Documentaries checking out the intersection of capitalism, branding, social media, and id are about a dime a dozen these days, every single regurgitating information you browse in a New York journal posting a couple years back and insisting that we, as a society, are all victims—or at minimum targets—of some style of rip-off. Also, the beats, people, and equipment inside these films and packages have become extremely predictable. And you can assume tiny to no experimentation with kind. No issue what the matter or who’s undertaking the scamming, these exposés all generally culminate in the clichéd, overarching concept that almost nothing becoming marketed to you is precisely what it seems.
Therefore, a new four-section docuseries arriving on HBO Max right now, from Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick (Allen v. Farrow), known as Not So Quite is built on that actual premise. Touting by itself as the “first-ever comprehensive massive-scale investigative exposé of the trillion-dollar attractiveness marketplace,” the series sets out to uncover the “hidden” darkish side of the magnificence business in a minor more than two hours, dedicating about 30 minutes each and every to a wide facet of magnificence, which includes hair, nails, pores and skin care, and make-up.
Specified the time allotment, the extensive-ness of the project automatically seems unfeasible. There are several instructions to go in with this distinct assignment. And for the most section, Not So Quite focuses on illuminating the poisonous chemical compounds commonly observed in sure beauty products and solutions and their possible clinical implications. On the other hand, the compact (no pun meant), abridged mother nature of the sequence would make it tricky to believe in that we’re getting a full, adequately contextualized portrait of the health and fitness challenges the documentary attempts to get rid of light on, even with the scientific legitimacy of the statements presented. It a lot more so appears to be built to spark curiosity and skepticism among the folks who had never ever googled the elements on a nail polish bottle or weren’t conscious of how unregulated the hair care field is or that baby powder consists of talc.
Narrated by the beautifully animated Keke Palmer, who will save considerably of the series from being a snooze, the episodes grow on facts beforehand uncovered in ongoing lawsuits brought against significant corporations like Johnson & Johnson and DevaCurl, and coinciding study about dangerous and occasionally shocking components like formaldehyde, endocrine-disrupting chemical substances, and asbestos. The 1st two episodes, checking out hair and nail items respectively, are the most effectively-executed, tying these introductory science classes to far more accessible and emotionally powerful social difficulties and illuminating the approaches particular underrepresented teams are specific by the company.
“Hair,” for instance, captures the rising backlash against the outstanding hair-treatment line DevaCurl, which is mainly promoted towards women, often minorities, with curly hair. Hair influencers and stylists commenced noticing an array of signs or symptoms which include important hair decline, rashes, scalp irritation, tinnitus, interval issues, and migraines following working with the company’s products frequently and began developing community forums on the web to explore their activities, finally bringing a class-motion lawsuit towards the firm that resulted in a $5.2 million settlement past yr. The most powerful parts of the episodes are the psychological conversing-head interviews with DevaCurl buyers and influencers, mostly Black and brown women, who depth their complicated romance to their textured locks, their treatment in the office, and how the brand regularly overlooked their cries for assistance.
“Nails” in the same way explores how the convergence of race, gender and course informs how the health considerations of Asian women functioning in nail salons have been historically neglected. For example, the doc mentions a the latest analyze out of the College of Colorado which discovered that salon employees shelling out 8 hours a working day or for a longer period all around nail polishes and related goods working experience the similar (or far more) exposure to risky organic compounds—which enhance challenges for respiratory complications and cancer—as people working in oil refineries and vehicle garages. Even now, the analysis all-around this particular function surroundings is comparatively scarce in contrast to, say, coal mines and factories.
“There is a large amount of discuss of the chance of particular clinical situations and recommendations from men and women who endured them without the need of point out of how likely it is to take place to the viewer.”
At times, the vast assortment of ailments and complications discussed all over the docuseries without the need of disclosing any quantities to set these dangers into point of view can show up like one more situation of gotcha journalism normally located in overall health documentaries with some more substantial agenda. There is a whole lot of converse of the probability of sure healthcare problems and recommendations from individuals who experienced them devoid of point out of how likely it is to transpire to the viewer.
Other “eye-opening” moments read like the producers merely building stress bait. For instance, there’s a scene in the “Makeup” episode in which a woman named Corrin Ortillo, who tells a story about how she was diagnosed with mesothelioma from asbestos observed in her make-up, movies herself in a makeup retail outlet seeking at the ingredient labels on undisclosed manufacturers and revealing that all of them contain talc, which can be contaminated with asbestos. A further episode focuses on a guy who lost all of his sperm as a end result of endocrine disruptors observed in pores and skin-care products. The final five minutes of each and every episode, that includes Do’s and Don’t’s when purchasing for natural beauty products—and adverts for particular attractiveness apps—attempts to ward off any fears you crafted up in excess of 25 minutes and assure you that there are continue to a great deal of secure ways to eat splendor products and solutions. Still, what you are supposed to take absent from the collection as a consumer can be complicated and overwhelming at situations.
General, Not So Rather is neither a groundbreaking piece of journalism or art and only definitely excels when underscoring the predatory mother nature of the beauty market on females of color or the way their health has been systematically ignored. The relaxation feels like an entry-amount chemistry course that could only be wholly understood or appropriately contextualized with additional exploration. Eventually, the place you are in your magnificence instruction and how skeptical you are about the way information and facts is usually presented in documentaries will decide your viewing practical experience.