Saturday, 30 May 2009

Makeup the economic situation to suit you...

Yup, with The Beauty Brains highlighting the groundbreaking revelation (ahem) published by Science Daily :

"Professor Pine’s research found that an intense emotional state, high or low, could send women to the shops. “This type of spending, or compensatory consumption, serves as a way of regulating intense emotions,” she said.

This ability to regulate emotions is crucial for mental and physical wellbeing and humans adopt a variety of means of doing so, including drugs and alcohol. Shopping is one method increasingly adopted by women."

Hmm. Yes excellent excuse. That shopping is fun for most of us could hardly qualify as debatable. However it is rather noteworthy that the old adage, lipstick sales go up when the economy grinds down, known as "the lipstick index" (as coined by Leonard Lauder) has been debunked. The Financial Times even went so far as to reclassify the trend as "The Foundation Index" when it appeared that:

"The only age group which still appreciates the glamour of painted lips is the over-60s, with 40 per cent surveyed citing lipstick as the most treasured item."

I think the reason for this perceptible generational divide is that nowadays beauty is not associated with putting on a brave face, or treating oneself. Nowadays 'Health and Beauty' has become a phrase that rolls off the tongue: almost interchangeable. If the 80s Boom Years were complemented by flamboyance - bold eyeshadow up to the browbone, and blush in a dominant angled swoop, and bright lips - then today's more sober palette takes its cue from a battered and bruised economy. No wonder that a foundation purchase would overtake the more statement like choice of a lipstick. Foundation arguably more than any other makeup, represents the hybrid between health and beauty, particularly when viewed through the lense of current foundation promises "HD"; "Anti-Aging"; "Superfit"; "Perfectly Real"; "Superbalanced"; "Even Finish"; "Smooth Skin"; "Instant Rewind" ....the list goes on, you get the idea. With healthcare now seamlessly incorporating anti-aging creams, thanks in no small part to Dove's dominant advertising campaigns which imply there is a correct way to Pro-Age(?!), foundation is no doubt seen as an extra way to safeguard and invite the healthy skin we crave.

So why is this indeed a new trend, or a symptom of our current economic showdown? And why is it that the lipstick index has faltered, or even that it existed in the first place? Well, in the first instance, let us keep sight of the fact that by announcing this, Lauder did invite a self-fulfilling prophesy. As Estee Lauder herself had successfully ingrained Youth Dew into society by 'accidentally' spilling it and flooding a shopping floor with its distictive scent, the marketing angle within a lipstick index cannot be ignored. And as the FT article explains, "The index may be a frivolous indicator - some researchers point out that lipstick sales have at times grown in periods of prosperity as well as downturns".

That Science Daily now brings a study showing that indeed, these fluctuations coincide with any extreme emotional points, seems again to simply cloud what might in fact be a non-starter. Makeup purchases, ultimately, do stand alone. Often within the bounds of impulse purchases (especially as these days everywhere from supermarkets to hairdressers to Claire's to H&M or even WH Smith's Victoria Jackson sales troops have makeup thrown in the mix). And unlike even shoe shopping, which takes minimal undressing and fussing, makeup can literally be dabbed on and approved - the easiest, quickest pick up of the shopping kingdom experience. Does this necessarily mean that it is harder to gauge the pattern, and therefore easier to manipulate the statistics to illustrate some exagerrated theory??

For my own part, I do feel more and more that my own 'signature look' should be curtailed to a light colour on the lids, some black eyeliner and some neutral lipstick and rosey cheeks. In other words, I find myself suddenly more prone to clothes and accessories shopping, than to bright eyeshadow. Whether this is a symptom of ageing or a conscious decision to stop frittering away money on shades I know are superfluous, I cannot quite decipher.

Makeover shows like Gok's Fashion Fix, and the plethora of shows that feed off the economic climate to promote cost effective ways to feel better, have lent credibility to the sense that looking good should not be related to one's financial position. Adverts for drugstore ranges that promise benefits which once upon a time were the preserve of the 'High End' ranges, also push this. I do now find myself questioning whether a £14 eyeliner is necessarily better than a GOSH or Prestige one. Even packaging for drugstore ranges seems to have got sleeker. With Boots pushing the boundary by commissioning a scientific study for its best selling 'Protect and Perfect serum' - (a move usually reserved for prescription-only medicines) the force of the consumer being entitled to expect top-notch from a drugstore range surely casts a shadow over the definition of high end creams. Indeed, Estee Lauder et al are if anything more notorious for their adverts being pulled for misleading and false promises. Could economic woes prove the catalyst to sound a death knell for high end ranges altogether?

Probably high end can rely on its niche status for now, but with drugstore range prices creeping up and all the products aping each other, even innovative ones like the Givenchy Phenomen'eyes mascara wand, or the Lancome oscillating mascara wand, how long will there even be any gravitas associated with high end anyway?

What is the future of makeup shopping, will it retain its status quo or is there shifting afoot? What do you think... have your makeup spending habits changed?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

[[closed]] Contest!!!! Describe your signature look.

I admit to being oddly mesmerised by people's signature look: everyone has one, even if it is a different look every day - it still is bound to have the use of your regular technique.... Or if you deny this, prove it!! I want to know your tips and tricks and the way you feel your features most benefit from your makeup. In return, you'll get a selection of makeup, haircare, nail care, trinkets and Topshop accessories (well it is my favourite shop after all, and I need to distinguish myself from all the other billion contests going on right now, n'est-ce-pas?) - as picked by me and as sponsored by haircare expert Erryn. Erryn's blog is so packed out with tips that it's literally changed the way I act on my haircare and hopefully has already shielded me from a multitude of hair disasters.

Please browse her store, Erryn's Health and Beauty to decide what you might spend $50 on.... because yes, that's something you'd do if you win first prize! But that's not all, you'll also get the Guerlain Kiss Kiss Laque lipgloss I've been loving, GOSH Darling lipstick, China Glaze nail varnish... the list goes on below - scroll down for photos too!

Anyway hopefully this video will explain all:

Here is the list:


$50 Voucher to "Erryn's Health and Beauty"

Guerlain Kiss Kiss Laque lipgloss (shade 721 Purple Star)

GOSH Darling lipstick

Mavala "Deep Blue" nail varnish

China Glaze "Shower Together" nail varnish

Essie "It's in the bag" nail varnish

Creative Nail Design "Solar Oil" nail treatment

Creative Nail Design block nail file

Tigi "Rockaholic Shine Blaster" hair treatment

Trucco "Jewel" in "warm iridescent rose"

Jewelled heart double sided compact mirror

Professional tweezers

Trucco retractable lip brush

And... Topshop

- Flower brooch
-Leather/bead flower bracelet
-Dangly sparkly earrings


Paul Mitchell Colour Protect trio: includes Shampoo, Conditioner and Reconstructive Treatment

Joico reconstructive hair treatment

Barry M nail varnishes (in "Bright Pink" and "Fuschia")

Trucco lip pencil in "Soft Plum"

2 Handbag sized hand moisturisers, one Jasmine by O.P.I and one Blackcurrant and Fig by Creative Nail Design

Topshop flower brooch

Topshop polka dot bow earrings


2 new pairs of false eyelashes (each has little glue tube inside)

Lip polish by Graham Webb

An assortment of samples from Erryn' store, includes specialist shampoo, cream, Trucco lip gloss etc

Topshop zip star wallet keyring

Topshop hairband with silk flower detail


Thursday, 7 May 2009

Ageing makeup habits

Time may be a great healer, but it's also a lousy beautician.

So, how best to alleviate, or at least vaguely soften, the ravages of time? Mature makeup fiends may find themselves so hypersensitive of the mutton-dressed-as-lamb effect that they avoid bright colours and stick to the understated neutral shades. It seems very sad that the garish overuse of blue eyelids and bright red lips has potentially led to the fear of colour once one hits that certain age. I myself recently succumbed to this: I decided wearing teals and purple made me look almost infantile next to my sober counterparts. But, seeing these pictures reaffirms why colour can be actually very forgiving and even enhancing to an older face – lending it not only a fresher look, but also a hint of vital spirit within.

The fact that nowadays hitting 30 does not demand the end to an actress/ model career is rather a new phenomenon. The dominance of these women in the media has led to a reassessment of what it means to be an older woman, and loosened the strictures of how a woman must change and adapt in sympathy to her advancing years. Toyboys are de riguer, and conceptions have been defiantly overturned. Yet the price seems to be that aging has become shrouded in mystery and deception – cosmetic surgery seems the only passport to entering this hallowed state of glamorous aging. Botox is known as uninvasive surgery, and therefore loses much of its stigma. The relatively low cost and speed of the treatment also makes it less daunting for the everyman looking in. The proliferation of adverts on the tube, TV, magazines and newspapers, depicting a beaming healthy and natural looking woman, in a scientific looking ‘clinic’ (never ‘hospital’) adds to the ease of understatement of getting cosmetic surgery. Seeing the transformation of the celebrities as they age speaks volumes. Facelifts, face fillers and botox do not adequately mimic the freshness of youth, but rather a synthetic and hard parody of it. A line free forehead can still look old (hello Nicole Kidman.)

We are rather bereft of reliable examples of dignified aging and a true evolutionary beauty. Any flaws would intantly be seized upon and ridiculed in today's beauty-centric climate.

Here's Audrey Hepburn, and Brigitte Bardot. There's something very admirable about the way they have relinquished their youthful beauty and allowed ageing to pave its natural course.

Makeup applied correctly can to a degree help, and does so in a less laboured way than surgery. Bold lips and rouged cheeks if done without overdose, can revive a sallow face. Colour in the outer edge of the eyes can distract from wrinkles. Although these steps will not remould a face, it might be a more effective way to age and resemble that youthful lustre associated with the freedom to embrace bold colour and makeup techniques: why the preserve of youth?

Young model of the moment, Agyness Deyn

No-one wants to become invisible, but worse than that is being noticed for trying to not be invisible. So is surgery the only remedy? Perhaps it is. I know I am tempted by botox on many a day. What steps do YOU consider essential in the fight against aging? Is it essential to change your colour palette and technique? Is safe and neutral just the best way to be once you're out of your youth?? Many seem to consider this is the case.... I am still valiantly clinging on to Blues, purples, reds... Are YOU?