Tag Archives: Story of Cosmetics

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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[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.

Onward.

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.]

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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.

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

Pretty Price Check (07.19.10)

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

First up! Thank you to the lovely commenter over on this Sociological Images post, for giving Beauty Schooled a big shout-out — and hi to all of you new folk who have traveled over from there!

If you’re looking for the post she referenced (the story of Client Nine and the Parent-Supervised Eyebrow Wax) click here. To be honest, it’s a lot less dramatic that the Toddlers & Tiaras clip over at Sociological Images — but that maybe makes it that much creepier. Because Nine’s mom wasn’t a reality TV-hyped pageant mom, where you expect her to say outlandish things so you get to scoff and judge her. She was just a normal mom, wearing faded nursing scrubs and not much makeup. And Nine’s dad was this average-looking guy in old cordoroys. And they thought getting her eyebrows waxed was just what you do when she gets to a certain age, so she can look a certain way, and we can all relax about it. Judging that mom felt a lot more uncomfortable because it meant also judging myself.

And while we’re at it, I have to ask what good it does for us to get all up and arms about that pageant mom and say she’s a bad parent or wildly insecure or whatever? Tearing down other women for their choices about the beauty myth is just never productive. (Even when it’s funny. And I’m as guilty of this as they come.)

Tearing down the industry that sells us that myth, on the other hand… is our raison d’etre here at Beauty Schooled. So let’s get our Price Check on! (Yes, it’s Monday not Friday and I’m late again. It is summer, you know.)

photo of Bikini Ink

  • $75 is the price tag on Bikini Ink, which is the new vajazzling, only it’s a fake tattoo that goes where your pubic hair belongs. (This makes me extremely hopeful that the vajazzling trend is dying so that people will stop rushing up to me on the street/sending me text messages/emailing me and asking, “oh my GOD, have you blogged about vajazzling yet?” Which just kept resulting in me NOT blogging about it, because it made me grouchy. On the other hand, I am mostly posting this so I can say “yes” when they start asking the same question about Bikini Ink.) (Via American Spa Blog and BellaSugar, where I found the picture above.)
  • $20-30 is the cost of the circle contact lenses made popular by Lady Gaga and girls wanting huge Bambie eyes. Oh, also blindness. Or at least, pink eye. Pass. (Via iHeartDaily)
  • $19.50 is what you’ll pay for Gap Kids Skinny Jeans. And how do we feel about marketing “skinny” jeans to little girls? Not so great, hmm? J. Crew calls ’em stovepipe jeans, that would have worked for me. (Via New York Magazine’s The Cut)
  • 18 is the age of Charice Pempengco, a FIlipino singer who just released her first album and got Botox for an appearance on Glee. (Via Female Impersonator.)
  • SPF 100 is a total crock of sh*t. Just wear your 30 and reapply, reapply, reapply. (Via Beauty to the People.)

And on that note, who cares if it’s really Monday? Blow off work early and go to the beach — wheee!

(I mean, I can’t, but you still should. Because I’ve got JUST 18 NIGHTS — and ummm, 9 more makeup hours — LEFT at Beauty U* so the only tan I’m getting this summer comes from Stephanie’s airbrush gun.)

Must Read: (At the beach or wherever you are) Newsweek’s new special report, “The Beauty Advantage.” I’m reading now… so expect pithy thoughts soon.

Get Excited For: Wednesday, when Annie Leonard releases her new video, The Story Of Cosmetics. I. Know.

*Spread over four weeks, don’t get panicked now, and remember, the blog doesn’t end when Beauty U does — it gets better than ever!

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Filed under Beauty Schooled, Pretty Price Check, week 34