Friday, March 8, 2013

Beauty Blogosphere 3.8.13

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

From Head...
Makeup morality: Meli Pennington's work as a makeup artist means that she often hears makeup "confessionals"—and her skill as a writer means that she makes some fascinating connections in her post on makeup and virtue. It's particularly interesting when coupled with this post by Afia Fitriati, a Muslim blogger, asking why halal makeup line Wardah—which, being halal, has some connection with values of Islam—is using conventional advertising tropes that sharply diverge from the religion's central beliefs.

...To Toe...
Tiny toes: On behalf of my small-footed friends, I was delighted to learn of the existence of The Little Shoe Store, a boutique specializing in...little shoes. Consider this link my declaration of size-9 alliance.

...And Everything In Between:

Mad woman: Gita May Hall, the model in the 1950s Revlon ad featured in the opening sequence of Mad Men (above), is suing AMC for using her likeness without her permission.

Stealth MAC: Estee Lauder's clever strategy behind introducing trailblazing MAC to countries with little to no high-end competition (as with their new store in Lagos, Nigeria): MAC first, rest of the company follows. Sort of brilliant, both from a brand identity standpoint and as a test market strategy. In fact, as this piece on Procter & Gamble's recent slide in the beauty segment indicates, P&G's reluctance to venture into untested markets may be responsible for its slippage.

Hotshots: Procter & Gamble has instituted a "board" of three Latina women in order to "motivate and inspire Latina women coast to coast." Inspire them to greater, nobler shampoo purchases, no doubt, but at least Latina women are a part of the marketing efforts. It's a start. (But why does the headline identify them as "hotshots"? They're in prominent positions, but I can't help but wonder if the term would be used if we were talking about, say, Russian women.)

Pretty pretty princess: Not content with its various collaborations with MAC, Disney has launched its own cosmetics line, to be sold in Disney parks.

Animus: The ripple effect begins, this time a good one: Because of the European banning of cosmetics animal testing, international giants are forced to do the same. Shiseido is leading the pack, and will stop animal testing in April.

Fringe benefit: People keep stealing the display products at the Benefit offices. If only they knew how easy it was to butter up assistants!

False claims: I've seen ads for some skin treatments promising benefits from liposomes, but new research shows liposome is ancient Latin for bullshit.

Laughing matters: This piece at Teen Skepchick points out something I haven't read before about eating disorders: People around those with EDs sometimes react with...laughter. "I was too smart to be made fun of for being shallow, I rarely talked about my bad body image, they didn’t know the mental pain that I was going through and all they saw was my bizarre behavior around food. They didn’t know how to react except by laughing."

Thinspiration: Thoughtful piece by Abbey Stone about something I've wondered about but have rarely seen acknowledged in the media: When celebrities talk about recovering from an eating disorder, we tend to laud them for being "brave" and "inspirational"—but there's a really loaded mixed message there. Not only are these women generally thin and glamorous, many of them rose to fame during times of disordered eating. Add to that the breathy tell-all feel of some of these "confessions," and you're basically handing a teenager with ED tendencies a how-to guide, with a nice side of thinspo to boot.

Exquisite corpus: If surrealism and fashion are connected, and women and fashion are connected, what does that say about the triangulated relationship among all of them?

Moo: So I'll just quote this piece directly, emphasis mine: "The [FDA] is reopening the public comment period on a 2005 directive allowing certain previously prohibited cattle parts to be used in food, dietary supplements, and cosmetics, according to a notice to the published in Monday's Federal Register."

Sweet stuff: Heads-up: This beautifully curated exhibition at Makeup Musueum about the association between cosmetic and sweet treats will seriously make you crave a cupcake.

Avocado eyeliner: Raw foods, okay, fine, whatever, seems sorta disordery to me but hey I love green smoothies. But raw cosmetics? I mean, c'mon.

Turban braid!: How badly do I want these amazing vintage hairpieces? They even come in a variety of shades, including "drab"!

Hey baby won't you please just smile: Lots of interesting stuff on the smile mandate this week. Misty Harris reviews the Kristen Stewart backlash (and backlash to the backlash) after Stewart's non-smiley Oscar presentation, prompting a blogger at Feminist Philosophers to look at ways that she, as a woman, responds to women who do adhere to the mandate. And then there's the Etsy "Don't Tell Me to Smile" sweatshirt. (I also like the Jezebel commenter who, as a man, wants to support women against the smile mandate with his own shirt: "I Don't Give a Shit If You're Smiling." Which, ironically, would probably make me smile.)

Shiny happy people: Do we hate Anne Hathaway because she's happy? This piece raises some interesting points, except the part about...hating Anne Hathaway because she's happy. Frankly, I see a lot more hate directed at Kristen Stewart for not being happy, or rather, not performing happy (see above), since most of us probably have exactly zero idea of whether or not Kristen Stewart, or Anne Hathaway, or pretty much anyone including ourselves, is happy. (Am I happy? At this moment, not particularly! Twelve minutes ago I absolutely was! I'll probably be happy after I finish my coffee! What kind of question is that anyway, "Are you happy?") Because as The Atlantic points out, celebrities are not our friends.

Schnozz talk: When we identify certain races or ethnicities with nose jobs—as with Jewish women in the '80s and '90s and Iranian women today—we're saying as much about international status as we are about plastic surgery, and Phoebe looks at what that might mean.

Who are you today?: This related trio of posts make for a journey through the ways we play with personae: Rachel Rabbit White and Gala Darling hit the vampire ball and revisit their goth days, prompting Rachel Hills to look at her own former persona—Manic Pixie Dream Girl. (Confession time: I went through a brief persona phase of a variation of Female Chauvinist Pig, during which I talked about how much I "love whiskey" and shot pool because I thought it made me seem tough. Ten years later I do like whiskey, but I certainly didn't then. Lo the appletinis I didn't drink!)

We need your signature: Une Femme at Already Pretty meditates on what it means to have a signature style, and the merits of working to develop one even if it doesn't come naturally. It's funny: I never thought I'd have a signature style, but in the past couple of years my wardrobe of loud-print shift dresses has earned me a lot of "that's so you" comments. (And when I'm not wearing one of them, I'm inevitably in jeans and a hoodie, which I suppose is a signature non-style.) I've gotta say, it makes me feel good to have a "style"—like it's a statement. I can't claim that it's the "authentic me," whatever that is, but having a defined public face brings an assurance I didn't expect.

Fairy princess awareness day: If The Reluctant Femme—one of my favorite feminist beauty bloggers—gets enough donations for Australia's Dare to Wear day, a fundraising event for a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged women secure work in which participants raise donations by agreeing to wear a "dare" on March 15—she'll go to work dressed as a fairy princess. I'm in!

Undercover: I'm really loving How to Cover's interview series with other Jewish women who cover their hair after marriage—so many stylish ways to cover, so many perspectives and stories.

Snip and tuck: Love certain styles but too busty to wear 'em? Hourglassy's new series on altering fashions to look good on large-breasted women should help.


  1. Really? You're jesting about raw cosmetics? I would've expected a thoughtful exploration of the connection between empowerment and creating one's own beauty products.

    In the past year of making my own deodorant, hair and skincare products, and makeup, I've been able to *completely* avoid the throngs at WalMart and the toxin-heavy air at Sephora. In doing so, the number of destructive body image suggestions I've absorbed are so much lower. I'm happier, healthier, and don't have some Revlon girl telling me that my lashes aren't long enough because I don't give a crap anymore. Instead, I'm proud that I've finally managed to make my own mascara, and it works.

    Instead of being consumption, beauty and self-care are now an accomplishment. There is immense power here, and I see it not just in me, but most of the women I talk to. Once they begin making their own (and really, it's pretty easy), a new world opens up.

    And let's be honest, here. Beets and hibiscus blossoms steeped in water and a bit of vodka? About $4. Benefit's lip and cheek stain? Same colour, but doesn't last as long. $36

    If you want to talk about this further, particularly the empowerment part, I'd be more than happy.

    1. Oh, I'm down with making one's own cosmetics (hell, I used to carry around a bit of beet in my purse for just that)--it's the idea of connecting it to raw foodism that I'm groaning about, because in my experience raw foodism is a thin veil for disordered eating. I should have made that more specific/clear, because you're absolutely right--there is an empowerment there in not just owning but creating your own makeup. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on the matter! Will be thinking on it as well. (And thank you for thinking highly enough of my work to point out that there's more here than a flip statement--I appreciate that.)

  2. Oooooohhhhh! That makes so much more sense. I was a little discombobulated, because my interpretation of what you wrote was so far off from your usual approach!

    1. Truly, would love to know more of your thoughts on this, if you ever feel like spouting off on the topic!

  3. I look forward to your links all week. It wouldn't be Friday without your post!

  4. Thank you for including the exhibition!! :D And what's up with Disney? They've had so many collaborations and are currently doing another with Sephora - the Princess Jasmine collection. Now they're doing their own line...isn't the Disney market saturated enough?!

    1. It seems overextended, doesn't it? And thank you for providing fun content for me to link to!