You can find the most extra-ordinary things on Amazon. The platform even added the category “weird beauty products” to it’s website. But “weird” really is an understatement… I mean, bacon balm and placenta conditioner?! In this article I show you the work of Evija Laivina, a Scottish-based photographer that studied the beauty products of our time, and started to create an amazing book out of it.
Under the Loupe
Recently I wrote this blog About the women who preceded us, – and how beauty standards kept them busy. In the blog I explain why I started Undertheloupe magazine. It’s an online collection of powerful, nostalgic memories about the experiences of women with beauty and beauty standards through history.
I started to bookmark those pictures a while ago, when I just discovered Pinterest. I enjoyed that process because we as women all look so vulnerable in a way. It’s entertaining to see what has been done to make us look good. And when time passes by, it’s hard to see the point of doing those harsh interventions that help change the way we look.
Women’s history can help put into perspective the strong perseverance that we have to achieve beauty, and also the way we nowadays perceive that beauty. Taking a closer look at our history enables us to see where we all came from. It can give us a sense of comfort and identity and may help us discover what actually the point is of pushing ourselves so hard for beauty standards that fade away over time. And besides that, what is beauty actually if its so changeable…
Here are 3 stories from Undertheloupe:
The ever-changing industry of beauty
So what’s considered to be “beautiful” for women is always changing and so are the beauty standards. Nevertheless, the high expectations from society on women remains unchanged over the years. And so nowadays the beauty products that we come across are adapted to the beauty standards of our time as well. That picture is something visual artist Evija Laivina wanted to capture in her series Beauty Warriors.
The series uses humor and shock to highlight the extremeness of today’s beauty industry. “With this series I wanted to show how far we are ready to go in the name of beauty,” the photographer explains on the website Its Nice That. “To be successful, you must be perfect and look perfect – these are our society’s rules, which we follow without even realizing how ridiculous the standards are. We often forget about the importance of inner beauty.”
Born in Latvia, Evija is now based in Scotland. While studying Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice BA at University of Highlands and Islands, she started to explore themes related to women identity and beauty standards. In her work she combines disciplines like photography, painting, performance and installation.
It was during her studies that Evija started digging deep into the idea of beauty standards and came across an unlikely selection of odd looking objects online. Evija bought a selection of weird beauty products like nose straighteners, smile trainers, face slimmers, lip plumpers, eyelid stretchers, and anti-double-chin bandages and used it for her book Beauty Warriors to capture a bit of that extremeness.
Using a eclectic cast of her friends, family, and some women she found through social media, Evija made it her mission to highlight the at-once shocking and extreme reality of those objects. “They were surprised and didn’t believe they are real beauty products,” she says on It’s Nice That. “Of course they were laughing a lot during the photo shoots and sometimes it was tricky to create an image with a serious face expression!”
To describe what drove her to do this project, she writes:
“I am very interested in online beauty trends, strange, unusual beauty routines and plastic surgery and the actualities in the beauty industry. I use social media and online shopping sites as my inspiration. By using specific keywords and hashtags, I can find very interesting images, items and information. I capture screenshots and note down the information, sometimes comments and reactions. I am interested in how the story unfolds by following trendy hashtags. For example, I looked for information about breast enlargement surgeries. Through the hashtags and social media posts, I found out about Breast Implant Illness. I followed the hashtag BII I found so much information – the individual women stories, the warnings from the doctors about dangers of the implants and the opposite stories- how good and safe the implants are. So I wanted to understand what is the truth and are the implants so bad for women? – Evija Laivina on crowdfunder.co.ukTweet
What is and is not true she leaves aside in her series. She says:
Sometimes it’s hard to understand what is true and what is fake news. I am fascinated by the amount of different information and images and videos available online and I use them as a starting point in my art. […] – Evija Laivina on crowdfunder.co.ukTweet
Todays beauty devices unchained
Let’s unchain the results of Evija’s online exploration. Enjoy the photos by scrolling down. If you like to order the Beauty Warriors book, head over to this part of her website. Enjoy!
These were just some of the weird beauty products that are part of the book Beauty Warriors. But there is also a new book coming up with more interesting and unusual beauty routines and tools. If you like to support her crowdfunding-project, head over to this section.
Lastly, I think the message Evija wanted us to give is a very clear one and is tended to let us think a little bit about ourselves. And how important we make beauty in our lives.
Leave a comment down below what the most unusual beauty product is that you have ever seen or used! I would love to hear more of that.
Lisanne Swart granted permission to use photos by Evija Laivina.