Toxic Beauty Ideals

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Toxic beauty ideals

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is probably the most impactful marketing and PR initiative I’ve seen during my journalism career. It was a wakeup call when it launched in 2004, and today the brand’s self-esteem mission feels more relevant than ever. (ICYMI, check out Dove’s powerful new film addressing social media and eating disorders in girls here.)

The toxic beauty ideals that Dove’s campaign rallies against, including those behind them, is being increasingly spoken about. Now, even the Kardashians appear to be acknowledging the part they play in it, with a trailer for the new series of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ showing Kylie Jenner reckon with the impact that they have on peoples’ body image.

The Kardashians are an obvious example of artificial beauty that has become normalised. But other influential figures portraying a more low-key and seemingly ‘natural’ beauty can unwittingly promote unrealistic standards too.

Viral trends such as the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ – a beauty version of ‘quiet luxury’ – are synonymous with a minimalist beauty look, but many of us know that ‘effortless’ beauty is usually anything but. Take the contradictory ‘no make-up’ make-up: often what makes it so photogenic is the time and money spent on beauty prep (not to mention the professional lighting!). The brow and lash treatments, injectable tweaks, tanning and facials aren’t usually accounted for in a ‘5-minute face’ tutorial.

Admittedly, I love many of these videos. I’ve made them myself. But I think when talking minimal make-up/skincare we should acknowledge that it can still mean maximal beauty routines. Which, of course, come with commitment – financial and otherwise.

With repeated exposure to physical enhancement on social media altering our perceptions of ‘natural’ (according to this study), we have a responsibility to portray some reality. That means questioning how our messaging might be interpreted by impressionable audiences, working with honest influencers and celebrities, and spreading self-esteem messaging however we can.

What Bridget thinks…

“Fragrance press releases are typically flamboyant, and this is no exception, but I appreciate the energy it exudes which captures the nature of the perfume. The editorial visuals and punchy graphics make it.”


Jaded by fizz?


Rise and fall


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