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Do People Really Need Beauty Products?

Why is this Frenchman on BellaSugar? Well, because he's Jean-Paul Agon, the CEO of L'Oréal worldwide, and I was intrigued by something he said in this interview. The business reporter suggests that "there must be a challenge in producing and selling cosmetic products, which absolutely nobody needs."

That statement struck me because on the one hand, it's true. You don't really need lipstick or hair dye to survive, and there are plenty of bogus beauty products whose purpose is only to make money. But on the other hand, I'd argue that while women can and do survive without cosmetics, we can gain a lot of self-esteem through wearing them. When you're happy with your appearance, you feel better overall; I know that when I feel attractive, I present myself more confidently. So while you can survive without cosmetics, I think they add a lot to your overall quality of life.

Want to see how Jean-Paul Agon responded, which may be the most polite way that anybody has ever said, "Oh, SNAP!" ever? Just

I love how classy and firm he was in responding to the reporter. Even though he's a man, he clearly knows something about feminine psychology—and history, too:

I strongly but respectfully disagree. I'm sure that is just a nice provocation on your part. Beauty products and cosmetics have been used since the Egyptians and the Greeks or before. Beauty has always been part of civilization. Beauty products make people happier. When people look good, they feel better. Their relationship with others is better.

What do you think? Are beauty products essential to you? How would you have responded to this reporter? Source

Join The Conversation
xrockette19x xrockette19x 9 years
i absolutely love beauty products, i think they are tons of fun and i am forever trying new ones. i don't think i NEED them though. i would probably feel very self conscious if i just stopped wearing make up and using other beauty products (what counts as a a beauty product, and what counts as hygienic?), but i guess if no one else used makeup or anything either, i wouldn't really notice. i still think it would be a lot less fun though, makeup and fashion are huge reasons why i'm so glad i'm a girl!!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I think beauty products really can make someone more confident. Sure we don't need them and you shouldn't need them to feel beautiful but I wouldn't want to live without them.
madhatter madhatter 9 years
Even though I'm guilty of putting on some foundation for a useless trek to the grocery store, I think it's terribly sad that women can't just BE confidant without makeup. It's one of those things that, once you know the potential you have WITH it, you don't want to look at the before pictures anymore. Every once in a while, though, I go out with no makeup on and (surprisingly) get compliments. It's just as nice as guys doing double-takes when I'm in makeup - maybe even better.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i would like to use the "ugly betty" show as an example. Betty Suarez doesn't wear makeup nor do her hair up but yet she's smart, kind, and a hard worker on top of other stuff. In spite of these characteristics she is not treated well by most of her colleagues at Mode Magazine because of her appearance. While it doesn't seem like she has lack of confidence due to her lack of makeup/hair/nice clothes, it does seem like everyone else around here judges her by her outward appearance.
fadeastride fadeastride 9 years
That man is fabulous, and that's the truth.
babylish babylish 9 years
they way i view cosmetics is that the physical enhancement we achieve because is highly psychological. when i feel aesthetically pleasing it translates to an enhanced sense of self and therefore a "boost" in my own self confidence.
angel0950 angel0950 9 years
i wholeheartedly agree that beauty products are absolutely essential to those who have the need and desire for them, myself included.
mleiv mleiv 9 years
I almost never wear "makeup," but as a Rosacea sufferer, I wear a lot of expensive lotions that were developed for purely cosmetic reasons (post laser-peel recovery, for instance). And I would point out that cosmetic surgery was largely pioneered in treating World War II disfigurements. So I think that the purely cosmetic and the life-changing medicinal side of beautification tend to go hand-in-hand. I don't think the makeup retailers are saints, but I don't think they are just exploiting we weak desperate insecure women either. As women vainer and richer than I learn to make themselves more beautiful and age more slowly, well, I will see benefit from that also. I think people who resent our culture's beauty obsession and those who find themselves too obsessed with how they measure up both need to chill out and get some perspective.
dcmurray1970 dcmurray1970 9 years
I wear very little make-up, but when I go out I feel like I need it more. So maybe he is right
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
Of course we dont need it to PHYSICALLY survive, but I do agree that we need it MENTALLY to survive. If we didn't have it, I really feel that alot of people would have low self-esteem and focus on feeling bad about themselves. There is nothing like a new hair/cut/color/lipgloss/blush to make you feel better!
mlen mlen 9 years
i don't think we need it to survive, and i don't think i need it to feel good about myself, but i clearly enjoy it! i enjoy playing around with it and changing it up- same with my hair color. if i had to go out tomorrow with natural hair and no make up, i'd be ok.. but after a while i'd just get bored!
KerryG KerryG 9 years
Hmm, that's an interesting question. I agree absolutely that when we feel better about how we look, we feel better about who we are, and treat and relate to other people better, too. If beauty products help us achieve that, then yes, they are necessary and important. But I think they can also become a crutch. Maybe it's just because I don't wear makeup, but I think it's kind of sad if you ONLY feel good about yourself when you're wearing make-up. That's not a confidence enhancer, that's a dependency, a dependency that reveals exactly how little confidence in yourself you genuinely have.
lintacious lintacious 9 years
greenpaisley: "basically mimicking signs of good health? ...you know, rosy cheeks and lips, big bright eyes?" These are all examples of our current standard of beauty and interpretation of facial features; all of which has changed over the course of history. At one time, rosy cheeks and a "healthy" tan were not thought of to be healthy at all. Read this: http://www.fashion-era.com/make_up.htm Here's an excerpt: "Women in the 19th century liked to be thought of as fragile ladies. They aimed always to look pale and interesting. Paleness could be induced by drinking vinegar and avoiding fresh air. A pale skin was a mark of gentility. It meant that a lady could afford to not work outdoors getting suntanned which was then considered vulgar and coarse. Continuous work in sun and harsh weather coarsened the skin then, as it does now. "
Royal_Red Royal_Red 9 years
Yeah, beauty products are vain, most of them does not change anything, or at least just pernamently, yet we feel good using it.
helenette helenette 9 years
interesting
girlboy girlboy 9 years
the answer: yes.
Chiquita-82 Chiquita-82 9 years
I agree with him, makeup is not essential for us to survive. But it makes me feel happier.That's why i keep hauling new products :)
ladybugrenee ladybugrenee 9 years
um i think ALL girls need makeup...it enhances whatever natural beauty they have!~
KandiQTC KandiQTC 9 years
I think everyone (including the males that use any sort of make-up, etc.) enjoy having the ability to at home air brush (wear make up) because perfection is ALWAYS preferred over imperfection.
greenpaisley greenpaisley 9 years
In response to HelloKittyMini's comment:"Isn't it possible we do need cosmetics as part of the mating ritual? Other animals have built in color, used to attract mates. Birds have different coloring etc. We outside of the act of blushing do not have such color changes." I think it's true the this is probably what makeup was originally used for... basically mimicking signs of good health? ...you know, rosy cheeks and lips, big bright eyes? It seems like since that point it's just grown from there and become a real outlet for creativity :)
greenpaisley greenpaisley 9 years
I think if I was put into this this man's position, I would have said something about how yes, they are totally unnecessary, but in a world where some people (like myself, haha) have to work long hours in a job they hate, and have almost no time for anything fun, cosmetics are one outlet for me to have a little fun and glamour in my life. They definitely brighten this girl's day.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I love my lip glosses and highlights! Although I do understand his point; we really don't need it; however we want it and it gives us some extra confidence. I really love my cosmetics and hair coloring though.
alillee alillee 9 years
omg! i have to have makeup and beauty products! they are muy importante!
Janeiro Janeiro 9 years
That's the whole point of advertising: having you buy something you don't need (usually with an undertone of fear). Makeup is so ingrained in every culture that when you don't wear it to work you're considered suspicious so, by force of peer pressure, it becomes necessary for social acceptance. The same applies to blasted heels.
Jennifer_2sugar Jennifer_2sugar 9 years
Some people are really beautiful for who they are as a person so I agree makeup is a silly thing but we do need our confidence to be the person we are so a little makup is always kind of fun :makeup: <- but not that much
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