Vanity or career necessity

Last month, during my Skype lesson, I noticed my student looked prettier than previously.

“You have got sparkling eyes; what’s the good news?”

She giggled and lowered her voice. “I don’t know the word in English; in French, it’s ‘rehaussement de cils’. With this, I don’t need a mascara; when I do, it takes only a second, unlike before”.

After researching on this “rehaussement de cils” (eyelash enhancement), I wanted to do mine too. The eyes are a focal point of anyone’s face. Women with long eyelashes and large eyes are often considered to be beautiful. Was I vane to wish for full and long lashes that would give me a youthful and healthy look without mascara or eyelash extensions?

I was only a few steps away from our local beautician to make an appointment when I turned around. Walking back home, I bumped into my Irish friend. I told her that I had intended to have an eyelash enhancement but didn’t have the guts to do it. Smiling, almost laughing, she said: “You don’t need it; you look much younger than your age.” *

Whether my Irish pal was being nice to me or telling the truth was not the point. Has the rampant use of online platforms for work meetings and seminars since the pandemic led to an increase in cosmetic procedures? Is this vanity or a way to improve self-esteem, confidence and image?

“I had Botox injection because I had enough of seeing my Zoom-fatigue face”, an acquaintance confided in me. Could she have done something else aside from resorting to this minor cosmetic procedure?

Minor cosmetic operators can be registered and unregistered providers and their costs can be more than one thousand euros per session. The procedure must be repeated, ending up as a permanent feature of one’s budget. How many people can afford this? Those who have money to do it should choose someone or a company registered with their local health or professional regulatory agency.

As well, they should discuss it with their doctor, who might be able to recommend a cosmetic practitioner. Even though they are only thinking of a minor cosmetic procedure (e.g. fillers, neurotoxins and the use of laser and energy devices), there are still possible side effects, such as infection, pain, bruising, dryness and stiffness.

The most popular forms of cosmetic surgery for men are rhinoplasty (nose) and blepharoplasty (eyelid); women’s top three are breast augmentation, liposuction and eyelift.

There are abundant online reports on poorly or incorrectly administered cosmetic procedures that resulted in lifetime scaring and long-term rashes. So, when you look at your wrinkled or drooping eyelids in the mirror or on Zoom, Teams or Webex, weigh the pros and cons.

The skills, attitudes and behaviours of any teacher, supervisor, colleague, or service provider are more important than physical attributes; therefore, these should be harnessed first. Looking professional and presentable is a sign of respect for your students, colleagues, and collaborators. However, isn’t it a mistake to have a cosmetic procedure only to please others or attain career success?

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” ― Coco Chanel (1883-1971, French fashion designer, businesswoman and founder of the Chanel brand).

*Why do we want to appear younger than our biological age? Age is only a number, and it is the quality of our daily experience that matters.

(This article also appears on my website Rolade Societal Blog - roladesocietalblog.com)

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