What’s going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.
Barbies: They’re just like us!
…And Everything In Between:
Let’s get regular: With all the talk in various states of deregulating the beauty industry—but with 94% of voters supporting the licensing of beauty professionals (according to an industry poll, but still)—it’s worth a moment to look at this state-by-state “heat map” of deregulation threats.
Big business: The growing middle class in developing economies has various implications for beauty companies: Here’s a Q&A with the founder of one of Kenya’s first domestic cosmetics companies—and a news piece that shows what local business is up against, with L’Oréal buying one of the country’s biggest domestic brands (which might actually be a somewhat subversive move, since the former owner is now using the profits from the sale to build a manufacturing plant with an eye on reducing Procter & Gamble’s influence in the region). In fact, it seems that L’Oréal is all over this market; see also, bigger sales in China.
Dollars and sense: Dollar stores are setting sights on the beauty industry and are offering more brand-name cosmetics than they used to.
Model behavior: British Vogue has signed onto a 10-point code of conduct for its models. What makes this different from last year’s somewhat toothless Vogue resolution about underage models is that it’s backed by Equity, the UK’s trade union for performers (which allowed models to join in 2009).
Clap if you remember: This paean to Tinkerbell Cosmetics—and yes, I had their peel-off nail polish in 1982—verges on brilliant. Awkward father-daughter moments! Steely mother-daughter femininity battles! Sally Draper!
Granted: With her recent research grant of $10,000, dermatologist Dr. Anna de Benedetto just might determine once and for all what sensitive skin is. Meanwhile, check out this video looking at the science behind product testing.
When in Rome: Next time you pick up a nasty case of eye chlamydia—one more time for kicks, eye chlamydia—make like ancient Romans and bring out your cosmetics kit.
Trading up: The equivalent to the ladies-draped-on-cars at auto shows? Models (and stilt-walkers!) of various sorts hired to attract eyeballs at beauty trade shows: “I asked one shirtless, buff gentleman if I could snap his picture, and he said, ‘Sure, but then you have to talk to my friends over there about a blow…dryer.’ He then removed the blow dryer from the waistband of his jeans and pointed it at me like a gun.”
Beauty of the future: Meanwhile, if you’re more interested in the business of beauty than in its eye-catching representatives, here’s a peek into what beauty industry insiders are saying about tech and beauty.
Hairy situation: Prompted by recent reports of Hamas police in Gaza detaining and beating young men with long hair—which goes against the organization’s ideals—Worn Through asks, “What is it about hair that seems to disturb ruling powers and that is so emotionally disturbing when it is taken away?”
Color me this: My grandmother took me to “have my colors done” when I was 7, so I particularly loved The Closet Feminist’s contemporary insight into the 1980s fad of wearing colors by your “season.” (I was deemed a summer, not an autumn, the irony of which kills me to this day.)
All made up: I’ll just let Stuff Mom Never Told You speak for itself about this video: “In which Cristen schools Professor Boyfriend on women and the cosmetics industry while he attempts to put on her makeup with FABULOUS results.”
Louie Louie: Buried in this (good) article about Louis C.K., of whom I am an enormous fan to the point where I have considered writing him, at age 36, a good old-fashioned fan letter, is possibly the world’s most blunt—and definitely the world’s most graphic—description of the male gaze.
Mythbusters: I don’t necessarily agree with everything on this list from The Sexy Feminist author Jennifer Armstrong on what we can do to take action against the beauty myth (I don’t think the goal should necessarily be for every woman to feel beautiful, for example)—but to see so many ways enumerated is downright exciting.
Big week for nipple tattoos: I started getting all huffy about the apparent “nipple tattooing” craze of darkening nipples—not to be confused with the Thom Yorke nipple tattoo—until I read this sentence: “It is rapidly catching up with vajazzles…as the latest cosmetic procedure available to women nationwide.” Oh! So nobody actually does it. (Speaking of Vajazzling, I just now googled it and went down the internet rabbit-hole, and emerged with a link to the blog Pubic Style, which is—office-workers take note—exactly what it sounds like.)
Modestly yours: A neat decimation of the idea that dressing modestly is a way to ensure that admirers will see the person you “are,” as opposed to your body.
Dovecote: Don’t miss Kate’s take on the Dove sketch-artist ad (along with those from Jazzy Little Drops and Balancing Jane, which I linked to in my own post on the matter). Plus, Adriana Barton at Globe and Mail points to some of Unilever’s other campaigns and wonders how sincere Dove’s Real Beauty ads can truly be. (Probably as sincere as this hilarious parody ad, sent my way by Lindsay.) Indirectly related, Kate Conway adds to the (growing?) chorus of women wondering whether we might be better off not even trying to be hot every minute of our existence.