twitter
facebook twitter tumblr newsletter
blog-beheld-174
The Beheld
By Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
Examining questions surrounding personal appearance: What does it mean to be seen? What is the relationship between "beauty labor" and cultural visibility? And why do two lipstick shades combined always look better than one?
rss feed

Beauty Blogosphere 2.8.13

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

Also instantly makes your hair look amazing. Like, really fucking amazing, don’tyouthink?

From Head…
Blow dry: Admittedly, I’ve never tried to smuggle 24 pounds of liquid cocaine into Logan International, but I’m still surprised that pouring it into hair product bottles would be described by the feds as “creative.” Like, wouldn’t that be the first thing anyone would try? (Have I missed my calling as a drug mule?)

…To Toe…
Sole sisters: Word aficionados will delight in learning about the turn-of-(last)-century shoe brand Sorosis, whose name may have stemmed from sisterhood, or pineapples, take your pick.

…And Everything In Between:
Whiter shade of pale: A reminder from the Philippines that even when a nation manages to implement cosmetics regulation, that doesn’t mean retailers stick to the rules. (The culprit here is skin whitening creams, of course, which made another international appearance this week with the report that prescription dermatitis creams—which have a lightening effect—are being sold on the Ugandan black market to consumers with no prescription, and little to no guidance on usage.)

All ages!: Once again, e.l.f. is hosting an open-call modeling contest themed “Beauty at All Ages,” in which hopefuls can enter in one of four age categories: teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s+. Ahem.


In your face: Interesting debate about the Pretty Girls Making Ugly Faces subreddit at Feminist Philosophers. My first reaction here is that by showing how the same woman can both “play pretty” and “play ugly,” the meme reveals not only how much of beauty is a performance, as Feminist Philosophers points out, but how much it’s about being caught at any one particular moment. I mean, obviously the women in these photos are specifically making grotesque faces. (And commenters rightly point out that there are plenty of women whose faces naturally have some of these features without “playing ugly,” though I think to read this through that lens is sort of willfully misconstruing what’s being toyed with.) But I know one of my bigger beauty insecurities is that someone who had previously thought I was attractive would see me at a certain moment—eyes half-open, double chinned because of an angle, ruddy-skinned, slack-jawed—and see that no, they’d been wrong all along, I’m actually monstrous. This meme sort of blows that up—it’s really about revealing what you might call the elasticity of beauty.


What men really want: How on earth can you brand a beauty product to men?! Just remember this: “Research has shown that men will stick with a product if it is effective,” unlike creatures comme moi, who is still wondering why this huckleberry jam has done jack shit for my bikini line.


On scruples: The Beauty Brains makes an appearance with Amanda Marcotte at Slate, talking about the science behind the (ripoff?) that is Proactiv. In addition to what the Brains say here, something my beauty editor interviewee pointed out was that kits that are sold as acne “systems” are often sold that way because you can’t get the ingredients in one product. To have both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide (both effective acne fighters, though for different causes and stages in life, from what I understand) in a product is highly irritating, so you can only get products containing both ingredients by prescription. But! If you sell a benzoyl peroxide product alongside a salicylic acid product and package it as a kit, you’re in the clear. (And in fact using both products may be fine, depending on your skin—but it could also be way too harsh.)



Great of a passing: Stuart Freeborn, the makeup artist responsible for Yoda, has died at age 98. While the Star Wars enterprise is his most famous work (he was also responsible for Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt), his Hollywood legacy had long been established by the time he came on board there—he transformed Peter Sellers into multiple characters for Dr. Strangelove, and worked with Kubrick on other projects, including 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Moves like Jagger: Quantifying the attractiveness of hip-wriggling. (Word to the ladies: Your “hip-knee phase angle” will bring the boys to the yard.)


Sixth sense: If you don’t really know what you look like because you’re blind, how do you “see” yourself in your dreams?


Makeup bag: If you live in the San Francisco area and “like” Make Up For Ever on Facebook, you can reserve a live makeup tutorial with their artists—using products you already have. (Normally The Beheld doesn’t include flat-out promos in roundups, but if this actually is as described I think it’s cool. Obviously the idea is that you’ll think kindly of Make Up For Ever afterward and spend your cash there, but still.)


On recovery: Margaret Wheeler Johnson, who writes of her eating disorder recovery with a courage one rarely sees on the subject, has an essay up at HuffPo on getting rid of her “thin clothes.” At least, that’s the topic, but the real story is about allowing her identity to grow beyond that of a person with an illness—one that’s pathologized in tragic tones that can make it all the more alluring to someone already prone to the disease.


Virtual funds: I 100% Do Not Get This, but apparently if you play interactive video games you can set up a webcam so people can watch you play? And while most people who do this are men, there’s a number of women who stream themselves—and who have set up a donation account so viewers can contribute to the cause, whatever that cause may be. The women in this article seem to have a keen understanding of the risks (and not-dramatic payoff) of doing this, but at the root…I don’t get it. Any girl gamers want to explain this to a non-gamer (unless you count playing Tetris on my phone, which was purchased in 2007)?

Also, Butt Taco: Slideshow of the most cringe-worthy makeup color names. Camel Toe?


Flex: Feminist Figure Girl lives up to her name by documenting the beauty labor that goes into bodybuilding competition—something that’s expected of male bodybuilders as well, but not nearly to this extent.


Big gulp: You know why I don’t drink Diet Coke? The packaging just ain’t femme enough for me. Marc Jacobs to the rescue! (Thanks to Lindsay for the link.)


 



Fan(g)irls: Not only are snaggletooth dental implants en vogue in Japan, but there’s an entire pop band based on the look?! (A dentist specializing in the procedure plays Maurice Starr, natch.) Also from Cristen Conger: More than a year ago I mentioned her then-upcoming series at Bitch on the male beauty industry—or grooming industry, if you will—and you can read the whole series here.



And they all look like torture devices: The eyelash curlers that Could Have Been, courtesy Wild Beauty.


Fresh fruit: As much as I like to have my figure flattered (why, thank you!), it took me thirtysomething years to figure out how to do so, because I’m neither apple nor pear nor hourglass. Had I read Sally McGraw’s book Already Pretty, I might’ve saved myself from all that head-to-toe black. Excerpt on how to really flatter your figure here.

Hijab hurrah: I have some mixed feelings on this astute post about World Hijab Day from a Muslim woman who wears hijab. To don hijab as a non-Muslim woman is meaningless if you don’t actually talk to real! live! Muslim women (both hijabis and non) about their own practices, and to claim that wearing hijab for a day somehow gives you an understanding of the experience of Muslim women is disingenuous, to say the least. That said, the practice can be worthy in its own right—as it is for Muslim women. We live in a culture that’s pretty confused about women’s bodies, surveillance, “responsibility,” the gaze, and sexuality. Wearing hijab can lend a person insight about her own experience of those concerns, in a way that has little to do with religion or Muslim life. Like mirror fasting, or not wearing makeup for a year, or not shopping for clothes for a year, or whatever, the idea shouldn’t be to come down with full force on one “side” or the other, but rather to allow experimentation to illuminate our experiences with being seen in a way that we couldn’t if we simply kept doing the same old routine. (via The Closet Feminist)


Public hair: Using “intimate cleanser” as a shampoo? Why not! (Or why, I suppose, but if you have it lying around…)


Girl’s best friend: I could give exactly two figs about diamonds, yet this list of diamond factoids from Closet Feminist had me at “mean reds.”

Tet a tet: Happy Lunar New Year! It’s the Year of the Snake, and the Makeup Museum has some slithery photos from the MAC collection designed to celebrate (market) it.

Previously by

Leave a Reply