When we think of the word ‘raw’, we may immediately think of it in a negative light—something exposed, painful or uncooked. But what happens when we consider ‘raw’ to be a starting point or transition phase? An opportunity for change, development, healing or growth?
In nature, raw is beautiful—it’s untouched, pure and organic. When we think of the rudimentary components of nature, colour is a huge part of that; playing a role in animal mimicry (imitating a more dangerous animal in order to protect itself), crypsis (camouflage) and mating. Colour in nature literally means life or death which is why at THE UNSEEN Beauty we have the utmost respect for raw pigments and primary colours.
A raw pigment is a substance sourced from plants, minerals or animals that is used to create colour. They have been used throughout history for prehistoric cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs and medieval manuscripts. Raw pigments are often ground into a fine powder and then mixed with a binder to create paint or other colouring materials. They can be used to create a wide range of colours, from bright and bold to muted and subtle. Depending on the type of pigment and the way it’s prepared, it can have different properties such as opacity, transparency and lightfastness.
Raw pigments are an essential part of the art and design world, allowing artists and creators to add colour and depth to their work. Modern examples include Mark Rothko’s colour field paintings, Yves Klein’s monochromatic blue paintings, the infamously vandalised Barnett Newman series Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, Piet Mondrian’s neoplasticism and Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings. Each artist has used raw pigments and/or primary colours in a distinct style—whether with perfectly uniform application or in expressive brushstrokes.
Similarly to art, makeup has evolved to include more expressive forms of application. Perfection, as an aesthetic, has been deeply ingrained in our society and we've been conditioned to aspire to an ideal that often feels unattainable. The rise of Photoshop and fast-editing social media tools further fueled this obsession with flawlessness, but it’s been shown to negatively impact our health. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that exposure to images of unrealistic beauty standards can contribute to the development of feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression.
It’s natural to wonder why we’re conditioned to chase this illusion and at what cost? It’s a notion that Thomas Curran, Assistant Professor of Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at the London School of Economics and author of The Perfection Trap: The Power of Good Enough in a World that Always Wants More discusses on this thought-provoking episode of Instant Genius.
Ultimately, the blame lies with consumerism—we’re constantly led to believe that if we buy certain products, we can achieve perfection, but they often don’t live up to our expectations and so it feeds a cycle of poor self-esteem and comparison. In our modern world of social media filters, retouching tools and curated Instagram feeds, the notion of perfection has long been a coveted goal, but deep down we know it’s not truly sustainable.
We believe that the tides are turning, and we find ourselves amidst a cultural shift where many of us have lost patience with these unattainable standards of beauty. The unfiltered, raw aesthetic is gaining momentum, especially on the video-first platform TikTok, where natural skin texture and individuality is celebrated with hashtags #BodyPositivity and #SelfLove. Unique features like scars, freckles and stretchmarks that might once have been considered flaws are being flaunted and celebrated. This shift has the opportunity for profound positive implications for our self-esteem and mental wellbeing. Ultimately, trying to live up to a digital representation is always going to be impossible so why not exploit raw beauty and the beautiful imperfections it offers?
So what does ‘raw’ mean to THE UNSEEN Beauty? Raw beauty is something that can't be replicated or manufactured; it's the kind of beauty that comes from the untouched, untamed natural world around us. From the iridescent shells of scarab beetles to the geometric structures of uncut crystals, there is an endless supply of raw beauty to be found. It's not just in the grand and awe-inspiring landscapes that we find this beauty either; it can be seen in the Fibonacci sequence of flowers and shells, the vibrant colours of a butterfly's wings or unique birthmarks. Raw beauty is all around us if we only take the time to look for it.At THE UNSEEN Beauty, we’ve always celebrated self-expression and so only create products like COLOUR ALCHEMY and SPECTRA that allow you to be seen for who you are—creating authentic impact without the need for digitally perfecting filters. By unapologetically embracing our raw beauty, we can free ourselves from the suffocating pressures of unattainable standards.