Friday, June 24, 2011

Beauty Blogosphere 6.24.11

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

Uncomfortably numb.

From Head...
Because every girl wants to be a vampire: Am I old-fashioned for being freaked out by lip balm with Benzocaine, designed to "leave your victims’ lips numb and their hearts racing"?

...To Toe...
This case has no legs: New York man sues SoHo pedicure outlet for not complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines. His disability? He lost both legs in a car accident. (Interesting piece on him in Blackbook a ways back.)

...And Everything In Between:

Men in the cosmetics industry: Fast Company asks if LinkedIn is a gender equalizer: Men thrive in the cosmetics industry, according to LinkedIn's analysis of user data. Yawn, yawn, male CEOs, blargh. But! Women rule ranching and tobacco! (Go cowgirls!) My initial hunch would be that the novelty factor of women in those fields might give them an advantage, though I'm hesitant to say the same for men. If that world is anything like another female-focused industry I'm familiar with—women's magazines—the business side is likely run by men while the day-to-day operations and development is run by women.

More pink Cadillacs: Mary Kay still going strong, signing up 165,000 new representatives in April—the largest monthly amount in a decade. These are independent sellers, meaning these workers may still be underemployed, but Mary Kay's endurance is a testament to the ability of woman-driven businesses to attract a work force looking for flexibility. (Per the above item, though, it's worth nothing that the Mary Kay CEO is a dude with an MBA, not a lady with a dream.)

Dollar stacks on the left are ad dollars from 2009; on the right, from 2010. Each bill represents roughly $50 million in ad budgets. (Via Ad Age and Marketing Degree.)

Ad budgets: Interesting graphic from Ad Age detailing ad dollars for various beauty companies. The buried lede here is Axe's ad cuts, though I suppose given the onslaught of, what, 2006, you can only go down from there. (The entire cross-industry graphic is here. Of note: Weight-loss companies went up, quelle surprise, as did Proactiv and Yoplait. Good to see the latter company can afford to swallow the cost of their pulled eating-disorder-littered ad. While jogging in place.)

Those hormones paid for your yacht, lady: Evelyn Lauder makes a good point in an unfortunate way at the Elly Awards Luncheon: "Older women should be on boards." Agreed! "There's just less hormones, less crying." Oh! I'd really like to see a broader conversation about women and aging happening (Naomi Wolf's piece in the Washington Post was a start, but am I alone in finding it a little dismissive of younger women?), and I suppose these sorts of fits and starts are a beginning? Maybe?

Holy house: Estee Lauder's synagogue in Queens gets a makeover. (Why am I so obsessed with Estee Lauder real estate? Between the casino and the graveyard I'm a one-woman watch.)

Behind the veil: A young Saudi-Canadian woman on feeling liberated from the beauty myth by wearing the hijab. "When I cover myself, I make it virtually impossible for people to judge me according to the way I look.  I cannot be categorized because of my attractiveness or lack thereof."

Characteristics of the Chinese beauty market: Chinese women as demanding cosmetics consumers. Interesting bits about how even though China is rapidly becoming more westernized, there's still a very strong Chinese ethos to cosmetics--hair-dyeing, for example, is rare except to cover grays.

Faux cosmeceuticals: False claims in cosmetic advertising increased five-fold in Korea last quarter, with products fraudulently advertising use of "stem cells." (Ew!)

More false advertising: Center for Environmental Health sues Kiss My Face and Hain Celestial (Avalon Organics, Alba Botanical) for falsely labeling cosmetics as organic when they're not. Say it ain't so! I love Alba lotions!


Still from Dark Girls, which, from the preview, looks to be startling and poignant.

Help kickstart Dark Girls: Via Ashe at Dramatis Personae comes an alert to help fund a documentary that sounds incredibly promising about women's skin tone in the black community.

Wax on, wax off: Sally at Already Pretty on feminism and body hair, which has been a sticking point for me personally. I shave my legs, etc., because I feel more comfortable that way; I tried challenging that, and just felt unappealing to myself. Ironically, the way I came to peace with this was to start shaving all the time, not just when my legs would be available for public viewing. I realized that I truly do take my own pleasure in having smooth legs. As Sally writes, "Does this mean I’m willingly bowing to the patriarchy on this issue? I guess you could see it that way.... Everything we do to change how our bodies look, feel, and smell is a nod to societal norms. And I’m willing to nod occasionally."

Hup!: Allyson at Decoding Dress questions the symbiosis of fashion and the military—it might not be just a one-way conversation.

Reflections: Y'all know I'm a sucker for mirror talk, and Kate at Eat the Damn Cake goes in for it: "People say, 'This mirror makes me look weird,' but they only half believe themselves. The other half is saying, 'I think I might actually look like that.'"

Socrates' sister: Feminist Philosophers questions whether philosophy itself is gendered, and of course the answer is a flaming YES, which points to why questions of personal beauty haven't received their philosophical due. "The self of feminist philosophy...often knows that Descartes was hold that the human mind is whole and entire unto itself. She cannot be the whole respository for the normativity that is needed for a theory of concepts, for example. Her intellectual thriving is dependent on social inputs, corrections and co-constructions."

Mentoring: Not beauty-related, but enough young women have contacted me through here for this to be pertinent: Australian feminist writer and blogger Rachel Hills has some excellent posts on women and mentoring for her recent Mentoring Week (well, weeks) project. Here is but one of them, with links to more at the bottom. You read a lot about the importance of mentors but this series explores unexpected angles, like mentoring and media and male/female mentoring styles.


Yes, I'm exploiting this bunny for its sheer cuteness, but I'm not going to pinch its ass, so we're all cool, right?

Bunny hop: This story at The Good Men Project about being a Playboy Bunny in 1978 is revealing about the effects of being in a highly image-conscious environment: "I was getting a thorough training at work in just how much looks mattered if you were female." Aw, hell, it's really just an excuse for me to recommend Gloria Steinem's classic essay "I Was a Playboy Bunny." (I can't find it online, but here's an excerpt.) The Good Men Project piece isn't as insightful, but it's more personal, as the writer's reasons for being a Bunny weren't journalistic.

Sweet smell of success: Between Mercedes-Benz perfumes and The New York Times-scented candle, can't wait to catch a whiff of the bourgeoisie!

Portrait of a perfumer: Better fragrance chat here, with Bella Sugar's Annie Tomlin interviewing fragrance legend Frédéric Malle.

Beauty exhibit skin-deep?: Thoughtful Tom Teicholz review of the "Beauty Culture" exhibit in L.A., asking the pointed question: "Is this exhibit really a conversation?" So much beauty talk isn't talk at all, but presented images. I still want to see this exhibit, but am eager to keep the beauty conversation going.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Autumn. And, as always, fabulous and fascinating links!

  2. Sal, thank *you* for managing to corral a pretty complex topic into a digestible post! The body hair question has vexed me from the start.

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