Beauty Products Deserve the Finger
It is never the done thing for a woman to extol any part of herself as worthy. It is the done thing to be neurotic and thereby of especial remunerative value to the beauty industry. But I must say, lately my fingertips have been in very fine form.
They are smooth, unblemished, wrinkle free, and with enviably even skin tone.
You see, every time I smear eye gel and wrinkle softener and bio-oil and paw-paw ointment and sun-screen onto my face, it first gets gobbed onto the ends of my fingers which then prep with a little digital frottage. My fingertips probably absorb more Jurlique that the myriad ‘trouble spots’ that occupy the increasingly uneven terrain of my over-40 face.
By rights my plump little pads should be showing all the signs of having become the principal beneficiaries of a lotioning regime that no woman with a duty to beauty would ever dare to let lapse.
Thus it is surely our fingertips that should be held up as living proof of the virtues of moisturizing. They should be celebrated for their suppleness on the covers of Vogue and Madison and the fingertips of celebrities praised for their age-defying firmness in weekend magazine features.
Yet fingertips never appear full-frontal in cosmetic advertisements, even though, all of us unguent junkies are mostly treating these outer extremities. Sometimes they do make an appearance in those instructional ads that show with arrows exactly in which direction you need to apply your liniment for maximum firming impact. But as if resisting the paparazzi and the eye-focused world it panders to, fingertips are always coyly turned away from the camera.
Paring off the disproportionately over-represented and over-attended and frankly perfectly spoiled realm of Nails, why have we given so little attention to our fingertips when they have such a hand in our beauty maintenance? With every other part of our bodies, except perhaps our toes (as distinct from toenails), singled out for extreme makeovers and zoned for modification, improvement and treatment, how have our fingertips, the cats-cradle bridge between bottle and body, been so flagrantly cast aside?
If you were a dreadful cynic, and daily witnessed your brow furrowing under your wrinkle softener, you might think of two reasons.
Fingertips are unmodifiable.
Fingertips are in fact over-treated, yet unable to evince any sign of it.
As such fingertips are an audacious affront to the billion dollar cosmetic industry. They prove that our bodies are largely impervious to the thing that this incalculably opulent industry really sells. Lotioning. (Sun-screen aside - though I’ve never seen a freckled or sunburnt fingertip).
If we paid proper attention to fingertips we’d notice that they soak up a greater proportion of the oils, unguents and serums that are more expensive by the gram than uranium – and thereby, if you follow the logic of the beauty industry, are the most alluring part of a woman’s body.
Fingertips are on the pulse of beauty culture charlatanism. Forget statistics and a poignantly portrayed personal history of anorexia. Naomi Wolf needed to look no further than her most far-flung appendages to demolish the beauty myth.
For who has heard of fingertips being too fat, thin, disproportioned or aged? Aside from puckering quite becomingly in the bath I suspect our fingertips carry us through to the end of our mortality looking much the same on our deathbeds as they did when we clawed our way into life.
And, in the interim, what a service they perform! Have they ever been acknowledged as a sex-organ? Or, since the predominance of the keyboard, credited as the Membrane of Communication? In this ocularcentric world, once again doing the rounds of Golden-Globe and Oscar mania, is there an awards ceremony for excellence in touching and feeling anywhere that prizes fingertips rather than solar-plexes?
We are mesmerized by Nigella’s cuisine but never consider the role her pinkies play in all that saucy tip-to-tongue action. When it comes to Nigella all senses are reduced to that overstuffed and overrated organ of taste that doesn’t bear mention. But having excited so much controversy, not to mention fantasy, surely Nigella’s fingertips deserve their own agents?
The same goes for adored musicians of every genre. Habitually sensorily reductive we limit all aural pleasure to the ear, but forget the mechanics of music. The sheer haptic virtuosity of a pianist or harpist or violinist depends on the strike and stroke of their fingertips.
With all this brushing off, I’m surprised fingertips haven’t sought to annex themselves from the human body altogether. But as the croupiers of the digital world, they could also provide a perfect alibi for the world’s present economic crisis. A complete set of the finger prints of all the unregulated Bankers of Wall Street and we’d soon have our crooks with their hands up.
The point is fingertips are all over everything and yet most of us are stumped about whether fingertip is one word, or two, or hyphenated. We should never forget that it is the insouciantly moist fingertip that gives the beauty industry the finger, and deservedly so.