Being the owner of a (clean) beauty retail store has me questioning the effects of consumerism.
In a time where humans are referred to as consumers and are at the butt end of corruption: exploitation and profit as the biggest motivator have made ethics a very ambiguous thing. Words like ‘sustainable’, ‘ethical’, ‘eco’ or ‘green’ really don’t mean a thing EXCEPT how you choose to interpret them. Unfortunately most of the businesses throwing those words around are counting on us responding to these words from a place of fear and shame. So I decided to build my business instead as a reflection of myself and the values I hope for the world and all the precious inhabitants of it.
So what does that mean in the world of business as I see it?
Looking under our sinks, in our drawers and cupboards, most of us can really see that media, ads, “influencers” and trial and error have had an impact on how we feel and how we choose to consume beauty. Let me say that one more time….. consume beauty.
How F***ed is that?
Self esteem, happiness and self-worth are the unfulfilled promise we have been tricked into time and time again. What’s more, the industry of beauty has taken fears of not being enough and inflated them through creating unattainable images of perfection so we think incredibly normal AND HEALTHY aspects of our appearance are somehow devaluing and make us less than. When the veil of these normalized (yet completely unethical), practices are lifted, a measure of liberation from the system is established and we start using products appropriately and purchase mindfully. The result? Less. We simply see truth. WE are beautiful, by birthright. Why is this so powerful? Because knowledge has the power to overcome fear.
When we really don’t know what a products job is, or how to use them, or what ingredients/products can be in conflict of not only each other but perhaps what your skin is trying to do on it’s own (for free…shhhh if it gets out that healthy skin from healthy lifestyle is highly functioning AND it’s for free… that could turn consumerism on its head), we endlessly create problems which we then try to fix with more products. One quick Google search can connect you to your perfect product based on keyword searches. Do you see where I’m headed here? We have been encouraged to self diagnose based on fear, self serve skincare products or in many cases have been led to purchase more than needed “experts” that have had an 8 hour course on how to sell it to you. One more time… on how to SELL TO YOU. Not from a place of actually knowledge of skin function and health. Skin. Your biggest organ, working so hard to protect you from only EVERYTHING, showing you smoke signals to your deeper health and you are being sold layers of topical products that much of the time are working against your skin’s natural function. The ripple effect? The overuse of products can cause a multitude of new unnecessary skin issues. You get tripped up in MORE products because you’ve been tricked into treating it like a beauty crisis rather than an opportunity to dig into your health and wellness.
Help people discover that beauty is found through wellness
I’m going to risk sounding like an a** here. Simply because I have recently discovered that holding space for people to find their way has been a bit of a disservice. I believe we are in an era that we need the people we are building trusting relationships with to hold us accountable when we say we want to grow into a healthy relationship with ourselves as we realize we are the sum of our choices. Sorry my friends, I never said this was going to be easy. But if you have made it this far into the article without bouncing…. (thanks!) …you know that what I’m saying is true. So when I hear things like “Nikki, whenever I drink wine I get inflamed and ‘breakout’!” Its a bullshit move for me to do you anything except present you with a good dose of personal accountability. Products aren’t the solution.. you know it, I know it. So why would I exploit you like that? If you choose to go home and google “breakout” and end up purchasing a product for acne when you have inflammation… that’s shitty. Shitty for you, your skin, your health, finances and the planet. Wellness. Its the hardest part of our well being, yeah, I recognize the irony of this. Quick fixes are the first thing we jump to even though we innately know they are bullshit… and we all know I’m not talking about only beauty products, because beauty includes body image. Bring on the pills, supplements, and diet books. Why? Because we hold false hope that some product somewhere has unlocked the mystery of how to bring us well being without us having to commit to anything more than a week or two. Mostly because the reality of the alternative is too laced in denial of us facing some of the hardest self-worth issues we have.
Sustainable beauty. What a mouthful. Sustainable to the planet, sustainable to our lifestyle and sustainable of our wellness as we move through every era of our life. The practices require us to dig deep, stop buying into the ‘less than’ bullshit that we as a species have been subscribed to for millennia. The plain truth is, the beauty industry has annually become worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Hundreds of billions ANNUALLY. The silver lining is, “clean” beauty is the fastest growing part of the industry, this means we are becoming aware of the impact of our choices…. but are we ready for the next step?