Beauty Bitch: Say What You See

Mimi ON Nov 18, 2008 AT 4:32 pm

New Sunday Times Style ‘grooming guru’ Edwina Ings-Chambers gave something of a mission statement in this week’s beauty section. While she’s spot on in her observations that ‘we’re expected at all times to look swish and scrubbed up like a just-wrapped present’ (which made me think immediately of how I disappoint that brief on a daily basis – I’m a likely as anyone to have spinach in my teeth or wildly straying brows), she’s wide of the mark when she promises ‘So these pages will say what we really think, highlight what is good and point out when something doesn’t pass muster.’

There will no doubt be one or two minor casualties to make the point, but when you work on a magazine that relies on advertising to pay its way, there is really no such thing as honesty in beauty writing. And here’s the conundrum. If you work in the small and rarified world of beauty, inevitably you forge relationships with PR’s and brands that move from a purely professional one to a ‘semi-mates’ state. How can you then, as a beauty writer, anhilate some rubbishy product that promises miracles and delivers nothing, knowing that the PR is going to be on the receiving end of a storm of fury from her client, or if they work for a large corporation in-house, risk their job.

When it’s a person you’ve known and worked well with for years, had lunch with, breakfast with, drinks with, seen them go from single angst to married bliss to exhausted motherhood, it’s very difficult to remain impartial about their products.

Even bloggers – where more and more women are choosing to pick their beauty advice – end up at the mercy of their emotions. Human nature, unless you truly are an utter bitch (with no semi-mates), dictates that you see the wider view and speak responsibly. Bloggers who take advertising, hoping for a source of revenue, need to watch their mouth when it comes to dissing their money makers; those who don’t and speak out risk alienation and certainly some very upset feelings.

I’m genuinely passionate about beauty; make up first and foremost, botox second (!) and then skin care. I can honestly say that what botox can do to a complexion is unbeatable by any cream, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to experiment and enjoy the indulgence that comes with feeling and looking prettier. Should I speak the bare-boned truth and cause untold upset, should I just ignore brands that I think are hopeless to avoid confrontation, should I recognise that not everyone has the money for the brands I feel really do work (and yes, they are the more expensive ones) and big up creams I feel are merely average because it fits a budget criteria? And then what about the creams that seem to work miracles on some, and do nothing for others? What to say about those?

Beauty Bitch is written anonymously because it’s the only way it can be done without spreading acidic ripples across the beauty pond. As for ‘pointing out when something doesn’t pass muster’, it’s honestly something that’s far more easily said than done.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments are closed.