Monday, March 31, 2008

LeBron James and Gisele on the April 2008 cover of Vogue

This picture of basketball star LeBron James and supermodel Gisele Bündchen (so well known that's she's called by her first name only) on the April 2008 issue of Vogue has become controversial:

One African-American commentator said it played upon stereotypes of the sexuality of the African-American male that appears threatening to whites. He also said that the photo reminded him of King Kong and the woman whom King Kong takes captive!

I am ill-equipped to address the African-American experience. It's hard, for example, to accept Michelle Obama's comment that she is proud of her country for the first time in her life. I try to explain it as more a sense of alienation (despite her privileged Ivy League education) than a lack of patriotism.

I'd like to hear from readers what they think about the cover of the April 2008 issue of Vogue. Do you see a subtext here?

Now that's more like it!

After the travesty that was the cover of the March 2008 issue of Vogue, it's nice to see Drew Barrymore, well, looking like Drew on the cover of the April 2008 issue of Domino:

I love the royal blue blouse with sheer sleeves. The necklace is incredible. I then checked the credits: the necklace is from Amrapali of Jaipur (India). No wonder I like it. Jaipur is as well known for its jewelry as for its block-printed textiles.

Also, look at the decor: elements such as a settee upholstered in contrasting fabrics and the Chinese garden stool.

BTW Drew's called Domino's first cover girl. Seems that Domino might have had the same problem its sister publication Lucky had: you need recognizable faces to sell magazines.

And now, another gratuitous picture of Drew in ET:

She's so adorable!

The Three Graces

I'm amused by the post by Beauty Addict about the cover of the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair and comments on the post.

They totally don't see that this cover is modeled after paintings of The Three Graces. No, I am not talking about The Graces, the short-lived band that featured Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Gos, Gia Ciambotti, and Meredith Brooks (whose song Bitch was prominently featured in the Mel Gibson-Helen Hunt movie What Women Want). I'm talking about The Three Graces, goddesses from Greek mythology. Here is the depiction of The Three Graces from Boticelli's Primavera:

Now tell me if you can't see the similarities.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday roundup - March 21, 2008

OK, I'm a day late, but here's what I found interesting among our Friends this past week.

The Beauty Brains answer the question Makeup Removers: Does Oil Cleansing Really Work? (the answer is yes). Shop With A Vengeance uses almond oil as moisturizer.

After renovating her bathroom, Ondo Lady decided that she needed bath products for the new bathroom. She confesses, I'm a Lushite. Indeed, Lush fans are very devoted. After trying several Lush products, the only one that I really like is the Floating Island bath melt.

Beauty Addict reviews several mass-market creamy body washes. While Kristen was not too fond of Caress Ultra Rich Cream Body Wash, Jamie of Beauty of Life raved about Caress Ultra Rich Cream Body Wash (I like it too).

Mischo Beauty alerts readers to an article in the New York Times Section about celebrity makeup artists hired by mass-market brands to increase their prestige. The NYT article covers Pat McGrath (P&G brands Cover Girl and Max Factor), Joanna Schlip (Physicians Formula), and my beloved Matin (Neutrogena).

Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog presents 5 laws of writing "The List" or "Bucket List." I'll flesh mine out later, but suffice it to say that among the things that I want to do is to pursue my love of India in a deeper, more profound way.

The popular leftist blog Crooks and Liars referenced my article Iggy Pop for the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame for their post Late Night with Iggy Pop. Too bad they don't know I prefer Little Green Footballs as a political blog.

Finally, Christopher Drummond gives a shout-out to The Style Page. Thanks, Christopher!

Well, that's it for now. I'll be out of pocket next week, with limited (if any) Internet access - visiting my mother in St. Louis.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


After Ruthie Malloy of Illuminare Cosmetics wrote to me concerning my article on Mineral Madness, I was curious to try her products. I sent off for the 3 Foundation Formulas in 3 Middle Shades - Introductory Pack of 9, All Day Eye Color Trial Kit, and the Fast Application Pad.

Top: 3 Foundation Formulas in 3 Middle Shades - Introductory Pack of 9
Bottom: All Day Eye Color Trial Kit

Illuminare is described as 'liquid mineral makeup." The selling point is that these products are rated SPF 21. The sunscreen is provided by minerals such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide that provide a physical barrier to solar rays.

Actually, the consistency is thicker than liquid - it's more like cream. Illuminare is certainly the most opaque makeup that I've ever used, but that's the point, as it provides a physical sunscreen. It will take me time to get used to the coverage. I used the Portofino Porcelain shade for my light complexion, applying it with the flocked Fast Application Pad.

I found the Latte eye color shade too light for me, but Cafe Latte was great as an eye shadow base. Precision is needed to use the middle shades in the crease - you'll want to use brushes here. I found the middle shades too dark for the crease. One can mix these shades with Latte, Perla Blanca, or Perla Rossa to lighten them. Nonetheless, I wish that Illuminare would create shade variations between Cafe Latte and the middle shades for the crease.

My favorite Illuminare eye color is Espresso, as it's the sort of brown-black I like for creating the smoky eye look; moreover, it creates a thick line. I'll be a repeat customer for this one.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday roundup - March 14, 2008

Notable posts from Friends of The Style Page

Elke notes that Whole Paycheck, er, Whole Foods Market has created its own standard for Premium Body care. This is not a standard for what constitutes organic personal care products. Multiple organizations are developing standards for what constitutes organic personal care products and/or certiying personal care products as organic. This creates confusion in the minds of consumers. A global standard for what constitutes organic personal care products is needed.

The Beauty Brains reports on how the skin care company Elle Bache is promoting its new line: by installing a 40-foot long sculpture of a nude woman made out of peaches.

BTW The Beauty Brains book has gone to print. Buy the book now, and Beauty Brains will provide instructions to download a PDF version to enjoy until the book is published.

Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog reports on A Beauty Secret That Will Leave You Less Chafed Financially, namely using Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel as a face primer. But will consumers get past the "ew" factor, as the Monistat brand is associated with treating vaginal yeast infections?

Lastly, Soul-Piercing Reflections shares her current favorite eye makeup look, a mix of plum shades.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Iggy Pop for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame!

L to R: Iggy Pop, Madonna, and JT

I've long thought that Madonna should be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame at her earliest opportunity (that is, 25 years after her first recording). She's the best-selling female artist of all time, trailing only Elvis and The Beatles in sales. Her style has influenced countless others, most recently, Gwen Stefani.

Yesterday's award ceremony shows that she's still full of surprises. Take that dress, for example: it looks demure at first look, but it's actually see-through (I also like her tousled waves). Then there was her decision not to perform: for that, Bill O'Reilly called her a "pinhead." The surprise was having fellow Michigan native Iggy Pop (ne Jim Osterberg) perform her songs (he's 60 - look how "ripped" he is).

If anyone's been overlooked for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, it's Iggy. He's been called the Godfather of Punk, as he was into outrageous behavior (hurling himself into the audience, smearing peanut butter all over himself, and cutting himself) years before the heyday of punk. Iggy Pop ought to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, with past collaborator David Bowie inducting him.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More mineral madness

When I went to Target last week, I was surprised to see Bare Escentuals kits at the end of the aisle. I shouldn't have been surprised. Target always strives to be up-to-moment, with its tie-ups with various designers. As for Leslie Blodgett (as she's the CEO and face of Bare Escentuals, I'll target her), she never misses an opportunity to push her product, whether it's through TV ads, half hour informercials, QVC, Sephora, Ulta, or Bare Escentuals boutiques.

My previous article Mineral Madness struck a chord with readers. Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog commended me on the article. I was surprised, however, to receive messages from founders of startup beauty lines who were glad that someone had finally called out companies on claims about mineral cosmetics.

Ruthie Malloy of Illuminaré Cosmetics wrote, "Most women are judging mineral makeup brands by which is most “pure”, or which doesn’t have parabens or bismuth oxychloride and yet they totally are missing the most important feature and benefit that mineral makeup should provide," namely sunscreen. While Bare Escentuals' bareMinerals has obtained the seal of the Skin Cancer Foundation for being rated SPF 15 (another brilliant marketing ploy by Leslie Blodgett), it's hard to believe that a light dusting of its powder foundation will provide adequate sun protection.

Jennifer Bradley of Goddessy Rx wrote, "I am so happy to hear that someone is finally mentioning how the mineral makeup companies are using the terms 'mineral' and 'all natural' in such liberal terms. These companies are merely scamming the average consumer with this marketing ploy. Talc, of all things, is for one, an all natural occurring mineral. It is not even toxic, as many of these companies claim!" Indeed. Talc has been used in cosmetics safely for years.

Both Ruthie and Jennifer make excellent points. Be skeptical about the claims for mineral makeup, know your ingredients, and recognize that "mineral" is just another marketing construct.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Organic wear™ 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer

Organic wear™ 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer

It is such a great concept: a organic cosmetics line certified by Ecocert that you can readily find at Walgreen's, CVS, Rite-Aid, big-box retailers, and supermarkets with a comprehensive beauty department.

However, Organic wear™ 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer is one of the worst products that I've bought and used recently. While it contains good-for-you plant oils, it also reeks of alcohol and the amount of alcohol is sufficient to dry the skin. My face felt tight after I allowed the product to dry. Why alcohol? This FAQ from Miessence, a direct sales company from Australia which sells organic products certified by Australian Certified Organic, provides some clues:

... alcohol is used to extract plant materials. ... Alcohol carries active plant extracts into the skin. A natural emulsifier and stabilizer, alcohol acts as a preservative.

Still, the product packaging states Shake Well Before Using, no doubt to mix the water and plant oils. I didn't see that the first time I used this tinted moisturizer.

I'm taking Organic wear™ 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer back to the store!

Friday, March 07, 2008

UPDATE: Waris found, alive and in good health

An update to the previous post Former Model Waris Dirie Reported Missing.

I've relieved.

Former Model Waris Dirie Reported Missing


From AOL comes this disturbing news Former Model Waris Dirie Reported Missing.

Waris was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) in her native Somalia and campaigned against the practice of FGM. Her disappearance comes only a week after the dead body of Katoucha Niane, a former model from Guinea who also campaigned against FGM, was found floating in the Seine.


Coincidence or not? While it's too late for Katoucha, let us hope that everything is done to find Waris - hopefully alive and in good health.

The World's Richest Woman

Who is she?

Liliane Bettencourt

Forbes lists Liliane Bettencourt 17th among the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of USD 22.9 billion:

Daughter of L'Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, a man who is said to have a checkered past with wartime ties to the Nazi regime, Liliane is the world's richest woman, thanks to her controlling stake in the cosmetics giant. She has held the stock for more than four decades. She became a widow last November when her 88-year old husband, Andre Bettencourt died. Her Bettencourt Schueller Foundation supports medical, cultural and humanitarian endeavors in France and developing countries.

Friday roundup - March 7, 2008

It's Friday, and time for the Friday roundup, for the fourth week running! The Friday roundup highlights blog articles written by Friends of The Style Page in the past week.

SugarShock loves the Pop Beauty Eye Class in Brown Eyes. She writes, "While the shadows looked kind of sparkly in the kit, when you apply them they actually have a nice iridescence that's not too glimmery, but just right."

Pop Beauty Eye Class in Brown Eyes

Mischo Beauty announces the debut of her Facebook page.

Scandalous Beauty features Whitney and Bobbi!! No, not Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston's ex-husband. Rather, Bobbi Brown. Scandalous Beauty recommends the new Bobbi Brown Nudes Collection to recreate Whitney's makeup (but not that Carol Brady hairstyle):

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston had been on a downhill slide since she married Bobby Brown in 1992. I was routing for her comeback when she filed for divorce in 2006.

It should be evident to regular readers of this blog that I share i♥make-up's love of Indian beauty. I'm not Indian, but my husband is. In Recreating the Sixties' Look, i♥make-up discusses how to recreate the dramatic winged eyeliner look popularized by Indian actress Sharmila Tagore:

Sharmila Tagore

TV presenter (and ex-wife of Salman Rushdie) Padma Lakshmi recalled that she spent hours trying to recreate Sharmila Tagore's look.

The late Bengali film director Satyajit Ray discovered Sharmila Tagore when she was just a teenager. He cast her as Apu's bride in the third and last film of his Apu trilogy that won international acclaim and brought attention to Indian cinema. Ray must have been prescient about his actresses: similarly, he discovered Aparna Sen and Jaya Bachchan nee Bhaduri, both of whom had gone onto major careers in Indian cinema, when they were mere teenagers. Non-Indians might remember Sharmila Tagore as Meena's mother in Mississipi Masala, about the unlikely romance between Meena, a young Indian woman (played by Sarita Choudhury) and an African-American man (played by Denzel Washington).

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Makeup lessons from Di Kennedy - Updated

Di Kennedy has excellent detailed lessons online on Color Theory and Smoky Eye Technique.

I wholeheartedly agree with Di that:

In make up we need to consider the context of the colour we are using and take all factors into account. Clothing, hair colour, eye colour, surroundings, season, lighting, the list is endless are all part of the context of our colour choices when applying make up. How a colour is perceived is dependent on the context.

However, I'm not smitten with the emphasis that the face charts give to selecting colours on the basis of eye colour. In addition to the factors that Di cited, complexion (fair to deep) and skin undertones (warm, cool, or neutral) matter much more than eye colour.

Here's a photo from Di's web site of Australian beauty queen Sabrina Houssami wearing the classic smoky eye:

Sabrina Houssami

Debuts and retirement

I received notice that the official U.S. site for YSL Beauté has been launched. Shop for beauty editors' favorite TOUCHE ECLAT concealer and Opium fragrance. Matt Touch Foundation is a web site exclusive. As for me, I'm interested in the colored mascaras (especially in burgundy). This eyeshadow palette inspired by Opium is beautiful:

For Eyes and Complexion

Online shopping has been launched for Le Métier de Beauté, but only for its Shear Brilliance Lip Gloss. The web site also states that Le Métier de Beauté will launch at Henri Bendel (NYC) in May and at Neiman Marcus (which I fondly call "Needless Markup") in Atlanta in April, but then it said that the line would be available last month.

Australian cosmetics company Di Kennedy Cosmetics, which I profiled in November 2005, is closing down, as Di is pursuing another venture in cosmetics and beauty consulting. Cosmetics are on sale: get them before they're gone.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


With this being the first day of March, the signs of spring are upon us. Daylight savings time begins next Sunday, spring officially starts with the vernal equinox on March 20, and Easter Sunday is March 23. Spring means that it’s coming time to lighten up your wardrobe and makeup.

The fashion magazines say that safari looks will be big this year. For me, safari looks are a perennial. In addition to the bush jacket-inspired looks, I enjoy wearing necklaces and other accessories made of wood, horn, seeds, and other natural elements. I have several pieces by Zulugrass, which features beads that are cut from grass and dyed. In particular, I love the subtle gradations of color to be found in Zulugrass pieces.

Philip and Katy Leakey founded Zulugrass to provide work for Maasai women in Kenya during a severe drought that forced their men to travel longer distances to graze their cattle. Recently, Kenya has been afflicted by civil unrest and violence in the wake of presidential elections. After I bought my latest Zulugrass piece, I wrote to the company and asked if their workers had been adversely affected by the recent civil unrest and violence. I was told that Zulugrass artisans have not been directly affected by the violence; however, more and more people are seeking work through Zulugrass, given that tourism has plummeted due to prospective tourists' fear of violence. I was then asked if I would like to interview Katy by phone while she was in the United States.

Katy and I discussed the founding of Zulugrass. Her husband Philip is a scion of the storied Leakey family that has done pioneering research into the forerunners of homo sapiens. Katy said that Philip has an intimate and all-encompassing knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Rift Valley in Kenya and that he had the idea for fashioning jewelry from grass. Katy, an artist and designer, designed the first pieces of Zulugrass - grass beads and crystal beads strung on elastic bands. These strands can be combined and worn in many different ways. Philip and Katy then set up mobile work stations where the women, who are experts at beading, can string the jewelry.

The Leakey Collection has expanded to included wood and even porcelain fired and shaped by the Maasai women. In addition to necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories, The Leakey Collection is now marketing decorative trims for the home.

I asked Katy how the rest of us can support their efforts to create work opportunities for the Maasai. Buy the products. You may find stores and websites that sell Zulugrass via its website. You may occasionally find Zulugrass from authorized vendors on eBay. The company is seeking additional vendors to broaden its markets and create opportunities for more people. If you are a vendor or know someone who would be interested in selling Zulugrass and related products, you are invited to contact the company.

In addition, revive tourism in Kenya. The places in the Rift Valley where tourists go were not affected by the recent violence. Moreover, violence had subsided while talks between political rivals were underway (they have since come to a power-sharing agreement). The dropoff in tourism has had a cascading effect through the rest of the economy.