The Beauty Industry: Gender, Culture, Pleasure

By Paula Black | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

Look good, feel better

Promoting health in the beauty salon

The title 'look good, feel better' refers to the publicity for a project which runs in a hospital in one of the research sites. Patients in a cancer ward are given beauty treatments and offered advice on make-up and wigs, as cancer treatment can result in hair loss. The 'look good, feel better' programme aims to provide a 'confidence boost' to the patient through attention to the body. Although these treatments take place in a medicalised setting they are emphatically not about treatment in a bio-medical sense, but rather contribute to a general sense of wellness.

In the salon too, health treatments form part of the range of services on offer. Clients access the salon in order to alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and also to contribute to a more holistic sense of well-being. I will first address these differences in understanding how clients use the salon for health treatments and place these claims within the framework of the concept of the 'healthy lifestyle'. Beauty therapists compare themselves to health workers, most often to nurses. I investigate the claims of the beauty therapist in relation to her professional status and how she contributes to the health of her clients. Beauty therapists describe their work as focusing both upon the body and feelings. They claim to fulfil a counselling role with their clients which aids emotional health and in turn improves physical health. The work of the beauty therapist may be understood through her relationships with the medical profession, and with other complementary therapies. It seems that

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The Beauty Industry: Gender, Culture, Pleasure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Chapter 1 - 'Ordinary People Come Through Here' 1
  • Chapter 2 - Inventing Beauty 20
  • Chapter 3 - Just Because It Feels Good Doesn't Make It Right 40
  • Chapter 4 - The Hidden Labour of Beauty 101
  • Chapter 5 - Look Good, Feel Better 141
  • Chapter 6 - 'You Feel Better When You Leave' 179
  • Bibliography 191
  • Index 200
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