Recently, Refinery29's Autumn Whitefield-Madrano wrote an article questioning whether DIY alternatives are the only path to conscious beauty. She discusses a tragic at-home bikini wax before explaining that the expose of labor abuses in nail salons last month caused her to reframe beauty services as luxuries rather than necessities, and sparked her personal mission to bring 'self-care' back into the home.
Autumn paints a striking picture of how when things seem too cheap, it's because they are: "It didn’t make any sense that my manicure could cost less than a beer. I was unwilling to look too closely at the exploitative economics of the services I was paying for..." She explains that when beauty services shifted to 'affordable luxuries' (e.g. the $7 mani), they became necessities, "[keys] of access for aspiring professionals." But she doesn't discount the feel-good nature of being pampered, concluding that conscious beauty doesn't always have to be DIY, but it does have to be mindful. Her solutions to conscious beauty include valuing beauty labor by supporting salons that charge fair prices, giving tips directly to workers, reporting spaces that do not seem safe or ventilated, and remembering to treat these services as what they are - indulgences.
As a twentysomething who used to work at a manicure company, but can count on two hands the amount of times I've gone to a salon, I see where Madrano is coming from. I've gotten four manicures (one at work, two from a family friend), tried my hand at eyebrow threading, been a beauty school guinea pig twice, and have never gotten a pedicure (because if I don't want to touch my feet, why should I make someone else). All these services were for very specific purposes - special occasions like prom, a reward after a really hard week, pampering after a dramatic breakup - and after all of them I knew that I had bent my budget because sometimes you just need to #treatyourself. I know in this situation I'm probably the outlier. I know people that have gotten weekly manicures since they were sixteen, and if you're one of them, that's okay. The point of Madrano's article isn't to shame people who love going to the salon. It's to remind all of us that whether we're consuming beauty services, fashion, food, or anything in between we should be conscious of why we're doing it and what our money is going towards. And sometimes, minus the terrifying idea of an at-home bikini wax, DIY beauty can be fun!
If you feel like skipping the salon, we've put together a list of our favorite conscious products for the perfect girls night in.