Beauty & Women in Cuba: The Reality of Natural Beauty!
What would you do without your favorite Skincare? Your favorite Make-up? Your favorite neck cream?? Well, guess what! This is a luxury for us in the U.S. Yes, I said it, “A Luxury!”
The beauty industry consists of 382 billion dollar a year business globally.
Keep in mind, people in the United States are used to private sector business, advertisments on mulitple platforms and excess products at our fingertips. Now imagine going back in time. Visualize what it would be like to not have any influence from brands or beauty related products….(keep visualizing)
Our experience, was one that will not be forgotten! In Cuba, the beauty industry has a limited amount of resources. What we became aware of when visiting Cuba was astonishing. We all know the United States and Cuba have had embargo issues since the Cold War during the 1960’s. Until recent years, things have become less strict and Americans can now go to Cuba. Resources are still lacking and driving basic goods up in price.
Living in Cuba
Within the last few years, the Cuban People have been feeling more motivated and life has became more exciting. More tourism then ever before, bringing in more private sector moneies into their economy. Which in turn, is creating more income for many families who work in government jobs(majority of people living in Cuba). Cubans who recieve saleries of 15 cooks per month. Which is give or take $15 a month, are ready for more!
When the Cuban people want or need something perticular, they have to wait. Something such as, lipstick or cosmetic power that is not readily available in Cuba sometimes takes months to recieve. The only way to get it, is to hope that someone from the U.S. can bring these goods in their suitcase when coming to visit.
The Luxuries We Take For Granted
Many luxuries we have in the United States and which we take for granted are: Estee Lauder, Mac, Decleor, and even Tampax tampons! Stretch Mark Creams. The list goes on and on. For the Cuban women, this is not the case. They can not just go to the store and get what they want and need. Its not available and even if it is… its Expensive!
After speaking with Yudary, 33 she said, “it is very difficult for the Cuban women to have any sort of skincare. Its not available”. And when asking about cosmetics, they just laughed right away because this is almost not even a factor of avaialbity at all in Cuba. Especially when your making $15 cooks and the cosmetic compact you want is $15 cooks.
Yudary and her friend told me there was one company that they were able to buy, but it is not available anymore due to the government deciding to end the contract with this beauty brand.
When I asked Yudary and her friend, what they use to wash their face or to take care of their skin? Their answer was any natural food products available! Avocado for their hair, Tomato mask’s for their face and rairly if the governement has a contract with a beauty brand that will be accessible but only through a friend of a friend who can make these products readily available.
Most times, the women are saving up their money throughout the month or making payments through out the month to afford these products, as they are almost 3x the price of what we pay in the U.S.
This is a sad, but true reality for so many women of Cuba. Locked into a system that has been almost frozen in time from the 1960s. Limited wifi access, Classic American Cars, (that use mostly diesel fuel exhaust, which may be very harmful to health), almost every business owned by the government, and through all of this limitation. The people of Cuba, not only women but also men are extremely happy, kind, Very well educated, and have a growing desire to learn. Many doctors, engeneers, lawyers, etc those with a higher education have to take second jobs as taxi drivers, waiters, or work in tourism industries to make extra means to live what we would call a low income lifestyle.
On our journey, we met so many lovely Cuban people that just want to have the same access and availiabity that we have in the United States. Unfortuately, this is not just Cuban people who suffer the repercussions of a Socialzed System. It is far to similar a mentalty that so many immigrants ran away from when they came to the U.S. in search of a better life.
Its a sad, but true reality that still exists, and not knowing if things will ever change is frustrating.
From our experience, we noticed life does not stop or end with social media, excess shopping, fancy restarants. Just sticking to the basic elements of life will make you a more sucessful, hardworking, appriciative indivudal.
“Family, Friends, Culture, education and the beauty of what Cuba does have here and now!”
In the near future, we hope to start a program to help the women of Cuba to get the beauty/skincare products they desire, want, and need. We as Women deserve to be able to have access to all things that make us feel beautiful not only on the inside but on the outside too!
We have started a gofund page for those of you who may be interested in contrubuting to helping the Women of Cuba during Huricane Irma & in the future to be able to provide access to Skincare/Cosmetics.
Thank you for your support! We will update you on our efforts during this process!