For many Brazilian women, beautification is a means of self-realization. Its transformative power can become an opportunity for social mobility, a form of escape. In this photo study by Susan Meiselas, we see women’s rituals to beautify themselves throughout Rio de Janeiro. These brief encounters not only reveal the way that the allure of beauty is realized on a day-to-day basis, but also the subtle politics of the pursuit of beauty. The slideshow above draws attention to the influence of the male gaze, the power of self-sexualization, and the idealization of whiteness. The images subtly suggest a tension between beauty as a form of empowerment and the expectation of beauty as a form of control.