Friday, July 27, 2012

Beauty Blogosphere 7.27.12

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

Satisfied Latisse customer.

From Head...
Batty: Makers of eyelash-growth drug Latisse got grumpy about RevitaLash eyelash conditioner and filed a suit against RevitaLash claiming it was a drug, not a cosmetic, and therefore subject to the same regulation as Latisse. RevitaLash lost in district court this week. My greatest dream from here is that the company challenges the ruling and the case gets all the way to the Supreme Court so that we can watch Ruth Bader Ginsburg try to keep a straight face while hearing about the tragedies of "eyelash hypotrichosis," a "medical" "condition" totally made up by the Latisse peeps 

...To Toe... 
Home sweet home: Whenever I play "If I were rich I would ____," I fill it in with get massages as often as humanly possible. But if you fill yours in with have my toenail polish changed every day for eternity in the sanctity of my home, you might want to look into this for-sale Philadelphia home, featuring...two pedicure stations. 

...And Everything In Between:  
Beauty geek alert: Pantone and Sephora have collaborated on a system that will allow women to scan their faces to receive a unique, color-corrected skin profile, thus helping them buy shades that perfectly match their skin. Speaking as someone who still mourns the loss of the Prescriptives line, which produced The One Perfect Concealer For Me, this is fantastic news (even if the idea of having my face scanned is off-puttingly futuristic). The program will launch out in NYC and San Francisco soon, with full-roll out to come. 

Beauty fail: Canadian drugstore chain Shoppers faces losses after their experiment with high-end beauty failed to pan out.  

Big moves: Coty gets a new CEO on the heels of some uncharacteristically high-profile moves (a massive takeover bid for Avon, fragrance collaboration with Lady Gaga). 

Salary range: Why do aestheticians in Atlanta make roughly half as much as those in Colorado, as shown in this salon-industry infographic? My first thought was race and the devaluation of black women's work, but Atlanta has a similar demographic makeup to Washington D.C., where aestheticians make far more than they do in Atlanta. Thoughts?  

B Just: Loving this beauty company: Just B–B Just, which is staffed almost entirely by people who used to be homeless. Business skills are taught on the job, and best of all, it was founded by a resource center and driven by a woman who was homeless at one point in her life, not someone who might just be un peu d'exploitative of people in need in order to look like the good guy. (Plus, cedarwood-sage soap, yum.) 

Take two: I've heard of recycled cosmetics packaging before, but not products actually made from recycled materials. But why not? It's the next step up from the whole "keep your coffee grounds for a yummy body scrub" business that has earned many a teen girl a shower that smells like stale coffee. (Not just me, right?) 

Cut It Out: Trade organization Professional Beauty Association has what sounds like an innovative, important program: Cut It Out, a domestic violence education and awareness program. One of the keys to ending intimate partner violence is understanding that many victims are isolated; if you want to help, you've got to find them in places where they're both safe and not raising their abuser's suspicion—like, say, a hair salon. I've never seen brochures about relationship violence in a salon but have seen materials in women's bathrooms and the like—it's a splendid idea, a way to signal to people being abused that they're in a safe place. Thanks to salon chain Great Clips, which recently donated $100,000 to the program.

Click-n-sniff: The State's collection of writings on perfume and scent is a veritable garden of reading pleasure. (Is a roundup featuring a roundup too much? Has the Internet just imploded?) 

Phallic casts of the 2008 Iceland national handball team, cast in silver for the Icelandic Phallological Museum

Measuring up: Rachel Rabbit White looks into a quietly tittered-over body image problem for men: penis size. It's something I've only heard discussed in body-image terms in intimate relationships, and I can't help but wonder what that means for the men who have this anxiety. It's good that they can confide in intimate partners, but if my own experience with body image is any indication, the person who knows your body most intimately also brings a lot of their own stuff to the table.

Purged: Demi Lovato, as a part of her long-term recovery plan from an eating disorder, has surrendered her cell phone. Part of what eating disorders do is numb and distract its sufferers; it's not a stretch to see how the mini-computers we insist upon still calling "cell phones" do much the same thing.  

Photoshopper: Interview with a photo retoucher: "The skin retouching and smoothing is the most deceiving thing, but if we stopped doing that now, you'd flip through your magazine and say, oh my God, honey you need to put on some makeup. To stop doing it now would be so noticeable." And it's true. I'm not as anti-retouching as some of my colleagues in the blogosphere, for reasons much like this interview points out: Creating an image that's basically collage isn't exactly the problem, it's the lack of understanding of how retouching actually works that allows us to interpret photographs as reality instead of as something more akin to illustrations. 

Natural/beauty: Blisstree hits it on the head again with its examination of the connection between "green" beauty and feminism. Call it an (accidental?) offshoot of ecofeminism, but they're onto something here: It's no coincidence that so many natural beauty lines were not only founded by women but remain woman-helmed to this day. But it's not just that (it's not like everything owned by a woman is feminist); it's that investing yourself in what you're putting on your body can actually transform the way you think about yourself. I keep bringing up this quote from No More Dirty Looks' Siobhan O'Connor, but it's only because I love it so much: "Something inside both of us transformed over the course of writing and constantly thinking about beauty and our relationship to it—every woman’s relationship to it. We’ve seen a lot of people fight their natural look. And it’s cheesy to say, but you know what it’s like when you see a really healthy woman, regardless of the shape of her nose or her body, and you’re like, whoa. There’s health and joy, smiles and truth—it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. Natural beauty can go beyond products; it’s about stripping all that other stuff away and just taking joy in the natural curl of your hair or the natural glow of your skin."

On eating alone: Sometimes it can literally take my breath away when I hear or read someone else sum up my own struggles in just a few words. This time, it's Mara of Medicinal Marzipan who leaves me breathless: "Why do I hate sitting here and eating quietly, in my own space and solitude? Because it feels like a punishment." 

An apple a day: New hair straightening treatment: apple stem cells, culled from the rare Swiss strain Uttwiler Spätlauber. 
 It's a glamour bonnet, like, duh.
Glamour bonnet: Best-ever collection of bizarre vintage beauty apparatuses. Glamour bonnets! Dimple-makers! Perm machines! And yes, I'm certain that the featured 1921 "home electric massage vibrator" was indeed "as necessary as the brushing of your teeth." 

The most wanted face: Through a poll of beauty industry professionals and plastic surgeons, we have the most requested face, a collection of features most asked-for by clients. (Kylie Minogue has the world's most wanted forehead? Really?) (As far as mash-ups of "most wanted" features, I'll always prefer the exquisite—and bizarrely listenable—22-minute song of the world's "Most Unwanted Music." So worth a listen.)

ED bytes: Excellent piece that gives context and insight into the new direction of pro-eating-disorder sites; I'd say it's a must-read for anyone concerned with social media or eating disorders. "The translation of pro-ana communities from the language of the message board to these more image-based aggregation platforms is a tragic variable in the world of social media. With the rise in fluidity, flexibility, and simplicity, communities are no longer bound by a single website. ... [T]he ease with which the community has adapted its rationale across platforms is worth noting, particularly in light of the subculture’s habit of reinterpreting existing medical terminology. The anonymity that once proved seductive for so many is beginning to dissipate." 

"Damn good-looking": This character analysis of Brett, or Lady Ashley, from The Sun Also Rises, helped me understand why I was so entranced by the character when I first encountered her at age 16: "Subconsciously, perhaps, Brett’s appeal also lies in that her true allure, her charm and sexual confidence, can be channeled by anyone, even those of us who don’t feel conventionally attractive." (via Lauren Cerand) 

Tatterhood: Leave it to the Threadbared team to make me want to ferry it out to Governors Island in New York to see a bunch of tattered old clothes on exhibit for the last time before they're retired from museums, too ragged to be considered museum-quality any longer. "The organizational structures of museums (from the public arrangement of displays to the behind-the-scenes preservation of the objects) reflect and reproduce a dominant value system about what objects are beautiful, valuable, and worth protecting. But if clothing functions as a material sign of social status and a site of knowledge production about the meanings of beauty, value, and worth, then the choice of which clothes are worth saving and studying is also a decision about what kinds of lives are valuable and worth remembering." 

On femininity: Forget commentary, I'll just let Nahida speak for herself here: "To what standard do you strive, but that set by men to say that masculinity is the ideal to which all women should aspire? Let women define what it is to be a lady, strength and fearlessness and love. Let us be who we are, manly women and womanly women and womanly men and manly men. This is to remind us whatever is feminine is of equal worth, not to be abandoned. Say the word orgasm and smile crookedly when it reminds you of hotels in July." 

#nodads: Amy Poehler on makeup and daaaaaaads who won't let you wear it. (via About-Face) 

Sex it up: Yes, beauty and fashion are connected to sex. But as Danielle illustrates in this mini-treatise on sex, visibility, and constructed identities, they're not connected in the way you might think they are. 

Huzzzah!: Hourglassy celebrates the world's largest natural breasts. Even better is that the owner of these 102ZZZs celebrates them too. 

Heya dollface: Why are mannequins so creepy?

Pretty baby: The bad news: Six-year-old girls are sexualizing themselves. The good news: There's a possibility that body awareness—like dance classes—can help them see their bodies as something more than a vehicle for sexiness. Little girls and dance classes sometimes get a bad rap in feminist circles, and surely there are a good number of dance teachers who tsk-tsk at belly pooches. But for the most part, dance classes are fun—and for girls like me, who hated gym class with an enduring passion, it was the only exercise I got. So! (via Feminist Philosophers)


  1. Three thoughts.
    #1) Isn't the wage disparity between Atlanta & Colorado true with almost any job comparison? One of the reasons Atlanta has been able to grow is that wages in the south have always been low, particularly thanks to the anti-union stance there. Am i missing something else?

    #2) I'm not in the business so i'm still failing to see how retouching isn't lying. IF your photographs do not reflect reality, you alter them? How is that not leading readers to the assumptions of a beauty standard they will NEVER be able to achieve? Heck, i'd even keep in drool from the model's mouth if it's genuine. Again, what am i missing?

    #3) I like the idea of the museum which homes discarded museum pieces & am sorry to see it's temporary. However, it also rubs me the wrong way. I cannot tell you how many small town museums i've frequented which could increase it's visitor numbers if just ONE of those outfits came into their possession. (And it's beyond that--when i see the rows of ancient Egyptian arts tucked away in the Egyptian wing of the Met Museum in NYC, i want to shout--"Send these to the Dakotas!"

    It looks as though someone woke up cranky today...

  2. About Rachel Rabbit White's article on penis size - in general, when speaking of the new 'male body objectification', or when hearing the men around me complain that 'they have to deal with it too', although my logical, amateur-feminist mind agrees to a certain degree, and decidedly opines that objectification ACROSS the gender spectrum is not the solution, another part of me feels incredibly satisfied. What is *one* 'wet-dick contest' to all of these 'girls gone wild' ads I've had to witness, what are calvin klein ads to EVERY FAT GIRL JOKE on EVERY SITCOM that I've *ever* listened!?! And on goes my anger.

    ... I understand that it's not the solution. At all. Not even a little bit.

    But since I can't currently enjoy watching tv, or walk in a mall without feeling at least somewhat awkward about my *whole* body (thighs, breasts, stomach, 'waddle', arms, muscles, lackthereof, hair...), a tiny (ok... it's not that tiny - I'm working on it) part of me just wants to shout out 'there! I hope you're made to feel as bad about your penis as we are to feel about MOST aspects of our bodies, evil ignorant person!'

    ... Hmm... So, bref, could women's pleasure in the sort of big penises-centered 'events' (I don't really know about porn - I do find penises somewhat scary looking - but then again, are vulvas often praised for their aesthetic features? What about all the new 'vagina remodelling' we've been hearing about? ) mentioned in the article partly stem from a 'turning of the table' sentiment?

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