I feel for young women these days.

On one hand, it seems society is becoming more accepting of diversity, and yet on the other, the pressure to look Instagram-worthy has created a completely unrealistic baseline of what is considered beautiful. 

Call it the Kardashian effect. When I was young, one of the only ways to fake your looks was to add stuffing to your bra.

Now, you can:

  • visit a salon to have false eyelashes attached
  • get a spray tan
  • have long thick hair with extensions
  • use an electric lip plumping device...

And voila, you can look just like Kim (or Kylie or Khloe or whichever K is getting the most attention at the time).

The cost, time and effort to maintain this popular beauty blogger look is staggering.

Consider gel nails. A full set runs $50 or more, and refills need to be done every two to three weeks at $35 plus each time. Even a conservative estimate puts this expense at over $600 a year.

But a classic French manicure doesn’t cut it any more. Now, you need to add fancy art and jewels to your fingertips that runs an extra $5 or more per nail.

Lash extensions cost anywhere from $100 to $250 and last up to eight weeks, though most salons recommend touch-ups each month.

Researching this article, I discovered something I’d never even heard of: lash perming.

Apparently. the procedure lifts your natural eyelashes to make them more prominent, and best results are achieved by adding a tint.

And while you’re at it, get your eyebrows microbladed, a semi-permanent tattooing technique, for another $500. Because your natural eyebrows are simply not good enough.

Please understand, I am not judging any individual who gets such procedures. 

We all have aspects of our looks that we would wish to alter. And it’s great that there are new beauty tools and procedures to remedy minor beauty complaints. 

But I do take exception with the exploding industry built upon the premise that we should look radically different than we really are.

Rather than being viewed as one-offs, like getting a spray tan before your wedding, it seems the expectation is that women need these maintenance treatments to roll out of bed looking like a model every day.

And infuriatingly, all these techniques are geared toward making women look alike rather than accentuating one’s natural assets. 

I’ll admit to being more vain than most. But I simply don’t have the energy to complicate my life with monthly visits to “fix” my normal lashes, bushy eyebrows, and non-blinding teeth.

Maybe these are the non-physical benefits of aging — perspective and acceptance. 

The world certainly has more than enough over-bleached professionally-plucked injection-pouting Instagrammers. Just do you.

Because, truth be told, the social media icons are the most fake of all.


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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