Friday, January 6, 2012

Beauty Blogosphere 1.6.12

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

From Head...
Yeasties: Wrapping up this week's look at nutricosmetics is one of the more bizarre but intriguing beauty nutrition tips: drinking yeast for hair growth. (Also, does applying cholesterol to your face count as reverse nutricosmetics?)

...To Toe... 
Trunk show: Elephant pedicures!

...And Everything In Between:
Avon calling: A fairly straightforward story about an "Avon lady" who recently retired after 50 years of service covers a lot of ground: opportunities for women in cosmetics marketing, the shifting importance of online retailing versus door-to-door and the benefits of the latter, and the role that the bonding aspect of beauty plays in the cosmetics business.

"It was always about...inspiring women to be fearless": Just in case you thought it was accidental that brands tied their products to women's empowerment, take a gander at this AdAge piece on the marketing of Secret deodorant.

Savvy startups: Time piece about Lavanila that shows how independent beauty brands can make it big in the fact of market behemoths like Procter & Gamble. "[T]he retail beauty business recently began embracing independent brands, partly in response to consumer demand for variety and personalization in everything from iPhone cases to designer jeans." Yep, yep, yep.

A modest beginning: The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Labor has decreed that only women may now sell lingerie. Nearly 30,000 Saudi women have swarmed forward to take the jobs vacated by men.

Got it covered: A French businessman has set up a fund to cover fines for Muslim women who wear full hi'jab in places where it's disallowed. "I am calling for civil disobedience. I am telling women to not be afraid to go out wearing their veils. And by paying the fines, I am neutering the law, rendering it inefficient and pointless, showing that it doesn’t work. It is a humiliation for the politicians." He's also critical of pressure to wear the veil; it seems he's approaching it from a perspective of choice. (via Feminist Philosophers)

"Soft power": Baffled and intrigued by this profile of Miss Universe China director Yue-Sai Kan. "We keep talking about the soft power of the Chinese around the world," Kan says. "Here it is [a beauty pageant], a perfectly unpolitical situation where we can showcase our soft power. Why don't we pay more attention to this? This is one of the few competitions in the world where we can wave our Chinese flag and bring glory to China." Can we unite our international forces and make sure Kan never crosses paths with Catherine Hakim of "erotic capital" fame?

Land of smiles: Has the Thai beauty market become saturated? (And if so, could this be an early indicator of what's to come in western markets?)

"Add 5 lbs of solid flesh in one week": I've always been intrigued by the "too skinny? try this!" ads from the 1940s, and had noted how they're just reflective of societal fears and ideals. About-Face takes it a step further and questions whether fat-shaming sprang directly from skinny-shaming.

"Puts the 'fun' in functionality!": Design geeks will get a kick out of this roundup of award-winning cosmetics packaging. 

In the name of science: Fraudulent researcher now known as the "Lying Dutchman" falsified research reports on the link between women's plummeting self-esteem and viewing ads for fashion and beauty products. There's enough supporting research out there on this that I don't think the gist of the findings are in dispute, but I'm interested in why someone would falsify research on this topic. General laziness? Or a desire to beef up the scientific research on this so that we can do something about it? (I vote laziness, myself.)

Men and eating disorders: XOJane features a story from a man who sought treatment for his bulimia at a residential facility. I'm certainly concerned with the ways men with eating disorders are made invisible, and this story gives some insight into just trying to find a place that treats men. "It hadn’t occurred to me that it would be difficult to find treatment for an eating disorder as a man—after my extensive experience going to rehab, I had assumed, foolishly, that it would be as easy as all the other issues I had been treated for with varying degrees of success, especially given that 30% of patients with anorexia or bulimia are male, and gay men are three times more likely to have eating disorders than straight men."

Upon closer examination, that is not a lobster leg that sex educator Laura Rad is holding up.

Strong, Sexy & Stylish: Big shoutout to Sally McGraw of Already Pretty for her recent launch of Strong, Sexy & Stylish! In collaboration with sex educator Laura Rad and wellness coach Karen Kraus, the trio does half-hour podcasts two times a month with the goal of helping women be, well, strong, sexy, and stylish! I have utter trust in Sally's worldview and ability to channel abstract concepts of self-love into something concrete and truly inspirational, and am so eager to keep up with this new project. (And if you're in the Twin Cities area, check out their event on the 25th!)

The unreal power of pretty: Lovely essay at the Sinclair Project on the false force of beauty: "Many men have said to me: 'Don’t you get it? Women have all the power.' But it’s not women themselves—it’s beauty and particular kinds that have power–and beauty is made out of impossibility. It’s ephemeral, never completely attainable, barely graspable, always fleeting."

Or is pretty dead?: That's what the National Catholic Register asks. Do young women want to be hot more than pretty? There's a tone of morality here that I'm not a fan of (and I'm not being anti-Catholic; when I first read the piece I thought "NC Register" was "North Carolina Register"), but the question is well-received. I'm not a fan of "hot," as we know, but it's arguably more democratic than "pretty," which in part depends on plumb luck. (via the very fab You Look Fab)

Sassed: I could probably find a way to link this to beauty and appearance but really I just think Mayim Bialik is awesome, so despite not having been a Sassy reader (it was way too cool for me) I'm in love with her re-creation of her '90s Sassy cover.

Greeked: I don't read much art criticism, but I enjoyed this look at gender portrayals in classic Greek sculpture, from posture to clothing (or lack thereof) and depiction of the gaze.

Chunkytown: Why do we happily refer to some fashion items as "chunky" and not others?

The fat trap: Regan Chastain and Virginia Sole-Smith have some good thoughts on Tara Parker-Pope's piece in the Times magazine about how, hey, you know what, some people are just fat.

Definatalie on "ugly femme pride": "I doubt I’ll ever shave regularly again. I have visible tattoos, piercings, stretch marks, and scars. I am fat. I am not particularly graceful. I laugh loudly. I don’t cross my legs. Yet I still identify as femme, because it’s important to me to embrace a femmeness that challenges my culture’s screwed up notions of femininity and beauty." Also check out her "Ugly Cute" illustrations. (via Rachel)


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for the shout-out, Autumn!

  2. Interesting to read about the man with bulemia. I know in recent years, I've come across two male students who wanted to discuss their "intake" with me. Working out obsessively seems to be part of the mix as well.

  3. Sal, but of course! And ooh, I just finished listening to the podcast--nice work! (And how fun to hear your voice, too...)

    Terri, that's interesting that the male students phrase it in that way--"intake." I feel like that's indicative of the sort of man-as-machine idea that goes along with the obsessive working out. It can so easily so undiagnosed in men.