Since March is Women's History Month and has International Women’s Day On Tuesday March 8, this month's blogs are going to look at some history and share some thoughts on beauty and the changes we see in ourselves over time.
According to the United Nations:
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
That means you. ☀️
March is also Women’s History Month
The long and extraordinary story of women’s history is beyond what we can cover in a few thousand words (or a few thousand books). Even the story of women entrepreneurs is long and fascinating.
Through time women have been healers, builders, mothers, farmers, leaders, and been in just about any role you can think of. History is full of courageous, smart and talented women who have changed the course of history and inspired others while doing it.
Women have always liked to look their best and through the course of history have come up with innovative ways to enhance their looks (more on that next week). A few even formed companies to share what they’ve learned to lift up other women.
Some of the major beauty and skincare brands that we’re all familiar with today were started by enterprising and forward looking women who wanted to help other women. (So far from the fear based anti-aging campaigns that we see from major skincare corporations today).
Madame C.J. Walker
One of my personal heroes was Madam CJ Walker. Mrs. Walker was the daughter of former slaves and was working as a laundress when she noticed that she was losing hair in big clumps. Of course, it bothered her.
So rather than tie her hair up in a headscarf as was a popular fix for hair loss, she set about finding a solution.
Madame C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower was born in 1906. She marketed it to women who were having trouble with hair loss and became hugely successful. Eventually she expanded her line to include face creams and other skin and hair products.
One of the things that I love about Madame CJ Walker’s story is that she was mentored by other women and she designed her products to benefit women.
She focused on helping women to have healthier skin and hair (just like SunWindSnow!) and to have pride in their appearance and, most of all, themselves.
In a time (late 1800's and early 1900's) when it was nearly unheard of for a woman, especially a black woman, to start a business and become a millionaire, Madame CJ Walker made it happen. And as she did it, she lifted up thousands of other women.
Helena Rubenstein was one of eight daughters in her family in Krakow, Poland. Mama Rubenstein made her own face cream from herbs, almonds, and fir tree extract, and taught her girls the value of maintaining beautiful skin.
As a young woman, Helena immigrated to Australia and began selling some of her mother’s face cream.
The cream was so popular, Helena had to keeping getting more sent from home. She ended up opening a shop and manufacturing her own formulas. Then she went to Europe to study advances in skin care and eventually had salons around the world and products in department stores.
Helena Rubenstein accomplished all this without the benefit of the internet or social media. Amazing.
What I like most about her most is she was a huge advocate of a healthy lifestyle and self-care. So much of beauty and a happy life depend on health and taking good care of yourself.
She walked her talk and lived to be 94.
Elizabeth Arden was Canadian. Actually her real name was Florence Nightingale Graham and her original career was as a nurse.
She first got interested in skin and skincare because of her interest in burn treatment. She formulated a burn cream.
This is how she started in the beauty industry.
Elizabeth Arden was an innovator. She hired a team of chemists to perfect new products.
She invented new ideas like :travel sized product bottles and in store “makeovers”.
She helped make make up acceptable to the general public (before the early 1900’s make up was only widely used by prostitutes).
Elizabeth was an arch competitor to Helena Rubenstein. Although the two women never met, the competition to bring new and better products to market benefitted the women who bought them. (I like the idea of competition that drives everyone to be better.)
What I really like about Elizabeth Arden is that she was a dedicated suffragette and used her influence to support the right of women to vote. In 1912, she marched for women’s rights along with 15,000 other suffragettes. The women all wore red lipstick as a sign of solidarity (supplied by Elizabeth Arden, of course).
Women empowering women
All three of these wildly successful female entrepreneurs grew by helping women have healthier skin and hair, but more importantly, they helped empower women to take good care of themselves, have more confidence, and feel good about who they were.
Unfortunately, as corporate marketing departments took over from single entrepreneurs the messaging changed. Now normal and natural things like signs of aging were something to be ashamed of or feared.
The messaging around a less than “perfect face” is complex. But the notion that if your face or skin are flawed means that you are flawed and need to be fixed is so negative.
And very different from using a cream or product to enhance your natural beauty and keep your skin glowing and healthy.
SunWindSnow is committed to changing this trend, especially in the arena of aging skin
Aging is the most natural process you go through. It starts at birth and only ends when you die.
There really is no stopping it.
Why try to fight nature?
You can take care of yourself – eat a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and take care of your hair and skin- and look and feel great while you’re getting older. If you don’t believe me, there are tons of studies to back this up.
I know your face is going to change over time, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not beautiful or that you don’t count because you don’t look like you did 20 years ago.
I mean, how sad would it be to not have changed at all in 20 years? Wouldn’t that be a little weird?
On the other hand, I know when I look in the mirror there are a few things I’d like to change. Those smile lines around my mouth are great but I don’t love the crepey skin that’s appearing on my neck.
No problem. There are products you can use to make it look better. But only if it bothers you.
One of my clients was talking to me about her face the other day, “I’m 60 years old, why do I have to be perfect?”
You don’t. And anyone who expects you to be probably isn’t worth your time or energy. Perfect is a myth.
Here’s the ultimate empowerment: you’re so valuable and beautiful just the way you are. You’re getting older and you’re improving with age.
If something about your face is bothering you, there are things you can do to improve it. If it’s not, don’t let anybody tell you it’s a problem.
At SunWindSnow, we support you. We want help empower you to have fun, be healthy and active, and enjoy your life. We make products to help you look as good as you feel.
So this women’s history month, let’s be inspired and challenged by all of the strong women that’ve come before us.
Let’s stop beating our own selves down. Let's quit criticizing ourselves and other women when they don’t live up to an impossible standard.
Let’s celebrate ourselves and all the incredible, strong, resilient women around us.