Is Skincare A Marketing Gimmick or an Actual Part of Self Care?

When the coronavirus forced our governments to legally put us on house arrest, there were two types of advertisements I encountered: the ones for online courses/workshops and for skincare.

Being a makeup enthusiast I honestly expected that the cosmetic industry would shut down during the lockdown. If no one will care about how they look while working from home or simply doing their dishes, how would these companies survive now? I thought. Well they survived and passed the test of time in flying colors with the help of skincare.

Before 2020, skincare for me meant a face wash,multani mitti, some moisturizer and the occasional acnestar for those stubborn zits. But after 2020, I was getting educated by brands left and right about chemical exfoliation and 2000 reasons why I needed that niacinamide serum they have started selling. And honestly I bought it and spent over 3,000 rupees on skincare without a doubt.

After some introspection I realized my mistake, there was really no formula in the world that can stop my skin from breaking out every now and then.This line of thought took me back to those sparkly skin care advertisements. I realised that I was not only purchasing a solution for my acne, I was buying the concept of self-care. 

And this led me to write this blog. My question is- is skin-care really self care? Or something advertisers and marketers invented. Well! Here’s what I think:

Skincare independently is definitely not self-care, there are many people with different explanations of the term “Self Care”, it can be as simple as taking a walk everyday, going to the gym, spending time with family, reading books or meditating.

With the pandemic creating unrest in the economy, luxury products such as fashion and makeup needed to take the back seat for many, keeping aside the recent trend of revenge buying. I have seen big luxe brands, like Mac, and Benefit Cosmetics offering mini versions of their products. The makeup community/ industry needed a quick remedy and I strongly believe skincare was their smart way-out of going into heavy losses.

Another reason for brands going after skincare can be that skincare in its most basic form is a part of personal hygiene. We want our face to be clean and free of acne/spots. And in the world we live in, hygiene has become critical for us to not get infected by a deadly virus. 

Skincare has emerged as a way for young millennials including myself to cope with the dark times and a world where nothing makes us hopeful.

Promises of a “better you”, easily latch on to our minds now more than ever, because we think that we are not really working on ourselves and we are constantly made to feel as if we are not good enough if we are not productive or taking “care” of ourselves. 

A brand even went ahead and named one of its serums as the “Self-Esteem Sleep Serum”.

The relief of following a routine and getting to feel like you are spending on health and wellness turns buying tons of skincare without any reason, into a rational decision in our minds. 

So after reading all these opinions you must be wondering where I am going with this; my goal is to answer a simple question: Is the beauty industry manipulating us and magnifying our insecurities?

The answer is, absolutely yes!

Our insecurities, and our need to find ‘self-worth’ is being banked upon by skincare brands. Scrolling through endless before and after pictures of “influencers” will make you feel inclined to make your own routine using the products of a particular brand. In the end, when your expectations aren’t met by a brand you are more likely to feel a sense of distrust and may even feel a bit hopeless about your skin.

If skincare was really Self care, it should solve problems not create new problems in your mind! 

Next time you encounter such advertisements selling “self care”,  “self-esteem” and “natural beauty”, think about how impermanent this  happiness is, before you complete your purchase.

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