Monday, 15 October 2012

Introduction: Richard (editorial)

When Cameron asked me to contribute to Beauty Insignia, I was excited: I love beauty products. But as much as I love beauty products, I love science. Ten years ago I dreamt of pursuing a career in beauty--a move which ended abruptly when I was refused from a college course in beauty therapy because of my gender. Instead, I began studying psychology. The academic rigour and scientific basis instilled inside of me through years of science-based education has given me a respect for quality and results. My love for beauty products remains and, I hope, my knowledge of skincare products has benefited because of it. 

I’m not going to claim that science trumps all--we know that it doesn’t. I’m not fond of the false dichotomy of nature-versus-science, because I believe a good product can be one that sits at either end of the continuum. The philosophical debate of what actually constitutes ‘natural’, too, is one that’s hard to answer (if, at all, it can be answered). But, there are products out there that work well. They might be natural or not. They are the products that are going to score highly for me. They are the products which are well-researched, well-formulated and which have withstood the test of time. Would I mark a product lower because it contains only-natural ingredients? No, because what matters is that the ingredients - whatever they are - work. It is about intelligent beauty. 

For me, intelligent beauty involves not just well-formulated products but psychologically-sound products. A good beauty product is holistic and person-centred. It is going to help people look good. It is going to do what it claims to do. There needn’t be a place for skincare fashions and fads, phoniness, marketing, media endorsements, trickery, sales patters or touting the demeaning ‘circle of shame’. Skincare products should benefit the consumer and not just the companies that make them. 

I've tried to apply these principles to my own skincare concerns. My skin is sensitive which is a challenge because I shower frequently after gym and pool use. So, I need gentle but effective products that aren’t going to leave my skin parched. I have found that this means I have to make a decision--either I can use gentle, additive-free products that soothe, or, alternatively, I can choose products with fragrances and added luxuries. I find it hard to find products that combine both of these qualities and I feel I have a lot to learn from Cameron's knowledge of natural skincare in helping me to do this. I am looking for products that combine effectiveness with pleasure of use. I intend to focus on these types of products whilst writing reviews for this site. 

I don’t know exactly what my contribution to this blog will become, but I hope that it’ll be worthwhile. I’m not – by any stretch of the imagination – a decent writer, nor am I a chemist or beauty professional. But, I am passionate about great products and looking good. Perhaps that will be enough.

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