Beauty Blogosphere 3.30.12

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

(The actual story link below is cool, but if I were styling my hair on acid it would probably look more like this.)

From Head...

This is your hair on drugs: What your hair would look like if you styled it on LSD?

...To Toe...
Printer error:
Shoes from a 3-D printer.

...And Everything In Between:
Eau de bigotry: Perfumer and cosmetics heir Jean-Paul Guerlain was fined around $8,000 for making racist remarks on national television.

General assembly: With 90% of Connecticut salons owned by Koreans or Korean-Americans, the state's recent 6.35% tax on manicures, pedicures, waxing, and facials wound up effectively being a tax on the Korean community—and demonstrators gathered at the capitol to protest. (You can support them if you wish by signing the petition on

The curious case of virtuous makeup: When Sara Buntrock went makeup shopping with her preteen daughters, she was shocked at the suggestive names for makeup shades. Enter What's Your Virtue, a lip gloss collection with shades named for various virtues. Curiosity is a "rich mulberry shimmer," Devotion is a "barely there pink shimmer," and Cynicism is a "vaguely exasperated mocha" that wonders what teenage girl would seek out a shade called Kindness when there's Nars Orgasm to be had. (Actually, I'm wondering what teenage girls pay attention to shade names at all. Do they? Whatever, if it fills up stockings this Christmas, fine.)

Big government: You know it's bad when an industry is practically begging the federal government for regulatory oversight, but when you can put lead in lipstick and it's totally legal, is it any wonder that cosmetics trade associations are doing just that? (And in related Encouraging News That Shouldn't Be Encouraging At All Because It's So Basic, we are not smearing asbestos all over our bodies, the FDA concluded after a year of quiet study.)

Babyface: Your baby is ugly. What to do? Put some cream on it!

Note: This is not a turban. I repeat: This is not a turban. It is, however, an open-source photo of Estee Lauder!

TURBAN ALERT: Estee Lauder's turban is on display at the Bard Graduate Center until April 15, along with other milliner delights like FDR's inaugural top hat and the bunny ears Candace Bergen wore to Truman Capote's Black and White Ball. (Side note: I can't wait until I'm 50 because I'll finally be able to wear a turban. I know I'm no spring chicken, but if someone can pull off a turban at 35, well, it ain't me.)

Tweezing on a jet plane: Speaking of Estee Lauder, the company had a great year in 2011—possibly due to its embrace of travel retail, a growing outlet.

Your fingernails, the tiniest screens of all: An overview of movie tie-in beauty products. I had no idea there was an Eat, Pray, Love lip gloss, which makes more sense to me than Hunger Games nail polish. Hey, I get that business is business, but really, what fan of the book would want to wear "Capitol Colors" when even the sympathetic Capitol characters (Cinna aside) are mostly presented as vapid? Speaking of The Hunger Games, it turns out I had more to say than what I did yesterday, and I said it over at Salon. I make the somewhat counterintuitive argument that maybe critics are right to suggest that Jennifer Lawrence's slender but still curvaceous frame didn't really reflect Katniss's situation—but that the point isn't her body, it's the dearth of meaty roles for young actresses.

Fair and balanced: This story about growing consumer awareness of the fair market price of goods is interesting in its own right, but becomes even more so when reading it with beauty products in mind. So much of what beauty products sell is, well, hope in a jar, and there's no market price for that. We may now be savvy enough to know that a pair of jeans is marked up, but how do we know the same about face powder? The mere act of buying it in a fancier store may be part of the satisfaction we reap from the purchase. (via ShyBiker)

Shrunken heads: After last week's look at the visualization of body image, this seems appropriate: a Swedish neuroscientist who probes our visual and spatial ideas of what our bodies actually are, using illusions and perspective. Under his guidance study participants might feel as if they're growing or shrinking, Alice in Wonderland style, or even swapping bodies with other participants. Think of the amusement park applications! (Thanks to Terri for the link.)

Team teen: Mara at Medicinal Marzipan is rounding up the second annual Teen Week, in which bloggers use their sites to speak out about their experiences with body image, sexuality, and self-esteem during their teen years. A handful of my favorite entries: ways to acknowledge that there's no such thing as "normal", Courtney's musings on what it means to be average-sized, Becky on navigating being a big-breasted teenager, Golda on Health at Every Size, and Margarita's tips list of things she wish she'd known as a teen that puts any ladymag "top 10" to shame.

From here to maturity: And on the adult end of the equation, five bloggers ranging in age from twentysomething to sixtysomething write on what we've learned about beauty. I was honored to be asked to contribute my thoughts about what I know about beauty now that I'm in my thirties—and was delighted to see a familiar face speaking up for women in their twenties, Kate of Eat the Damn Cake.

The antipolitics of hair: Five women who fall on various places on the weave/extension/relaxer map share their experiences, and Brittany Julious chimes in as well: "I don’t like the idea that my hair is political and that my existence is the fodder of others. This is a thing we often do in the black community. We tell each other how to live. We live for the community. Our lives are often about what we should be doing rather than about what we feel and desire as individuals." My knee-jerk instinct is that all women's looks are political, black women's hair is particularly so. But it's not my thoughts that matter here, knowwhatimean?

The "lost art" of not looking good: Nuanced, elliptical essay from Charlotte Ravenat The Guardian about the signals of beauty work have shifted since they first became politicized in the 1970s. "The decision not to look nice is even more radical [today] than it was when it was first advocated in the 1970s. Now it signals something different – a resistance to commodification." I don't necessarily agree with her end goal—an eradication of beauty work—but her reasoning goes beyond what we've heard ad nauseam.

Sob story: Girls crying on Tumblr. Interesting demonstration of emotions both authentic and labored. Can we add it to the archive of feminist crying?

Ladyspace: Ann Brenoff on salons as havens of female bonding:"For Your Nails Only was what Facebook can only hope to be."

Child's play: Peggy Orenstein couples the "age compression"of non-play-based preschools with the crop of makeup lines targeting children. Her points are salient but overlook the ways in which makeup play really is play. My fantasy sessions with my grandmother's makeup kit when I was 7 had little to do with wanting to look pretty; they were more along the lines of playing house. That said, I was using distinctly adult makeup—certainly using makeup squarely targeting me would have changed the equation.


Male gaze: Dudes on watching not-dudes: "Why does girl-watching have such a terrible reputation? Maybe because it's an act of rebellion." Hahahahaahahahaaaa! Yes, fight the good fight, my friends! You just go be rebellious against that whole world that says women aren't here as objects of decoration! Listen, sir: Nobody is trying to make you stop looking at your fellow humans, and that includes women. We just don't want you to A) be jackasses about it and leer, B) treat us as though that's our primary responsibility here on planet earth ("Beautiful women are like flowers," which, yes, is an actual line from the piece), or C) assume that just because some women play with the gaze and take pleasure in doing so, that means we want your eyes on us every second ("If they don't receive a certain amount of attention, they wither"). Oi! Jezebel succinctly tears the article apart. (I'll probably have a lot more to say about this later but for now I'm still laughing. Rebel cause!)

365 days: What was it like when Kjerstin Gruys looked in the mirror for the first time in a year? (I love the way the "grand reveal" was done.)

Brastrapping: Hourglassy has adopted the cause of Support 1000, an organization aiming to "deliver dignity" to low-income women via donations of new and lightly used bras. They'll have posts throughout 2012 about Support 1000, and this month's is particularly interesting: The dignity of having a good bra is dependent upon it fitting the way it's supposed to, especially for large-breasted women. If so many women who aren't in need are walking around wearing the wrong bra size, what does that mean for women benefiting from Support 1000? Hourglassy is asking readers to brainstorm how to work fittings into the program—thoughts?