Monthly Archives: April 2010

Pretty Price Check (04.30.10)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of what we paid for beauty this week.

Anna Wintour and Meryl Streep are the Devil Wears Prada photos

  • $42,500: How much the highest bidder paid for a week “working” at Vogue in a charity auction to benefit the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. My favorite part is that “the experience” was originally valued at $10,000. Because that’s a typical entry level fashion magazine weekly salary. (Via The Cut.)


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[Beauty Overheard] It’s 10 PM. Do You Know What Makeup Your Daughter is Wearing?

So here is what I’m stuck on, from this morning’s New York Times piece on tweens wearing makeup:

“I’m using the choose-your-battles kind of parenting,” Mrs. Pometta, an independent publicist from Plainfield, Ill., reasoned in a telephone interview. “I figured, better that she’s informed and has the right tools than she goes into it blindly with her friends in the bathroom and comes out looking like a clown.”

Mrs. Pometta’s daughter, Alyssa, is 11, and among the 18 percent of 8-12 set who wear mascara regularly (15 percent wear eyeliner and lipstick).

Now I get the “better she’s informed” argument when it comes to your kid and safe sex. I get it when it comes to letting your child have a sip of wine at dinner. Because  these are life experiences that have pretty dire consequences if they go badly. The worst-case scenario that Mrs. Pometta is warding off? “Looking like a clown.”


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[Glossed Over] Don’t Call COVERGIRL’s Contest Winner “Mustache Girl.”


Ellen Stands Up For Beauty Photo

Oh Ellen. Not you too.


COVERGIRL has announced the winner of their “Stand Up for Beauty” Video Contest. (Remember their Campaign Declaration Cloud, that read like a spambot’s mash-up of “love your body” rhetoric mixed with “buy our products” reminders? How could you forget?)

You can go watch the video on their website real quick, and then come back and we’ll talk about Nicole, “an Ohio gal” who is “funny, ambitious, and positive” and just netted herself $50K by making faces at the camera while putting on makeup and fessing up to her lady ‘stache.

Hi! I’m Nikki. When I was a kid I used to get picked on. I was kind of awkward and hairy. They called me “Mustache Girl?” Yeah, I have a little bit of uh, hair on my upper lip. But it doesn’t matter to me what they say. I know with CoverGirl, I can feel beautiful just being me. I don’t have to be Miss Popularity. I don’t have to be serious and conform. I can be funny or quirky. I can fall down sometimes! If I want to. I don’t have to spend a fortune to feel pretty. I don’t have to wear designer clothes. I don’t have to be a Size Zero. Ha ha. I don’t have to shave my legs every day — but I don’t have to have a mustache either. Hmm. I can be glamorous and sexy and I think nerdy can be kind of cute. I don’t have to wear makeup, but I like to. Not for you, but for me. Because I. Am. Beautiful.


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[Tip Jar] Seven, Back for a Salt Scrub.

So, remember Client Seven, the 70-year-old lady getting her first facial, despite (or perhaps because of) a host of medical problems including fake knees and high blood pressure?

Well, I must have done something right, because tonight she’s back.

Her daughter has booked them both in for salt scrubs, but failed to show up — something about Seven’s grandson and a meeting with the principal, which doesn’t sound good. “She was supposed to treat me, but I guess I’ll have to treat myself,” says Seven.

She says she’s had a salt scrub before, at a spa in Vegas. But I still make sure we go over the contraindication list pretty carefully, because I’m remembering those fake knees. “They’ll be fine, just not too much pressure,” says Seven. I leave her to get undressed, not surprised when she says she’d rather wear her own underwear than the disposable paper thong we’re supposed to offer clients. (I hate wearing those things and I’m not 70.)


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[Fun With Press Releases] Rankled by Cankles.

Fun With Press Releases: Because sometimes, the beauty industry just goofs.

Really, I should just post this and not write one word about The Wonder that is this press release. This canvas doesn’t need any more paint. It feels sacrilegious. We should just read and silently bask in the perfection of it all.

So here (and, you’re welcome):

Sent: Wed, April 21, 2010 3:29:32 PM
Subject: Story Idea: Rankled By Cankles

Hi Virginia,

The newest body part worth stressing over is the ankles…well, “cankles” to be exact.

Cankle – a word derived from the combination of ‘calf’ and ‘ankle’ – occurs when the calf merges with an obese or swollen ankle, and is claimed to be the “thunder thigh” of the new millennium.  Many women struggle with excess leg and ankle fat and no amount of diet or exercise make a real difference. The popularity of gladiator-style sandals and cropped leggings this summer has only added to the nationwide cankle anxiety.


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Pretty Price Check (04.23.10)

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

Photo of a Tanning Addict

  • 78 percent of frequent tanners say they’ve tried to cut down but can’t — and feel guilty about it, according to a new study that bolsters the not new theory that tanning can be addictive. I think we knew this, but clearly, still disturbing. (Via Mother Jones.)


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I’m Your Waxer, Not Your Mother.

The New York Post is reporting on how Brazilian devotees come to view their waxers as “mothers without the baggage.” Says one loyal client:

“Meeting her made me realize how two women, complete strangers, can be nice to each other without all the catty drama. Granted, you should never be rude to anyone ripping hair off your body.”

Hmmm, responds Jezebel’s Sadie:

I wonder, as much as the genuine phenomenon of bonding with a professional you like — and of course I believe that’s real — there’s also another phenomenon, that of casting in oddly close terms a relationship which is essentially a business one, which can make recipients, alive to the nuances of class and inequality, feel uneasy.

Tonight Sue’s leg wax client asks Sue to also do her underarms, which translates to Sue pulling wax strips for nearly two solid hours, through the time when normal Americans are sitting down to family dinners, while said client reads a magazine and checks her Blackberry. (How can one check a Blackberry and read a magazine while another person is pulling hot wax off your legs and armpits? I do not know, but this lady manages it.) I think it’s safe to say that nobody feels the mother-daughter bond developing there.


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It’s official: Meg, Blanche, Stephanie and I are all Beauty U Seniors. We’ve waded our way through all 21 chapters of Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians, and passed all four practical exams (makeup, facials, body treatments, and waxing).

We’ve clocked 300 hours (umm…or thereabouts; I admit to having lost track a few weeks ago). Which means we’re past the halfway point. And ready to be let loose on the clinic floor.

Unfortunately, the Beauty U powers that be finally got that memo about not letting non-senior students work on clients, and stopped accepting new appointments. Just in time for us to be ready for new appointments. Oops. So, our first night in the clinic is much like every other night at Beauty U thus far; I give Meg an upper leg wax. She gives me a paraffin foot dip. Blanche gives Stephanie a back facial. Miss Stacy supervises, which means we talk about her wedding plans and whether or not the day students are doing their fair share of the laundry. (Our verdict: They are not.)


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[Government Watch] It’s Blog for Fair Pay Day!

Blog for Fair Pay Day Graphic

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Paycheck Fairness Act (currently pending in the Senate) is a little off topic for a blog about the beauty industry, seeing as the vast majority of beauty industry workers are female. In fact, I just spent 20 minutes trying to figure out the gender wage gap for salon workers, and the best I can find is a Bureau of Labor Statistics chart that says 268,000 female “hairdressers, hair stylists and cosmetologists” earned a median income of $413 per week (just under $22,000 per year) in 2009, but that data was not recorded for their male counterparts because there are less than 50,000 male hair stylists in the country (and BLS doesn’t track data on occupation segments that small). This doesn’t surprise me because there is not one male student currently enrolled in all of Beauty U.

So, hooray, the beauty industry has no wage gap, because it has no male employees! Here’s what it does have: A disproportionate majority of male salon owners, male celebrity stylists and male brand CEOs. My favorite would be John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell, one of the biggest chains of hair products, salons and beauty schools, who has a net worth of $4 billion.


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Hairy Legs are Not a Trend

Image from Cosmo Brazilian Guide Page 1Image from Cosmo Brazilian Guide Page 2

Despite the fact that the New York Times found two anti-shaving celebrities last week, (Mo’Nique and Amanda Palmer, who, I am pretty sure, can only be considered “famous” because of this article) and decided to build a whole story around them, which has had much of the blogosphere in a flutter ever since.


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    The Eating Insinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole Smith

    Pre-order now!