Growing up as a certified lover girl, one movie genre has always held a special place in my heart—the timeless coming-of-age romantic comedy.
The typical storyline revolves around an endearingly awkward protagonist, often a woman with untamed hair, minimal makeup, and, of course, glasses, who has grown up uncertain of herself, often keeping to the shadows due to her appearance. But as fate would have it, she’s confronted with the reality that something needs to change. Whether through self-realization or the not-so subtle prodding of loved ones—she embarks on a journey of self-exploration. This, of course, entails a fresh new look, complete with new hair, makeup, and outfits. A playful scene ensues as our previously "uncool" friend tries on various looks, eagerly awaiting the seal of approval from their beauty fairy godmother.
The pivotal moment arrives with the grand reveal of our reborn protagonist, who appears on screen in slow motion as the Barbie doll version of their previously less glam self. Suddenly, life takes an upward turn—dream jobs, enchanting lovers, and victorious triumphs unfold. It seems as though, all things are perfectly aligning in their universe. However, soon enough, reality delivers a sobering slap—the journey of changing one's life isn't as simple as changing one's appearance.
For countless individuals, life can become an endless cycle of pre vs. post makeover, always yearning for that one product, treatment, or procedure to inch closer to their aesthetic goals and, in turn, their life goals.
As Topicals celebrates our third year in existence and a thriving community of Spottie Hotties, it's crucial we reflect on why Topicals exists. The mission has, and always will be to transform the way you feel about beauty by transforming the way you feel about you.
Like many people in the Spottie Hottie community, I was drawn to Topicals because of my personal struggles with skin conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation, and ingrown hairs. I remember mornings where the first thing I would do was pat my face all over just to feel if any new cystic pimples were creeping up, and my heart would drop when I felt a slight mound coming in because I knew that I had no choice but to wait and see what it would grow into. I found so much solace in the mission of reminding people that perfect skin doesn’t exist and giving people the freedom to confidently wear their skin in all stages.
The beauty industry has long been a realm where individuals have felt compelled to conform, but through Topicals, I see a future that empowers people to reclaim their agency. Redefining what we deem as ‘good skin’ is not about dictating how individuals should present themselves to the world, it’s about offering the liberating choice to break free from the relentless cycle of beauty trends that leave people questioning their self- worth.
Three years after reminding people that they make skin look good and not the other way around, we find ourselves in an era where significant strides have been made towards fostering a more inclusive and equitable beauty dialogue. However, when so many people are lamenting about the exorbitant amounts of energy and money required to feel “beautiful” we still have a ways to go.
Social media has undoubtedly amplified our culture's fixation on looks and appearance, perpetuating the dangerous fallacy that our worth hinges on how we present ourselves to the world.
The relentless pursuit of beauty trends creates a never-ending race, an exhausting cycle where traditional beauty marketing thrives by convincing us that beauty is something we must earn and constantly work hard to maintain.
At Topicals, we offer you an alternative—a chance to opt out of man made conceptions of beauty. The truth is, if external beauty could truly solve all our self-esteem issues, then every Kardashian and their clones would be the poster children for confident, self assured women. And perhaps our culture today sees many of these woman as just that. However, the emergence of TikTok and unprecedented transparency on the internet has made it devastatingly clear that even after drastic cosmetic procedures, many people still wrestle with dysmorphia, underscoring the point that blindly pursuing external beauty can never lead to meaningful self-actualization.
Toxic beauty culture isolates us in our insecurities, leading us to either emulate or criticize anyone whose appearance differs from our own. This harmful habit of flattening other human beings into one dimensional reference points for our own self esteem prevents us from fostering meaningful dialogue that bears fruit in the form of a supportive community. In efforts to promote self-love, we forget that shaming someone for their choices about their body is yet another form of policing women's bodies, intended to instill guilt and pressure them into conforming to an ever-changing ideal.
Thankfully, we don’t have to participate in this predictable cycle of unexamined admiration or harsh criticism, there is a third option: celebration. At Topicals, we celebrate a woman's agency to make choices about her body in a world that often seeks to undermine this fundamental right. We celebrate when someone dares to try something new, acknowledging the courage it takes to step out of one's comfort zone. Instead of viewing beauty as a divisive tool, we can celebrate it as a means of connection and playful self-expression.
To be clear, this notion of fun and playful expression is not to undermine the very real reality that a lot of folks in our community come searching for effective solutions to address the intense physical discomfort that comes with managing a skin condition (hello itchy, eczema flare-up). But even still, many of us remain aesthetically driven in our pursuit of skincare and beauty rather than health driven. And this desire for fast and drastic results can often lead us to worsen the very condition we are trying to heal from. The Topicals approach to skincare is about improving the health of your skin by simplifying your routine so you can waste less time doom scrolling to find new products and spend more time doing the things you love. That’s what we like to call “Funner Flare-Ups”
As the internet’s chokehold on our culture only intensifies, it’s my hope that through Topicals and brands like ours we can create more safe spaces to reflect candidly on the pressures we feel to adhere to real and perceived societal standards. Through building a community that sees individuality as a super power that makes the whole stronger, we want to empower unique expression. By empowering more people to love themselves in all stages of the inevitable cycle of breakouts, flare-ups, and those moments of feeling “not so hot”, we can reach a point where, in the face of yet another beauty trend urging us to change everything about ourselves, we can confidently say, "Who cares? Looks fade."