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A New Documentary Shows the Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry

A new HBO Max docuseries, ‘Not So Pretty,’ will go into the belly of the beauty industry beast, taking a look at how the cosmetic products people use every day can have harmful — and sometimes even deadly — consequences.

The four-part docuseries will be narrated by Keke Palmer, who said she was shocked by what she learned from the investigation.

“I’m big on self-help, and in order to best help yourself, you need information. I can’t tell you how much I learned from working on ‘Not So Pretty,'” Palmer said. “Each session inspired an ‘OMG I HAD NO IDEA’ moment, and then I became relieved to be a part of something that can help break these myths and encourage personal autonomy within the beauty industry which can only come with knowledge. You can’t choose wisely when you don’t know what to look for! This show will illuminate that and it’s really empowering.”

Aside from the products themselves containing harmful chemicals, the beauty industry has contributed to a rise in negative self-image and mental health consequences among teens. Beauty filters are increasingly popular among teens and young adults, and products often market themselves as way to achieve that “filter-perfect” look.

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The beauty industry is bigger than ever, with reports showing companies pulled in $511B in 2021. Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are overrun with influencers pushing products that are not subject to the same approval process that items like food and drugs undergo. This means that products marketing to teens and adults encouraging a certain look or beauty standard aren’t being approved by the federal government, leaving plenty of room open for negative side effects.

The series will premiere on HBO Max on April 14.

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