Monthly Archives: July 2010

What’s Going On With Nail Salons. (And Why They Aren’t the New Massage Parlors.)

So, tonight, a Beauty U student brings in the newspaper because the front page story is “Local Madam Arrested for Terrorizing Sex Slaves.”

“I can’t believe I went into that place!” she says. “I didn’t know what it was!”

She thought it was a nail salon. Because that’s what it said on the sign.

Our teacher has already seen the newspaper and is more world-weary. “You have to know the signs,” she tells us. Front windows painted up? A back room for “massage?” And — this is the part nobody quite says but we all know it anyway — Asian-owned and operated? Check, check, and check.

Let’s back up for a second. Continue reading


Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Schooled, Career Opportunities, Government Watch, In Class, Nails, week 35

[Beauty Overheard] You Can Wear a Bikini Even If You’re Old.

From New York Magazine’s The Cut (because, seriously, they dig up all the best beauty talk):

British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman: “I defy anyone claiming there should be an age limit on bikini wearing. Certainly with the loss of muscle tone and wear and tear that women’s bodies suffer as time passes, the bikini becomes an increasingly difficult option the older we become. But as in so many things, the divide between one-piece and bikini wearers is less to do with age than attitude.”

So your age is not the issue. Phew! All we really care about is how skinny and toned you might be… got it? Isn’t that sooo generous? If you can have the body of a sixteen-year-old at 50, then you have nothing to worry about!

Ahem. Continue reading

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Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, week 35

[Last Ten Weeks] The Graduation Date is More Conceptual Than I Would Like.

So remember how last week, I told you that I was down to my last 18 nights at Beauty U?

Then I went to school and Miss Susan told us that we forgot to count snow days. Which Beauty U “doesn’t hold against you,” (as in, charge you extra money for) but does require you to make up by pushing your graduation date back a day for every snow day missed. State rules about how you have to have precisely 600 hours to qualify for the state board exam and what not.

I only dimly recall it now that we’re in the height of summer sweatiness, but we had six snow days between December and February.

Which means, my graduation date rolls back a whole week and a half. (Plus those pesky 9 hours that I’m still chipping away at in Make-Up Time.)


I was pretty grouchy about it last week because I had my one graduation date (August 17) so locked in my head and it was really keeping me going. But now it’s July 26, which means my new graduation date (August 26!) is now exactly one month and 20 Beauty U days (80 hours + 7.5 make-up hours!) away.

So I’m feeling more Zen about the whole thing. And wanted to update you so you don’t feel anxious.

From the Department of Crazy Beauty U Rules, it should be noted that even though they don’t hold snow days against us (and thanks, by the way, for not considering me personally responsible for nature), they didn’t exactly clarify the snow day policy until I thought to ask. Six months after the fact.

And they don’t allow us to make up the snow days the way we make up the days we miss for personal reasons — so you have no choice but to watch your graduation date push back. It would have been nice to have had the option to chip away at these days as we went along. A bunch of us are planning vacations as soon as we’re set free, so there are all kinds of life, work, whatever plans that will have to be reconfigured accordingly. It’s a drag.

But hopefully it’s a drag with only a month left now. Unless the graduation date changes again — we’ve been warned by teachers and other senior students to keep a close eye on our hour tallies from here on out. Remember how they screwed up Leslie’s math and she had to come back for an extra two hours? And pay extra for them? Yeah. Like that.


Filed under Beauty Schooled, In Class, week 35

And One Last Video Before The Weekend. (Thus, Ending Your Week on the Weirdest Note Ever.)

Yes, this is my third video post this week. Oh come on, you love it. But unlike Lookism Goes Pop (which is filled with terrifying statistics about how our looks impact our ability to hold a job) and the Story of Cosmetics (which is filled with terrifying facts about all the toxic chemicals that go into our beauty products while the FDA laughs and goes to lunch), this one is just… terrifying.

For real. I thought Jezebel was overreacting a bit at first, and then I watched it and now I am maybe scarred for life.

Right? RIGHT?

It’s like if Lady Gaga and the entire NYU freshman film class collaborated on a weight loss drug commercial. After first smoking entirely too much dope.

And now I wish you a weekend filled with as much walking naked in the summer tide, thinking like a martyr, and making love to strangers as your heart desires. No matter what size you are. Sheesh.

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Filed under Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, products, week 34

[Beauty Overheard] From the Department of Celebrities Say the Darndest Things

photo of Christy Turlington by Patrick McMullan

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these and now here’s Christy Turlington, interviewed in the Telegraph, as excerpted by New York Mag’s The Cut:

On whether she considered her looks a curse:

“I used to think so, but I don’t any more. When I was 18, and my looks were what I was – and all that I was – it did feel very limiting. It got to the point where I wondered what I was doing. But modeling gave me the kind of confidence that a lot of girls in their teenage years don’t have. In the end, I think that the industry saved me from having to be self-conscious.”

On charity work versus modeling:

“[T]here’s nothing rewarding about modeling. It was a fun opportunity that allowed me to see the world but spiritually and intellectually there is nothing rewarding about the profession at all.”

On being a supermodel:

“Maybe our body types were more feminine, but I often felt that we were too glamorous. Because I’m not very glamorous it didn’t feel true to me. I relate far more to the fashion of today than the Chanel miniskirts and Versace jackets of that time. Plus, having to wear all that make-up — what a waste! Cindy was much more that kind of persona; I don’t think the ‘sexy girl’ thing is my image at all — I get more attention from females.”

On doing runway shows:

“Actually, I hated that part more than anything. I just remember thinking: ‘How fast can I get to the end and back again?'”

I’m not going to do the “how whiny to complain about the gig that made you rich and famous and able to advocate for maternal health in third world countries like you’re doing now” thing, because these quotes are taken completely out of context, and it’s totally likely that Christy spent the rest of the interview explaining how this emotional journey led her to the place she’s in now and all that jazz. Celebs love to talk like that. Besides, it seems like she has a fairly nuanced view on the whole phenomenon (otherwise known as her life). I like that she acknowledges how modeling gave her more confidence than your average teenage girl — it’s nice to hear that constant validation about your appearance has the expected pay-off of making you feel good, rather than the same old “but I was so gawky and unpopular in high school!” stuff.

Of course, it would be awfully nice if the standard that Christy met so easily (equating awesome self-esteem and free clothes for her) was applied less ferociously to the rest of the world. And if maybe being a fashion & beauty superstar was a little less rewarded — since even she acknowledges that “there’s nothing rewarding” about that job.


And yes, I know, what even IS this? A Beauty Overheard post on a Friday, not a Pretty Price Check? Your mind = blown, right?

Well, I figured, we Price Checked on Monday, so things are already a little wacky this week. And maybe you haven’t had a chance to read this long post I wrote about Newsweek’s Beauty Advantage package, plus you haven’t taken seven minutes yet to watch The Story of Cosmetics video. (Which, by the way, has the industry hopping mad. Whee!)

I don’t want to distract you with that much on your plate. But I will say, so you can also be in the know, that the other BIG cosmetics news this week is the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. (The industry is fricking mad about that too.) So I’m working away on a kind of Price Check on Steroids post to tell you everything you need to know about that bill and the industry’s counter-proposals. But in the meantime, click all those places I helpfully highlighted for you to get the basics — and if you support the bill, write to your Congressperson to let them know.

[Photo: Christy Turlington by Patrick McMullan, via New York Magazine’s The Cut.]


Filed under Beauty Overheard, Beauty Schooled, week 34

Another Video for You. It’s Like Substitute Teacher Week Around Here.

You know, like when you had a sub at school, so all they did was show movies? Maybe that post title didn’t need this follow up explanation?

Well then, moving right along, because THIS video is maybe even better than the one I posted yesterday. Great, clear, concise explanation of the whole “why should I care what chemicals they put in my beauty products?” issue from Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard.

I’m about to go hop on their press call about it, and THEN I’m gonna go hop on the industry’s response press call after that. How’s that for some afternoon excitement? Stay tuned, I’ll tell you more things soon.


Filed under Beauty Schooled, Government Watch, Ingredients, week 34

For Those of You Who’d Rather Watch the Movie

Newsweek’s “Looksism Goes Pop” does a pretty awesome job of summing up all the research in their zillion-word package.


Filed under Uncategorized