The title of this post might seem slightly bizarre: what makes us buy cosmetics? Surely, we buy cosmetics to improve our natural looks, enhance our favourite features and feel that little bit better about ourselves. But scratch below the surface; naturally, those reasons are WHY we buy the products, but what prompts us to fall that little bit in love with the idea of them?
I’ve just sat and watched Dior’s extended commercial featuring Kate Moss. I started watching it quite innocently; I’d seen it featured on YouTube and, as a person interested in both cosmetics and Kate, I clicked play. Around half way through, I was completely immersed in the little world Dior had created on screen. When it finished, I’d realised that that is EXACTLY what Dior wanted to achieve. Had I previously wanted to invest in a Dior lipstick? Not really. Do I afterwards? Yes – I felt it was necessary for my very survival.
For those few moments in between finishing watching the film and getting a bloody grip, I had felt that if I owned that lipstick, I would suddenly miraculously turn into a world-famous supermodel/actress/singer and live the Hollywood dream. In reality, I’d still live in an old student terraced house in the North of England with nothing gained but a pretty stick of make up and a lighter purse.
But I guess that is the power of advertising. Advertising comes in many forms; from high-budget films like the one above to glossy print ads to the humble YouTube video. Like it or not, each time we feature products in our videos or blogs (and praise them) it’s a form of advertising. There’s nothing wrong with it – it’s just fact.
I’ll use the example of OPI to demonstrate my point. After spending a few years watching YouTube videos avidly, I had come to the conclusion that, if I didn’t buy an OPI Nail Polish soon, my life as a beauty ‘expert’ (hmm.) was a farce and my quality of life would be heavily diminished. So, I invested in one, and then another, and then four more, and then the latest one.
So, after painting my talons did I feel that rush of hope for the future or a heightened self-worth. No, I just had blue nails. That is all that really changed. I did feel happy to have pretty nails, but I felt more happy that I’d finally bought into the dream. For a little while. Then I realised that it’s just nail polish.
Please don’t get me wrong – I have a passion for beauty and it is something I enjoy. I’m just highlighting how easy it is to get caught up in the promised glitz and glamour, and how funny it is to think about when you’ve taken a step back. Am I going to continue buying OPI? Sure! It’s fun to have cute nails. It won’t change your life to own a particular make up item, but it might give you a little rush of happiness.
I’d love to hear your thoughts after reading this post – please feel free to leave me a comment below!