Hamish McKenzie talks to Jessica DeFino about the ravages of beauty culture, her struggles as a journalist in the age of social media, and the ageism of ‘Instagram face’
Thank you so much for having me on!! I loved this conversation :)
There's so much in this episode I love, but on a personal level I wanted to say how much I valued you sharing your experience of suffering with dermatitis.
I have atopic eczema, which went berserk four years ago affecting everything from work to my mental health. I'm sure many other people like me will feel seen, heard and want to high-five their airpods when they listen to this episode.
Thanks for everything you do!
Jessica is a valiant writer, a righter of wrongs, a corrector of bullshit, and a much needed destroyer of illusions! Her Substack is divine. Her Twitter is hilarious. This convo with Hamish McKenzie
I will listen to it, even though the beauty industry doesn't interest me, The Active Voice podcast is fantastic. Always great conversations, with people I don't know. I especially like Chris Hedges, George Saunders and Ted Goia. As I thoroughly enjoyed past episodes of "unexpected people" because unknown to me, I am open minded to Jessica, whom I do not know and will be speaking about a subject that theoretically doesn't interest me
Loved this interview Hamish, Jessica’s writing has allowed many illusions about the beauty industry to open up how we as women look at this topic. Thanks for showcasing her substack!
I took a long look at the INGREDIENTS used in many, many “beauty products” l was shocked to find that many neurotoxins are used such as phenohexyethaline - this is a favourite in lipsticks. I was also horrified when looking at the preservatives used and the level of animal testing! Having developed lots of allergies to foods and chemicals l was in a mission! I endeavoured to speak to various companies and it went like this “we never speak to members of the public or our ingredients are a trade secret” WELL! I was disheartened as the advertising is a Psyops presenting “l wanna look like that women” many who have had surgical procedures and Botox like treatment - There is absolutely NO WAY you are going to look like that! GET REAL and learn to love who you are both inside and out!
I was previously very much a lipstick and heels gal .. would NEVER be seen without my make up on! Then went on a real back to nature beach holiday in an amazing place and decided to wear NO MAKE UP .. l actually realised that l felt better, looked myself and my mood was better without pumping in dopamine and serotonin depleting “slap” .. when l came home l looked at ORGANIC alternatives and STOPPED COLOURING my hair with horrific toxic chemicals - l shaved my long “chestnut locks” wore some amazing wigs for a year and now 2 years on have the most beautiful, healthy, shining and stunning long silver hair which is remarked on wherever l go and most of all l FEEL FREEDOM from the commercial and unhealthy world of TOXIC MAKE UP! It’s a totally different approach to life as l now practice an Ayurvedic lifestyle and have NEVER FELT SO WELL! So sorry for all the folks who feel they MUST ALIGN with these huge cosmetic empires pumping out, in some cases, forever toxins!
Not trying to wear my heart on my sleeve, but the comparison to Jesus is a slap to Christians everywhere. It is a completely unnecessary and heretical metaphor. Please try to be sensitive to people of faith.
I find it interesting, I have relatives who work in that industry and at least it will help me to exchange new points of view with them.
I’ve loved Jessica’s writing! So great to see her featured here!
I cannot decide if it’s endearing or sad that someone could make it not only to adulthood but well into with that kind of naïveté. It’s certainly sad to make it that far into adulthood and have a such a superficial understanding of identity and self worth. Glad she woke up and grew up and is trying to help others do the same.
“Just like Jesus dying on the cross...”
Let’s build a church.
Hamish, You do an excellent service to the Substack community with these interviews. Thank you. D
There’s a big difference between prettiness and beauty. They might overlap in some people, but the intersection between the two is far from perfect. We usually experience the perception of beauty as a visual thing, but that’s only partly true. I’ve known any number of gorgeous women who became actually unpleasant to look at after talking with them a very short time. Conversely, plain-looking women can become quite lovely. It’s all about the interactions, and what’s inside.
No amount of makeup changes this
Eric Berne: “Anatomy can make a woman pretty, but only a father’s smile can make beauty shine from her eyes.”
Great interview and takes head on a trillion dollar industry that relies upon keeping mostly women feeling inadequate which in turn justifies them purchasing beauty products and services. You can’t always write about everyone’s perspective because that requires you know everyone’s experience instead we talk in general terms and majority. Many women fall victim to feeling inadequate and are surely not aware of that fact. Great job!
I’m a registered nurse who specializes in skin care. In the 25 years of skin care research & caring for patients I realized that those who write articles in magazines have no background in science or the care of skin. They are almost always new to journalism as well.
In addition, there are thousands & thousands of new skin care lines. Using skin care products that haven’t been tested by an independent source is irresponsible.
A journalist doesn’t know the necessity of testing a finished product. They also don’t know the attributes of individual ingredients. A simple example is vitamin E. To note that a product contains vitamin E means very little. There are 9 (maybe more now) types of vitamin E. The only form of E that penetrates skin is alpha-tocopherol. Other forms of E are added as antioxidants to protect the product. They do nothing for the skin. However, the front label of the product frequently states, “contains vitamin E.”
I seriously doubt if a journalist knows facts like these.
death threats from nail artists? I thought I'd heard it all...our solitary culture of mostly unsupervised adults + internet makes it far too easy to rage at people...this kind of behavior, in traditional societies, got your head beaten in. For a reason.