Friday, July 22, 2011

Beauty Blogosphere 7.22.11

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

But what about two-tone villainesses?

From Head...
Killer blondes: A look at hair color and hairstyles of classic villainesses--entertaining, even if the premise (Murdoch phone-hacking ringleader Rebekah Brooks' shock of red waves) is a tad shaky. 

...To Toe...
Natural nail polish remover: One of the sticking points of a green beauty routine is nail polish for your pedicure. No More Dirty Looks has tackled this before, and The Daily Green rounds it out this week with highlighting a natural nail polish remover.

...And Everything In Between:
Man-made: Gee, how long did it take folks to go from celebrating men's cosmetics to looking askance when they look a little too made-up, as here about Elizabeth Hurley's new fellow? About a millisecond?

Nasty boys: The Sydney Morning Herald asks why men get their own product designed to allow them to not shower. Are men dirtier than women somehow, or is the idea that they like showering less, or...? 

Smell of success: Duane Reade/Walgreens Look boutique is paying off, at least for Demeter fragrances (I wonder if their Funeral Home scent could have a role in Illamasqua's postmortem cosmetics service?), which has gotten a serious boost from its prominent store placement.

Food-scented beauty products may stimulate your mental appetite: Study participants in the Netherlands applied one of three lotions: a chocolate-scented lotion labeled as a chocolate-scented lotion, a chocolate-scented lotion with no label, and an unscented lotion with no label. People who applied the labeled chocolate lotion then ate more chocolate than either of the other groups. I dislike the term "obesity epidemic" for a variety of reasons, but we do live in a society with a wildly disordered relationship to food, and examining issues like these seems worthwhile enough—not so we can all slim down, but so that we can begin to understand the mess of conflicting food messages we get every day.

Why we buy cosmetics: A study from the University of Basque Country proclaims that we buy cosmetics because they make us feel good, not because of their practical use. Gee, glad that's settled.

Big businesz: It's not just in the States that small cosmetics players get knocked off the markets; between 2006 and 2010, 1,200 cosmetics stores disappeared from the Polish market, to be replaced with chains, which now generate 80% of the country's cosmetics sales.

Military brats turned beauty queens: A surprising thread connecting several Indian beauty queens: They're daughters of India's armed forces members. “I guess it comes from the gift of adaptability from having to move from place to place," points out Gul Panag, Miss India 1999. "It makes us more open, broad-minded, inclusive, allows us to go with the flow, connect easily with people, places, environment and circumstances that lead us to be, at any point, both flexible and positive.”

Nexus Vomitus, Millie Brown. Canvas and vomit, 2010.

Puke me a rainbow: Conceptual artist Millie Brown produces colorful vomit as performance art, and About-Face questions whether this glamorizes bulimia. It's a question worth asking, but ultimately I disagree. (Surprise!) Bulimia is marked by an incredible sense of shame; I imagine a bulimic would have a different reaction to Brown's work than most viewers, but my educated guess is that she wouldn't perceive it as a green light. The Lady Gaga video that Brown is most known for is stratospherically weird, but actually glamorizing bulimia? I wish I could see it because it makes logical sense, but honestly I just don't. (Brown doesn't eat for two days before performances, which certainly isn't healthy, but if she doesn't have an eating disorder then it's also not something that needs an intervention. If she did have a history of EDs, I'd feel differently.)

Is makeup a daily must?: Sally McGraw on tumbling down the "cosmetics rabbit hole" and becoming a daily makeup wearer after a lifetime of occasional use. I'll testify to her struggle: I have to be careful about what makeup I experiment with, because if I know something looks good on me I'll probably start wearing it every day. (My special-occasion look barely differs from my day-to-day look for this reason.)

Hair color, depression, and being seen: Velvet Cerebellum's compelling essay on how dyeing her hair wild colors has helped her manage depression. "I'd go out and kids would stare and smile, they liked it. Could a world as terrible as the one I imagined also be a world with kids waving and smiling and loving my hair?"
(via Already Pretty)

But I'm a Gemini!: Hugo Schwyzer on flirting for validation of attractiveness: "When married or otherwise 'taken' folks flirt with people who aren’t their partners, they’re often not trying to start an affair. What they want is affirmation of their continued attractiveness, a reassurance that their own significant others can no longer give."

Tattoo you: The Tattooed Philosopher on how tattooed women may buck the beauty myth: "I have found in my conversations with other tattooed women a unity...rather than a competition with each other or a divide from within. This unity of tattooed sisters shows the lack of power the beauty myth has on those of us gals who freely define ourselves and have our own ideas of beauty."

The "M" ain't for marriage, people: Virginia at Never Say Diet on a study that "proves" that couples are happier when the ladypartner has a lower BMI than her manpartner. "Ours is a forbidden love," she writes of her marriage (which, despite obviously being a sham, seems like it might somehow be making both partners happy?). If I'm the Oedipus of cankles, she's the Thisbe of BMI.

What's feminism got to do, got to do with it?: Some excellent talk about feminism, self-love, and dieting from Beauty Schooled, Anytime Yoga, and Kjerstin of Mirror Mirror Off the Wall via her guest post at Sociological Images.

Magic underwear: Allyson at Decoding Dress on shapewear, or rather why we choose clothing that makes us look like we have something we don't. Confession time here: I love shapewear--rather, I wear it on occasion, and I like the effect it gives enough to deal with the discomfort. But, yeah, I do sort of feel like I'm "cheating"--like I'm telling the world that my waist is a bit more nipped-in than it is, my bosom a tad fuller. And besides the obvious self-esteem question of why I'd suffer discomfort in order to whittle my waist, every time I put on a waist cincher I wonder about its larger implications. I've written before about how artificial beauty can actually be a sort of democracy, so hell, let me look like I'm more of an hourglass than I actually am! Bring it! But I also know that's sort of a cop-out on my end, a conscious opting in of a certain beauty tyranny--we're not talking false eyelashes, we're talking false bodies. And the push-pull continues.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, my dear!

  2. Thanks for this, Autumn, retweeted it around. Good stuff. Oh, and I'm a Gemini too.

  3. Thank you for linking to my post, Autumn! (Also, question: is it tyranny if you consciously opt into it? I'd call that an exercise of agency...)

  4. "I have to be careful about what makeup I experiment with, because if I know something looks good on me I'll probably start wearing it every day."

    Doesn't that suck? I'd like to further streamline my makeup routine, but there are so few days I wake up thinking "Yeah, I'll be less pretty today. That's groovy."

    "And the push-pull continues."

    That it does. I think if you've grown up feeling Not Beautiful Enough, it's exciting to look in the mirror and see Success, even when it entailed shapewear, makeup, surgery, etc.. I feel very push-pulled about it.

  5. Sal, Hugo, and Allyson--thank YOU for providing such great work!

    Allyson, I constantly waver on that question. Because while I'm aware of what I'm doing and don't feel compelled to daily in order to merely exist, it's hardly a choice I'd make if an hourglass figure weren't highly coveted by the forces that come together to create the beauty tyranny. Perhaps it's more of a benevolent dictatorship? Is shapewear Cuba?

    Rebekah, exactly. I feel like there sometimes needs to be a precipitating event in which I break with all beauty routines--illness, travel--before I'll be like, Do I REALLY need foundation? And yes on that mirror excitement. There will forever be a part of me that will scream and shout and do everything she can to be seen as pretty, even as much as I hyperexamine that desire. I don't need to kill her off or anything--certainly she's probably helped me take reasonable care of myself--but it does mean that I'll only rarely be able to live in a sort of "free zone" and feel comfortable about it.

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