Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Does White = Beauty?
Somethings don't change, and that's the perennial quest for fairer skin. Yup the history of cosmetic whiteners goes a long way back. The ancient Greeks and Romans applied lead paint to whiten their skin in the face of dangerous health hazards, and many women and even men today continue to lust after this beauty ideal, especially in Asia.
Here in Malaysia the quest for fairness is well and alive. Walk into any pharmacy or Watsons outlet, and it would be difficult not to find some amount of whitening substance in most of the beauty care products. From facial foams to moisturizers, the promise of fairer skin screams out from the product labels.
Like honestly, do these products really result in naturally fairer skin? call me a cynic, but I think white is just an overrated fad which for some reason is not dying out the way it should. As far as I am concerned, moisturizer and sunblock will save the day for me. Plain and simple.
Whitening a Devil of a Culture
Not surprisingly whitening products were born in India. The first of such products was Unilever's Fair and Lovely which continues to dominate the country's fairness market to this day. The idea for the product came about after consumer research by the company revealed that most Indians want fairer skin.
In fact Fair and Lovely is quite sought after among Malaysians too. It has pride of place on the vanity table of many an Indian girl here who sees it as her answer to fairer skin? did all these girls turn fairer and more beauti......fullll? well why not buy a bottle and try it out for yourself?
A male colleague once raved about the beauty of Pakistani and middle eastern women. "They have pale marble smooth skin," he said. And that seems to be the ideal among many women - pale translucent skin. The fact however is that our skin type is very much determined by how much melanin we have in our skin and which part of the world our ancestors hailed from.
Considering the part of the world we live in, it's the beauty of tan skin that we should be raving about. We are located near the equator line, it's hot all year round, most of us are brown in varying shades, yet a lot of darker toned women find it difficult to get the right shade of foundation or powder.
It's about time we embraced our skin tone for what it is and started using/buying products that will enhance and maintain the health of our skin. Not turn it into something that it is not. Better to have glowing healthy brown skin than chalky pale skin.