The Need For The Beauty Industry To Be More Ethical (And Sustainable)

Mixed Race woman holding cell phone applying lipstick

Hi Guys! Hope you are having a lovely weekend. In the last month or so I have weaved some of my school memories into posts highlighting some negatives to the phenomenon known as globalization. While some employers are proponents of it because they want cheap labor, the phenomenon also introduces us to a host of societal and economic problems.

My elementary and part of middle school was quite a memorable time compared to many others’. If I could materialize my school life in Pakistan during the 1980’s and 1990’s into a movie, it would resemble a lot like the life depicted in the beloved cult classic, Clueless (See HERE). Hailing from a prominent family (my grandfather was Pakistan’s General of Army at the time), I was privy to much of what was happening in Pakistan in the 1980’s and 1990’s. While my home life was “normal” per the request of my mom, my school life was not. I went to an ultra-exclusive and expensive private school in Islamabad (and later in Karachi) and made friends with some of the world’s movers and shakers of today. You guys know about my friendships with founders of social media companies, but I was also friends with women who are now leading fashion designers of Pakistan and international models. So if in my previous posts when I claimed Pakistan in the 1980’s was progressive and liberal (to some extent) like the United States today, I was not lying.


Most of my friends in the school were older than me or were not in my “school branch” aka building. I was quite famous because of my family, but also because of my friendly disposition. When a new family or families came to the school system, they were sure to be brought to me because I would tell them all about Pakistan and made them feel welcome. However, later on, there was a seismic shift in the nature of our meetings. Suddenly, “foreigners” as they were called, stopped coming to Pakistan and Pakistan was deemed unsafe (which many of “these” students were confused about). I started experiencing bullying behaviors around 3rd grade by people who looked awfully like me. That’s when the whole concept of illegal immigration came up by accident, as we found out that these bullies and their families and lots of other families were actually Indians and Hindus settled here after visiting Pakistan (same story as the United States’). And the same “foreigners” who were a lot older than me started visiting me after school to make me feel better.

I have already mentioned Miranda Kerr as being a schoolmate (See HERE).  Believe it or not, she is just as chirpy and vivacious today as she was back then in school. And she had absolutely the loveliest skin. My teachers made me swear not to talk about their skin color and eye color and curious on some level I think I was, I didn’t break that promise. Instead, I found ways to hang out with them even more because they looked so different. On the other hand, they were very complimentary of my hair color, skin color, and eye color, which totally mortifying, but sweet at the same time. I have particularly fond memories of spending time with Adriana Lima (yes!) who had the most stunning eyes I have seen. She would give me makeup tips (I think she may have come up with the cat-eye technique) and I didn’t even wear makeup at the time (!), but that’s how friendly she was. I remember her preferring European makeup brands over American, but I never asked her why mostly because I was scared of what that meant (given the background of horrors of the gem industry economy we were living in).


Then these students (particularly the girls I was friends with) also started experiencing the same sort of bullying pressure I felt from Hindus. They would come to me horrified how their conversation could turn into religion and Hindus would chant or taunt to them that ‘we are Hindus and Muslims and Muslims are Hindus and you should just get out’. I would share their experiences and my experiences with my grandfather (and all my other grandparents who have practically raised me) and my parents. Unfortunately, there was little anyone could do about it. No one can be prepared with this type of mass illegal immigration let alone be prepared for it 30+ years ago. I remember many of these older girls who were my friends crying and I would go to them and talk to them hoping to mitigate the situation. They were horribly bullied by guys and talked down to because of how they looked. And these women are gorgeous and models today! Some of the very sweet girls I remember meeting were Sarah Sampaio, Erin Heatherton, and Kylie Bisutti. There were others that I catch on YouTube walking runways like the Victoria Secret’s runway, but we have never really spoken to each other in Pakistan.

The interesting part was that later when the gossip turned into real life incidents with now-called “brown” people another small group sprung up. And curiously they looked white (?). This group called themselves Brahmin and the insane chapter of Hindu caste system was taught to us on our school playgrounds much to our horror.

On a personal level, my readers can imagine how horrible & helpless I felt as a Pakistani because I couldn’t do anything for the lovely foreigners who were visiting or living there at the time. I knew Pakistani government made mistakes like issuing these guys Pakistani passports. I felt pretty torn about that but I also wanted these “foreigners” out because I knew now Pakistan was in trouble and unsafe.

Other older girls I remember having a jolly ol’ time with were Pakistani designers, Maliha Talib Aziz and Khadija Shah. There are many famous Pakistani actresses and children of corrupt leader families of today who bullied me (for not having colored eyes (?) and the people I am mentioning. That’s why I tend to watch them in amusement if I see them because I know the truth and so do many others. Surprisingly, many of the Pakistani designers claiming to be high-end today resemble servants I and my neighbors had in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I am not being mean here. I swear at the time being the little girl I was the things that got me through were my street smarts and connections. That’s why I recommend visiting Pakistan only if you are well-connected and prepared.

How To Make Your Own Perfume

My first enterprise you would be surprised to learn was making my own bottles of perfume at home. I believe it was in high school I learned the recipe for making perfumes at home from friends. It required a small applicator bottle, water, and a mixture of perfumes. In high school, I was really into florals smells (See HERE) so I would mix those fruity body sprays I found in Walmart and mixed them with water, glitter, and some flowers from our balcony. It was quite soothing and I am sure less toxic, but the personalized concoction smelled absolutely divine.

So if you want to teach your girls (nieces or granddaughters) how to make their own perfumes, which is probably more economical for you long-term and a fun activity for them short-term, then try my recipe of perfume-making. Given how socially conscious girls are these days, it will bode well to get some cruelty-free body sprays and perfumes for them to mix in. Voila!

My Beauty Hacks

You may be wondering why I tell my readers these stories. The only reason I write these stories on the blog is to highlight how important policies & regulations really are for the development and success of any country. Similar to the gaps in immigration laws and the problems related to that the US is facing today, Pakistan endured back then. No one understands the scope of current changes in places like Canada, the USA, and the UK are thankfully making because Pakistan failed to this. But it is understandable why. We were probably the 1st country experiencing fast economic growth after the Industrial Revolution in America. And with that type of growth, regulation always lags. And that’s why I have made every effort to support brands that I truly feel are legal in “every” sense of the way.

While fashion in Pakistan has come up leaps and bounds in creating an ethical and sustainable fashion industry, I know they need help with their image and marketing. They are not even close to achieving that level of regulation in the beauty industry, however. I think the beauty world, in general, is being recognized and applauded for their collective efforts in legalizing their “trade” in every way. They know people are more aware of the information floating around on the internet so they are trying to meet the consumers’ new demands. There is only so far marketing and branding can take you; ugliness and truth always rise no matter how much you hide it.

People are curious to learn about the beauty products I use regularly. I have highlighted cruelty-free or vegan makeup products I swear by in the past. Although we have tons of makeup products that are vegan or cruelty-free, there is a huge gap in the market for personal care products. I use a PCA face wash (See HERE) on my face and neck daily. I sometimes get PCA facial peels which leaves my skin exfoliated and clean enough not to do much after for a few weeks. As a preventive and an ongoing regiment, I also use the brand’s Retinol cream (See HERE), which renders wonderful results every time I use it. For sunblock, I also use the PCA system (See HERE) as well.

I want to part ways by saying that it would be nice to have cruelty-free or vegan products for my thick wavy hair. Other gaps I want addressed in personal care are perfumes/body sprays and deodorants. I know some women would like their shaving creams to be certified cruelty-free or vegan as well. Then I can say proudly I have 100% changed my beauty and personal care lifestyle.

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