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John Chave is the Director General of Cosmetics Europe.
“I can’t help feeling that some of the changes are merely cosmetic,” wrote a recent commentator on Emmanuel Macron’s new cohort of parliamentary deputies. What could he possibly mean? That the new En Marche! representatives come with full maquillage? Well no. As the cosmetic and personal care industry is all too aware, we share a denotation with all that is superficial, insubstantial and even unreal.
What is more, the pursuit of beauty and hygiene is no doubt very human, but easily dismissible as just vanity. And vanity is one form of the sin of pride.
But what if cosmetics and personal care products are important to people in ways which go beyond the surface? What if the motivation for using them is very much more than vanity?
In one aspect, this is very obviously true, since the use of personal care products such as soap and toothpaste (it is not always realised that toothpaste is a cosmetic product) directly prevent disease, and are thus a crucial part of self-care in the narrowest sense. Sun products, also cosmetics, when properly applied also protect from cancer and harmful sunburn.