17 Apr 19
The Scottish Sun
FILLERS, falsies, Hollywood waxes and hair extensions are the norm for many teenage girls. Yet they would have been alien concepts to their mums at that age.
These days beauty is a bigger business than ever. And the pressure to look a certain way is fuelled by social media and reality TV shows.
Mother and daughter Leah and Kellie have very different beauty habits
But is it all just playing into youngsters’ insecurities?
Last year NHS England slammed the placement of cosmetic surgery ads during TV’s Love Island.
To highlight the contrast between the pressures today and 20 years ago, LYNSEY CLARKE and CLAIRE DUNWELL quizzed an Essex mum and her 18-year old daughter about their beauty habits and attitudes.
Student Leah Sharman spends £3,500 a year on looking good, while mum Kellie, 46, forks out £400.
Leah has grown up with reality TV and social media
WHEN it comes to looking good, no expense is spared by teen Leah Sharman – what she spends a year on her appearance would turn her mum’s hair grey.
A big fan of Towie and other reality TV shows, the 18-year-old student splashes out £3,500 a year on beauty products and treatments
This compares to the far more modest £400 that mum Kellie, 46, spends on herself.
Kellie, a family support worker, blames social media for her eldest daughter’s obsession with her looks, and feels sad for a generation that seems constantly striving to keep up with the Kardashians.
Leah is influenced by reality TV shows like Towie
She says: “The world has gone crazy on what the younger generation think they should look like and social media is to blame.”
Leah, who is studying hair and media make-up, admits: “I love the Towie look. I wouldn’t go anywhere without make-up.
“I wear make-up in all my Instagram photos so I’d feel anxious if people looked at me because I didn’t look the same.
“If I have to be at college by lunchtime I spend most of the morning getting ready, at least two hours.
“Ever since I was 13, I have loved make-up and cared about my body image.
Leah admits she wanted to look like the girls she saw on social media
“I started watching make-up tutorials on YouTube. I saved up pocket money to buy designer brands of mascaras and lipsticks and sat for hours each night practising my look.
“All my friends wore make-up to school. I was really skinny back then and I hated it.
“Wearing make-up gave me confidence. I put myself under pressure to look like the popular girls in school.
“Until I found Instagram, I had only seen what my mum did with her beauty routine. She put moisturiser on her face and wore hardly any make-up.
Mum Kellie prefers to use little to no make-up
“I wanted to look like the girls on social media — fully made up and immaculate.”
Leah lives at home with Mum, dad Keith, 47, a production shift manager, and her younger sister Grace, 15, in Horton-On-The-Hill in Essex.
She is dating footballer Billy Purdy, 18, who plays for Essex Senior League club Southend Manor, and will not go anywhere without her face on.
She says: “I have a part-time job as a make-up artist at Mac and most of what I earn goes on skincare.
“My routine is exhausting and includes facial mists and masks.
Mum Kellie says waxing was unheard of when she was growing up
“If one of my favourite celebrities is promoting an expensive product on Instagram, I look for a cheaper version online.
“Social media puts girls like me under a lot of pressure even though we know that what we see isn’t real life.
“I reapply fake tan every three days, I have acrylic or gel nails done every three weeks and use a dermaroller on my face once a month to stimulate collagen and remove facial fluff.
“I do at-home teeth whitening, and I get my hair cut every month. I blow-dry it daily and get new hair extensions every six months.
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“But now I’ve added up what I spend I realise I could be spending on more important things.”
Her mum believes that Leah would not spend so long in front of the mirror were it not for being bombarded by glamorous images.
Kellie says: “It’s social media that gives Leah a bad body image. It used to drive me mad when she put a full face of make-up on for school.
“It is sad that girls feel so much pressure to look a certain way because of pictures they see online.
Leah reapplies fake tan every three days
“They model themselves on reality TV stars and celebrities who share pouting, filtered photos.
“When I was growing up, my idol was my English teacher. I loved her casual style and went to school wearing lots of bangles to copy her.
“Back then, it wasn’t about caking on make-up. I only had mascara, lipstick and a bottle of foundation.
“Girls went for the natural look and only wore make-up for work or a night out. It would take me 20 minutes.
Kellie does squats every night before she showers
“Leah on the other hand has a small suitcase for her products — I wouldn’t know what to do with half of them. She goes mad when I remove my make-up with wipes and apply foundation with my fingers.
“She tells me pulling at my face will give me more wrinkles.
“It makes her laugh when I use a hair dye which costs less than a fiver because she spends hundreds on her hair over the year.
“Nowadays, I don’t wear lipstick and I’ve been using the same bronzer for years. The only time I buy make-up is when it runs out and I only paint my toe nails if I am wearing sandals.”
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It is not just the importance of beauty products where mum and daughter differ, their views on body hair are totally at odds, too.
Leah says: “At 15, I got into watching Towie. I’d already begged Mum to let me have my legs waxed but the girls were having all their body hair removed, which gave me the idea to do it too.
“Lots of my friends were having waxing done before holidays but I started shaving at every shower because it was easier.
“It became normal to take all the hair off my body, including the hair on my arms.
“Loads of boys expect girls to be hairless down there — maybe because of internet porn — but I don’t do it for that. I hate the feel of it and I prefer to have smooth skin.
“My boyfriend Billy says he doesn’t care either way, but I think he might find it gross if I suddenly had full-on body hair.”
[boxout headline=”Leah, 18”]Skincare:
£92 a year on cleanser, toner, masks, etc
£280 on mousse
£387 on face, bikini, legs and shaving
£480, goes every three weeks
£140, 4 visits
£120 on at-home whitening kits
£1,301 on make-up and lashes
£680 on cuts, extensions, serums and heat protectors
Kellie says: “When I was growing up waxing was unheard of. We wouldn’t have dreamed of taking off all our body hair. It wasn’t the norm and, for me, it still isn’t.
“We didn’t have access to internet pornography where women are completely hairless, but that image has become relatively normal for the younger generation and it’s wrong. I don’t understand why Leah does it.”
Today’s trend for hourglass bodies like Kim Kardashian’s, has also left Leah craving a curvier figure.
She says: “Everyone wants to be curvier. Every night before I shower, I do squats to get a more shapely bum, and I do crunches.
Kellie is happy in her own skin and doesn’t want to change anything
“I wish I was more laid back, like Mum. She’s amazing. I don’t think I will look like her when I’m her age unless I keep up with my routine.
“On the days I do feel good about myself, I compare myself to pictures on Instagram and it brings me back down — everyone looks so amazing.”
Kellie says: “I am shocked to hear how much time and money Leah spends on her appearance.
“She is naturally gorgeous but she doesn’t see it, which is crazy.
“Sometimes I wish my boobs were smaller and that I could lose a bit of weight, but overall I am happy in my own skin.
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“Nowadays, lots of girls struggle to accept the looks they have been given. If they want thicker lips, they have fillers, or get Botox at the first sign of wrinkles. I hope Leah never resorts to any of that.
“Hopefully when she’s older, she’ll relax about her body image and learn to love herself the way she is.
[boxout headline=”Kellie, 46″]Hair:
£33 on mascara, foundation and bronzer
£36 on a bi-annual wax
£20 on moisturiser
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