Friday, September 28, 2012

Beauty Blogosphere 9.28.12

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

From Head...
Oh, fine: Bagelheads.

...To Toe...
Tales from the salon:
The most socially awkward pedicure ever.

...And Everything In Between:
Hijab hijinx: A subcontractor for Procter & Gamble is suing the company for religious discrimination. Safa Elhassan was fired after she refused to accept the apology of a female colleague who forcibly removed her hijab in the presence of male coworkers, which, at press time, was perceived by this blogger to be really fucking rude.

Story of O: The long-awaited skin care line from Estee Lauder developed specifically for Asian consumers is finally launching. Osiao—beginning and ending with the letter O so as to "convey a sense of harmony and balanced skin," and containing five letters, considered lucky in China—will hit stores in October. Can't help but wonder if it's a tad late, given that Chinese domestic brands have been giving other North American behemoths a run for their money.

Russian beauties: Revlon is opening a training center in Moscow in order to churn out 20,000 (Revlon-savvy) beauty experts a year. 

Buyout news: Physicians Formula—or, The Brand That Copy Editors Hate Because It Has No Possessive Apostrophe But Really Should—has been bought by Markwins International. Markwins International is not as racy as it seems despite having an "adult" tab on its website; it's only there to distinguish it from its plethora of youth makeup lines, including Disney Princesses, Disney Faeries, Barbie, and Madame Bovary Kidz.

Full package: Sort of loving fashion designer Norma Kamali for her new personal campaign: Stop Objectification, a visual movement aiming to to subvert tropes of objectification and reveal the accomplishments behind, say, a great rack. You can argue that the idea that pretty ladies do things besides stay pretty isn't really helping the cause—but in fact I think it comes closer to recognizing the totality of a woman's existence than something that ignored the fact that plenty of women like looking pretty/sexy/alluring/etc....we just don't want our value to begin and end there. (Thanks to Lindsay for the heads up!)

Paint the town red: After a batch of red cosmetics dye fell off a cargo truck, inhabitants of the Shandong province of China found their homes, clothes, cars, pets, and water had been stained pink. To make matters worse, the dye is designed to be diluted, meaning that efforts to clean up the spill are in vain.

Lysistrata's cousin: "We are taking off our clothes so people can see that we have no weapons except our bodies," says a leader of Femen*, a Ukraine-based feminist group dedicated to combating the global patriarchy. Part of the group's mission is to train women physically and psychically for feminist resistance; another part is to do such resistance in the buff—which, understandably, some are calling a confused mission. But as a member says, "Classical feminism is like an old sick lady that doesn't work any more.... We fight in a way that will attract young women to the ideology again. Early feminists fought for the right for women to wear trousers and jeans and won. Now we can wear trousers and jeans, but when a woman speaks in parliament, do the men listen?"
*not to be confused with Fremen

Cut and paste: Thieves made off with thousands of dollars of cosmetics after cutting a hole in the side of a British cargo truck delivering Bond Street skin care products—while the driver was pulled over for naptime. Cosmetics thieves are getting creative, let's give them that!

Behind every good candidate: As the U.S. enters presidential debate season, let's take a minute to consider Kriss Soterion-Blevens, the makeup artist who has worked on every presidential candidate in the past five seasons (and who released a shade called Debate after viewers of an Obama-Clinton primary debate requested "the Hillary lipstick"). 

Thai tragedy: Yet another tragedy with unlicensed practitioners performing cosmetic procedures, this time a Bangkok man who gives women "beauty injections" meant to lighten skin and increase the size of clients' rear ends. After a 33-year-old "patient" went into a coma, police arrested him; the woman is not expected to recover.

Equal opportunity disorders: Dances With Fat says what we all should know, but what plenty manage to forget: Fat people can have eating disorders too, and no, not just binge eating disorder. "Our cultural tendency to conflate weight and health can be deadly when it comes to eating disorders."

In your blood: Developments in forensic science are allowing technicians to render sketches of crime suspects from their DNA material, like specks of blood from a crime scene. The idea here is that the ability to create likenesses of suspects without depending on notoriously unreliable eyewitnesses will lead to an increase in arrests and believability with jurors. I can't help but wonder about its application to beauty, though, if only in philosophy: There's something about this highlighting that we're supposed to look the way we look—that it is encoded in our DNA, and that there was really no other way for us to look—that makes forcible alterations seem even more like playing g/God. 

Like cures like: The newest acne treatment could be on your face already: Scientists have zeroed in on a virus that lives on our skin for the sole purpose of killing acne bacteria. The idea is that acne sufferers don't have enough of this bacteriophage, so by multiplying or synthesizing the virus, people with acne could become as "naturally" clear-skinned as people who, say, don't shudder at the smell of Oxy.

"Flower men": We've looked at the boom in male cosmetics in Korea before, but this video from the Associated Press on the phenomenon is worth watching.

Smile, baby: Seemingly average joes on street harassment—specifically of the "Smile!" variety. Which, naturally, a couple of the respondents don't see as harassment at all—and which, refreshingly, plenty of them do: "This person is one of those 'mellow controllers,' as I call them—one of those seemingly laid-back guys whose syrupy drawl masks the constant conviction that he knows best."

Twitterpated: If you're on Twitter, start following Parisian Feline, who every so often drops bombs of beauty wisdom like this: "The conversation around beauty is impressively circular, and not progressive AT ALL. This is because people WANT a beauty standard, and their work is to create beauty standards that include THEM." Hard truth, people.

Pan/tones: Loving Angelica Dass's Humanae project, which photographs people against Pantone backgrounds of their skin color. It's visually engaging, and also interesting to see how even when expertly matched, our skin by its very nature contains immense variation in shading. Dass's goal is to catalogue all possible skin tones, which—wow. (via Britticisms)

Department of Interior: Vogue magazine mistakenly identifies the deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. State Department as an interior designer—baffling, given that the magazine, like all Conde Nast publications, employs a fact-checking department. (We all make mistakes; I'm a copy editor, I should know. But...?) Yet as The Atlantic points out, that's nothing compared with the magazine's February fluff profile of "A Rose in the Desert," aka Asma al-Hassad, aka the first lady of Syria, aka the wife of the man whose regime has slaughtered more than 8,000 of its own citizens and displaced thousands more. Fact-check all you want; where's the judgment check?

Strike a pose: Speaking of Vogue, remember that revolutionary health initiative they announced a few months ago about not using underage models or models who appear to have eating disorders? Yeah, neither did they, thus proving that a lack of surprise does not mean a lack of disappointment.

Beauty and braaaaaains: The second annual zombie beauty pageant will be October 28 in Redlands, California. Please note regarding the talent portion of the evening: "Limbs falling off are acceptable as long as they cannot injure self or others." (via Wild Beauty)

Spokesmodel: In a turn that we all shoulda seen coming, Patricia Krentcil—aka the "tan mom" who was accused of child endangerment after allegedly taking her 6-year-old daughter into the tanning booth with her at the salon—is now essentially modeling for a skin care expert who's hawking a new book. 

Vanishing act: How to dress invisibly: The im/possibility of dressing invisibly—"a sort of deliberate version of the Emperor’s new clothes, minus the humiliating nudity"—and what it has to do with the female ass. (Thanks to Emily for the link, and also for noting that the writer's reference to mirror fasting doesn't quite get what I was aiming for—not the writer's fault here; it's become par for the course.)

Beauty mask: One of the things I love about Meli Pennington's excellent blog, Wild Beauty, is that her perspective as a makeup artist—and feminist—allows her to take a critical look at beauty that's consistently underlined by an appreciation for the artistry behind it all. To wit: Makeup as ritual.

Honorary Emmy: Combine my love of Breaking Bad with my appreciation for seeing tropes of zee sexy ladies critiqued and subverted, and there's pretty much no way I couldn't love this Hourglassy post paying homage to the subtext of Skyler White/Anna Gunn's cleavage.


  1. Yet another reason to never read another issue of Vogue as long as I live. I'm not even sure exactly what they're trying to accomplish by running a piece like that...bribed or not. It makes me feel uneasy to know that such a large publication is so easily bought off by people with questionable motives. Especially a high end fashion publication that dictates ideas more than they encourage new ones or any sort of critical thinking really.

    1. Mary, I admit I was surprised (if not shocked) on that front--I know there are all sorts of wheeling dealings done about who gets profiled, but I've never heard of there being actual political entanglements of this sort. But of course, I've never worked for a magazine that had a serious political section, so I guess it stands to reason that what goes for Hollywood goes for the Hague...

  2. I saw the Bagelhead thing's horrifying! Thank god it disappears within a day. Wild Beauty is pretty cool, I have now added it to my Google Reader. :)

    1. I keep waiting for news of the bagelhead thing being a hoax--but alas. And yes, Wild Beauty is awesome--between the two of you my Google Reader has gotten a nice boost this summer!

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