There’s a hot debate going on over at Jezebel about whether or not Dutch artists Lernert and Sander who shot this video—of a model being made up 365 times in one sitting, in other words with a year’s worth of makeup—were trying to make some larger point.
Some commenters feel that it’s judgey, while others think that it’s just a curiosity piece done for the heck of it.
I’m not going to pretend to know the artists’ intent on this one but I will say this: It sure makes you think about how much makeup women use over the course of a year. And when you know how much of that also gets inside your body, intended or not, I’m getting a message loud and clear. And it’s sick!
So what do you think? And do you like it?
Here’s a million- (or several-) dollar question for you: Why do cosmetics companies hire famous people to be in their ads if they’re going to make them look totally unrecognizable?
On first glance I had no idea who was in this Rimmel ad. Can you tell?
A very long time ago I worked for a modeling agency. I was all of 19 when I started, and while it was a wonderful experience on many levels (travel, creative people, clothes, clothes, clothes), I was little more than a glorified babysitter. Maybe you’re wondering who a 19-year-old babysits? Why, 15-year-olds, that’s who! See, at the time the industry was obsessed with hiring young girls—with their flawless, unwrinkled skin—and then doing them up to sort of look like women. Emphasis on sort of. (Luckily, after a few years everyone got tired of this terrible trend. The girls were inexperienced and unprofessional. The parents were a nightmare. And then there was that whole sexualizing minors thing… Bad idea.)
Part of the ridiculous argument for hiring these girls was to save costs on retouching. Graphic designers were charging a lot more back then (I remember hearing that one company spent $90,000 to photoshop a campaign when the model showed up with a breakout). They were also doing a better job. Which takes me back to the lady in question… If you haven’t guessed yet, it’s Zooey Deschanel.
Of course, I wish Deschanel wasn’t doing the ad in the first place—her big sister Emily Deschanel has been vocal about using clean cosmetics, and it’d be great if she followed that lead—but let’s put that aside for now.
The great appeal of Deschanel is that she’s quirky. She’s not your typical beauty—and that’s what makes her whole look so special. And she’s over 30, which makes her relatable to someone like me. But a 31-year-old turned into a high-schooler through bad retouching—which is how that picture reads—is relatable to exactly nobody.
So, yeah, sure, cosmetics companies suck: They spend a fortune on celebs only to photoshop their faces into oblivion—and then they cut costs elsewhere with crappy ingredients. But I’m also just sick of seeing weird disfigured photos and weird disfigured faces put forward as a beauty ideal. It’s just getting creepy, and it’s enough already. I like the real Zooey Deschanel, damnit!
Can I get an amen to that? (Then I will step down from my soap box, promise.)
Thanks to Jezebel and its Photoshop of Horrors series for this image
According to lore, formaldehyde’s hair-straightening powers were discovered by a mortician in Brazil. Whether or not this is true, this Associated Press article is looking to that country to get to the root (their pun, not ours) of the now-infamous Brazilian blowout.
In case you’re new to the topic: Brazilian blowouts can and often do contain formaldehyde, even when the packaging or salon says it doesn’t, which is why Canada and France have both yanked it, and why the California government is suing a company that manufactures the solution. Formaldehyde is considered a human carcinogen. Also? Brazilians make your hair look like crap.
But back to the article: The first half tackles well-covered territory about the blowout’s controversy, but further down there are some serious jaw droppers about the treatment’s history and its ongoing use in Brazil. Specifically:
Hairdressers in Brazil used to mix their formaldehyde treatments DIY! But thankfully the sale of formaldehyde was banned from supermarkets…in 2009.
From the article:
When the straightening treatment started in Brazil, hair dressers mixed their own formulas in beakers with formaldehyde, water, keratin and other ingredients. In 2009, the government agency in charge of health and safety, Anvisa, started cracking down on salons that overuse the chemical. In January alone, they investigated 202 salons suspected of spiking their products, according to a spokesman. The sale of formaldehyde in pharmacies and supermarkets was forbidden in 2009 to stop the practice.
Because some women will go to any lengths to straighten curly hair (more on that below), there’s now an after-hours bootleg-blowout scene that is still thriving in Brazil. Why? Lots of reasons, but racial discrimination and Euro-normative beauty ideals appear to play a pretty big part.
The article goes on to explain that until recently, job ads would ask for applicants with “good appearance”—which Eliza Larkin, the director of IPEAFRO, an institute focusing on Afro-Brazilian studies, says is a euphemism for white. Curly, kinky hair simply wasn’t seen as professional or attractive.
The kind of beauty Brazil exports—the Victoria’s Secret glamazons with the barbie bodies and windblown hair—exists in pretty stark contrast to the 40% of Brazilians who identify as having some African ancestry (and presumably many have the curls that come with it). It’s not that this irony hasn’t been explored at all (thank you Jezebel), but thinking about the Brazilian blowout in a racial context makes it all the more insidious, wouldn’t you agree?
And while the idea of late-night secret blowouts, and homemade formaldehyde formulas is not without a little dark comedy, let’s recall that a healthy 33-year-old woman did die in Brazil from doing one of these home treatments—asphyxiated in her shower by the formaldehyde fumes. Sorry to get all dramatic, but it’s true! It’s right here in this Allure expose from 2007, back when they were exposing stuff.
Hmm. Anything I would add is too painfully obvious to write down, but it all loosely translates to this: Frizzy hair can suck, but there’s something to be said for embracing your hair’s texture no matter how unruly (or just plain curly! or wavy!) it is. And if there’s one thing we’re sure of it’s that no matter how many headaches a bad hair day can cause, it can’t cause respiratory problems, eye irritation, skin rashes or cancer.
Image from Vanity Fair’s Viva Brazil Issue
The ladies at Jezebel are discussing a new study today that may finally prove that women who are not interested in sex actually have a measurable problem.
According to the study by Wayne State University in Detroit “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” (HSDD) takes place in the brain. Here’s what the BBC is reporting on the findings:
[The study's] author, Dr Michael Diamond, said it suggested that HSDD was a genuine physical problem.
He recruited 19 women who had been diagnosed with the condition, and compared their brain responses with those of seven others using a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which can measure levels of activation in different parts of the brain by detecting increased blood flow.
The women were asked to watch a screen for half an hour, with everyday television programmes interspersed with erotic videos.
In the seven women who did not have the HSDD diagnosis, increased activity in the insular cortices – parts of the brain believed to be involved in the processing of emotion – could be seen. The same did not happen in the women with HSDD.
This is all very interesting, but we’re kind of with the skeptics on this one. Just because there is a “physical problem,” as Diamond suggests, does not mean that’s where the issue originated, does it? Any number of things could be at the root of a lower libido, from stress to trauma to depression. We’re not scientists, but couldn’t that then be affecting the brain’s response?
Do you we have an expert in the house? Or, hey, just someone with an opinion?
Our inbox is already flooding with pictures of fuss-free summer hair in all its glory—and we’re expecting many more thanks to this post on Jezebel (you know, only one of our favorite websites ever—thanks, Sadie!).
However, if you’re stumped—as some ladies appear to be—on what natural products to use for the challenge, here are a few that we like: There are many more in the book but John Masters and Intelligent Nutrients are fancy favorites available at many Whole Foods locations as well as online at sites like Spirit Beauty Lounge and ABC, and Aubrey Organics and Giovanni are two clean and affordable brands you can easily find at your local drug or health food store. So, no more excuses!
Anyone have any other natural favorites to share?
One special note: Some people find that their hair takes a few days to adjust to the less-foamy natural shampoos. Take our word and give it a minute—you have a week to send in your photo!