Note: This roundup is early this week because tomorrow brings a Very Special Guest Post. Stay tuned!
He didn't get Botox, and look how empathetic!
Botox makes you a social dunce: Because Botox hampers your ability to make facial expressions—therefore hampering your ability to naturally mimic someone's expressions, which triggers your ability to read them (we all it, without thinking about it)—it may make you less sympathetic toward others. Egads! (Via No More Dirty Looks.)
Playing pretty in rural India: The relatively low price of color cosmetics (as opposed to skin care) has made color cosmetics popular among low-income rural Indians—which accounts for 70% of the population, after all. Researchers expect color cosmetic sales to soar 19% through the next three years—that's a lot. Let's just hope that the photosensitive chemicals in cosmetics that are causing 80 hospital visits a day in the Chandigarh area aren't a part of this boom.
Must-see manscaping: No, not that manscaping. Special effects makeup artist William Lemon III designed these incredible landscapes on men's faces. Eerie and gentle and beautiful.
Fish pedicure appeal: An Arizona appeals court rules that a salon owner may challenge the constitutionality of the state's crackdown on fish pedicures. That bodes well for the mayor of Swindon, a town in south England, who's opened up a fish pedicure store, Dr. Spafish, in the town's shopping centre. (See what I did there? Centre?)
Classic Car Collectors Against Domestic Violence?
...And the Business In Between:
Mary Kay and domestic violence awareness: Mary Kay has done excellent work around DV research and awareness, contributing more than $11 million to programs in the past decade and pioneering solid research. So I know that the company's recent stunt of pulling up to the Massachusetts State House in a trademark pink Cadillac to raise awareness is more than just a stunt.
Global beauty options: Americans go nuts for Boots, even though my British sources tell me that it's basically like going nuts for Walgreen's. But if the mere mention of "colour" cosmetics tickles you anyway, note that they have a new U.S. e-commerce site. And if Boots just doesn't cut it, check out Cleopatra's Choice, which allows you to shop skin care products by the region they come from. Regional options are limited but diverse. (I am a total junkie for this kind of stuff. It's from Latvia? It must be good!)
Walgreen's masstige plan: Of course, Walgreen's ain't so bad itself. WWD reports (pay-blocked, unfortunately) that Walgreen's—which acquired New York chain Duane Reade last year—is taking a cue from the "Look Boutique" pioneered by its acquisition, which features masstige products in a vaguely spa-like setting, complete with fragrance counters. Look for Walgreen's to become a bigger player in the drugstore cosmetics market...
...and look out Procter & Gamble's clever new campaign: "Have You Tried This?" is explicitly geared toward getting women to put just one more product in their basket at a drugstore. It's always fun to play with new products, but "trying this" means $7 billion to the company (which makes Cover Girl, Clairol, Pantene, Olay, Vidal Sassoon, and more), so just be aware. Of course, since P&G is also one of only fifteen Fortune 500 companies whose boards had representation from all of the U.S. Census Bureau's major groups, I suppose you could do worse.
Avon scandal: Four executives in its branch in China (which has recently switched exclusively to direct sales) were fired for bribery. Looks like it won't hurt the woman-led company, though: After a middling 2010, Avon's profits more than tripled in the first quarter, in large part due to strong Latin American sales.
Merle Norman gets a makeover: Merle Norman is updating to not seem so "old lady," in the CEO's words. As much as I hate sales pressure, I remember going to Merle Norman with my mother as a teenager when I was breaking out; it was one of the only times she and I bonded over beauty, and the only reason we went there was because it was one of the brands that was around when she was a teen. So I'm rooting for Merle!
Cadbury's new skin line: Chocolate producer Cadbury is partnering with Anatomicals to make body products that will promote their three new bars. Listen: I like chocolate. I like body lotion. Am I the only one who's totally grossed out by the thought of chocolate-scented stuff on my body? Those "chocolate wrap" things at some spas make me shudder...
Me using "Vietnamese sunscreen," which, judging by my shoulders, I should have used earlier.
Sunscreen in developing nations: With the sunscreen market lagging (we rich Americans haven't been taking enough tropical vacations—quick, do your part for the sun care market!), research group Euromonitor is urging sun care manufacturers to target "emerging markets," i.e. poor but developing nations, where sunscreen isn't yet seen as a necessity. This needs to happen for everyone's protection, but I can see potential for this this to go horribly awry in some fashion, à la Nestle and infant formula. Albino advocacy groups in Kenya indicate one small but interesting slice of the issue: Because sunscreen is currently categorized as a beauty product, Kenya won't lift the tax on it, even though albinos need a strong SPF (especially in the Kenyan sun) to be protected.
New York teen tanners outta luck?: New York legislators are considering a ban on tanning for teens. To be honest, I'd assumed this had already happened. Yikes!
Breaking news! Donald Trump sort of douchey: On the off-chance you haven't read Anna Holmes's Washington Post piece on Donald Trump's sexist antics—many of them relating to commenting on women's looks in inappropriate settings—hop yourself over there straightaway.
Wordy girls: I'm a sucker for analyzing the words we use to describe women. (Copy editing + women's magazines = big surprise.) Luckily, I'm not alone: Sally at Already Pretty looks at what it means to be a lady, and Alexa at the F-Bomb examines fat, slut, and lesbian. (Rather, lesbian-as-putdown, not lesbian-as-lesbian.)
The body of Princess Kate: Virginia Sole-Smith has a wonderful history of reminding us that when we freak out about women's bodies—for good or bad—we're playing into the machine that got us to this frenzy in the first place. Read here why we need to stop freaking out about Kate Middleton's middle.
Deregulating barbershops in Japan: Matt Yglesias comments on the temporary relaxing of regulations for barbers and beauticians in Japan as a response to the trauma over there. He argues that the preexisting loophole that allows beauticians to work outside their salons—say, at weddings—proves that regulation is overall unnecessary, which I disagree with. But the comments on the piece are largely of the "Why does someone as serious and Big Thinky as Matt Yglesias give a shit?" Hmm, maybe he gives a shit because it's a labor concern?
Retouching videos: Both of these are longer than they need to be, but each are worth a quick glance. Anyone interested in this stuff has already seen retouching videos (Dove's "Evolution" being the best and most famous) but what's remarkable here is that you really see the amount of labor that goes into creating an image, as it's basically an ad for Photoshop tutorials. The second is about the ways in which men are trapped by beauty standards. (Via The Beauty Myth 2011.) It doesn't really give new information, but I'm sharing it here because of the reaction I had to it: I felt a hot pang of sympathy for the model here that I haven't when I've seen women being used in this manner. I don't think this means that I'm less sympathetic to women's objectification; I think I'm just so used to seeing women being used in this way, and being a woman myself and bearing all the objectification that brings, that, sadly, it doesn't faze me any longer. Which makes me sad.