Wednesday 18 September 2019

What is Irish women's obsession with faking it with beauty? We investigate

Applying spray tan
Applying spray tan

Sarah Kiely

Irish women are faking it… at least when it comes to appearance.

The cosmetics industry in Ireland is a multi-million euro business. According to the ICDA, the industry in Europe has reported sales in excess of 70 billion, so it’s pretty safe to say we love our slap.

I, myself, am a self-confessed beauty addict. I spend the majority of my earnings on products and treatments. I get the same buzz out of buying skincare that other women get from shoes.

I’m no stranger to faking it. I’m proud of taking care of my appearance and don’t judge anyone who chooses to do the same. I’ve never had cosmetic surgery, but I am not against it, once done ethically and responsibly by both the patient and the surgeon.

We surveyed Irish women to pick their brains and pocket-spend, when it comes to all things enhancement.

We once looked across the pond at our American cousins and tutted at their penchant for plastic, but it seems Irish women’s attitudes have changed with almost 60% saying they would consider cosmetic surgery, with brow lifts and lipo as the top procedures of choice.

Gone are the days of finger pointing and fervent judgement of our peers who choose to go under the knife, as 89% of you said you would not judge another women negatively for having cosmetic surgery.

It’s probably a fair assumption that the curtain twitching and after-Mass gossiping of old Ireland, has been replaced by more discreet screenshots of Jen from school’s new boobs/nose/chin, in countless Whatsapp groups up and down our [un]fair Isle. However, the figures appear to reflect a once taboo industry in Ireland, is becoming more accepted.

85% of those who took our poll said they wore fake tan and over half admitted feeling less confident without it. It’s no wonder Ireland’s Tanning Queen Marissa Carter, has created an empire on our love of the brown stuff.

We love a good nail too. 73% of us are shelling out at the salon, with the majority keeping their talons on point at monthly appointments and for special occasions.

When it comes to injectables like Botox and fillers, only 13% admitted to trying, with 54% opting for Botox, 38% for lip fillers and just 8% for face. Interestingly almost 80% said the Kardashian/Jenner family had no influence on their decision to use injectables, so we can we kiss the Kylie effect goodbye?

Back to our roots, 73% of us get our hair professionally done and 82% have their hair coloured regularly. When it comes to applying hair that’s not our own, almost 40% wear or have worn hair extensions and 85% false eyelashes, but the majority who did, did so on special occasions only.

Contouring is definitely a trend Irish women have embraced, with more than half of us buffing and blending our way to a more chiselled complexion. Over 70% of those who love throwing shade with their brushes, said they feel more attractive when they contour.

With all these tips, treatments and techniques comes a price. The average spend per year on hair treatments being €805, beauty treatments came in at €792, injectables €1258 and cosmetic purchases €771.

We know the price of beauty on our purses, but what about on our state of mind?l

Karina Melvin Psychologist, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and founder of Artful, advises we take caution when it comes to faking our appearance, to help ensure a state of wellbeing is sustained.

‘’What’s crucial in a time when there is an increasing push towards perfection, is to look to enhance and respect our bodies without trying to fundamentally change who we are externally. Now that cosmetic procedures are not just socially acceptable, but also relatively affordable and accessible, some people are feeling the pressure to look like their idols in an effort to boost their self-esteem.’’ She tells us.


However, Karina agrees as with most things in life, it’s striking a balance that’s essential: ‘’ It is important to take pride in one's appearance, but trying to fundamentally change how we look is concerning as we can never look as good as the staged, airbrushed, curated social media representations.’’


Source: 100 Irish women aged 18-44 via Survey Monkey

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