Friday, September 30, 2011

Beauty Blogosphere 9.30.11

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

(via Makezine)

From Head...
Totally rhombic: Math haircut!

But what about the log lady?: Portrait of Twin Peaks' Audrey Horne (née Sherilyn Fenn) done in cosmetics for the biweekly "Beauty Myth" feature in Toronto Standard, in which the newspaper commissions artists to do portraits using makeup as the medium.

...To Toe...
The littlest libertarians: The Hartford Courant profiles an unlikely champion to make a case for industry deregulation: fish pedicures.

...And Everything In Between: 
Pacifica discount: If you're still mourning the fact that you didn't win my August self-care giveaway, fret no more! Pacifica—a company I've loved for a while, both for their delightful lotions and transporting candles—is giving readers of The Beheld a special deal: Just use the code pacifica5r9 at checkout on for 10% off any order. And you can get a taste of the other part of the giveaway, Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary, through her meditative blog. 

Pink think: Two interesting bits on the pinkification (word?) of breast cancer this week. First, an interview with "pinkwashing" activist Barbara Brenner, who takes on Avon's breast cancer research and questions not only its efficiency, but its possible hypocrisy. Second: New research indicates that heavily gendered breast cancer awareness ads might not be as effective as gender-neutral ads. When female study volunteers were shown pink-heavy ads with female faces, they rated their own personal risk as lower than volunteers who were shown non-pink ads with no photos of women. Obviously breast cancer is overwhelmingly a female disease, but I'm happy to see people looking at how pink kitsch might backfire. (Unless it means I have to give back my pink Kitchen-Aid "Cook for the Cure" mixer, which is adorbs.)

GenX beauty today: How GenXers are shaping the beauty industry—and indeed, fragmenting traditional markets on several levels. "Like baby boomers, [Allure editor Linda] Wells says, Gen-Xers have grown up not accepting the status quo. That can translate to wearing long hair even past a certain age, eschewing 'mom jeans' and participating in music, sports and other interests once reserved for 'younger women.'" Basically, we are still totally radical.

Digital beauty: L2, a think tank for digital innovation, rated beauty brands on their digital and social media savvy. Unsurprisingly, cool-girl club MAC tops the list—and with three other Estee Lauder brands not far behind, the brand is proving itself to be a digital leader. The report also shows that "digital IQ" correlates to heightened shareholder value.

Root for the little one: Procter & Gamble takes on a small soap company for trademark infringement. Willa, a soap company named for the 8-year-old daughter of an entrepreneur who created the suds after hearing her complaints of the "babyish" soap offerings available, is uncomfortably close to Wella, P&G's hair-care line that has nothing to do with soap, children, or the g.d. American way.

What's the buzz?: The making of a hot new brand in China: Burt's Bees.

Lighter shade of pale: Business-side look at skin-lightening creams, which make up 30% of the skin care market in China.

Ripoff down under: Australian retailers appear to be pocketing makeup profits; Aussie women are paying up to twice what U.S. women are for the same products, a disparity not explained away by duty taxes or currency differences.

Cosmopolitan's role in bulimia treatment: Bio of psychiatrist Chris Fairburn, who "discovered" bulimia after working with a patient who exhibited symptoms of anorexia but was curiously of normal weight. Fascinating bit of ED history: Because bulimics tend to be secretive, Fairburn couldn't find enough patients to allow his research to be comprehensive, so he rallied the editors of Cosmopolitan to write a short article about this "new eating pattern"--and got more than a thousand responses (most of whom thought they alone suffered from bingeing and purging), enough to begin treatment research.

Abercrombied: The "look policy" of Abercrombie & Fitch employees, and what that means for women with textured hair. (Thanks to re: thinking beauty for the link.)

"From where I come from, you holler at a girl": Nice look into what actually happens in the teen groups moderated by Men Can Stop Rape, beginning with a deconstruction of street harassment.

Fame game: Lady Gaga is suing Excite Worldwide for branding makeup under the Lady Gaga name. The buried lede: She did the same to a London sweets shop selling breast milk ice cream under the name Baby Gaga.

Hotel humanitarian:
Two of my favorite things, flight attendants and travel shampoo, come together here with Karen Duffy's story on Nancy Rivard, a flight attendant who started Airline Ambassadors after persuading her colleagues to donate their tiny hoarded hotel bottles to refugee camps.


Gaba girl: Thanks to Autodespair for turning me on to Lester Gaba's Cynthia, the first "realistic mannequin," who had her own radio show in the 1930s. It seemed pretty awesome à la Ruby until I actually saw Cynthia, and now it seems more like Real Doll territory, but maybe that's just my damage from this documentary talking.

Mais oui!: French feminists are rallying to get rid of mademoiselle, which denotes one's marital status à la miss. I'm all for this, but the fact is I get a kick out of using miss. I also like and use Ms., but sometimes Miss feels more appropriate because it allows me to simultaneously poke fun at and utilize its old-fashioned gentility for my own purposes. La hypocrite, c'est moi.

X-ray specs:
Which underwire bras work best for airport security? Chime in over at Hourglassy!

Ladies of the press: Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt briefly chat about the different ways men and women are treated by the press, with Kendrick reporting that she's always asked about her beauty routine. Besides the overarching idea that what a woman looks like is more important than she does, there's another thing at play here: You know all those beauty pages in magazines? Editors are desperate to fill those pages with something other than straight-up shilling, and so there's always a need to get celebrities to say what they like. Anytime a ladymag reporter goes to an event, she's armed with questions about facial care and exercise routines in the hopes that the celeb will throw off a quick answer. (There's an amusing bit in Laurie Sandell's wonderful graphic novel The Impostor's Daughter on this, from when she interviewed Ashley Judd for Glamour. Laurie: "So, what's your biggest beauty secret?" Ashley: "Serenity." Laurie: "OK, um, what's one beauty product you never leave the house without?" Ashley: "My higher power.")

Smells like cream spirits: Pastry chef who has made his name concocting desserts with notes of famous perfumes is reversing the equation. You know, another thing I did in the '90s was just wear vanilla extract behind my ears, but whatevs.

Fashion vs. beauty:
Feminaust—an excellent site geared toward Australian feminists but of great interest to us Yankee feminists too—on delineating fashion from beauty in ways that go beyond neck-down versus neck-up. I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion (I'd put "attraction" closer to the end of the beauty spectrum than the fashion end), but it resonates with me because while I'm somewhat interested in the ways we style ourselves, my true interest lies in what draws us to one another—the "animating spirit" as the writer here puts it.

"A new haircut is a butch accessory." —Kelli Dunham

"Why Is the Fat One Always Angry?": If you're new to The Beheld, you may have missed my interview this spring with boi comic Kelli Dunham, who had some fantastic insight into gender roles, butch privilege, and where to find a barber in this damn town. So check it out, and then if you're in New York join me this Saturday, 10/1, at The Stonewall Inn for her new show, "Why Is the Fat One Always Angry?" She's a great performer, and she's also promising cookies, I'm just sayin'.

Compliments, competition, and public living: From Nahida at The Fatal Feminist: "What do I care to impress strangers on the street, who couldn’t know? Who couldn’t possibly know that sometimes–sometimes–I’m still afraid of the dark?"

What's wrong with ugly?: Parisian Feline on being an "ugly girl": "When you’re conditioned to believe that ugliness is bad and prettiness is good, well, most people will do anything to show you how 'good' you really are. But here’s what I’m here to say: being ugly isn’t a death sentence, it doesn’t say anything about your character (any more than being pretty does) and it’s not mutually exclusive from being awesome." It's a point well-taken—as evidenced by me not being able to bring myself to remove the quotes around ugly girl. It's hard to use that word without judgment, for the very reasons Ms. Feline outlines.

The science of shopping: Elissa from Dress With Courage on shopping studies: "What so many studies on shopping seem to discount or even ignore is the intimacy this activity creates." I don't particularly like shopping, but I can't deny the powers it has to bond people—and much like the bonding of beauty, it's often dismissed, and that's a shame.

There's an app for that: Virginia—who, admittedly, is a body image blogger whose work resonates with me, whose work is sometimes categorized as body image blogging—on the iPhone body-image app: "I'm not sure we need any more websites, blogs, and apps about body image!" Hallelujah, someone said it! I'm grateful for the work that's out there but I worry that the intense focus on body image might drive us away from the point, which is to feel liberated from being preoccupied with our bodies.


  1. It never, ever occurred to me that Pacifica would have a website. Color me Luddite?

    " creams, which make up 30% of the skin care market in China."

    THIRTY? Holy Toledo!

    I'd never heard of Ruby or Cynthia, but I got about two minutes into the Real Dolls documentary and fled in terror. I want to watch the whole thing, and yet... I'm afraid? What am I afraid of?

    Awwwwwwww, I wish I could come to Kelli Dunham's show!

  2. Oh, thank you for linking to the urbanbushbabes! I'm completely enthralled, and I am SO going to show that website to my friends from Cameroon, who either wore their hair in very very tight braids, or flattened it, destroying it completely in the process. Also, the fashion style. ._. want.

  3. I always look forward to this post from you. Greatly enjoyed the Feminaust post.

  4. And Nahida's! How do you find these excellent articles?

  5. Thanks for the link Autumn! Love the round-up as always

  6. Rebekah, I see from your recent post that you crossed to the dark side with the Real Dolls documentary. Welcome! Welcome. (And Kelli's show was great.)

    Martha Joy, it's a new find for me as well--great stuff and gorgeous pics!

    Terri, thank you! I just started keeping a list of all the great stuff I'd read in a week. (And Nahida was a total find--she just left a smart comment on something over at Feministe and I followed through from there and was all, Where have you been all my bloggin' life?)

    Aimless Panther, but of course! Thank you for the great content!