Beauty is big business. Malaysians spend billions on cosmetics and toiletries products
pic by BLOOMBERG
THERE’S this funny yet amusing video on YouTube that highlights all the well-known Hollywood personalities who have changed their appearances through plastic surgery.
The video shows the before-andafter pictures of each celebrity, as well as the areas on their faces that might have gone under the knife.
Pictures of the stars during their younger years — usually taken from their school yearbook or earlier publicity shots — are placed next to the “altered faces”, so comparison could be made.
Some had bigger noses, while many opted for cheek augmentation, quite a number reshaped their chins to give them a more feminine or narrow face with sharper features. Oh yes, lips MUST be thick.
Many of the faces are big time stars with blockbuster movies under their belt.
Now, wouldn’t it be fun if we were to compile a video on our very own celebrities and well-known personalities?
Imagine the number of hits one could get seconds after the video is shared on YouTube.
Obviously, plastic surgery is getting big in Malaysia. Tune into one of the locally produced dramas and you’d realised that most of the young starlets look alike.
So much alike, that it’s rather impossible for you to name any of them correctly.
We’re not just talking about the younger actors and actresses here.
There was this promo for one particular series that was quite laughable.
A “datin” was actually throwing a huge tantrum, and holding her was presumably her maid.
The problem is, the maid looked like she went to the same surgeon!
Some might point the fingers towards South Korea, where all their actors and singers look almost unreal.
It is also rumoured that quite a number of well-heeled Malaysians are now making a beeline to South Korea to have their faces “fixed” so that they could look like, err, someone else.
Beauty is big business apparently.
While plastic surgery is for the wealthier consumers, skin care products are the next best thing the masses could turn to.
As reported in 2013, Malaysian spent over RM1.6 billion on cosmetics and toiletries products, and this demand was mainly met by imports.
The skin care products are the main driver of the cosmetics markets, which represent value of almost RM1 billion followed by eye colour cosmetics valued at some RM100 million.
During the same year, Malaysia imported over RM1.2 billion worth of cosmetics and toiletries and the top three importing countries are the US, Japan and Thailand.
It is found that Malaysian consumers’ interest was influenced by heavy advertising and marketing with the more recent being the emergence of halal cosmetics.
Take a drive along the north-south highway, and you’d get an idea about how unhappy and insecure Malaysians are about their own natural looks.
The billboards mainly advertise local products that could either “enhance” ones look or change the consumers’ outlook on health and beauty completely.
The darker skinned want to be lighter, and while hoping to turn blonde overnight.
The lower income group that could not afford imported brands would go for the local products with shady origins.
Of course, we’ve heard cases of consumers who end up paying more to medical and skin care centres after being duped by unscrupulous and dubious cosmetic companies that promote products that might contain “scheduled poison” like mercury and other harmful elements.
Despite all the reported cases, thousands of Malaysians continue risking their looks (and lives) just to “look like someone else”.
Earlier this month, seven cosmetics products which contained mercury were taken off the shelf.
Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the seven products are Dnars Golden Cream, Fjura-Face Polish Treatment, Glow Glowing N Glowing, Apple Diamond Day Loose, 3rd Series Yanko Fade Out Cream Day Cream, 5th Series Yanko Fade Out Cream Day Cream and 7th Series Yanko Whitening Cream Day.
There might be more, but chances are, Malaysians are just too vain to even be bothered with reading the finer prints.
Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor of The Malaysian Reserve.