While promises are made in women’s magazines, while beauty is infused by wellness and naturalness, we invite you to follow us in a Journey to ideals of beauty and essence of elegance around the world.
Worn by stars of cinema and music, American beauty criteria are exported all over the world. Nothing surprising in this, beauty is truly valued in the USA!
In 2016, after “Miss Teen USA”, the beauty contest reserved for young ladies of 15 to 19 years old, this was the main topic of discussion, for one reason: the five finalists all looked the same! Miss Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Nevada were all pretty blondes with blue eyes, in addition, all had eerily similar physiognomies: almond shaped faces, marked high cheekbones and fine noses. Is beauty so stereotypical overseas?
The answer is, surprisingly, less pronounced. In the USA, as well as in Asia, canons of beauty are subject to strong consensus. This is less the case, for example, in Europe.
Contrary to what you may think, in the final of Miss Teen USA, 2016, these criteria transcended ethnic differences: the focus was not on the colour of skin (as is the case in Japan and South Korea), but rather on the impression of health and cleanliness, the strength and beauty of hair and skin, and the whiteness and perfect alignment of teeth. The body should not only be slender, but athletic and well-built: well proportioned, broad shoulders, strong jaw and prominent cheekbones.
Bodily and personal success
Even though these criteria may also apply to other countries, maybe it’s in social construction that it is implied that American beauty stands out the most. In the predominantly Protestant American mentality, these qualities can be a sign of predestination. But, they are also a capital, requiring careful management and rigorous work, in order to yield good results. Beauty is both a gift and a construction that is prized and valued, far beyond simple aesthetic considerations.
A beautiful woman is not only a person who has ‘won’ the genetic lottery. It is also someone who has made the necessary efforts to strengthen and preserve this capital, by literally investing in herself. American women expect dividends from this ‘investment’, not only in relationships, but also in their work. Beauty is a symbol of success, like a nice house or a luxury car. As with money, they have an “easy-going” rapport with beauty.
For both American men and women, it’s efficiency that is premium. Investment goes into beauty, just as in any other aspect of social life. That explains why the use of cosmetic surgery is so common and played down, just like straight teeth, in a country where oral corrective care is the responsibility of the individual and an expression of healthy finances and work on oneself.
Nasal reconstructions and breast, buttock and calf enlargements, are all outward signs of attention paid to the body, personal investment in one’s physical appearance, thus, in one’s rapport with others. And they will be seen as such. The same goes for the fight against the visible effects of aging.
American women are therefore, preoccupied with efficiency. They want fast concrete results. They “buy” beauty and want value for their money. This pragmatism is reflected in their consumer habits. If, to maintain or improve their skin, they must choose between a food supplement in pill form, or a cream, they will favour the latter, because cream applied directly to the skin, is unconsciously viewed as having a more “direct” effect on the epidermis.
This easy-going rapport with beauty may seem childish to European mentalities, which have a more sophisticated view, combining being natural with elegance and originality. It would be wrong; American women simply place the cursor somewhere else. It is clear that this model, served by an important ‘soft power’ (in Hollywood, magazines and pop culture) continues to be seductive!
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