beauty

The most harmful myth JLo is perpetuating isn’t about Botox. It’s about joy.

In order to look like Jennifer Lopez, there are a few very specific things you’re going to need.

Hush now. Come in close. 

A drop of olive oil. A few pumps of sunscreen. A trace of hyaluronic acid.

Oh. And most importantly, eight products from the brand new JLo Beauty™ line including an $18 mask but also a $79 serum and we can't forget the $58 Blockbuster Wonder Cream that has the word 'miracle' on the front.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with a celebrity launching a skin care line. 

The problem came with an Instagram post Lopez published last week. Along with a video of herself lathered in the products, she wrote: "Each one [product] plays a key role in how I keep my skin feeling and looking youthful."

In the video she says: "The number one question I've been asked for the past 20 years is 'what do I do for my skin?' and finally it is here, I am spilling all the secrets about all the things I've learned over the years. What I know from using all the drugstore products I used growing up, to the most expensive products. I pretty much know everything that's on the market for skincare and I curated all of that knowledge along with secrets from my mum and put it all in this line." 

It's impossible to ignore the seriously flawed logic.

Lopez herself says she's been using skincare products for the past 20 years. It is those products (and treatments), at whatever price point, that ought to be credited for her tight, bright, seemingly ageless skin. Not a product line she launched a week ago at the age of 51. 

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JLo Beauty™ isn't to credit for Lopez's skin. It's merely an attempt to profit from it. 

So when Lopez tried to claim that she had no fine lines, no creases, no pigmentation, no collagen loss and no loss of elasticity at 51 years old as a result of some creams, her followers accused her of false advertising. A number of comments on the announcement simply read: "don't forget the Botox and fillers".

Now, women don't automatically owe us an explanation for what they do and don't do to their own face. But the moment you start using your face as a selling point, using it as proof that a certain product works, consumers surely have the right to ask some questions. 

And Lopez has the right of reply. 

Lopez insists she does not use injectables.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, she said: "I haven't ever had Botox to this day... I'm not that person. I don't have anything against people doing that; it's just not my thing. I'm more about a natural approach to skincare… but I want [my products] to work," she said.

"I'm not that person" probably wasn't the best choice of words. Not that person who... invests in their physical appearance? Or not that person who 'cheats'? Is there something more virtuous about using expensive lotions that live in a bottle, rather than expensive enzymes that are deposited through a needle? 

There isn't a cosmetic surgeon on the planet who believes Lopez hasn't undergone a whole list of prohibitively expensive treatments. If it's not Botox, it's filler. Or whatever else celebrities are having pumped into their faces these days.

But it wasn't the Botox comment I found to be the most unhelpful.

It was a remark Lopez made about joy. 

In a response to a comment that suggested she uses cosmetic injectables, Lopez said: "Sorry baby no I haven't ever used [Botox and fillers]. This is what I use I hope you enjoy. Also a joyful heart helps."

A joyful heart. 

Listen to Mamamia Outloud, where Mia, Jessie and Holly discuss this very topic - JLo's joyful heart. Post continues after podcast. 

She doubled down on this philosophy in an interview with Glamour magazine.

"I’m more about a natural approach to skincare. I think it starts first, honestly, with who you are on the inside and that shows on your face on the outside. That’s number one."

When my sister read that comment she suddenly exclaimed: "No wonder I look like a monster!"

So now, we're not only telling women they must look 21 at 51, but that if they don't, it's because of who they are as a person. 

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Some forehead creases? Try a joyful heart. Crow's feet? Maybe try being kinder. Jowls? Maybe if you weren't such a b***h, you'd look more like Jennifer Lopez.

It might be dismissed as another silly comment but it also speaks to a broader cultural myth that our external appearance somehow reflects the quality of our character. 

The ultimate beauty myth is that beautiful looking people have a joyful heart and ugly people don't. They're untrustworthy wicked witches. With big noses and rotting teeth and hairy moles. 

Have you ever noticed that every wicked witch is also - dare I say - old? She's a grumpy old lady, isolated in some forest, jealous of youth and beauty. She's the object of cultural ridicule. The worst thing you can be is an ugly, wicked old witch. 

No wonder women are lining up for cosmetic injectables.

Watch Mamamia Out Loud discuss their true feelings about plastic surgery. Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia. 

It's time to tell the truth about beauty.

Celebrities aren't beautiful and ageless because of their joyful hearts or their meditation practices or their endless kindness. It's not the result of sunscreen or water or even green vegetables. 

It's a little bit to do with genetics. And a lot to do with money. 

There are a class of people who have access to the elixir of eternal youth. You no longer need to bathe in the blood of virgins. 

You just need a lot of money. Or at least a fair amount of social capital, that will get you an appointment at the top cosmetic clinic, as well as a few bottles of God knows what. 

And when you tell women otherwise, you're gaslighting them. Lying to us to sell us yet another thing we don't need. 

No $18 mask is going to make you or me or my 60-something-year-old mum look like Jennifer Lopez. 

And neither will a 'joyful heart'. 

Feature Image: @jlo Instagram/Mamamia

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