The Beheld: Basics and Special Projects

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beauty Blogosphere 4.12.13

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

From Head...

What did the blonde say in 1775?: Meet Rosalie Duthe, the original "dumb blonde."

...To Toe...
Beware the pedicurist:
After seven weeks of trial, a pedicurist at a salon in Guam was found guilty of criminal sexual conduct after inappropriately touching a client who'd fallen asleep during her pedicure.

...And Everything In Between:

Fruit Dish and Glass, George Braque, 1912—the very first Cubist paper collage ever created.
Leonard A. Lauder collection.

Beauty in art: Leonard Lauder, son of Estee and former CEO of the company that bears his mother's name, pledged 78 works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The scribblings from folks like Picasso, Léger, Braque, and more constitute one of the most valuable gifts ever made to the Met—and comprise about 13% of Lauder's personal fortune.

Public powwow: Feeling activisty? The FDA is holding a public meeting to give the hoi polloi a chance to have their say about cosmetics regulation (or, as the case may be, the near-total lack thereof).

Sweet charity: You know how when you get department store cosmetics you sometimes get "gift with purchase"? Like, buy face cream and get a little makeup bag filled with lipstick and samples? One company is experimenting with donating to an anti-hunger program with every purchase. Which is nice 'n stuff, but I always fear these sorts of programs do more on the feel-good level than the do-good level, sating the philanthropic itch while not actually filling the need. (Am I just cranky?)

Avon falling: Part of Avon's restructuring plan is job-cutting—and exiting some markets entirely, including Ireland and Vietnam. Financial analysts applaud the move.

Beauty tech: Beauty appliances are booming in Japan, which means someday soon we Americans might have something on the market besides the Clarisonic. And the Epilady.

Buddha Barbie: "[A]fter a islander had the same dream involving a Barbie doll three nights in a row," a shrine in Singapore became home to a Barbie doll, which receives offerings of cosmetics from worshipers.

Pretty politickin': You could be as wonderfully eloquent as Irin Carmon or Naomi Schoenbaum about Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" comment—or you could just read up on a recent survey of 1,500 likely voters that "found that no matter what is said about a female political candidate's appearance, it has a negative impact on what potential voters think of her." There's also another question here worth asking: Why, exactly, are we so eager to assign specific meaning to the wardrobe of women in the public eye? I'll be the first to argue that our self-presentation is a series of choices we make about what we want the world to deduce about us. But as Amanda Hess points out, there's no choice a woman can make that says, I want you to deduce nothing. (Thanks to Nicole for the Hess link!)

Young spice: Apparently there's a deficit of "manly"-scent bar soaps out there. Rather, there was a deficit in "manly"-scent bar soaps—Procter & Gamble to the rescue, with Old Spice-marketed soaps with names like Fiji. (Because what's manlier than Fiji?)

Courtesy Kat Haché

On becoming "flawed": "As they prepared to give me my stitches, I talked with my roommate and my aunt, who had just arrived, and the conversation seemed to revolve around how I would learn to accept these flaws and eventually forget about them. How there were people who were once beautiful, but then learned to live with being damaged. I did not want to hear that. I didn’t want to be formerly beautiful. I didn’t want to be damaged." This haunting, graceful piece from Kat Haché covers a lot of relevant ground: being flawed, being whole, being trans, being a woman.

Hen party: If you've got a problem with Sweden's new gender-neutral pronoun, talk to hen.

Elizabeth Wurtzel's tips to looking young: "I wear sunscreen during the day and Retin-A at night. I do what I want. I don't do what other people want me to do. Sometimes I don't do things I want to do because someone else wants me to do them too badly. I am just that way: I cannot be bossed around. I listen carefully when someone is talking to me. I ask for help. I offer to help. I have never been a member of Congress, or any other elected body." (Thanks to Lindsay for the link!)

The good fight: The part that's most exciting about the Fashion Fighting Famine collective isn't the implications of its name, but rather that it's a showcase for emerging Muslim designers and devoted to diversifying beauty standards via their models. (Thanks to Tasbee for the link!) 

Deep pocketbooks: I've mused before about how much younger each generation looks than the one that preceded it (again: Julianne Moore is now the same age Rue McClanahan was when she was cast on The Golden Girls). I'm inclined to call this a good thing, but it also means that women of a certain age are now targeted more heavily as cosmetics consumers: 49% of blush is purchased by women over 50.

Gooped: 'Bout time some straight-up lovers of beauty products engaged in some not-straight-up reviews: Meet the hilarious Facegoop.

Aphrodite's (re)touch: If Venus were birthed today, here's what she'd look like. (Thanks to Nancy for the link!)

Cocooning: Apparently I'm a sucker for the sweet spot where natural beauty tools meet luxury: I am seriously coveting moisturizing, exfoliating silk cocoons.

Badass beard: Filled with admiration for this 49-year-old woman who started sprouting a goatee after the birth of her son. After tweezing and electrolysis proved fruitless, she decided to let it grow. (Meanwhile, I'm still struggling with my neck hair.)

Selfies+: Intriguing concept when framed by the thought of Facebook-as-narcissism: the selfless portrait, in which strangers artistically render your profile picture.

#longform: "The problem is that engaging an audience, no matter the media, has an erotic element. Like anyone who commands attention, a writer controls and manipulates bodies, but as this new form of online writing — so far defined more by its readers than innovations in construction — develops, both sides are still clumsy with the steps."

Low overhead: Fringe benefit of covering your head for modesty or religious reasons: You can get away with lax hair care. 

War paint: Is there a way to reclaim the ferocity of the "war" part of makeup as "war paint"? The phrase has, to me, always spoken more to the "war" of sexism (in what other war would lipstick be an advantage?)—but I like Meli's line of inquiry here, that perhaps we lost something when we dropped the tribal battle paint. (Bonus points for Vikings mention.)


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