Saturday, September 11, 2010

Appearance and Self-Worth

Are cosmetics really “cost-metrics”? An expensive system of make-up products designed to pronounce worth based on appearance? An AlterNet article pointed a finger at the eye-popping profiteering of cosmetics companies whose marketing budgets explode with celebrity hucksters.

Women in stores often comment on my facial skin and how smooth and young-looking it is. They inevitably ask about my skin care products and beauty regimen and are amazed when I answer “None.” I use soap and a cheap, nice-smelling, drugstore astringent, because I like feeling clean.

My attitude towards makeup is that it should be fun and feel good on my face, just like my choice of clothing should be fun and comfortable to wear. I have preferences about the texture of makeup, but it shouldn’t break my budget. I’m not trying to look like someone else, and drugstore makeup works great. Let’s face it:  none of us gets to Photoshop our faces before stepping out.

When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, in the throes of my corporate career climb, I succumbed to designer styles. I was less secure in my skin and more involved in others’ opinions. I still admire sleek designer clothes, but I choose not to buy them anymore. Today, comfort is my priority followed by a penchant for fun with artistic flare.

When I taught budgeting to displaced homemakers, my advice was “Splurge small to treat yourself. Buy a lipstick or nail polish, not a dress.” It’s still solid advice for both ego and pocketbook.

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