Monthly Archives: February 2010

Pretty Price Check (02.26.10)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday roundup of how much we paid for beauty last week.

Photo of DKNY Pure Fragrance with Ugandan Vanilla

  • $60: What you’ll pay for 1.7 ounces of DKNY’s newest fragrance, Pure. Pretty By Nature notes that the bottle looks like a bottle of water (so pure, see?) and bills itself as containing pure (again!) Ugandan vanilla, because DKNY has partnered with CARE to support the women of Ugandan and raise awareness about global poverty. All fine and good except the press release doesn’t say how much of Pure profits are actually getting back to these poor Ugandan women. And the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database gives DKNY’s other perfumes a high hazard rating of 8 (out of 1o). All of which sort of undermines the purity test.

H&M Organic Body Lotion Photo

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[Career Opportunities] Rock Stars and Role Models.

Molly Surno Nail Salon Photo

Melissa asks:*

Who are the beauty industry stars that the people in class aspire to be? Is Miss Jenny a role model? Are there big six-figure earners people look up to? Does anyone aspire to a Hollywood-style job as a celebrity or Fashion Week makeup artist? Is getting in with a brand–like being a MAC artist a big thing? Just curious about the aspirations/expectations.

There’s a lot of talk about the potential to earn six figures, but I have yet to meet anyone who graduated from Beauty U and is doing that. A few weeks ago, Mr. G gathered us all in one of the classrooms to show us pictures of a former student with a big rock star because she cuts his hair now (sorry, I’m being coy to help with the whole protecting my sources thing —  by which I mean the student, not the rock star!). She had emailed them over to let him know how well she is doing out in LA and he couldn’t wait to tell us about it. “This is a Beauty U graduate!” He kept saying. “This could be any one of you!”

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[Government Watch] On the Matters of Tanning and Toxins.

I admit to being fully impatient with anyone who thinks a tax on tanning salons is a bad idea. Of course, thus far, that group is mainly limited to tanning salon owners (shock) who feel their “one little industry” is getting stuck with the country’s entire health care reform tab (via Jezebel). What’s more surprising: The fact that they aren’t getting much support from the rest of the beauty industry on this one. Before embarking on this here project, I tended to think of the beauty industry as one big, pretty battleship. But it’s actually made up of several different and sometimes warring factions, and tanning salons are to estheticians kind of the way reality TV stars are to um… the cast of Gossip Girl. By which I mean, they’re both guilty pleasures, but at least Leighton and Blake and the rest have to try to act.

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Would You Like Your Breasts Included in This Service?

So are you guys sick of facials yet? I’ll admit, I am — and I still have 59 more to do before I graduate. But this week, we’re taking a hiatus from cleanse-exfoliate-massage-mask-tone-moisturize to learn about body treatments. Which means: “Shave, moisturize, do whatever you need to do,” Miss Stacy told us, as we were leaving last week. “Because it’s time to get naked!”

We’ve already learned the (not naked) paraffin hand and foot dips, so next up on the body treatment list are Dead Sea Salt Body Scrubs, Herbal Body Wraps, Seaweed and Mud Body Wraps, Sugar Scrubs, and the Detox Inch-Loss Wrap. In all of these, your client strips down to a disposable thong (or sometimes an old bikini). Your job is to massage her from top to toe with the scrub or wrap her whole body up in product-soaked elastic bands (they look like huge Ace bandages). Then you wrap her again with heated blankets or shiny Mylar sheets (above) and leave her to cook like a giant baked potato.

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My First Real Client.

Last week, when I was finishing up my Three Months Down report, commenter Kate Ashford asked:

I have a question: How does the working-on-not-fellow-students clients thing work? Do people know you’re students? Do they get a discount? Does the beauty school have a spa that customers use, with the knowledge that they might be peeled and spackled by beauty students in training? And how are you feeling about working on real people? (Not that students aren’t real people, of course.) But it’ll be pretty different, no?

The answer: Pretty damn different, indeed.

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Pretty Price Check (02.19.10)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty last week.


  • $55-58: How much you’ll pay for the new Spanx for Men undergarments line. Dudes, read Broadsheet’s helpful tips on navigating shapewear before you buy, so the extra ten minutes you’ll need getting them off to go to the bathroom don’t take you by surprise.

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Selling On Up. And Making It Up as You Go.

Here’s the secret to have a successful salon or spa in one word:

Upselling.

Our goal, as soon as you walk in the door, is to convince you that hey, actually, a more expensive facial would be more beneficial for your skin than the bog-standard European facial you signed up for, or that in fact, you’ll extend the benefits of the facial much longer if you buy a bunch of products for home use, too. And by the by, did you know we also do hair and nails here?

At Beauty U, we’re getting ready to work on real, live clients soon, and learning to fill out a form for every customer where we have to write which treatments we suggest as an upsale, whether they decided to go for it, and which home products we recommend. The part that creeps me out is that we’re then supposed to hand this form to the client at the end of the service. They bring up to the receptionist so she knows what to charge them — which means the client can idly flip it over and see the back where the word “upsell” is printed right there in black and white.

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[Beauty Overheard] Another Fine Reason to go Team Jacob.

Well here’s Robert Pattinson on surviving the cover shoot for the March issue of Details:

“I really hate vaginas. I’m allergic to vagina. But I can’t say I had no idea, because it was a 12-hour shoot, so you kind of get the picture that these women are going to stay naked after, like, five or six hours. But I wasn’t exactly prepared. I had no idea what to say to these girls. Thank God I was hungover.”

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The Other Kind of Brazilian Beauty.

Last week, I had my first brush with a Brazilian bikini wax. Well, let’s face it, I just overheard other people learning how to do one and I pretty much broke out in hives — but don’t worry, my turn to wield the wax is coming up in a few weeks, and you’ll get every gory detail.

But this experience reminded me that when it comes to beauty standards, Brazil is known for a lot more than its disdain for body hair. My friend Melissa of I Heart Daily, was in Rio de Janeiro a couple of weeks ago to cover their Fashion Week and sent me a handful of runway beauty shots so insane, I obviously had to share them with you all.

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[Beauty Overheard] Brazilian Time.

When you’re giving a client a facial behind one curtain, but you can still hear everything that’s happening behind all the other curtains,* here’s a conversation you don’t want to overhear:

Beauty U Student #1: Why are you on all fours?

Beauty U Student #2: That’s how they did it on the video!

Miss Jenny (sticking her head behind their curtain): What’s going on? Why is she kneeling like that?

Beauty U Student #2: Is this going to hurt?

Miss Jenny: The skin back there is much less sensitive than you’d think. You won’t feel a thing.

Silence.

Silence.

Beauty U Student #1 (hushed tones): Oh my God, what is that?

Miss Jenny: Someone get me the tea tree oil…You really shouldn’t be picking at that.

I’m sorry, dear readers, to ruin any illusions you might have had, but there is just nothing pretty about learning to wax, Brazilian-style.

*The Beauty U spa isn’t big enough to have separate treatment rooms, so we work in little curtained areas, sort of like a hospital ER, but with a “Music of the Rainforest” soundtrack.

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