History has proved it multiple times that women would do anything to look attractive (younger and beautiful). In ancient times women used to massage their skin with wine to appear younger, in ancient Greek civilization it was widely believed that rubbing a crocodile’s urine on their skin will make it glowing and supple (seriously wtf). Thankfully now we have cosmetics, and women don’t have to try weird things for beautifying themselves. The idea of personal adornment has been passed down from as far back as 5000 B.C.
Let’s Talk stats:
In today’s world almost one million dollars are spent everyday for making cosmetics, everyday, this explains how widespread use of this commodity is. The average amount spent by a woman, annually, on cosmetics equals the amount spent by a family of five for medical care (considering how expensive medical care is in U.S).
History of cosmetics:
Once cosmetics were only reserved for royals (in ancient Greek and Egyptian civilization). Then came a time in history when use of cosmetics was considered vulgar and these were used only by immodest women (thank God that phase didn’t last long). Then came the era of glamor and suddenly everyone was using cosmetics.
Now we’re in an era where everyone uses cosmetics, rich, poor, young, old we all use cosmetics. It is an armor for the soul, the courage to face the world. Since, others are going to look at us and wearing an invisibility cloak in not an option (God, how awesome that would’ve been) we must look presentable and make the most of our appearances. Cosmetics are the magic potions applied on our face to restore the attraction we have lost (thanks to cell phone and other tech gadgets), I call my concealer my “BATTLE READY ARMOR” that covers up all my imperfections and make me look flawless.
Women and superficial standards of beauty:
Women are somehow pressurized into looking good all the time (which is almost impossible), there is so much emphasis on looking youthful for women. They have been made to believe that their whole self-worth depends on just their bodies and looks. The trap of materialism has gotten to us so bad that even in times of depression there was a continued increase in cosmetics industry. It was the only industry that showed reverse stats. It flourished instead of going down.
The Big Figures:
The idea of how much profit companies make out of cosmetics can be taken from the fact that whole sellers advertise 100% to 150% profit to retailers. The cost of a regular jar of face cream can be anywhere from a few cents to a dollar or $10 to $15, that’s all. The same cream is retailed at $40 to $55.
There have been advertisements regrading cosmetics that they’ll improve the quality of your life by making you more beautiful and in turn more personable which will make you more popular. This whole thing is a ridiculous leap of faith (that most consumers take). I saw and advertisement for a face cream that literally said ,” apply it during the night and greet your husband with a new face in the morning”, like girl, what is wrong with my existing face. I am not against cosmetics, hell, I am a consumer myself, but the unnecessary hype that is created and the misleading, unrealistic expectations that brands set are absurd.
Different type of cosmetics:
As I mentioned earlier, everyone uses cosmetics, so the distribution range is pretty wide. There a countless brands that cater to different market segments. At first there were only high end brands, like Chanel, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Dior, Loreal, but these were only affordable for, well, in simple words, rich people. But the popularity of cosmetics led to dawn of medium and indie brands. These brands were affordable for almost everyone. Color pop, NYX, ELF cosmetics, these brands revolutionized the cosmetic industry and now major portion of revenue comes from these indie brands. Most of these brands have been acquired by bigger corporations like Loreal, Estee lauder, and dior.
Cosmetics and Packaging:
Packaging for cosmetics is a real pain in butt for most indie brands. Packaging has a value chain of its own, it is a separate complete production cycle, from raw material to manufacturing to assembly. Considering how visual today’s consumer is, brands can’t resort to stock packaging (until the want to commit suicide which I’m sure they don’t). the correct approach is using custom packaging for the products but that can take a toll on the overall budget and may significantly increase the cost of products.
Manufacturing Custom window cosmetic boxes for highlighters and blush-on may add up to $5 to the overall cost of the product. This is a huge change and can affect the whole business model.
Companies who want to have custom packaging for their products while staying in budget outsource the packaging for their products. It is a more economical and efficient solution.
Conclusion of debate:
What I said above was an amalgamation of social impact of cosmetics, a little info about the cosmetic industry and a packaging solution for cosmetic brands, but I want to conclude on the note of body positivity. Women are the prime consumers of cosmetics, they invest in their physical appearance more than they do in their health. It’s not because they’re not comfortable in their own skin, it’s mainly because of constant social pressure and scrutiny regarding their looks. We all have an innate need to look beautiful and feel more socially acceptable, but your self-worth should not depend solely on your physical appearance, that heart of gold that you have, should be enough.