Monthly Archives: July 2011

[Never Say Diet] We Should All Go Out For Ice Cream

Virginia Sole-Smith iVillage Never Say Diet Diet Food Gets Bigger

Is the very nuanced and astute conclusion that I came away with after writing this post over on Never Say Diet about the new trend of low-calorie/big portion diet food.

Oh and also, apologies to all you local/organic/farm-to-table/get-back-to-the-kitchen food-istas out there, because I also land in defense of processed food. Sometimes that stuff is just awesome.

(Feel free to now send your hate mail directly to my vegetable garden. A girl can have layers.)

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[Never Say Diet] Stop Pretending You Don’t Have Time To Eat

iVillage Never Say Diet Virginia Sole-Smith Time To Eat

Because apparently, we’re only spending 39 minutes eating every day. For three meals. Total. People, that is not enough time to feed ourselves! Go read today’s Never Say Diet post to see why I’m all in a lather. And then go eat your lunch. For at least half an hour. You’re welcome.

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[Never Say Diet] Still Working Out My Feelings on SlutWalks

iVillage Never Say Diet Virginia Sole-Smith SlutWalks

To be clear: When you participate in a SlutWalk, you are not required to crawl around in this slinky manner or fix people with your “I can eat your soul” dead eyes. That’s a GettyStockImagesSIGH special.

You actually aren’t even required to dress like a slut. Nevertheless, it has taken me awhile to warm up to the whole idea. Hence me only just now blogging about it, when I know everyone else covered it moons ago. But also the New York Times Magazine just got there, so I’m not the only one late to the party!


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[Never Say Diet] Stop Hating The Parts of Your Body That Don’t Exist

Whoops! Forgot to tell y’all about last Thursday’s Never Say Diet post last Thursday. So here we are (Happy Monday!):

It’s inspired by this post by Autumn over on The Beheld, plus the rather genius teachings of the Alexander Technique and it’s pretty straightforward: A lot of the body parts that cause you the most angst aren’t even really part of your body.

Trippy, right? And so freeing?! Liberate yourself from your metaphorical (and okay, literal, thanksGettystockimages) measuring tape chains. Like for real, yo.  

Oh and also, if you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s post about loving-yet-changing your body, check it out here. And then go read Decoding Dress’s response post because it’s pretty flipping smart. Ah, I love blog conversing!


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Pretty Price Check (07.22.11)

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

Story of Cosmetics

Just a quick price check today, to say a big happy birthday to the Story of Cosmetics video and No More Dirty Looks (the book!), both of which turned one year old this week!

I know we’ve spent a lot more time talking body image lately, but the eco-health risk of beauty products is an issue still close to my hear. Because the industry is not always so straight-up with us about what’s really going on. And that means we just don’t know enough about the toll these products are taking on our friends in the beauty industry, especially nail salon workers — as well as beauty consumers like you (hi, Brazilian Blowout).

The good news is that the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 has just been reintroduced to Congress — and it has a few key improvements over last year’s edition (which, if you ask me, was already a heck of a good start!). Here’s the scoop on the new bill, from my peeps at the Story of Stuff:

When we released The Story of Cosmetics a year ago this week to rally support for the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, we weren’t terribly surprised when the Personal Care Products Council—an industry front group—called the movie “a repugnant and absurd shockumentary.” After all, for years the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry had been

largely left alone to decide what was safe to put in their products. You know, things like lead in lipstick. Neurotoxins in body spray. Carcinogens in baby wash.

Why ruin a good thing, right?

But we were taken aback by the number of small personal care products manufacturers who raised concerns about the Safe Cosmetics Act, which would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful ingredients and that ingredients are fully disclosed.

Tens of thousands of Americans run small personal care product businesses—making everything from soap to hand cream. Many of the owners of these companies have experienced health issues from personal care products they used themselves, experiences that inspired them to make some of the most healthy products on the market. Quite a number of these companies had been supporters of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—the co-producer of our movie—with many signing the Campaign’s Compact for Safe Cosmetics pledge.

In response, our partners at the Campaign launched a year-long effort to understand the concerns of these small personal care businesses. Campaign staff held in person meetings and organized phone calls. Rather than dismiss the criticism as the work of a small but vocal group or impugn their motives, the Campaign listened and brought their suggestions to the bill authors.

Then this spring, the sponsors of the Safe Cosmetics Act—Representatives Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin—went to work to come up with a version of the bill that addressed small business concerns, which centered around the proposed FDA registration process and fees, which the mom and pop shops felt would overwhelm their businesses. The result is the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, which exempts businesses with under $2 million in sales from registering and exempts businesses with under $10 million in revenue from the fees mandated in the bill but still ensures that cosmetics ingredients are safe for consumers, workers and the environment.

It turns out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ hard work is not only good politics, it’s good news for all of us.

Current law—if you can call a bill last updated in 1938 ‘current’—allows the cosmetics industry to make its own decisions about what’s safe. The FDA can’t require companies to assess cosmetics ingredients for safety and can’t require that all the chemicals in cosmetics are disclosed to consumers. It can’t even require product recalls—as we recently learned when a popular hair straightener, called the Brazilian Blowout, was found to contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Still, if the small business support for this year’s bill is any indication—not to mention the almost 800,000 views on The Story of Cosmetics over the past year—the public is ready to give the beauty industry a makeover.

This week, shortly after the bill was reintroduced, the 1,600 member Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild released a statement supporting the bill, as did a major ingredient supplier, Wholesale Supplies Plus. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling natural brand of certified Fair Trade soap, issued a press release calling on Congress to pass the bill, and the WS Badger Company has penned the helpful piece, “Five Reasons Why the Safe Cosmetics Act Makes Sense for Small Businesses”. Look for more business support coming soon.

So celebrate a cleaner beauty industry by telling your Congresspeople to support the new Safe Cosmetics Act
and checking out the so-awesome-I-bring-it-beauty-shopping-with-me NO MORE DIRTY LOOKS: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics.

Plus, ooh, memories: Check out the time when Alexandra and Siobhan guest-starred right here on Beauty Schooled. Big love!

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[Never Say Diet] In Which My Marriage is a Body Mass Index-Based Sham

iVIllage Never Say Diet Virginia Sole-Smith Thinner Wife, Happier Marriage?

Because Dan and I don’t look like the above-pictured couple when we sit on bar stools. Ergo, science says we’re doomed.

“[Our difference in BMI] is destroying our marriage in the same way that the threat of nation-wide homosexual marriage equality is, i.e., not in any way,” is what Dan first said when I asked him to comment in this piece. Then we worried it was too political for iVillage. But not for you, dear Beauty Schoolers!

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Check Your Own Pretty Price: What’s Your Beauty No-Fly Zone?

Retro Beauty Salon

Over on XOJane, Rachel McPadden says she will never get a pedicure because they completely creep her out.

What I don’t want is someone banished beneath me, scrubbing, dremel-ing and cursing my pompous American feet while I iPhone my pals and read up on celebrity babies. Although damn, I love celebrity babies and would die without my phone.

Ah yes. I feel her, because I wrote this story and it sorta changed my life. (See: This here blog.) But I still get pedicures. Um, a lot. Not to mention, I’ve now been on the business end of all sorts of undignified beauty work. And I don’t push for anyone to give up these beauty rituals — I mostly just want you to make more eye contact, be friendly, and tip really super well. Bonus if you’ve also put some thought into why you’re getting said beauty work and feel good about your choices.

Also, maybe don’t sit on your iPhone while they work on you. That is just bad manners. Would you sit on your iPhone at the dentist? That’s what I thought.

But it got me thinking about how there are a few beauty things that I will not do, the way Rachel will not do pedicures. And that’s cool. Here’s my list:

  • Facials. Because after ten months at Beauty U, I just don’t think they work. They are lovely for taking a nap while someone pets your face, but I don’t want to pay for that.
  • Hair dye. Because I did this whole fake blonde thing in college and I’m still not over it. Plus, carcinogens. 

Check Your Own Pretty Price: Are there any spa/salon services that you just won’t do? And if so, why not? Are you worried they’re too exploitative, uncomfortable with the beauty standard, freaked about chemicals or just cheap? We’re not judging. It’s just interesting. So go! 

[Photo: Typical Hungarian 05 by Huldero via Flickr.]


Filed under Beauty Labor, Check Your Own Pretty Price, Chemical Peels, Facials, Hair, Nails