Uncle Sam's nephew Frederick wants YOU to report bad makeup reactions to the FDA. (Scroll down.)
What's going on in beauty this week, from head to toe.
No, I am not done talking about Elizabeth Taylor: Rundown of Ms. Taylor's influence on beauty trends. I can't pull off the eyebrows (is it mink oil? shellac?), but the look is amazing.
...and the most ridiculous product name of the week goes to...: Nars Super Orgasm Blush. Am I a prude, or is this just too much? That color is private, thank you.
Word choice: Allure asks readers to weigh in on whether it's "appropriate" to go to work without makeup. Now, I get asking if readers feel comfortable showing up bare-faced (here's my workday-with-no-makeup writeup)...but appropriate? I just cringe a little at that word choice because it basically agrees with the Ninth Circuit Court when it ruled that certain employers can indeed force a woman to wear makeup to work. Not work appropriate: sniffing the White-Out, stealing someone's string cheese out of the pantry fridge (sorry, this wound is fresh), forcing interns to do body shots. Work appropriate: looking clean, well-groomed, and bare-faced if that's how you roll.
Feel pretty without makeup: And it's always appropriate to do just that! Courtney at Those Graces gives tips on how.
No-airbrush ad campaign dissected: I'll take a no-airbrush ad over an airbrushed one, I suppose—but I've been suspicious of the Make Up For Ever ad campaign since it launched. It is breaking exactly zero barriers: Their point is that you can look Photoshopped by wearing their product, not that Photoshopping to create the perfect look digitally warps our perception of beauty. The folks at Partial Objects get into this more deeply.
Beware the permi-cure: Long-lasting lacquer pedicures apparently can mask symptoms of health conditions. Short of something seriously funky (fungus? fur?) I wouldn't know what my nails were telling me, but a podiatrist said it so it must be true! (Though am I alone in not thinking that two weeks can't really be called "semi-permanent"? That's my normal pedicure polish duration, though manicure requires weekly.)
Most squeamish health news of the week: Toenail clippings indicate lung cancer risk. I'm picturing an ersatz oncology lab at my corner nail salon.
...and Everything in Between
Hey, Mamí: Mexico isn't known for being terribly progressive on women's rights, and street harassment both in Mexico and in the United States is a major issue for Latinas (well, and everyone else, but the machismo ethos ensures that it takes on a particular tone for Hispanic women—here's a video on street harassment and women of color). The Mexican interior ministry has developed a handbook on preventing sexist language (example: Don't say "You are prettier when you keep quiet"). Of course, a lack of street power doesn't mean Mexican women don't have purchasing power—I'm not sure what to make of L'Oréal's telenovela campaign targeting Latinas.
But let's not leave out men: Interesting that according to Latino men's self-reported take on grooming, vanidad is more important than machismo, spending more money than non-Latino men on hair styling products, moisturizer, and fragrance.
Hog balm!: It's old-timey beauty's week, apparently, between the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's podcast on 18th-century beauty tricks (the historian makes recipes from centuries ago, and reputedly her hog's lard balm is the shiznit) and a Scottish university's day of re-creating 15th-century Italian cosmetics. Finally, a way to make my body hair grow faster: bear fat!
Sustainable beauty: As nontoxic beauty products grow in visibility, more aspects of "green" beauty come to the fore. Sustainability is the new thing: The Union for Ethical BioTrade's upcoming conference will focus on cosmetics; palm oil—used in about 70% of cosmetics—isn't yet available in a sustainable form, and Thailand is hoping to get in on the action with its wealth of natural, sustainable ingredients.
The real problem with "baby Botox": Great takedown at Beauty Schooled of why we might not want to gawk and point at the "baby Botox" stage mom who reputedly gives her 8-year-old daughter Botox injections. Doing that makes it about that krazy mom and lets us off the hook for our ever-growing roster of extreme beauty standards. Remember: It wasn't long ago that pubic hair waxing was considered kinky, not mainstream. (Still, let's hope it's an April Fool's hoax.)
What up, Dove?: Love it or leave it, you can't ignore the Dove Real Beauty Campaign if you're a body-positive beauty-lover. But between last week's ad featuring white skin as "after" and black skin as "before" and their new deodorant designed to make your underarms prettier, their commitment is questionable at best.
Devil's deal?: A British survey reports that 16% of respondents would trade a year of their life for the perfect body. And while this is disturbing, it also seems alarmist. You know what? I might trade a year of my life for the perfect body too, and no, I don't hate my body. I plan on dying OLD, people, and if this fairy godmother would take away a year in a nursing home in exchange for a "perfect" body that function perfectly and looked it too (and that would forever set my mind at rest) for the next 50+ years leading up to that, hell, sign me up. The problem here (besides lack of fairy godmother) is that this isn't hypothetical. So many women have already given years of their life in pursuit of the perfect body.
Globe-trotting beauties: A guide to what international products are worth toting home. (I am at the very end of my Czech hand cream after spending last spring there. Quelle horreur!)
Uncle Sam wants you: Maybe not Uncle Sam, but his little brother, or maybe a nephew—let's call him Frederick? FDA Frederick wants you to fill him in on bad reactions you've had to cosmetics. As a reminder, there is virtually no regulatory oversight on cosmetics, which explains why there is lead in things that you put on your lips and why it's totally legal. This is your chance to contribute.