Pretty Price Check (02.04.11)

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

  • 95 percent of women carry mascara in their purses, according to yet another super reliable survey. I would be the other five percent. Except last week when I was carrying around my friend Katherine’s mascara so I could give it back after she left it my house. Probably not what they meant. (Via TheHairpin.)
  • Over 80 companies — including big girl brands like L’Oreal, Avon and Revlon! — are on a special FDA watch list because the agency believes they may be importing, manufacturing or shipping skin care creams that make “drug claims,” like that said skin cream can alter the structure or function of your body (cellulite and wrinkle erasers, anyone?) or treat or prevent disease. This is a violation of pretty much the only cosmetics law we have in this country. And the beauty industry can’t even follow that one. (Via La Times)
  • $500 is what you’ll pay for a custom-made bra by Snares of Venus. For $650 they’ll even make a plaster mold of your ladies. Great, but can I jog in it? (Via TheHairpin)
  • 9000 the number of British women who got breast augmentation surgery in 2010. This is an increase. People are blaming Christina Hendricks. Because they have nothing better to do. (Via Jezebel.)
  • 24 inches is the length of this woman‘s fingernails. She’s been all over the interwebs this week, but you knew I had to Price Check her. (Even though I can’t actually bring myself to watch the video because uber-long nails creep. me. out.)
  • $2 billion. How much the mail-order bride business made in 2010. (Via EcoSalon)

Attention high school juniors starting to panic that you didn’t “get involved” enough: Best college application padding activity I’ve seen in awhile would be Glamour Gals, a nonprofit that recruits teens to provide complimentary makeovers to elderly ladies in nursing homes.

Volunteering with the elderly is not always easy – many women that our teen volunteers spend time with are hooked up to oxygen tanks, are wheelchair-bound or have lost their ability to hear or speak.  Our volunteers reach out – apply makeup – embrace them…

OK, I am a mean horrible person and Oprah loves them. But if you want to volunteer with old folk, can’t you just spend time with them? Do you have to put makeup on them like they five, instead of grown-ass women who have been deciding what looks good on them all by themselves for oh, decades now?

And… The No Soap Challenge results are in over on No More Dirty Looks! I’ll just say it: I only lasted one soap-free day out of the required five. If this were Survivor, I’d be off the (stinky) island before lunch. No, nobody seemed to notice, but I knew. I knew. And I couldn’t wait to get back to my Dr. Bronner’s.





Filed under Pretty Price Check

17 responses to “Pretty Price Check (02.04.11)

  1. katy

    I totally agree with your aversion to the idea of “makeovers” for the elderly. There’s something really icky about it.

  2. J

    It seems kind of, pointless, maybe, BUT – many women, especially older women, really really enjoy getting made up and being made to feel “pretty.” Living in a hospital or assisted living facility can obviously be very, very dreary. Even if it doesn’t actually DO anything, maybe it can make an elderly woman (who maybe can’t do her makeup as well anymore) FEEL happier and better, a little like she did when she was young; and isn’t that worth SOMETHING? Even for a young woman in perfect health, it feels kind of nice to have someone fussing over you, prettying you up.

    Also, when you’re doing someone’s makeup, you are spending time with them. It’s really kind of intimate, as you know. I’m a regular reader of your blog, and I always find it interesting (even if I don’t totally 100% agree all the time), but darn it, Miss Sole-Smith, there is nothing wrong with makeup every now and again! Even for the elderly!

    • J and Ashley — Great points.

      I think Glamour Gals is probably mostly harmless and rather lovely — but did you ever see that scene in The Good Girl ( where Zooey Deschanel does a makeover on an old lady so she ends up looking like a total clown, while talking really loudly about how “this makeup is from Paris! That’s in FRANCE. It’s called Cirque Du Face. That means CIRCUS OF YOUR FACE.” like she’s doing the best job ever.

      Yeah. That’s sort of what the whole project made me picture.

      That being said — I totally hear you on how the Glamour Gals are adding a desperately needed splash of color to dreary institutional life. And I applaud any teenage girl who gives up her Saturday to do something nice for other people. Because that would really cut into my lying around time.

      Plus, here’s the (not so dirty) secret: I seriously do love me some makeup. I actually have a blog post coming soon about how I’m back in love with eye shadow.

      Thank you so much for reading and please do always tell me when you disagree!


  3. I’m a hair and makeup artist who puts makeup on and does the hair of elderly women. There is nothing infantilizing about it. Infact, the only age group of people I don’t put makeup on is children. Because to me, that’s weird.

    I’m actually pretty bummed to see that you don’t see the value of what they are doing. Especially because I always agree with what you have to say! I’m not familiar with their program but I do know what I do and I feel pretty strongly that it’s valued and appreciated.

    It’s funny because you’ve written about the way that hair stylist listen to their clients and that’s exactly what I do. This gives me an opportunity to do something I love and that I’m good at while interacting with new people. I pamper them and we talk. I don’t pray on immobile women who don’t want me around. I help women with mobility issues who don’t get many opportunities to indulge in something like their appearance. The general consensus and feedback is that I get their mind off of their last doctors a
    appointment or the kids that haven’t visited in awhile.

    It’s not easy for everyone to interact with people but doing hair and makeup has given me a platform to being more extroverted. Sure, it would be just as valuable if I went to sit and read with the elderly, but this is fun too. I know what I was doing at 17 and it wasn’t nearly this productive. Or even, legal. So they may not be curing AIDS or solving the crisis of world hunger but they are engaging in something.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. But I truly am a big fan of your blog.


    • Ashley — see my comment above. You are dead-on here, missy, and I hope you’ll always feel very free to set me straight.

      And email me ( if you ever want to share a story for the Spa Stories series — I would looove to have someone talk more about what it’s like interacting with a difficult client (whether because they have a difficult personality, or a situation like this, where the makeup application isn’t going to be as straightforward due to age, mobility issues, etc) from the stylist’s perspective. We need more of that on here. xx

  4. J

    I forgot to mention, I do agree a million-trillion percent about super-long nails being squicky. I’ve only ever had somewhat-longish nails applied about 3 times in my whole life, and everytime they grew out enough to be taken off, the general grossness and SMELL comin’ off of the junk and debris that somehow got caught under the tips (even though I wash my hands properly, I swear) was intense. I can’t imagine how that lady uses the restroom or washes her hands afterwards.

  5. anne

    Your blog reminded me of an experience this past summer. I went to visit my husband’s older (75ish) aunt in a nursing home. She had some difficult surgery and needed to recover and do rehabilitation there.
    We went into the nursing home and the the smell just overcame me. It’s a place/atmosphere that’s just lonely and SO SAD….I definately don’t have the right gene for visiting this kind of place. Not only old folks but young adults with severe physical handicaps who, for whatever reason, can longer be taken care of at home. I couldn’t wait to leave and we hadn’t even seen Aunt Lois yet.
    At first we couldn’t find her but all of a sudden she came around the corner using her walker and her face was FULLY MADE-UP!!!
    I thought she would be curled up in bed, tired, pale and weak.
    This made ME feel SO GOOD!
    She told us she couldn’t bear to be in the home without some sense of normalcy and for her, normal was a fully made-up face!
    So much going on with her health/recovery and yet she just wanted to feel “pretty”.

    I’d like to tell my daughter’s about this great idea……although they might need to practice a little bit on themselves first!

  6. I have to say I had the exact same reaction to the volunteer thing as you, and have now been set straight by your commentors which makes your always super awesome blog even super awesome-er today. Thanks!


  7. I share your thoughts on the whole makeover-for-seniors thing, and it’s interesting to read what people here have to say about it. I think, though, that part of what creeps me out about it isn’t the act itself, but the idea that it’s some sort of “good works” to do this–that you’re doing this immense favor for someone. And frankly, I’m irked that this girl got so much attention for it, as much as her heart is in the right place (and as much as I’m sure many makeover recipients did indeed enjoy it). It got attention because it was “cute” and seemed appropriate for a teenage girl to do, sort of like that news bit about the second-grader who sold his toys at school to save $2.84 or something to give to Gabrielle Giffords.

    In some ways it’s sort of an offshoot of my problem with the breast-cancer cult: Yes, it’s a worthy cause, one that affects a lot of women, but it’s also a way for corporations to seem like they’re doing A Really Great Thing For Women while in fact they’re doing something that nobody could possibly have a problem with, like, say, domestic violence. (I mean, who LIKES breast cancer? And while nobody “likes” domestic violence, in a corporation of 4,000 employees, a chunk of those employees are probably hiding a dirty secret or two.) Glamour Girls is explicitly nonpolitical so it’s certainly not parallel, but it just seems to be a super-safe way of doing “good works” that may or may not be actually doing its beneficiaries any good.

    That said, the founder is a keen marketer and I think that if she puts that skill to good use she’ll kick some butt.

  8. Um, am I the only one who finds it incredibly shocking that only 9000 women in the UK had breast augmentation last year? Huh? That is probably the number of graduating seniors in LA county alone who had the operation last year. (Might be some boos from the left coast on that one, but really.) Anyone know the data on US women in comparison?

    • A quick-and-dirty Google search suggests that there were over 350,000 breast augmentation surgeries performed on US women in 2008:

      So yes, it’s WAY less popular in the UK. Though we have to take into account that it’s also a much smaller country — only 61 million people live there vs. over 300 million in the USA, so that explains some of the disparity. But definitely not all of it!

      • Interesting–thanks for the update!

      • If you divide it out, the percentages for US women and Great Britain women, it’s nearly identical, 0.01% of the population. BUT! If you dig further and look at the prime breast augmentation age range, 15-64, there are roughly 103,000,000 women which bumps the US figures up to 0.34% of the population. The same figures for the UK show that just 0.045% of the same age range of women had breast implants. The more you know!

  9. Pingback: Breast Implants are Bad For You. But Here’s What’s Worse. | Beauty Schooled

  10. Lizza

    To be honest, if I had the money I’d pay for custom made bras. Because it seems like no matter what brand, size, etc. I get, they never fit the way they should or they’re never as comfortable as they should be.

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