I've Worked In the Beauty Industry For Nine Years—And This Is How I Feel
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I was 14 when I started working in the beauty industry (and working at all, for that matter). I was employed as a sales assistant at the affordable beauty heaven more commonly known as Priceline, and it was fantastic. It opened me up to a world of Rimmel lipgloss, and Clean & Clear three-step programs. Right from the start, I was hooked.
I worked there for seven years before I moved on to work my way through university as a beauty adviser for luxury brands in department stores. The obsession grew, and after months spent interning at beauty PR agencies, I finally found my calling in the wonderful world of beauty journalism.
Nine years down, and aside from ditching the Clean & Clear three-step skincare routine for a more science-based approach—my thoughts have definitely shifted.
Read on for all of my beauty industry feels.
When I think back to the first real "beauty" product I ever bought (other than Lip Smackers, Impulse body spray, and glitter hair gel), it was actually a can of Nivea deodorant (fun fact: I still use Nivea for the underarm department). I acted as if it was a bottle of Serge Lutens perfume—I thought it smelt out-of-this-world amazing. The next investment was the Clean & Clear face wash mentioned above. It was yellow, and left my tender pre-pubescent skin tight and flaky—I loved it. Next came Covergirl Clean Liquid Makeup ($16) (it's still available), and the Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($13)—I dare you to name a more iconic teenager duo?
Why, you ask, am I taking you on this trip down memory lane? Because these iconic purchases shaped what would evolve my view on the beauty industry. When I was 14, I used beauty products to firstly, impress my friends when I whipped a Clinique powder out of my school bag, but secondly, because they made me feel good.
It has always annoyed me that people call the beauty industry fluffy, superficial, or fake. I understand where they are coming from, and maybe I'm biased, but to me, beauty has always been a weapon; a means to boost self-confidence. Beauty products have the power to transform not just the way that you look, but how you feel. How damn good is a blow dry? Or a dab of concealer on a pimple before a date? All of a sudden, you're #flawless. A hot, steaming bath doused with essential oils and L'Occitane Lavender Foaming Bath ($43) after a killer day at work? Bliss.
I'm not saying I need makeup or skincare or dry shampoo to look and feel beautiful, but if they give me a boost, what could possibly be fluffy or superficial about that?
On the flip side, I've watched the industry go through some interesting transitions in what has been a relatively short period of time. For years, it's been saturated with painfully perfect campaigns, and airbrushed models all designed to sell a dream. But now, I'm seeing brands take baby steps towards more relatable messaging and imagery. Many brands have even banned airbrushing completely (not that the Gigi's and Bella's of the world ever really needed it anyway). Negative connotations like "anti-ageing" are on the way out, and brands are more about encouraging consumers to have fun and experiment with beauty. Mind you, there's a long way to go.
These days, I don't employ a thick layer of Covergirl on a daily basis, but I still love the feel-good vibes I get when my skin glows thanks to a wash of IT Cosmetics. My approach to beauty, and the industry in general, is that less is more, and I'm forever skeptical of outlandish claims on the latest skin cream launch, but I still stand by my belief that for some (me included) skincare and cosmetics can be one of the greatest confidence boosters there is. And that is the reason that I'll probably never do anything else with my time. So sound off in the comments, what would you like to see more of on Byrdie?