2015 Beauty Takeback: Feminism and the Beauty Industry

03/13/2015 12:19 pm ET | Updated May 12, 2015
Roxie Jane Hunt

Dear Women,

Let's make 2015 the year we take back our beauty. Why? Because only 4 percent of women consider themselves beautiful and it is time for us to raise that number.

In our culture, we are told that we are supposed to look a certain way in order to be beautiful. We are told that we are beautiful exactly as we are. We are shamed for caring about how we look, and shamed for not caring enough. This shit is powerful, important, and it deeply messes with our brains.

Beauty is officially a feminist issue. As women of all colors and creeds, we are the target market in a gigantic multi- billion- dollar worldwide ad campaign from an unregulated industry that preys on and profits from our deepest insecurities about our bodies. Our sense of "beauty" has been hijacked by multinational cosmetics companies led mostly by rich white men.The time has come for us to take our beauty out of their hands and put it back where it belongs... in ours.

The Women's Liberation Movement did it's best to call to question the double standards and injustices imposed on women -- and the people who perpetrate them. Today, I call to question the industry that presumes to decide "what beauty is" without regard for the health and well-being of our bodies or our souls.

The time has come for us to take our beauty power back. I asked Alexis Krauss, writer and champion of Big Beauty Reform at BeautyLiesTruth to help me curate a list of five ways that we can take back our beauty practices, and reclaim our sense of what beauty means.

1. Do your research.

We need to be informed so that we can make informed choices. Spend 20 minutes researching unsafe chemical ingredients. Familiarize yourself with a few key chemicals to watch out for.

If I'm unsure about a product I'll check its Skin Deep rating provided by the Environmental Working Group. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics also has tons of chemical and ingredient information as well as other informative resources.

I always check the ingredient list for every makeup, skincare or haircare product I purchase. If a product contains an ingredient that I consider unsafe or unnecessary, I don't buy it.

2. Get Mad.

The lack of regulation within the cosmetics industry is truly despicable. Our beauty and personal care products are not regulated or tested for safety, and there are no labeling requirements.

Let this fact sink in. Beauty companies are not required to keep your health in mind, or to tell you the truth. And many of them don't. Remember, for many of these companies, it is about profit! So for all the women who have been duped by the false promises on the back of shampoo bottles, it is time to get pissed -- and speak up about it!

3. Take stock.

Give your life a "Beauty Audit." Start looking through the products you already have. Weed out all the ones that contain more than three ingredients that you can't pronounce. Accept the fact that pricier products don't mean better ingredients.

Take a good look at your beauty routine. Experiment with simplifying it. Find alternatives. There are some fantastic DIY beauty blogs out there, so have some fun and get crafty!

Be curious and open to change. I stopped shampooing my hair four years ago as an experiment, and that little experiment inspired an entire positive life shift for me. If you are ready to make a change and don't know where to start, I recommend going shampoo-free as a first step in your personal beauty take-back. The process is liberating, empowering, and eye-opening.

4. Talk about it! Social media/etc.

We have the power at our fingertips!

Social media is a huge force for consolidating like-minded people. Starting conversations can lead to entire shifts in social consciousness.

Share your experience with your "beauty audit" on social media! This is a fantastic way to start a great conversation that will help inspire your friends to be more beauty-empowered AND to connect with other people who are doing the same thing.

You can use social media to discover great up-and-coming responsible beauty brands and share them with your friends. Instagram is a fantastic way to follow emerging companies that are in line with your values and beliefs.

5. Use your dollar.

I make it a point to support brands that are run by people who are invested in health, wellness and sustainability.

Shop around for smaller beauty companies who are more in line with your values. Ask friends for suggestions, do an online search, read reviews, and make sure to shop smart.
By using our dollars wisely, we can shift the power of beauty out of the hands of the bigger companies. This will encourage them to innovate and progress while encouraging the growth of smaller brands who are more committed to your health and empowerment.

Big cosmetic companies will listen to their consumers if enough of them start demanding safer and more transparent formulations. We can't underestimate our power.

Sisters, remember that in this current social and political climate, the responsibility of advocating for change falls on us, and we need to work together to make things better. Start making small positive choices and let them inspire bigger positive changes. Let's create a world where women name the terms of their own beauty, and a majority of women feel beautiful and strong.

Please join us in this exciting movement of Big Beauty Reform! Get involved by using the hashtag #2015beautytakeback to share what you are doing to take back your beauty!