Tag Archives: Alexandra Spunt

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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Pretty Price Check (03.25.11)

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

Monster High Clawdeen

  • $16.99: The price tag on this Monster High Clawdeen Wolf Doll (yes, that’s the link so you can fact-check the price, no I’m not subtly suggesting you buy one), whose “Freaky Flaw” is her constantly growing leg hair. Gah. (Via Jezebel)
  • 8 years old: The age of this little girl, whose mother claims to give her monthly Botox treatments and a whole bunch of other not-age-appropriate beauty crap. Like Virgin Waxing. Everyone is understandably losing their minds about this. I’m still forming cohesive thoughts. Stay tuned. PS. BellaSugar thinks it’s all a hoax — I’m praying they’re right.
  • $49: What we pay, on average, for each pair of shoes of our average-size collection of 17. Only 33 percent have ever paid more than $100 for a pair. Dear Other 66 Percent: Please tell me where you shop! (Via Fashionista.)
  • 600 percent: How much Dove sales jumped after that whole “Real Beauty” campaign first launched. Which is old news… but now, new research confirms that women will buy more when companies use a more diverse range of models. So that’s cool. (Via MyDaily)
  • 1.1 million: The number of men who got plastic surgery in 2010. It’s up two percent. Specifically, ear surgery is up eleven percent. Is it possible men have found a body part to be insecure about that women — generally speaking, don’tgetmadifyouhateyourearsnow — don’t have to stress over? (Via the Good Men Project.)

And for more price of pretty business, check out my piece, “New Health Hazards at Salons and Spas,” which is in the current issue of Health Magazine and online at CNN.com.

You’ll see my buddy Alexandra Spunt quoted in the intro. Alas, a  mysterious editing glitch cut out my mention of her book, but y’all know and love her as the fabulous co-author of No More Dirty Looks.

PS. Pole Dancing For Jesus is a thing now. Just thought you should know.

[Screenshot of Clawdeen’s bio from over here. Again, no endorsement.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[Never Say Diet] Who Says Eco Can’t Be Pretty?

Not me. And not our friends Siobhan and Alexandra of No More Dirty Looks. That’s why they hosted an awesome Clean Makeup Challenge, which I am talking about today over on Never Say Diet.

PS. For more NMDL amazingness, check out the lovely guest post they did last summer. And if the Clean Makeup Challenge doesn’t float your boat, they also did a No Makeup Challenge, which was pretty darn neat.

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Beauty Schooled and No More Dirty Looks on Lemondrop!

Oh, hey, check it out. It’s a fun Q&A that I did with Alexandra and Siobhan, live now over on Lemondrop. You should read it. And then hurry, go turn on your TV because it’s almost time for the 8 AM hour of the Today Show, when Alexandra and Siobhan will be on with phthalates researcher Shanna Swann, PhD. That’s my girls!

PS. While I’m pimping out my friends’ media appearances, you should totally also listen to one Amy Palanjian, ReadyMade‘s deputy editor and Things We Make blogger, tell you what to do with all those leaves in your yard on NPR’s Marketplace. OK, it’s not beauty, but we can have layers, right? Like, ahem, this lovely story I wrote for their latest issue?

I suppose that’s enough shameless promotion for one Tuesday. Off you go!

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Pretty Price Check (07.02.10)

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

  • 15: The number of extra pounds that Christina Hendricks is happy to keep around. According to yet another fricking interview with her about how much she loves her body. In Health Magazine this time. A) Of course she loves her body. Look. At. Her. B) Does anyone, ever, want to ask this poor woman questions about, oh I don’t know, acting? Maybe she has a neat hobby or two? (Via DoubleX.)
  • 6: The number of pounds that Health thinks you can lose in seven days. If you are not Christina Hendricks and thus not allowed to enjoy a single ounce of extra weight. Oops. (Also via DoubleX)
  • 10 percent: The amount of the industry-dreaded tan tax, which went into effect yesterday, just in time for your 4th of July glow. Republicans are hopping mad. (Via Alternet.)
  • 25 percent: of women don’t want to leave the house when they’re having a bad hair day. Thank God that’s from a study commissioned by Proctor & Gamble. Bet they’ll know just what to do about it. (Via Modern Salon.)

MUST WATCH: This video where Josie Maran demonstrates her sexy pose. Because I just don’t know what to make of it. Squinty eyes? Keeping your mouth close to your shoulder? Modeling is weird.

MUST READ: No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products — and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics. GOOD Features Editor Siobhan O’Connor and her journalist friend Alexandra Spunt had an epiphany over $400 Brazilian Blowouts — and realized that the stinky chemical turning their hair to cornsilk was everybody’s favorite carcinogen, formaldehyde. This book and the related blog do a great job of walking you through all the eco-health issues in your bathroom cabinets and offering safer alternatives (that still work). We like that. We like it a whole lot.

AND FYI: I’ll be taking Monday off from blogging to recover from my fireworks hangover. We’re on Beauty U Summer Break next week (hooray!) so blogging may be a bit spotty for that reason too. But I’ve got a few good posts in the works so do stop by and say hi.

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Filed under Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, Hair, Pretty Price Check, Tanning, week 32