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Beauty Shelfies and Claustrophobia

by Rayna van Aalst June 03, 2018

Beauty Shelfies and Claustrophobia

There are certain situations that make me feel very claustrophobic.

Crawling through a narrow space where I have enough room to move, makes me gasp for air and my heart beat faster.

It’s not that I’ve ever done it but just thinking about it is enough for me.

Once I also made the mistake of watching U-571 in the movie theater. It's a movie about a submarine and as I’m also afraid of water, watching on a big screen about people in a confined space, “trapped” in water was too much for me.

Thank god it wasn’t a 3D projection!

I feel exactly the same way as in a tiny tunnel or a submarine – my breathing gets heavier, my heart beats faster, I become restless, when I see one of those proudly arranged and stuffed beauty shelfies.

It’s good that at least I don’t also start sweating when I see a beauty shelfie.

When I first became aware of how I feel about shelfies and I realized how similar it is to my case of claustrophobia, it got me curious. Had I just discovered a new, modern-day fear, the shelfiephobia?!

Once I got my fame day-dreaming, I looked closer into what my real problem with the Insta shelfies was

First, Oh My God! Those are hundreds, if not thousands of euros!

I repeat THOUSANDS. You think I’m exaggerating? A bottle of Vintner’s Daughter, a jar of May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon, a bottle of La Bella Figura Aria and maybe a jar of La Mer in case you’re trying to impress non-green beauty lovers too and you’ve hit the €1000.

And that’s just one shelf of one beauty cabinet.

My heart starts beating faster…..

Second, leaving La Mer aside which can probably a decade on your shelf

(OK, I’m being a little bit sarcastic here but we all know that this cream is firstly made to last at least 3 years and then maybe do something for your skin), natural products have a limited shelf life. No pun intended.

Natural products are most potent when they are fresh. Keep them for your shelfies and congratulations, you just threw hundrends of euros away.

There goes my breathing too….

Third, which is the moment when the real panic kicks in

is imagining me getting ready for bed, opening such a beauty cabinet from one of those shelfies and having to choose products to use on my face. The sheer number of products on these photos makes me feel like I’m in a store buying skincare all over again, only this time every evening when doing my skincare. The overwhelm is just too much.

Last but not least, there’s the Bulgarian in me.

When I still lived in Bulgaria, people there used to be big on brands and logos.

It might be the ugliest (and most likely fake) bag in the store but if VALENTINO was written with big letters across it so everyone could see it, that was the purse you buy. Even if you can’t afford it.

Looking at all these neatly stuffed shelfies, I can’t help but wonder – who are you trying to impress?!

Now when I see a shelfie on Instagram I smile because as a Bulgarian I’ve learned to laugh at such situations. It turns out that yet again laughter is the medicine, also for my shelfiephobia.

Use your products, don't keep them or better yet buy them for shelfies.

Rayna van Aalst
Rayna van Aalst


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