Archive | April, 2013

Fashion Review: Urban Outfitters

29 Apr

One of my favourite high-street shops ever. No! Sorry, it’s more than just a shop, it’s an experience. The whole atmosphere is effortlessly cool and oozes unconventional style. From 1940’s vintage over-sized coats to ironically humourous gifts, every item has its own story and meaning. You can look around the shop for hours, it’s full of little gems you can’t and won’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for a cool place to shop, Urban Outfitters is the only place to go. Renowned as one of the best for the latest in cutting-edge fashion to suit anyone’s taste or budget, this place will lock you in for hours and have you walking out with an empty purse. But no matter what – when you get home everyone will be green with envy as they stare at your smug little face while you show off your new purchases. You’ll feel like the bohemian, retro-style vogue chick you really are/ are desperately trying to be.

Urban Outfitters take the best part of contemporary fashion and kick it up the arse with their own individual style. Topshop, New Look and such like, are good, but Urban Outfitters always gives you that little extra edge and makes parting way with your dollar that little easier. It offers a range of different items from graphic tees to party dresses to cameras and novelty gifts. Their assortment of styles and variety of items are well matched with most department stores but each and every item wouldn’t be out-of-place from a fashion boutique or stall at Vogue festival. When I enter the shop, I literally want (and feel like I NEED) everything – “how did I survive without all of this in my life thus far?’, yet I visit the website most weeks and never purchase a single sausage*. I would definitely recommend going to the shop rather than looking on the internet. When web-searching you have to know exactly what you’re after, the beauty of Urban Outfitters is that you may go in there in need of nothing yet you come out armed with a book all about excrement, a melting clock, and a mug with a biscuit pocket** – their merchandise is one of the best parts of the store.

Some items can be over-priced especially now as there are more and more luxury brands and several designer collaborations, but get your self, your whole self, immersed in the sales rack – they always have some great deals on gorgeous items which you simply have to surrender to such bargain buys.

Often in the press for their controversial decisions, such as the ‘eat-less’ tee that was criticised for being pro-anorexia, and the sparkly handgun-shaped Christmas ornaments considered to be distasteful. However, their controversy is what makes this unique brand so successful. You may not like the ‘wanker’ card, but you don’t have to buy it, they’re just offering out items you are guaranteed not to find anywhere else.

A lot of my prized possessions come from Urban Outfitters, here’s a selection of my faves:

P.S I have not been endorsed to say any of this. All of my opinions are my own, you can trust them, I’m not getting paid to speak this waffle high quality content* to you, unfortunately!

* I don’t think they sell sausages, yet

** All currently available to buy, honestly

~x~

Fashion Review: Tablet Cases

26 Apr

The iPad Clutch.

So you’ve bought your shiny new tablet, the perfect device for web browsing and social networking on-the-go. Now all you need is a stylish bag to carry it around in. A Tesco bag-for-life simply will not do. The iPad clutch is the modern girl’s must-have accessory in 2013. It really is the chicest way to carry your iPad from A to B, along with your cards, keys and essential cosmetics. I’ve picked out the best bunch of iPad bags/cases/clutches/whatever you want to call them, the styles and designs vary massively, as does the price, but I love them all!:

Cath Kidston, £30:

Cambridge Satchel Company, £105:

Victoria Beckham, £220:

vb

Ted Baker, £45:

  Buy Ted Baker Prunela Ipad Case Online at johnlewis.com

Reveal, £176:

  Ashlee IPad Purse-Natural (1)

Next, £22:

next

Marc Jacobs, £385:

Book Cover Marc Jacobs Quilted Leather iPad Case, $495

Comme des Garçons, £109:

polkadots

Proenza Schouler, £465:

River Island, £20:

riverisland

Olivabonas.com, £29.50:

Paperthinks iPad Folio Case

Dries van Noten, £362:

m.Humming, £15:

m.humming

Fiorelli London, £24.99:

Happy Owl Studio, £50:

~x~

Beauty Review: Eyelashes

23 Apr

Emphasize the eyes.

Many women seek to enhance their eyelash length, and do so daily, as part of their everyday make-up routine. This all stems from the fact that long eyelashes are considered a sign of femininity in many cultures.

There are an extensive range of cosmetic procedures which all aim to lengthen your eyelashes.

Mascaras:

Most popular is the trusted mascara providing a formula which may darken, thicken, lengthen, curl, and/or define the eyelashes. Available in a range of colours, a variety of wands, bristles and brushes, and can also come in a water-resistant remedy. I have tried and tested literally hundreds of different mascaras. A pick of the top 5 mascaras which do their job the best and truly provide you with long, luscious lashes:

Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, £22.00

Lashes look separated and full, very buildable never clumpy or spidery and doesn’t flake or run. It perfectly coats and separates, swipe on one coat and go for a very natural look or give your eyes a boast with several coats for lots of volume and length! Can be quite wet and take a while to dry and is on the pricey side of the money monitor.

Natural Collection Lash Length Mascara, £1.99

Regardless of the amazingly cheap price, this mascara is up there with the very best. The brush glides over every eyelash to give you a dramatic length within seconds. It really shows that you shouldn’t be fooled by price, this is an absolute gem. Lashes appear longer, fuller, and curled, yet doesn’t ever leave you with clumps or spider legs. The bottle doesn’t last as long as some others but at £1.99 you can buy 10 brand new ones without feeling guilty and you’ll still save money. The winner for me by a mile. Try it, you’ll love it, trust me.

Christian Dior Iconic Mascara, £23.00

Dior really have nailed the mascara recipe. Both Iconic and Show mascaras give a real impact and are guaranteed to turn heads. This is the mascara made of dreams, a soft and creamy gel like formula, you’re lashes aren’t left crusty and hard. I think the secret is in the application brush, which is more like several staggered, fine toothed plastic combs, so the product is dispersed evenly and sparingly keeping each individual lash partitioned from each other. A tad expensive but worth it!

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, £3.99

This pink and green little beaut has been a staple in our make-up bags since the 1970s and it’s clear to see why it sits firm in the top 5 best buy lists. Its creamy and wet formula makes it easy to apply and provides a very natural look that is also easily buildable for a more dramatic effect. The brush is excellent, the price is fabulous, and it lasts for ages, perfect. A make-up must-have.

Benefit They’re Real, £19.50

Benefit have upped their game. The BADgal mascara was good, but this is great. Its super-thick formula is perfect if you’re looking for a false lash look without any of the effort. This is the strongest weapon around to provide dramatic volume and a big impact. What makes this product really stand out is the unique spike at the tip to help separate your lashes and really make them look longer and fuller. Delivering that extra ‘oomph’ that makes putting on your make up every day a tiny bit easier, look no further. It’s easy to see why it’s flying off the shelves.

Other Mascara’s which just missed the top 5 mark:

Soap and Glory Thick and Fast Mascara, £10.00  – not known for their make-up range but this is a surprise treat and works well.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara £16.00 – very good but very wet, you only need a couple of strokes

L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara £10.99 – great mascara but wouldn’t recommend the waterproof version

Top Mascara Tips:

★ Don’t forget your trusty eyelash curler, they are a staple for every make-up bag. However, don’t curl after you’ve applied your mascara, that crunch you hear – that will be your eyelashes, being trimmed off. (Seriously, I’ve made that mistake and had to live with a half-bald left eye for a few months)

★ Mascara shield (also named mascara guard or eye makeup helper). A great little invention for on-the-run girls. You are guaranteed no transfer on the eye lids so you no longer have to be safe whilst applying; your hand can now be as unsteady as you wish, and you don’t need to pull any funny faces concentrating on carefully trying to put your mascara on successfully

★ Apply Vaseline on your lashes before bed, it promotes growth.

★ Don’t pump the brush in and out the bottle, it’ll force air into the tube and dry the whole thing out. Mix the brush around in circles whilst in the bottle to get the formula onto the brush. Treat the brush delicately to avoid any damage.

★ Close the lid tightly after use

★ Clean the brush regularly

★ Don’t just assume black is best

Fibre:
 

Three easy steps:

1. Apply Mascara

2. Apply lash fibres, wait 30 seconds

3. Apply Mascara

Yes it takes more time than just putting on mascara but if you’re anything like me, I put on a variety of different mascaras on at once to enjoy the effects of each, slowly mounting up to about 5 minutes of eyelash prep. With these three easy steps, you rarely need to build up your mascara by re-applying additional coats, the candy-floss lash fibres does everything for you. It pays to devote a little extra time to your lashes. I would fully recommend lash fibres it really gives you that extra pizzazz than solely using mascara does with very little effort required at all. I can verify their claim of being ‘brush on false eyelashes’. It provides both thickness and length and offers a natural yet full effect with instant volume. The breakthrough formula means it’s the single thing you need for your full eyelash routine. It may be an expensive route if you do the process daily but it will save you heaps of cash (and time) from going to salons and having lash extensions done! Subtle enough for day time but offers you that alluring power for night-time glamour – without any of the hassle.

Top Fibre Tips:

★ Look downwards whilst applying lash fibres to ensure that no fibres fall into your eyes

★ Only a few strokes are necessary

★ Do not let dry between coats

★ My personal faves are Lash Fibres, and Cherry Blossom.

Falsies:

The twentieth century saw the beginning of convincing-looking false eyelashes, popular in the 1960s. You can now get a full range of false eyelashes in all different shapes, sizes and colours by a variety of brands, even Katy Perry herself has got her own false eyelash product out there (so you may not be able to get her skin in an instant, but you can borrow her eyelashes). It’s easier than ever to get glam eyes fit for the red carpet. You just pop these little bad boys on and voila, huge eyelashes in an instant. It can be tricky to align the false eyelashes with your natural lashline but once you’ve got it mastered, that’s it, done. No smudging, no flaking, no clumping, no drooping, just great eyelashes, all night long. This is pure femininity at your finger tips!

Top False Eyelashes Tips:

★ Cut your false eyelashes to suit the shape of your eye, it’ll look more natural

★ Use tweezers to apply the eyelashes, along with a magnified mirror

★ False eyelashes should be the last part of your make-up routine – after you’ve applied eye shadow etc.

★ Apply the glue but wait till it’s tacky before applying onto your lashline

★ Apply mascara onto the ends of your false eyelashes to secure it and blend the natural with the fake.

★ Take them off carefully before bed and place back in the packaging – you can re-use them!

★My personal favorite is the eylure brand.

Eyelash extensions:

Permanent eyelash tints and eyelash extensions have become popular procedures, even in fairly basic salons. Single strands of synthetic eyelashes are applied to each individual natural eyelash one by one to give a natural yet striking result. The treatment takes around an hour for each eyelash to be glued and secured, and you are left with a major transformation for at least about 2 weeks. Definitely recommended especially for the dramatic look it gives you for big events or nights out, and for the ease of maintenance and morning laziness it secures you so you can truly relax and enjoy your summer holiday.

Top Eyelash Extensions Tips:

★Don’t rub your eyes

★ Only use water-based mascara as this won’t interfere with the glue, (do not use oil-based or waterproof mascaras as these can dissolve the bonding agent and shorten the life of your eyelash extensions).

★ Similarly, only use a water based eye makeup remover

★ Avoid the root of your eyelashes if applying mascara

★ When wanting to remove your extensions, apply baby oil onto a cotton pad and gentle rub your eyes until they fall off (do not pull off the lashes!)

***

Mascara is an essential tool to have with you on a desert island. Your eyes are the first thing which people notice, so make them beautiful, mascaras are the easiest and quickest way to do this.

False eyelashes are perfect for a night out when you need that little bit extra to feel special, look fabulous, and get noticed.

Eyelash extensions are what you need for holidays, weddings, and trips away; when you need to impress without looking obvious and when you can look good just coming out of the pool or if you’re getting photographed at 6.30am on your big day in your jammies, pre-make-up.

The revolutionary fibre lashes are great for that in between, a little more than mascara, a little less that falsies, and without the constant presence and potential subsequent annoyance of eyelash extensions.

I’ll continue to try out new products and procedures and keep you updated on the good, the bad, and the ugly, in the glorious world of eyelashes.

Batting Eyelashes

Beauty Review: Acne solutions

19 Apr

Acne is a massive issue for both boys and girls, and effects adults as well as teenagers. Even though I’ve not got severe or chronic acne, having a breakout of spots day-in, day-out is irritating and upsetting. Especially, when your monthly subscription of Comso comes flying through the letter box, and you STILL don’t have flawless matte skin like the gorgeous Katy Perry.

I have tried countless amounts of acne solutions to try and rid of these pesty little blighters.

Treatment:

1.Benzoyl Peroxide (peeling agent)

Cream, gel or face wash. You can get this on prescription as well as over the counter. I got a prescription cream and had heard this is remarkable in killing off any bacteria on your face. However, all it did for me was dye my dark eyebrows blonde, and change  my red towels into pink towels. You may as well pop along to your nearest Tesco, purchase some Cillit Bang, and squirt that all over your face* It’s a strong cream which can feel like it’s literally burning your skin away. I tried it for three months. No change.

2.Differin (peeling agent)

differin

 

 

Cream or gel. This can be obtained via prescription from your GP. Differin contains the active ingredient adapalene, which is a form of vitamin A, it’s just as easy to use but nowhere near as harsh on your sensitive skin. You have to avoid sunlight and persist with it for at least three months. I did. No change.

3. Lymecyclin (antibiotic)

Tablets, one a day. This is an antibiotic, it is also a teratrogenic meaning it can interfere with the development of a fetus, causing birth defects.  So if  your boyfriend is aiming for a “goal” when you are playing “football,” make sure he is wearing the right “kit”. This attempts to not kill the bacteria which is sitting on the skin, but to stop the body’s ability to produce bacteria in the first place. With tablets, you aren’t directly applying product to your skin which can often feel like you’re not doing enough in the acne fight, you just have to be patient, knowing it’s all going on inside.. I persevered with these tablets for about a year, and have read that antibiotics can have a positive effect on the clear up of spots but the effectiveness trails off as people build up a resistance to low dose, long term antibiotics like this. No change for me. Still not Katy Perry.

4. Erythromycin (antibiotic)

Tablets, two, twice a day, with food. The doctor then prescribed me a different type of antibiotic which is similar to penicillin. The principal is based on ye olde tale of killing bacteria (by this time these bacteria are so clingy that I’ve started to feel sorry for the poor guys not wanting to leave my face). I was on these tablets for about 5 months but didn’t see any effect.

5. Doing Nothing

I then went through a stage of wearing very little to no makeup, washing my face with just water, no moisturiser, no products, no tablets, no anything. Nothing lead to no change either.

6.Vitamin B, and  Multi-vitamin tablets

Tablets, one a day. I then popped to Tesco thinking that a simple host of Vitamin supplements was all that I needed. It’s never a bad thing to take vitamins, if your body doesn’t need them, it’ll just flush them out, but if it does, it’ll use them. You can’t go wrong. No change in my face though, Whitney Whitehead and Billy Blackhead were still very much present.

7.Skin, hair and nails tablets

Tablets, one a day. It’s amazing what can be squished into a tiny pill. You take this little fella once a day and BAM! gorgeous hair, long/ strong nails, and beautiful skin. Didn’t happen for me.

8. Clinique

Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise, twice a day. It certainly is a good thing to have a beauty ritual, it can be time-consuming but your skin does pay off. There was no dramatic difference but this is a good basis for your beauty regimen, acne or no acne.

9. Cetaphil

Non-comedogenic moisturiser: an acne specialist mositurser. I then substituted my beauty based moisturiser for a medical based moisturiser. My skin clearly produces too much oil, hence the spots, yet if I don’t use moisturiser it is dry, flakey and tight. I needed something that was hydrating without pore-blocking. Non-comedogenic moisturiser is said to have a non-greasy formulation that is mild, non-irritating and long-lasting. However, I found Cetaphil very sticky and didn’t absorb well. Nonetheless, there are loads more brands of non-comedogenic moisturisers out there, I’ve got my eye on Avene and Dermalogica next, I’ve heard some good reviews from them.

10. Proactiv

Soap. An American revolutionary over-the counter treatment. I bought the £15 bar of soap. A lot of money to spend on soap. I found this really good.  Small little beads within the soap, you can feel it cleanses deep into the skin. However, I often found that when I use a new product it’s great for the month when I introduce  it, then my skin seems to get used to it and protests its boredom with abuse in the form of a big pimple at the end of my nose appearing right in time for my best friend’s wedding. I’ve not been using this long, so we’ll re-evaluate at a later date.

11.Changing contraceptive pill

Hormones play a massive part in oily skin and therefore acne. A change in your oral contraception may be the simple answer. This is my most recent attempt. I was on microgynon and have been transferred to ethinyl estradiol/desogestrel and have to test this out for six months.

12.Roaccutane

This is an extremely strong and abrasive treatment for severe and relentless acne and should be only considered as ‘the treatment of last resort’ for unique cases.  I’ve not been offered this, but everybody I know who has suffered from acne, this has been their hero. When you are taking this you have to avoid alcohol, all forms of UV light, and as it may harm a baby during pregnancy as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage, it should not be taken whilst pregnant. It has recently been reported in the media that there is a proven link between Raccutane and depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide. There have been huge criticisms that this has been over and wrongly prescribed with severe and tragic consequences. I am not a candidate for this type of drug, and most people won’t be. Be careful.

~

Looking back from when I first started addressing my spotty T-zone, my skin has definitely improved but it’s still not Katy-Perry-esque; I still have acne spots. I’ll keep trying new things and testing pharmaceutical recommendations as well as over-the-counter beauty buys and keep you informed and updated.

Don’t expect overnight results, it’s a long process and it is extremely frustrating, especially when you have to give them a go for several months.  The most important part of your treatment plan should be patience, it can take a long while to see an improvement in your skin. But rest assured that through trial and error, you’ll soon find the right combination of products that lead the way to clear, glowing skin. There are literally hundreds of acne cures out there offering different treatment for different skin types. However, there is such a thing as ‘treatment resistant acne’.  The best thing is to ask for a dermatology referral. They know skin, inside and out!

Identifying skin type and treating it appropriately is key to maintaining gorgeous skin under any circumstances.

***

Lifestyle and beauty routine changes:

1.Exercise

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, it can help you feeling and looking refreshed and revitalised. It’s essential for the body, and is beneficial for your skin. However, sweat can have negative consequences on a person’s skin if it’s left to fester in post-gym clothes. Women can prevent the pore-clogging effects of the build- up of sweat while maintaining a regular exercise regimen by simply clipping your hair away from your face, removing make-up before your workout, using a clean towel to remove sweat, and hitting the showers once your gym session has finished to wash off the dirt, oil and bacteria that if left behind will encourage new acne.

2.Sleep

Sleep deprivation affects most, if not all, the causes that lead to acne. It increases inflammation (the main cause behind acne) and increases insulin resistance (another bad boy behind acne). It can also increase stress levels. You need sleep to give your skin ample time to repair itself, so if you lack sleep time it  results in tired looking skin that reacts harshly under stress. Your body does everything from stimulate collagen formation to reduce inflammation and encourage healing while you sleep, so when you deprive your body of essential rest as well as nutrients, you are only contributing to your acne problem. So get more sleep! Try also sleeping on your back, and make sure your pillowcase is clean. Oils and other products in your hair transfer onto the pillowcase, which when brushed against your face, it then gets into your pores, causing breakouts.

3. Diet

What goes into your body affects everything. Remember, “you are what you eat”. Eat clean, look fresh. Water is king. Get 6-8 pints of water a day and you’ll notice a massive difference. It helps to flush out bad toxins and keeps skin dewy and hydrated from the inside out. Alcohol is a toxin, it affects your insides and out.  Alcohol can make existing acne worse, aggravating it and bringing additional heat to the source. Try to cut down your frequency and amount, Move away from the Rose (or at least add a splash of sparkling water to it). Try to increase your intake of dark green, leafy vegetables, such as Kale or Spinach. They are known to provide lots of fiber (for clear skin) and plenty of vitamin A and C (for wrinkles and discoloration). Fruit and veg is key to feeling and looking revitalised, try and eat between 5 – 7 portions a day, especially those which have a high water content. Cleanse your digestive tract with probiotics in food or via a supplement. Skin will appear clearer and more luminous. Try substituting a daily snack with a Soy Protein Shake that contains vitamins B6, B12 (for stress and anxiety) zinc and biotin (for clear, healthy skin) and vitamin E (for skin repair). There is a link between dairy and acne so try eliminate dairy products from your diet and see how your skin reacts.

4. Stress

Acne severity correlates highly with increasing stress levels. Address the source of your stress and take good care of your body. Get more sleep, exercise and set aside time each day for reflection and relaxation. This will enhance resistance to stress and nurture the skin to combat the effects of day-to-day stress. Stress relief techniques include deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.

5. Beauty routine

Taking make-up off before bed – it’s the single easiest and most important way to prevent your acne.

Old make-up – expired make-up products can clog pores and  invite infections, also use brushes rather than fingers to apply make-up, and clean them regularly.

Dont pick – Picking and squeezing spots leads to infection, scarring, and the spread of bacteria, simple it exacerbates  blemishes. However, I definitely have acne excoriee where “patients pick at their blemishes compulsively because they’re worried and embarrassed about their skin. Every little thing that shows up on a person’s skin, every small pimple, they pick it. They can’t make themselves stop.” I do this ceremonially every morning, every night, and the hours in between. I can’t stop picking at my skin but I’m now doing everything in my power to stop. Acne Excoriee is actually categorised as a mental disorder. I wouldn’t go that far..

Face Scrub. You may think your bacteria infected skin needs a good old scrub to rid of it all. However, granular facial scrub can make acne worse by aggravating the skin. Acneic skin is sensitive by nature, and when skin is irritated it becomes inflamed and can trigger further breakouts. Treat your skin with sensitivity.

~

Understanding triggers can help create an effective skincare routine for all skin conditions, ages and seasons.

***

Acne friendly Cosmetics:

Clean pores are the gateway to radiant skin. While many women try to hide acne with concealer and foundation, this often compounds acne issues. Makeup can clog pores, which only worsens acne breakouts. How can women still wear makeup without affecting pores? Which cosmetics and beauty products are specifically designed for adults’ acne-prone skin?

Non-acnegenic makeup is formulated to not clog oil-producing pores and let skin breathe. Brands with the non-acengenic and non-comedogenic labels include:

MAC, Clinique, Lancôme, Bare Minerals, Almay, Arbonne, Shiseido.

~

Look out for foundation reviews coming soon!

***

There is no such thing as a guaranteed acne cure. If it works for you, use it, and then tell me about it ;-)

Remember, you’re not the only one! So many people suffer from acne, even the seemingly fresh faced beauty queens that are Victorian Beckham, Megan Fox, and even… Katy Perry. You know, the one who started this whole article, and my subsequent skin obsession! Typical.

*please, don’t do that

***

The truth about beauty.

15 Apr

A very interesting read. Controversial at times, some of which I strongly disagree with, but it also has some brilliant points which echo what the beauty side of this blog is all about.

Amy Alkon, published on November 01, 2010 – last reviewed on February 21, 2012

“There are certain practical realities of existence that most of us accept. If you want to catch a bear, you don’t load the trap with a copy of Catch-22—not unless you rub it with a considerable quantity of raw hamburger. If you want to snag a fish, you can’t just slap the water with your hand and yell, “Jump on my hook, already!” Yet, if you’re a woman who wants to land a man, there’s this notion that you should be able to go around looking like Ernest Borgnine: If you’re “beautiful on the inside,” that’s all that should count. Right. And I should have a flying car and a mansion in Bel Air with servants and a moat.

Welcome to Uglytopia—the world reimagined as a place where it’s the content of a woman’s character, not her pushup bra, that puts her on the cover of Maxim. It just doesn’t seem fair to us that some people come into life with certain advantages—whether it’s a movie star chin or a multimillion-dollar shipbuilding inheritance. Maybe we need affirmative action for ugly people; make George Clooney rotate in some homely women between all his gorgeous girlfriends. While we wish things were different, we’d best accept the ugly reality: No man will turn his head to ogle a woman because she looks like the type to buy a turkey sandwich for a homeless man or read to the blind.

There is a vast body of evidence indicating that men and women are biologically and psychologically different, and that what heterosexual men and women want in partners directly corresponds to these differences. The features men evolved to go for in women—youth, clear skin, a symmetrical face and body, feminine facial features, an hourglass figure—are those indicating that a woman would be a healthy, fertile candidate to pass on a man’s genes.

These preferences span borders, cultures, and generations, meaning yes, there really are universal standards of beauty. And while Western women do struggle to be slim, the truth is, women in all cultures eat (or don’t) to appeal to “the male gaze.” The body size that’s idealized in a particular culture appears to correspond to the availability of food. In cultures like ours, where you can’t go five miles without passing a 7-Eleven and food is sold by the pallet-load at warehouse grocery stores, thin women are in. In cultures where food is scarce (like in Sahara-adjacent hoods), blubber is beautiful, and women appeal to men by stuffing themselves until they’re slim like Jabba the Hut.

Men’s looks matter to heterosexual women only somewhat. Most women prefer men who are taller than they are, with symmetrical features (a sign that a potential partner is healthy and parasite-free). But, women across cultures are intent on finding male partners with high status, power, and access to resources—which means a really short guy can add maybe a foot to his height with a private jet. And, just like women who aren’t very attractive, men who make very little money or are chronically out of work tend to have a really hard time finding partners. There is some male grumbling about this. Yet, while feminist journalists deforest North America publishing articles urging women to bow out of the beauty arms race and “Learn to love that woman in the mirror!”, nobody gets into the ridiculous position of advising men to “Learn to love that unemployed guy sprawled on the couch!”

Now, before you brand me a traitor to my gender, let me say that I’m all for women having the vote, and I think a woman with a mustache should make the same money as a man with a mustache. But you don’t help that woman by advising her, “No need to wax that lip fringe or work off that beer belly!” (Because the road to female empowerment is…looking just like a hairy old man?)

But take The Beauty Myth author Naomi Wolf: She contends that standards of beauty are a plot to keep women politically, economically, and sexually subjugated to men—apparently by keeping them too busy curling their eyelashes to have time for political action and too weak from dieting to stand up for what they want in bed. Wolf and her feminist sob sisters bleat about the horror of women being pushed to conform to “Western standards of beauty”—as if eyebrow plucking and getting highlights are the real hardships compared to the walk in the park of footbinding and clitoridectomy. Most insultingly, Wolf paints women who look after their looks as the dim, passive dupes of Madison Avenue and magazine editors. Apparently, women need only open a page of Vogue and they’re under its spell—they sleepwalk to Sephora to load up on anti-wrinkle potions, then go on harsh diets, eating only carrots fertilized with butterfly poo.

It turns out that the real beauty myth is the damaging one Wolf and other feminists are perpetuating—the absurd notion that it serves women to thumb their noses at standards of beauty. Of course, looks aren’t all that matter (as I’m lectured by female readers of my newspaper column when I point out that male lust seems to have a weight limit). But looks matter a great deal. The more attractive the woman is, the wider her pool of romantic partners and range of opportunities in her work and day-to-day life. We all know this, and numerous studies confirm it—it’s just heresy to say so.

We consider it admirable when people strive to better themselves intellectually; we don’t say, “Hey, you weren’t born a genius, so why ever bother reading a book?” Why should we treat physical appearance any differently? For example, research shows that men prefer women with full lips, smaller chins, and large eyes—indicators of higher levels of estrogen. Some lucky women have big eyes; others just seem to, thanks to the clever application of eyeshadow. As the classic commercial says, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (If it increases her options, who cares which it is?)

Unfortunately, because Americans are so conflicted and dishonest about the power of beauty, we approach it like novices. At one end of the spectrum are the “Love me as I am!” types, like the woman who asked me why she was having such a terrible time meeting men…while dressed in a way that advertised not “I want a boyfriend” but “I’m just the girl to clean out your sewer line!” At the other extreme are women who go around resembling porn-ready painted dolls. Note to the menopausal painted doll: Troweled on makeup doesn’t make you look younger; it makes you look like an aging drag queen.

Likewise, being 50 and trying to look 25 through plastic surgery usually succeeds in making a woman look 45 and fembot-scary—an object of pity instead of an object of desire. Plastic surgery you can easily spot is usually a sign—either of really bad work or of somebody who’s gone way over the top with it, probably because she’s trying to fill some void in her life with silicone, Juvederm, and implanted butt cutlets. There are women who just want to fix that one nagging imperfection. For others, plastic surgery is like potato chips, as in, “Betcha can’t eat just one.” A woman comes in for a lunchtime lip job—an injection of Restylane or another plumping filler—and ends up getting both sets of lips done. Yes, I’m talking about labioplasty. (Are your vagina lips pouty?)

Once women start seeing wrinkles and crow’s feet, the desperation to look like they were born yesterday often makes them act like it, too. Women want to believe there’s such a thing as “hope in a jar”—and there is: hope from the CEO selling the jars that you and millions of others will buy him a new yacht and a chateau in the south of France. There actually is hope to be found in a plastic bottle—of sunblock, the kind that protects against both UVA and UVB rays (the skin-aging ones). But the Beauty Brains, a group of blogging cosmetic scientists, write, “The sad truth is that creams that claim to be anti-aging are not much more effective than standard moisturizing lotions.”

French women, too, buy into the idea that there’s some fountain of youth at the Clarins counter. But, perhaps because feminism never seeped into mainstream culture in France like it did here, they generally have a healthier and more realistic relationship with beauty, accepting it as the conduit to love, sex, relationships, and increased opportunities. They take pleasure in cultivating their appearance, and in accentuating their physical differences from men. They don’t give up on looking after their looks as they age, nor do they tart themselves up like sexy schoolgirls at 50. They simply take pride in their appearance and try to look like sensual, older women.

Like French women, we, too, need to understand that a healthy approach to beauty is neither pretending it’s unnecessary or unimportant nor making it important beyond all else. By being honest about it, we help women make informed decisions about how much effort to put into their appearance—or accept the opportunity costs of going ungroomed. The truth is, like knowledge, beauty is power. So, ladies, read lots of books, develop your mind and your character, exercise the rights the heroes of the women’s movement fought for us to have, and strive to become somebody who makes a difference in the world. And, pssst…while you’re doing all of that, don’t forget to wear lipgloss.”

Female Silouhette

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201010/the-truth-about-beauty

Never be a follower.

15 Apr

Literally everything I stand for. Perfectly written. Brilliance.

Franca Sozzani, 04/03/2013:

“I recently read the memoir of Misia Sert, muse and close friend of Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Diaghilev, Bonnard, Picasso, Cocteau and many more. She discovered talents and supported them economically and morally. She anticipated and never followed.

There’s a part of the book that shows what “understanding the genius” means, or becoming a “worshipper” of someone who has become a recognized genius: “At the time of my youth a few of us loved a painting by Bonnard, a poem by Mallarmé or a ballet by Stravinsky. Today you will find not just thousands, but millions of human beings ready to declare they adore Picasso. What disturbs, and at the same time terrorizes me, is the idea of a “god” of whom their passionate followers completely ignore the precepts…He has been carried by a rising flow that has deposed him on the highest peak.”

Judging because everyone has already judged, and endorsing other people’s opinions only to be on the “right side” is disqualifying. It’s better to go against the tide and be alone with one’s opinions at the cost of appearing “wrong and incompetent”. As Misia underlines in her book: “The public eagerly gets hold of anything that belongs to Picasso, without the voice of the child from Andersen’s fable raising, the child that despite the blind admiration of prostrating multitudes shouted, in his innocence: “The King is naked! “…

She said so because she rightly believed that one cannot possibly create 365 masterpieces a year, and considering that Picasso has even painted various canvasses on a single day, not all of them could be total masterpieces.

Being able to evaluate using one’s own eyes, mind and sensitiveness and not being influenced by trends and the times, and maybe failing to appreciate a true talent.

To make things clear: it’s not that Misia doubted Picasso’s talent, she just wanted to point out that also the great maestros have their flaws and that the sublime must not be confused with the less beautiful. In short, being objective, always, without being influenced by a name but by the quality of the work.

It’s pointless to follow, because, sooner or later, we will be taken aback in any case. We must be sustained by our own thought and if we are really unable to understand, it’s better to say so. Never nod, never pretend. One risks staying ignorant, besides looking like a minor figure following other people’s thoughts.

I recently read the memoir of Misia Sert, muse and close friend of Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Diaghilev, Bonnard, Picasso, Cocteau and many more. She discovered talents and supported them economically and morally. She anticipated and never followed.

There’s a part of the book that shows what “understanding the genius” means, or becoming a “worshipper” of someone who has become a recognized genius: “At the time of my youth a few of us loved a painting by Bonnard, a poem by Mallarmé or a ballet by Stravinsky. Today you will find not just thousands, but millions of human beings ready to declare they adore Picasso. What disturbs, and at the same time terrorizes me, is the idea of a “god” of whom their passionate followers completely ignore the precepts…He has been carried by a rising flow that has deposed him on the highest peak.”

Judging because everyone has already judged, and endorsing other people’s opinions only to be on the “right side” is disqualifying. It’s better to go against the tide and be alone with one’s opinions at the cost of appearing “wrong and incompetent”. As Misia underlines in her book: “The public eagerly gets hold of anything that belongs to Picasso, without the voice of the child from Andersen’s fable raising, the child that despite the blind admiration of prostrating multitudes shouted, in his innocence: “The King is naked! “…

She said so because she rightly believed that one cannot possibly create 365 masterpieces a year, and considering that Picasso has even painted various canvasses on a single day, not all of them could be total masterpieces.

Being able to evaluate using one’s own eyes, mind and sensitiveness and not being influenced by trends and the times, and maybe failing to appreciate a true talent.

To make things clear: it’s not that Misia doubted Picasso’s talent, she just wanted to point out that also the great maestros have their flaws and that the sublime must not be confused with the less beautiful. In short, being objective, always, without being influenced by a name but by the quality of the work.

It’s pointless to follow, because, sooner or later, we will be taken aback in any case. We must be sustained by our own thought and if we are really unable to understand, it’s better to say so. Never nod, never pretend. One risks staying ignorant, besides looking like a minor figure following other people’s thoughts.”

http://www.vogue.it/en/magazine/editor-s-blog/2013/04/april-3rd?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=marketing&utm_campaign=blog