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In this video, Chelsea dives into a topic near and dear to our hearts: how celebrities who "never age" are gaslighting us into thinking that they're *not* actually just paying for skincare procedures, trainers, and other expensive beauty maintenance.


Negatives of social media comparison:

Skincare industry stats:

Chelsea skincare Twitter thread:

Jhene Aiko:

TFD buying advice video:

Cheesecake diet:

Post-baby surgery:

Mommy makeover:

Rob McElhenney IG:

Kumail Nanjiani:

Actors and steroid use:

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Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And if you haven't already, please do not forget to hit that Subscribe button and to click the Join button to join our super secret society at TFD, which will provide you with tons of awesome stuff and support what I think is a really cool company.

And today, I want to talk about one of my favorite pet subjects that is not purely financial in nature but has a huge financial component and is something I've been thinking about a lot lately as I'm moving into my 30s, and I'm taking my sort of anti-aging skin care, generally feeling good in my body efforts a little bit more seriously than when I was in my 20s, and I would go out until 3:00 in the morning, and not take off my makeup, and eat three slices of pizza, and then wake up the next morning and get a breakfast sandwich. We're in a different era of these days. And I'm pretty concerned with treating my body as well as it deserves to be treated, and honestly, looking as best I can in the process.

And as I'm becoming conscious of those things, one of the things that frustrates me beyond comparison in our culture is the extent to which celebrities, influencers, and rich people generally, are able to gaslight the rest of us about what it actually takes to remain, as Lana Del Rey once put it, young and beautiful. It's basically become a refrain at this point. Once every couple of days, a picture of Paul Rudd, or JLo, or Halle Berry, or Khloe Kardashian, or Lenny Kravitz, or Vera Wang will go semi-viral with commentary about how they either must be drinking the blood of children or that this is what happens to your skin when you're not problematic.

It's usually in one of those two categories. We are constantly impressed by celebrities who look really good or who look a lot younger than their chronological age, even when, in many of these cases, looking that way is essentially their full time job. Let's take JLo, for example, who, in a recent interview, credited the following for her youthful appearance.

The five things that she considers responsible for keeping her quote, "youthful and timeless at every age" are sleep, sunscreen, serums, supplements, and vivir sano, which is Spanish for living a healthy lifestyle. Her approach to skincare is a holistic one, which explains the inclusion of dietary supplements. The supplements feature olive extract, which is also a core ingredient in several of the JLo beauty TM products, which is the real beauty secret in her routine, the one she learned from her mother and her aunt while she was a little girl.

So I'm sorry, not only do we all have to insult our collective intelligence by pretending that JLo looks the way JLo does at JLo's age because of olive oil, but we're also using this incredibly thin lie to sell yet another crappy celebrity beauty/skincare line. Literally show me the justice here. And the idea of being honest about what it actually would take to look like JLo, a trainer, nutritionist, an army of domestic employees, lasers, injectables, cosmetic surgeries, personal stylists, makeup and hair artists, and state of the art photo filtering, have basically just fallen by the wayside.

And are making women feel terrible about themselves in the process. Because the funny thing about our digital and especially social age is how much proximity and exposure we have to these celebrities and influencers who were once only seen in the context of movies, maybe occasionally on a red carpet, or on the pages of a magazine. Now, we're able to follow them and be inundated with photos of them on our social feeds every day.

We create parasocial relationships with them. And even without realizing it, are subtly more and more comparing ourselves to their image. Now, we have integrated into our cultural expectation that 50-something can, and maybe should, look like JLo.

And evidence is growing, particularly in adolescent mental health, of an association between greater social media use and higher depressive and anxiety scores, poor sleep, and low self-esteem and body image concerns. But why would JLo stop? When the act of lying to the public about how you look the way you do is incredibly lucrative when you consider those aforementioned celebrity beauty brands, all the more so when you consider the cult of good skin.

Now, I have mentioned this before on the channel, but it is worth repeating. I don't even have an associate's degree. But I would like to get my doctorate.

And my thesis is going to be on skin care replacing weight as the more socially acceptable way to take something that is ultimately largely defined-- as the new socially acceptable way to take something about your appearance, which is ultimately mostly based on genetics and economics, and turn it into a character judgment about how good you are, how controlled you are, how much you love yourself, or how deserving you are of respect. And not only has skin care and the mythicized skincare routine become an enormous cultural phenomenon that bleeds into all kinds of personality and character assumptions, it's also become massively popular and economically viable. If you feel like skincare is everywhere these days, you are not hallucinating.

The skincare industry is one of the fastest growing beauty markets in the US. Research finds that Americans are now spending an average of $322.88 every year on skincare. And with consumers now buying skincare from as early as their teenage years, Americans are forecast to buy skin care for 47 years of their life, totaling an incredible $15,000 on skincare in their lifetime on average.

And not only is there a huge US interest in skincare, they are also willing to invest in it. An estimated $18.7 million is set to be spent by Americans on their skincare regime throughout 2021, with a predicted growth of 5.1% year over year, making them the biggest generator of revenue in the industry. Now, here's the thing.

As someone who has had, all of her life, skin issues, spending on having better skin is not only something I'm largely supportive of, it's something I would be hypocritical not to endorse. And for those of you who might be following this Twitter thread, if you follow me over there, I have been very transparent about both the process and the cost of my recent foray into actual cosmetic dermatology. Because after years of spending on a lot of these much hyped over-the-counter and cosmetic products, I realized that not only were the results often middling, in order to treat real skin disorders, like, for example, my rosacea, often actual medical or pharmaceutical interventions were going to be necessary.

And it's not going to be something that is just a skin cream recommended by a beauty guru. And part of what inspired me was finally seeing one celebrity actually be honest about what it took for her to maintain such perfect skin. In 2018, the singer Jhene Aiko responded to a fan complimenting her skin by confirming that it was largely a result of regular Fraxel lasers, as well as some other cosmetic treatments, serums, et cetera.

And the thing is that the more I've learned about cosmetic dermatology, the more I'm basically all but convinced that essentially every celebrity influencer and wealthy person is getting regular laser treatments. But at the time, it was almost jarring to see it written that way. I have my first Fraxel laser treatment scheduled for next month.

It's something that I have to wait a while to do, because you need it essentially five days where no one can see your face after that. And that's not easy to find in the calendar. But suffice to say, it's a road I'm largely going down because I realized after much banging my head against the wall, even with the nicest over the counter products, that the reason I wasn't seeing these miraculous results was because I wasn't using the same treatments.

I did, by the way, already do a Vbeam laser. It hurts like a [BLEEP],, but I highly recommend it for redness. And as we've broken down in previous videos, link in the description, a couple visits with an actual dermatologist and the actual medication that person will provide to you are often a much better long-term investment than tons of over-the-counter stuff that doesn't really work.

But even if skincare has largely supplanted weight as the overt verbalizable way in which we judge people's moral worth via their appearance, when it comes to the pressures on women's bodies, especially famous women's bodies, being thin is still an enormous cultural necessity, even if we're not allowed to talk about it. And this is another way, perhaps less directly financial, but definitely as ubiquitous, that the entire discourse around how famous people look and how they get to look that way are completely gaslighting the regular public. Take for example Adele's recent weight loss.

Her entire album launch has been framed, more than anything, as a glow up and personal Renaissance. And listen, I love Adele. But that album is just more Adele piano jams.

And I'm happy for her, but it's not some big artistic renaissance. What they're really referring to and what they're alluding to with all of those Vogue shoots and viral Instagram photos is that she lost a lot of weight. Or we have examples like Taylor Swift, who actually admitted in her documentary that for years when she was visibly underweight, while she would say in interviews or on red carpets that she was just working out, that she actually was working out and not eating.

Since that documentary came out, Taylor has dropped down to a smaller size again. Whether or not she's doing that through healthy means is, frankly, none of our business. But the fact that she revealed herself as openly lying to the public for years about how she achieved her weight is something that should stick with us when we look at all celebrity before and after photos.

And even if it's not spoken, the phenomenon of both famous and, frankly, just wealthy women remaining thin via conventional and unconventional means is still hugely prevalent. And it's sad when you consider that things like hyperrestrictive whole diets or just, frankly, taking Adderall are pretty much the conventional ways that these people stay thin. But although it's become less cool to talk about, we can still see snippets of how the rich and famous maintain their thin figures throughout the years, even rather recently.

In the mid-aughts, society went wild for the Master Cleanse, a fast in which its adherents are allowed only to drink a pungent concoction of lemonade, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Beyonce credited it for a 20 pound weight loss when she was preparing for her role in Dreamgirls. But Gwyneth Paltrow later led a backlash when she wrote that 10 days on the cleanse left her hallucinating.

I really don't know that, honestly, Gwyneth Paltrow is the person to be leading any kind of backlash on any kind of dubious health or medical advice, but OK. But as recently as 2015, Argentine It girl Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea married the French fashion event producer Alexandre de Betak in a three-day international society destination wedding in Patagonia. The bride followed a highly unconventional diet to fit into her Valentino couture dress.

As she put it, "when I was planning our wedding, I was eating just cheesecake. And the more I ate cheesecake, the less hungry I got, because it would mess up my stomach," she says. Her preferred brand was Junior's, the iconic Brooklyn Cheesecake Factory, delivered by Amazon Fresh.

Never has one story contains so many horrible elements. That whole article is insane. It's LinkedIn the description.

I mean, heavy trigger warning on that article. But it is just chaotic the things people have done throughout the years. Great cheesecake.

But literally eating it to give yourself IBS. So that you don't keep eating, what is happening? Who's trying to have diarrhea on their wedding.

I'm sorry, I can't talk about this. And actually, speaking of 2015, that was the year in which I read Bethenny Frankel's bestseller Naturally Thin, a book which contains ample advice on strategically passing food around at restaurants. So that you don't have to eat it.

As well as a passage about treating yourself sometimes to a couple bites of a steak dinner. Now listen, am I going to sit here and say that rich and famous women remaining thin by having horrible relationships with food is something new, or a revelation, or something we don't all know is a lie? No.

But I will say that we're in a superficially body positive era in which we are allowed to wildly speculate on the weights of women who happen to be above a size 6, like Lizzo or, formerly, Adele, but yet are surrounded by hordes and hordes of women in the fashion, beauty, film, and influencer industries who are very visibly underweight. Yet we have to all collectively pretend it's just because they eat a lot of salmon and quinoa. I'm not going to sit here and name names of some of these women.

But I think we all know a lot of them. And if we're deluding ourselves into thinking it's not the same incredibly dangerous and unsustainable methods women have used throughout history, we're kidding ourselves. But perhaps nowhere is this culture of body obfuscation more dangerous or damaging to women's psyches than when it comes to the post-baby bod.

The pressure on women to bounce back to their former figures after literally pushing a human through their vaginas, or sometimes getting it cut out of their tummies, has only gotten worse as celebrities and influencers have ramped up the gaslighting on how easy it should be to do. And it is all the more galling when you consider just how advanced the surgical procedures and interventions used to help these women snap back have become. But even if they weren't using surgery, let's be honest, does anyone need to see Emily Ratajkowski in a beach cabana with a 22 pack abs holding her child like a bag of turnips?

But particularly when you consider that the median age at which women in America are having kids is increasing, especially in the circles of full-time working and incredibly wealthy women that these celebrities and influencers inhabit, the idea that women, especially as they get a little older, should just snap right back to their old body, and often, we're talking about what looks like a 22-year-old's body, is straight up ridiculous. There are endless interviews with famous women about how they managed to get back to that body. And yes, a lot of it is that they are on incredibly strict diet and exercise regimes throughout their pregnancy, which allows them to gain only the minimum amount of weight.

But often, they will just say I was really healthy during my pregnancy. So even that's bullshit. Delivering your child early by scheduling a c-section, so as to further reduce the amount of weight gained, as well as getting surgical procedures to help bring your body back while still in the hospital after giving labor has become nigh ubiquitous.

As one clinic's website describes it, generally speaking, a mommy makeover includes multiple breast and/or body contouring procedures all tied into one. Many women choose some combination of a breast lift or augmentation with a tummy tuck and liposuction for their mommy makeover. I'll link you guys in the description to a great video by the YouTuber Lori Hill all about how celebrity women actually achieve these post-baby bodies, including as they walk out of the hospital.

The pressures put on women to have it all have always been enormous. But to add the pressure on top of it all to look as though they never had a child in the first place just after giving birth is cruel. And to lie by omission to the millions of women wondering how you got to look the way you did by just insisting you did a few sit-ups and ate a lot of steamed fish is gaslighting.

But we've talked a lot about women in this video. And I want to stress here that this phenomenon is becoming increasingly a gender neutral one. Men are increasingly under similar pressures to look a certain way as they get older and to compare themselves to realistic ideals of aging, like the aforementioned Paul Rudd.

And when it comes to the expensive but near ubiquitous procedures that are not being disclosed, let's just start by saying the list of famous men you can Google who used to be totally bald or have a hairline back behind their ears and now suddenly, at age 50, have a lush head of hair could go on for pages. And yes, that includes your struggle fave, Elon Musk. Sorry about pictures don't lie, [BLEEP]..

And there is not some magic celebrity diet that reclaims all of that hair you lost. They're getting hair replacement surgery, all of your faves. And famous men are also getting almost universally all of the usual suspects, that means lasers, injectables, and all kinds of other facial tweaks, chin fillers/implants, and nose jobs being particularly popular.

Just the other day, saw this celebrity that I didn't even recognize, that people-- some like 30-year-old man that people were like, wow, he really glowed up. No bitch, he got a chin implant and hair replacement surgery. Though perhaps what is most dangerous and insidious when it comes to these impossible and outright deceptive male beauty standards is the extent to which our superhero film obsession has made actors in their 40s and beyond maintaining the physics of 25-year-old bodybuilders for years on end in order to star in these films nothing short of a phenomenon, too.

And the consistent refrain is that it's just working out and eating right. And that of course performance enhancing drugs have nothing to do with it. But even if we take them on the word about the no drugs, what does eating right and working out actually look like.

Well, Rob McElhenney of it's always sunny in Philadelphia did once give us a peek behind the curtain on his Instagram of what those celebrity transformations actually cost. As he put it, it's not that hard. All you need to do is lift weights six days a week, stop drinking alcohol, don't eat anything after 7:00 PM.

Don't eat any carbs or any sugar at all. In fact. Just don't eat anything you like.

Get the personal trainer for Magic Mike. Sleep nine hours a night, run three miles a day, and have a studio pay for the whole thing over six to seven months. I don't know why everyone's not doing this.

It's a super realistic lifestyle and an appropriate body image to compare oneself to. #Hollywood. But there are also plenty of indicators that juicing, or using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, is a big unspoken part of this phenomenon, too, especially for older men or men whose former body types look nothing like what they are expected to now fit into. Kumail Nanjiani was recently widely accused of using steroids to achieve a radical transformation for the Eternals movies.

Something that is, to be fair, total speculation, but is largely driven by photos of him which show his face, as well as his body, looking radically altered in recent months in ways consistent with steroid use. He also recently gave an interview revealing that since achieving this body transformation, his overall body image has actually greatly suffered as a result. As now it's become nothing short of an obsession.

But whether or not he individually may have used drugs to enhance his appearance, the open secret of male actors using steroids to get in shape for a role is not only something totally normalized in Hollywood, it's also been happening for much longer than we probably think. And when even in the best of cases, i.e. the one Rob McElhenney lays out, you are still subjecting yourself to an incredibly unrealistic and unsustainable regimen. The problem remains in either case.

Pretending that any of this is normal is deeply dangerous for the men who might be watching at home. Ultimately, the rich and famous lying about how they achieve their looks is nothing new. But with the addition of social media, the ubiquity of a lot of these procedures, and the increasing pressure on aging celebrities to look impossibly young, the idea of truth has gone out the window.

But as we even subconsciously compare ourselves to these images, it's important to remember that the truth is often just a question of money. As always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos.

See ya.