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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The No More Cosmetics Pledge

Jan 15, 2013

Hello, and welcome to this week's post.  Today I'm going to talk about a subject that is near and dear to many women's hearts, my own included - makeup and haircare products.  I was reading an article by Meghan Murphy the other day that discussed the use of cosmetics as being a function of the patriarchy.  In other words, because marketing execs have sold women on the idea that their natural appearance is not good enough, thus the multi-billion dollar business that is cosmetics is born.  You can read Meghan's article here:

It got me thinking about the thousands of dollars I have spent in my life on cosmetics and hair care products without even noticing, a perfect illustration of how the pyramid scheme we call capitalism works:  Virtually every woman on every tier of the pyramid buys beauty products, sending a massive amount of money upwards to the companies that mass produce these oftentimes toxic substances,  who test them on animals, and who as usual, package them in plastic and truck them all over the world.  The owners of these companies then horde all that money they've cashed in those resources for, rendering them useless to anyone but themselves.  Doesn't seem fair, does it?
The world has a finite number of resources, and they are being transformed into products that marketing execs have convinced you that you Absolutely! Must! Buy! to be pretty.  In turn, when you buy them, it turns those resources into a dollar amount which the super-rich sit on and hoard.  And in order to perpetuate this process, these companies saturate society with the message that women in their natural state are not good enough, so that we are ashamed to go out in public without makeup on.
 Could it be that makeup companies deliberately undermine women's self confidence?  Let's think about Loreal's current, "Because you're worth it" slogan.  The message underneath of that one is 'go ahead, buy our hair colourants (dump a ton of chemicals down your sink into the water table too by the way, but we won't get into that one) because we all know your natural hair colour looks like shit.  You don't want to go around looking like shit, do you?  You're worth the twelve dollars! So do us all a favor and spend it on altering your lacklustre appearance!" And none of us even stop to question it.
Shortly after I read Meghan's article I was sitting with my good friend Steph and as usual, admiring her hair because it is the most ridiculously soft-looking, healthy long hair I`ve ever seen, and I`m like, "What do you use to get it to go like that, Steph? and she's like, "Nothing."  I couldn`t believe it.  Acting all nonchalant, I was like, "Yeah, I try not to use my blowdryer or straightener too much either, because it's so damaging.  I just use volumizer and smoothing serum" and she just looked right at me and said "I dont use any of those things because they're all full of alcohol and they dry out your hair."
I tried to keep a neutral face on, but I was inwardly thunderstruck.  Here I am all these years hating my hair, complaining that it's too dry or too damaged, putting in highlights and colourants, buying all these different products trying to find the magical one that will 'fix' it and then I go and ask the one person I know who's hair always looks great and she tells me she just washes it and lets it dry naturally. Well you know what?  I`m trying it. 
That's when the idea for the No More Cosmetics pledge came in.  Readers of Self Sufficiency, I hereby pledge that I will not purchase makeup again until all of the stuff that I have is used up.  I also pledge right now to stop using product of any nature on my hair except for shampoo, and that means going back to my natural colour as well.
It's a daunting prospect, but I think I can do it, and whenever I get frustrated, I'll just simply refer to the following table to reaffirm my dedication:
Me minus Thousands of dollars = dry, damaged hair
Steph minus zero dollars = beautiful, healthy hair. 
I estimate that prior to now I spent $30 per month on volumizer and serum alone.  That's a fairly hefty investiture.  Now that I'm not buying it anymore, over the course of a year, it's going to save me $360 if I stick to it, and guess what folks?  Since that's one week's mortgage that I'm stealing back from capitalism, I think I'll be sticking to it.  Yoink!

I have been going without volumizer and serum for three days now, actually, and already I'm finding that my hair seems softer.  It doesn't even look that frizzy, surprisingly, and when I wake up in the morning it's not immediately evident that I need to wash it.  I'm starting to wonder if that so called dirty hair look was actually just a build up of products.  Gross!
What's more, it's taking less shampoo to lather my hair, meaning that I'll go through way less of it over the year, another excellent example of how just saying no to the demands of capitalism (and therefore the patriarchy) pulls money back off the escalator. 

No Garden Patch update today, but I'll add my $30 savings on haircare products to the $54.16 that my husband and I have saved by his not buying lunch and arrive at a total of $80.16 as our total year-to-date savings through the initiatives discussed in this blog.  Not a bad total for fifteen days' work.  See you next week!

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