who I am and it pays to be your biggest fan. Though an SK-II Treatment Essence does help from time to time when your paycheck can accommodate it.
To live with your insecurities and to have the self-acceptance of your bare self is something you can’t buy. Your doctor can’t give it to you because what they offer is physical improvement. Anything other than that isn’t on the treatment list. It’s something you have to do on your own, if you really want to love yourself.
Otherwise, no cream or procedure can save you.
Art by Lara Intong
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