What’s going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.
Rachel redux: As the Wall Street Journal reports, Jennifer Aniston has been spokesperson for notoriously few products, so it’s interesting that she chose a little-known hair product company to make her debut into beauty product endorsement. The science-driven company says it’s all about “beauty and brains,” making Aniston a natural choice; as for her part, she says, “You want to be part of something that’s exciting and authentic [emphasis mine]. You can’t get more interesting than these scientists.” What’s intriguing here is her reliance upon authenticity as a point of pride (and sales); her image has been successfully cultivated as being authentic, and now she’s able to monetize that directly.
Crash course: An SUV crashed into a Dallas nail salon and didn’t stop until it blasted into the hair salon next door—dragging along a pedicure chair and the client seated in it. The client was hospitalized but is okay; no news as to whether the pedicure had a chance to get a dry finish.
Kiddie pedicure: Woman kidnaps goat from San Diego petting zoo, returns it with hot pink pedicure.
Magic at your feeet: Virginia Postrel interviews Manolo the Shoeblogger on why people love to talk about shoes, beginning with, “Because shoes have magic in them.” Indeed—who didn’t love-and-or-become-utterly-terrified-by “The Red Shoes” as a child?
…And Everything In Between:
End of an era: Avon’s transition out of the Andrea Jung era is nearly complete, as the chair and former CEO of the company will step down entirely at the end of the year. Jung left her post as CEO in April in the midst of a bribery scandal involving Chinese officials; she stayed on as chair to help the new CEO, former Johnson & Johnson exec Sherilyn McCoy, transition into the role.
Final farewell: RIP George Friedman, a longtime exec with Estee Lauder who helped create both Clinique and Aramis, at one point the world’s best-selling men’s fragrance. Aramis was the first prestige men’s fragrance to be sold in department stores, paving the way for the sexier, more youthful fragrances that followed (Obsession, Drakkar Noir) the lead of Aramis, which was known for lending its wearers an image of wealth, dignity, and ultimate gentlemanliness.
Ronnie boy: Revlon agrees to pay shareholders $9.2 million after investors claimed controlling shareholder Ron Perelman played a sort of shell game of stocks in order to acquire even more of the company. Ronnie, Ronnie, what’s gotten into you this year?
Global beauty: Makeup artist Meli Pennington of Wild Beauty joins a psychiatrist, cosmetics consultant, and the CEO of a green skin care company in this Huffington Post video about globalization and the beauty industry.
Little luxury: The focus of this article on recent spending slowdowns in China is ostensibly luxury goods, but most companies mentioned are beauty and skin care companies, making me wonder if we’re asking the right questions here.
Can’t judge by the package: You probably already know that the word “natural” means jack squat on beauty products—but did you know that “hypoallergenic” can be just as empty a claim? (I didn’t.) ShopSmart‘s latest issue decodes 15 cosmetics terms.
“Seal boy”: Forgive the clip’s reductive title—”Can Prosthetics Be Art?”—and instead focus on the inordinate charms of performance artist Mat Fraser, who takes us through a video tour of an exhibit focusing on the aesthetics of prosthetics (which he himself seems to use only in a performance setting; he was born without fully formed arms). Usage, aesthetics, creativity, and “human adaptation”—they’re all covered here. Worth a watch.
Stealth hijabis: As a non-Muslim in a neighborhood with a sizable Muslim population, I’ve made plenty of assumptions upon seeing a woman whose head is covered and whose feet are sporting killer stilettos. My assumptions are positive—rebel grrrl, way to claim your space, artful cultural navigation—but as Nahida points out about these “stealth hijabis,” who wear headscarves along with things that might label them as “immodest” by some, those assumptions are short-sighted. “The approach of the stealth hijabi to life is a careful and restorative one, and not the irresponsible ‘damaged beyond redemption’ state that Muslims suppose or the simple ‘rebellious child’ that non-Muslims perceive.”
Puppy love: Portuguese researchers have developed a skin allergy test that has the potential to significantly reduce the use of cosmetics animal testing even further.
Showbiz: I am fairly certain web series The Sisters Plotz—starring Eve Plumb, Lisa Hammer, and Lisa Ferber, and written by Ferber (whom you’ve met plenty of times on The Beheld before)—qualifies as madcap comedy. The second season is now online. (And yes, kittens, it also serves as my film debut; you can hear my warble at 1:06.)
#notgettingit: Just when I finally get #nodads,
#thighstilidie: Lena Dunham tried on the tap pants trend, the world stopped, and her response to her critics is nothing short of fantastic. “I don’t think a girl with tiny thighs would have received such no-pants attention. I think what it really was . . . ‘Why did you all make us look at your thighs?’ My response is, get used to it because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die.”
In yo face: Is bar soap’s reputation as being too drying to use on the face outdated? (Since I haven’t washed my face with anything but water since 2010, I’m wholly unqualified to comment—or perhaps inordinately qualified when I say that if you have normal skin, any soap is too much for your face?)
Exhibit P: An Ohio district attorney race took a turn for the weird when the challenger to incumbent Laina Fetherolf was accused of spreading rumors about the way Fetherolf handled a courtroom “wardrobe malfunction.” The facts: Fetherolf did suffer a “malfunction” of some sort and had to leave the courtroom to fix it. The rumor: That upon learning the jurors were snickering at being able to see her dark underwear through her light dress, she left the room, removed her panties, and placed them on the judge’s bench, saying “Problem solved.” Judge John T. Wallace hastens to Fetherolf’s defense, telling a local newspaper, “No panties have ever been placed on my bench by anyone, including her.”
Bagel mods: Feminist Figure Girl gives a defense of the bagelhead: “They question rather than reinforce the beauty myth, especially the billion dollar face puffing industry, by displaying an anti-beautiful facial addition.” Plus, she brilliantly ties it in with her field of expertise—bodybuilding—to ask why some body modifications are seen as discipline while others are seen as, well, weird. (I have a few thoughts on that matter but like the contrarian defense here.)
All the pretty girls: Literary project All the Sad Young Pretty Girls of Color is looking for a graphic designer—and is still accepting submissions. You don’t have to be sad! Or conventionally pretty! If you’re a young woman of color with a story to tell, this outlet could be for you; it’s edited by three whip-smart women (all of whom I ran into separately online, so I was particularly delighted to see they’re working together on this) and I’m terrifically eager to see what comes next from the project.
The clothes we keep: Lovely essay from Rebecca Howden on keeping clothes she never wears: “Like most people, I’m an emotional shopper. I buy clothes when I’m feeling sad, and when I’m feeling happy. I buy clothes when I’m feeling lonely, stressed, vengeful, excited. But most of the time I’m not really buying for myself; I’m buying for one of my possible future selves.”
Peace out: Two of the best body image writers out there have some great offerings this week. Mara Glatzel of Medicinal Marzipan is launching an e-course that serves as a companion to her Body Love Homework book, which I can attest is a worthwhile read. And Sally McGraw gives concrete tips on what to do when you’re having a nasty body image day. (The first pointer is my favorite—as much as I want to disappear into black flannel when I’m feeling bad about my body, I always, always feel better if I suck it up and wear something bright.)