Cos.me.tol.o.gy - "is the branch of science that deals with the external embellishment of a person through the use of cosmetic products and treatments."  So says the manual of the BF Barangay Livelihood Training Center.  Apart from the food industry, the cosmetology industry may be the only other industry where the sun never sets.  In good times or bad, we always want to look good.  We splurge on ourselves when times are good; we take comfort in it when times are bad. 

It has become big business as well.  Every week, it seems a new spa or salon opens in BF Homes (not to mention a new restaurant).  I'm of the age when I can still remember going with my mom to the "parlor" to get a haircut; it's one of those terms that technology and specialization has rendered dated.  Now we go to a hair salon. 

Like many industries in the country, it is still an unregulated industry, with self-regulation as the norm.  My research has yielded two House Bills (here and here) and one Senate bill that have been drawn up so far, which aims to professionalize the industry.  They don't seem to have progressed much beyond the committee level.; but, the commitment of its industry leaders, no doubt, would lead to the bill being passed in the future.

One area though that no law can regulate is the ever-present "colonial mentality" that pervades our culture, quite disturbing in today's supposedly more-enlightened times.  Notwithstanding our progress in our march towards a more Filipino identity, it seems being "white" remains to be the holy grail of pulchritude. 

Which leads me to wonder if the advertising companies are just responding to a real clamor by Filipinas wanting to scrape their brown skins away, or is it that Filipinas are just succumbing to the pressure of the ad companies and media shrilly touting whiteness as the true yardstick of beauty?  Which is which?  Either way does not look good.  In this instance, beauty is  truly only skin-deep. 

How about cosmetic and pharmaceuticfal companies creating a product that restores the youthful glow of skin--instead of trying to change its color and subliminally telling girls that a fairer skin is better, more beautiful, and more popular?  Cleanliness, good grooming, confidence and good self-esteem is always better than what color your skin is.

There's a cosmetology boom and what's happening in our community may be a microcosm of what's happening elsewhere in the country.

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