Who Are We?

Why be­ing happy the way we are mat­ters

CLEO (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

What was once con­sid­ered our safe space is no longer sa­cred. In our so­cial me­dia t here are un­war­ranted ad­ver­tise­ments , spam bots and un­so­licited com­ments that ap­pear in our feed. Wher­ever we scroll, we’ re bom­barded with un­re­al­is­tic beauty ideals. Whether it’ s to achieve that fair, flaw less, porcelain skin akin to a K-drama ac­tress, or re­shap­ing one­self to beth in­ner like a Hol­ly­wood ac­tress, it begs the ques­tion— why are we sub­ject­ing our­selves to t his when we should just be con­tent with how we ac­tu­ally look? We spoke to in­dus­try in­side rs who launched an in­ter­est­ing cam­paign called #LawaGem­bira to coun­ter­act beauty mar­keters who prey on peo­ple’ s weak­nesses. In­stead of try­ing to change who you are, they re­mind us to fo­cus on em­brac­ing what you have. Radz­iqJ ala lu din, Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Man­ager of Skin Va let (skin­valet.com.my) shared ,“We see a boom in the cos­metic in­dus­try as a whole but there are ex­ploita­tive mar­ket­ing styles .”# Team CLEO in­ves­ti­gates where i tall be­gan, whereto draw the line, and how to sniff out the preda­tors be­fore they pounce on your weak­nesses.


When it comes to beauty ideals that’ s more than skin deep, there area ton of fac­tors that come into play. In the Malaysian con­text , one of t he main is­sues stem from the rel­a­tive ease in reg­is­ter­ing beauty prod­ucts. Nar­qes Mohd Raimi, an­other founder of Skin Va let, used to be a phar­ma­cist and also worked in the gov­ern­ment for seven years, at the prod­uct regis­tra­tion cen­tre. She re­vealed that it was sim­ple to get your prod­uct reg­is­tered and on t he mar­ket.

“You can get [your prod­ucts reg­is­tered] on the spot. In a day we can get thou­sands of reg­is­tra­tions. But what we do is post-mar­ket sur­veil­lance, we get com­plaints and is­sue prod­uct re­calls ,” she ex­plained. Th­ese prod­ucts have a harm­ful ef­fect on skin and peo­ple are t hen des­per­ate to seek treat­ment.

“It hap­pens all over South East Asia; peo­ple use things with il­le­git­i­mate in­gre­di­ents and they see side ef­fects. Then t hey come to our Medispa, seek­ing as­sis­tance,” she con­tin­ued. The rem­edy to t his? Ed­u­cat­ing con­sumers on mak­ing t he smarter choice .“Most times peo­ple ac­cept what they see in th­ese un­scrupu­lous ad­verts at f ace value. We usu­ally ed­u­cate our clients about what t hey need and cus­tomise, and tai­lor their treat­ment to their needs and their bud­gets, but that’ s about it. We never push them to change any­thing,” ex­plained Nar­qes.


Where didi tall be­gin? To trace back a start­ing point would be near im­pos­si­ble, but it wouldn’t be too far off to blame the me­dia—mass and so­cial—for the ideals they plant in our psy­che. From overly-Photo shopped celebri­ties on glossies to spot­less Ins tag ram feeds, we’ve al­ways had some sort of un­re­al­is­tic i deals to con­form to.

“The way in­di­vid­u­als de­fine beauty all dif­fer. What­ever it is, it seems that we per­ceive beauty based on pop­u­lar­ity, idols, Hol­ly­wood—that’ s how cos­metic surgery and pro­ce­dures evolved ,” ex­plained Dr Shauqi, a co-founder of Skin Va let .“Even now the dou­ble-eye lid trend from Korea, it’ s on a down­ward spiral. Soon it’ ll beat rend to have sin­gle eye­lids ,” he con­tin­ued, only high­light­ing how beauty ideals are de­fined in a pop­ulist con­text. Un­for­tu­nately, be­cause of the per­va­sive­ness of the In­ter­net and our smart­phones, even younger chil­dren are ex­posed to beauty brain wash­ing—the ideals that if you’ re not fair, you’ re not at­trac­tive. Case in point, Dr I smal­iza I smail , an­other co-founder of Skin Va let shared t he or­deal her chil­dren had togo through, due to ter­ri­ble mar­ket­ing tac­tics .“My kids have tan ned skin , and t here was one day my eight- year- old re­fused to go to school. We found out it was be­cause her friends said‘ We don’t want to be friends, you’ re brown, you’ re not fair ’. This left us gob smacked ,” she said. Where is this com­ing f rom?


When you dig deeper, it’ s a chicken- egg sit­u­a­tion , where mar­keters ex­ploit peo­ple’s weak­nesses, but at t he same time, wet end to grav­i­tate to­wards cer­tain beauty ideals. And the un­for­tu­nate out­come? Ter­ri­ble ef­fects on your skin.

“Be­cause of in se­cu­ri­ties, Malaysians like to use whiten­ing prod­ucts. We no­ticed that there were so many com­pli­ca­tions that are ram­pant from the devel­op­ment of prod­ucts. Skin changes from the use of th­ese prod­ucts in­clude acne break­outs , pig­men­ta­tions and soon. They be­come dif­fi­cult to treat ,” says Dr Shauqi. “There are also a lot of ir res pons bi li ties when it comes to treat­ment, in­jec­tions that are not ap­proved by the gov­ern­ment and that’ s when we start to see all sorts of com­pli­ca­tions arise.”

How does ac­cept­ing your skin fit within the con­text of am edi-spa—which is a busi­ness on skin and fa­cial treat­ments you ask ?“# LawaGem­bira means you are beau­ti­ful , and you also f eel happy with your­self. We wanted ev­ery­thing to be pos­i­tive, and to de­liver some­thing much-needed but very truth­ful. You need to ac­cept the way you are and when it comes to aes­thet­ics, it’ s about get­ting health­ier skin. Healthy skin means beau­ti­ful skin, and that’ s that. It’ s not about chang­ing the way you look, be­cause you ac­cept t he way you are,” em­pha­sised Radziq.

“We don’t want to be your friends. You’re brown. You’re not fair.” This left us gob­s­macked. Where is this com­ing from?

“Uh, I don’t feel real...”

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