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by Sonsoles Gonzalez
October 03, 2018
In my many years working in the beauty industry, there was an accepted hierarchy to the different body features and product categories. And it even permeated to how we felt about our specific assignments. It was known to be “face – hair – hands – body”, and depending on the season, body would be prioritized as legs, feet, and then the rest.
This related to how consumers valued their body features, and how much time, energy and money they were willing to invest in products to enhance or correct them. We as women have taken so much better care of our faces than the rest of our bodies for so long!
Working in hair care, we recognized our products were hand in hand with facial skin care, but we found an analogy that always resonated: your hair is like a frame around a picture. It can enhance it and even make a less than perfect image look much better. Or, when it doesn’t fit the style or isn’t well taken care of, it can make even the prettiest painting loose value.
But as the saying goes “you never truly value what you have until you lose it”. And it was last year, when two women near and dear to me were diagnosed with breast cancer and had to go through chemo, that I understood how deep our hair is related to our self-esteem. Thankfully, both my friend Rachel and my mom overcame the disease and the side effects of the treatments. But I am still impressed by how the prospect of losing their hair affected them even more than the illness itself. They are both smart, strong women, and their physical appearance is just a small part of who they are. But without their hair they felt naked and vulnerable. They didn’t feel sick, but losing their hair made them feel ill.
You may ask why am I bringing up the topic of hair loss as a side effect of chemo in what is a blog celebrating beauty at any age? Well, because as mature women we know that life is a rollercoaster ride, and we embrace it with its highs and lows. And whatever curve ball it throws at us, we have accumulated the wisdom and the power to put it in perspective and value it as a learning experience.
As my mom and my friend recovered and started growing their hair back, I was amazed with their new sense of confidence. My mother chose to embrace all the shades of brown and gray and gave up on coloring for a while. My friend Rachel fell in love with the short look in a very blond shade that reminds me of Annie Lennox, and she insists that this punk rocker style reflects how empowered she feels now.
So now, I value working on hair care products even more. Because I know that what we do is not just about hair and beauty. It is about creating the perfect frame for each picture. Or to put a proper crown on the faces of so many women who are beautiful and brave in their own particular way.