• e.l.f. cosmetics

    The economic power of self-love

    In the United States, we have recently seen a push for self-love on social media, TV shows and other outlets.

    Huff Post, Psychology Today and Bustle, among others, are reminding us to love ourselves completely. On a micro-scale, the realization and practice of self-love in day-to-day life through healthy eating, meditation, moderate exercise and affirmations (i.e. I’m a bad bitch, I have an abundant cash flow, My eyebrows slay, etc.) will never let you down.

    Personally, my self-love is pouring over after years of cultivating it. Now, the businesswoman in me wonders, what are the economic impacts of my self-love in a world and economy that are built upon tearing me down?

    To illustrate my point, I turn to the natural hair movement as an example of self-love and poppin’ curls disrupting the economy.  You can no longer walk down the block of any given city without seeing a black woman or man rocking their natural, swirling, curly crowns. We see perms are no longer the norm and natural hair products are being added to store shelves everyday. This hair care shift is not only a beautiful, political embrace of our bodies, but it demonstrates the economic staying power that self-love offers. The 500 billion dollar Black hair care industry is changing radically due to something that’s always been preached and rarely practiced—that thing we call self-motha-effin-love.

    What industry will self-love rock next?

    I foresee more harmful beauty practices going adios, one of those practices being skin-lightening. Currently, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. projects the global market for the skin lightening industry will reach $23 billion this year. Within the US alone, people are paying $10 billion a year to be lighter as explored in Bill Duke’s documentary ‘Light Girls,’ which turns the spotlight on colorism and the profit made on convincing magically melanin people that they are lacking.

    Besides the obvious risks factors associated with applying bleach to skin, the nuances of racial hierarchy and preferences are pronounced through the practice. We can look to celebrities like Beyoncé, Lil Kim, Michael Jackson, Sammy Sosa and Keri Hilson who are suspected of, if not flat out known to have practiced skin bleaching techniques. What gives? Does adhering to whiteness give a person more prominence or security? I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.

    What can we do?

    Be a self-love advocate for yourself and for others with these small, everyday practices:

    • Support companies that sell you on loving yourself authentically
    • Tell others that you like them in their natural state
    • Do a no make-up Monday everyone now and then
    • Support skin products that don’t promise to lighten, but promise to make your already perfect skin tone glow
    • Remind yourself and others that you are fearfully and wonderfully made
    • Don’t tear down another person’s body type or hair texture
    • Cheer yourself on—even when you’re feeling low

    Lena Madison
    Lena Madison

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