Friday, April 22, 2011

Beauty Blogsophere 4.22.11

Before I get into the roundup, I just want to do a little self-promotion: If you're on Facebook and enjoy what you're reading here, please "like" The Beheld if you haven't already. And, of course, there's always Twitter. I'm really trying to make The Beheld grow, and the more ways that people (that's you) can share stuff going on here, all the better to help that happen. Thank you!

What's going on in beauty this week, from head to toe.

From Head...
Wake-up (Cocoa) recall: Clairol Natural Instincts is recalling a dozen shades that have mismatched sachets that "may result in unwanted color." You wouldn't want to buy Wake-up Cocoa and wind up with Raspberry Creme, now, would you?

Just in case the revolution is televised: The Middle Eastern hair care market is expected to swell in demand because of the burgeoning youth population—to the point where hair care will outperform all other cosmetics and toiletries. (Skin care takes that honor in the States; see next item.) Want to know more? Hit up next week's International Exhibition for Cosmetics and Beauty Products in sunny Damascus, Syria! Should be relaxing.

So why is skin care so enormous in the States? Nice business-eye view as to why. In a word: growth. Growth of men's markets, of Asian markets, and technology, which means that what seemed revolutionary a decade ago now seems quaint. (Remember ceramides?) Toe...

High heel history: Anthropology in Practice examines the meaning of high heels. It's fashion, not beauty, but it's the fashion thing I struggle with the most so I'm including it here. It is impossible for me to feel dressed up in flats. I'm working to get over this because OUCH but damn do I love the way my spirit feels in heels.

...and Everything in Between:

Avon's calling: Avon became the first major cosmetics player to commit to using sustainable palm oil in its products. Sustainability is a growing (and under-reported) concern in the booming natural cosmetics market--it's great that consumers are more aware of what goes into their cosmetics, but biodiversity and labor concerns can get shoved under the rug, especially when you're dealing with companies whose commitment to green beauty goes little further than throwing in a little aloe and calling it "natural." Let's hope that this pays off for Avon, whose stock has been sagging.

Trouble He-brewing:
An Israeli teen beauty queen is kicked out of public (but religious) school for participating in the beauty pageant. The blogger here questions the failure of the system--not that the young woman was expelled, but that entering the beauty contest was her goal in the first place. 

The "lipstick effect": Time to trot out those econ pieces about "the lipstick effect," in which markets for small luxuries soar during economic downturns. Why this week of all weeks, when this isn't really news, I have no idea. 

"Evocative, but provocative": Fascinating early-'60s fragrance ad, in case your Mad Men jonesing is giving you the shakes.  

Eco-luxe: I'm all for companies making green products seem luxurious to up its social cache. But are $19 eco-friendly gluten-free lipsticks going to do much to massage the prevalent image of "latte liberals"?   

Soap cartels: Procter & Gamble (Clairol, CoverGirl, Fekkai, Olay, Vidal Sassoon, etc.) and Unilever (Dove, Pond's, Vaseline, Tigi) fined for price fixing. The more you read about these companies, the shadier they get, I tell you! P&G gets extra credit for developing small-size "no-frills" products as a part of its Africa strategy. You know, Africa, the world's poorest continent. (Though in all fairness, P&G, along with Johnson & Johnson, did make the National Association of Female Executives' 2011 list of top companies for women.) 

Shiseido goes e-commerce: Japan's Shiseido finally launches online U.S. sales in an effort to keep the brand afloat in light of the Japanese crisis.

Curve ball: Fascinating graph roundup on attitudes toward sex by weird demographic breakdowns (did you know that vegetarians are more inclined to report enjoying giving oral sex than meat-eaters?), but what's relevant here is charts #7 and #8, which chart sex drive and self-confidence by women's self-reported body type. In OK Cupid's words:
"It's particularly interesting to isolate skinny—a deprecating way to say something generally considered positive (being thin)—and curvy—an empowering way to say something generally considered negative (being heavy)."

"Magazine goggles": I love Verging on Serious's phrase for what happens when you start to see yourself through the filter of spending days on vacation reading ladymags. (No comment from me—yet—on what 12 years of working in them does to you...) 

Monopoly money: The brains behind the always excellent Beauty Redefined are based in Salt Lake City, which was named by Forbes as the "Vainest City in the U.S." Lindsay and Lexie dissect this here; the whole thing is worth a read, but of special note is this trivia: The American Medical Association banned advertising for plastic surgery procedures until 1982, when the FTC demanded more competition between providers to decrease costs.

Sex or makeup? This study about how women would rather give up sex, chocolate, and coffee than makeup is making the rounds. I don't like the tone that reporting on it has taken, like women are all these cyphers who would do anything--ANYTHING!!!--for our moisturizer. Note that A) the study was commissioned by a cosmetics company, and B) it asked if women would give up those items for a week, not their entire lives (haven't we all gone a week without all three of those? Um, except coffee, criminy that is a toss-up), and C) it's ridiculous in the first place, because they are so not equivalent, right? As my boyfriend said over coffee and chocolate the other day, "It's like asking, Would you rather not eat an apple or have your baby killed?"


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