bad ideas

More Letters to Cosmetics Companies

dior jelly lip penDear Dior:

I know that “lip crayon” is probably not the most appealing of terms, even though that’s what these products most resemble. I can understand why you might have sat ’round your Swarovsky-crystal-studded conference table and looked for a new name. I’m sure it was a long meeting that required many deliveries of lobster salad and prosecco.

But for the love of God, did you have to pick “Jelly Lip Pens”? Could you not have taken a cautionary note from the unfortunately-named Clinique “Chubby Sticks”?

One Jelly Lip Pen by itself is not problematic. Two or more, however, become Jelly Lip Pens. The more you see the name Jelly Lip Pens, the more it starts to look like something other than Jelly Lip Pens. The proximity of the words Jelly and Lip in the name of the Jelly Lip Pens does not help.

Maybe you need to see it in all caps: JELLY LIP PENS. LIP PENS. PENS. PENS. PENS.

Apparently, Jelly Lip Pens smell tropical. Jelly Lip Pens come in several colors. What is the taste of Jelly Lip Pens? Are Jelly Lip Pens hard or soft? How long will Jelly Lip Pens last? It is not necessary to use a sharpener on Jelly Lip Pens, since they have a simple twist-up mechanism.









What Is With the Spring Makeup Collection Photos?

All right, lookit. I’m as eager as anyone else for warmer temperatures and skies that are not the color of stainless steel, but I’m not really sure that these photos that makeup brands have put out to promote their Spring 2013 collections make me want to rush out to my local makeup counter — and isn’t that what they’re designed to do?




The 1970s called. They want this ad back. I am very tempted to Photoshop out the lippie and replace it with a cigarette.




I am sorry, but that blue-green eyeliner is just NOT ATTRACTIVE on her. It makes her eyes look tiny! Also, her brows seem to have been trimmed with a ruler and her cheek is stripey. Did someone forget their blending brush?




The 1980s called. They want THIS ad back. OK, in defense of BareMinerals, their spring line is called “Remix,” but still. Also, more bluey-green shadow and liner around the whole eye and then some!




I’m pretty sure Tyra Banks has made at least one comment on America’s Next Top Model about not sticking your fingers in front of your eye. What the hell is that hand doing there? I tried to duplicate the position and it’s awkward as hell and corresponds to no real-world action. Also, I poked myself.




Hi! I haven’t had enough to eat in three months. While Chantecaille is busy saving the sharks, if you could donate fifty cents to the Save The Models foundation, that’d be swell.




Psst… it’s spring makeup. You seem to have accidentally put in a photo from your fall line. And also I don’t think you got the memo: PINK. See the other ads for examples.




Spring 2013 promo shot, or a still from the 1987 movie Mannequin? You decide. Also, lacking in pink.


Smashbox “Love Me”

smashbox love me

Love me OR ELSE!




In this scene, a vampire has been interrupted at that critical moment right before fastening its teeth onto the neck of its victim. Which of the people in this photo is the vampire is up to you. Even odds, I think.


Laura Mercier

laura mercier

Hey, it’s Glamour Shots! At least they got the memo about pink.




So terrifying I don’t even know what to say other than “Please don’t eat me.” Oh, wait, yes I do: “Wow, that top looks uncomfortable.” This seems like it’s ripe to be used as the background for an Internet meme: “Angry Model says…” All the pink in the world cannot help this photo.


Special “Ur Doin’ It Rite” Award:

MAC Year of the Snake:

MAC Year of the Snake

Now this looks engaging. I might not have anywhere to wear a snake headdress and a skin-tight faux-snakeskin bodysuit, but this picture makes me wish I did. But for every one of those, there’s one of these:

MAC Studio Collection

MAC studio

So… I guess it’s a wash, huh?


Advertising Science: It’s an Idiot Thing

Seriously, European Commission? SERIOUSLY?

Behold: What The European Commission Thinks Is The Way To Get Girls Into Science.

I have no words. I know some of you will have plenty of words, though. And you can read other people’s words about it at The Los Angeles Times.



(In otherwise unrelated blogging news, I have been traveling out and about. I have not forgotten about the Minerals Mate giveaway or the vast number of products waiting to be reviewed! Fear not.)


More From the Beat Your Head Against the Wall Department: HuffPost (!) Hawks “National Cleavage Day”

Really, HuffPost?


There are not enough things I can do to that text to adequately render the amount of jaw-dropping, face-palming, head-desking scorn I have for this. OK, it’s HuffPost UK, not HuffPost US, BUT STILL. Article below. Link here.



National Cleavage Day: Holly Willoughby Wins Best Breasts, With Scarlett Johansson And Beyonce In Hot Pursuit


Ladies, its time to make the most of your assets – for it is, of course, National Cleavage Day!

Yes, the annual celebration created by Wonderbra is a day of appreciation for breasts in all shapes and sizes.

The bra-maker says: “We view this as a day for women to acknowledge that their cleavage is something unique and encourage you all to be proud of it.”

According to its research: “Most British women are happy to showcase a bit of cleavage as it helps make them feel feminine, sexy, and gives them confidence.”

This year the brand held a poll asking 1,000 women which celebrities they thought had the perfect cleavage.

Holly Willoughby steals the crown this year and will be the first person inducted into the Wonderbra Cleavage Hall of Fame.

Here is the list in full.

1. Holly Willoughby
2. Scarlett Johansson
3. Beyonce
4. Rihanna
5. Marilyn Monroe
6. Dita Von Teese
7. Katy Perry
8. Brigitte Bardot
9. Kim Kardashian
10. Lara Stone

(And if you go to the HuffPost link, you can see a slideshow (OF COURSE YOU CAN!) of these lovelies in suitably boobalicious costumes and poses. Way to reduce a woman to the size and shape of her breasts! I mean, you know, even more than usual.)



Between this and the recent spate of conservative Republican “your vajayjays are a matter of national moral security,” I think my head is going to explode.




 top photo:



Aaaaagh! Cringe-worthy: “Browdazzling”

I have no words. Unless a scream counts as a word. Then I have lots of words.

Because, what? Vajazzling is not enough? Don’t worry; it also comes in pink.

I dare you — I double-dog dare you — to wear this to work/class/church.


Image via













Bang Your Head On Your Desk: China Glaze’s Hunger Games Nail Polishes

Did you hear a giant sort of WHOOSH-BOOOOOM!!!! sound just now?

That was the sound of irony flying over the collective heads of China Glaze and sixteen million teenage fangirls. Some of whom are probably our own students.

I didn’t comment on this before because it seemed like circumstances were conspiring against the release of this collection, rendering commentary unnecessary. Sadly, those circs turned out to be based not on common sense, but on a lawsuit, now resolved. So it’s back on.

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, let me give you the basic backstory. In a kind of unholy union between “The Lottery” and Survivor, two teenagers (a boy and a girl, natch, as required since the days of the Minotaur) from each of twelve districts are chosen by lottery each year to participate as “tributes” in a fight-to-the-death survival game, which is forcibly televised live to every TV screen in Panem (the dystopian future version of America). The yearly ritual is a reminder to the outlying districts of Panem that the Capitol, against which they had at one time revolted in civil war, is their master and can not only take their people on a whim and have them kill one another, but require them by law to watch and celebrate it. Katniss Everdeen, our heroine, is one of the tributes from District 12, a mining community in what is currently the general region of Appalachia, and the first book of the trilogy describes her selection, grooming for the Games, and experience in the Game arena.

Here is where the head-banging comes in.

One of the main themes of the book is that people killing one another is presented as reality “entertainment.” Before they go into the arena, all of the candidates have to make appearances on TV for interviews and processions and ceremonies. This is partly because the Games are a media sensation (that people are forced to watch, remember) and partially because the wealthy people of the Capitol might want to either a) wager on, or b) invest in, some of the tributes. If, during day 3 of the games, a tribute is suffering from a wound that has become infected, a wealthy outsider watching at home might be moved to spend some exorbitant amount of money to provide that tribute with antibiotics. Anyway, in order to present the tributes in ways that will be most likely to get people to bet on or invest in them, there is a whole flock of stylists and coaches whose job it is to dress, groom, style, and coach the tributes as they participate in a week’s worth of pageantry (which will, of course, end in bloody death for 23 of the 24 participants, but oh, let’s not let that tiresome little detail stop us from ooohing! and aaaahing! over the dresses! and the hair! and oh! did you hear her story, so sad!).

Let me summarize that as follows: There is a whole industry that exists to prettify the calves for slaughter. The tributes are forcibly taken, fattened up and made beautiful, and then shoved into a wilderness in which they must kill one another, and the whole thing is required “entertainment” viewing for the citizens of Panem. What the tributes wear, and how they look, makes or breaks the careers of stylists, who devise elaborate gowns and/or costumes for the various events of the pre-Games pageantry. The elements of those styles — products used, cuts of gowns, etc. — are, presumably, made available for purchase so that wealthy Capitol clients can have “the same gown that Katniss wore in the interview.” So, in effect, the products used to make the fatted calves ready for slaughter are available for purchase — which serves as a monetary endorsement of the whole endeavor.

Does anyone see the irony in China Glaze then putting out a line of nail polishes associated with the film? So now we too can endorse the slaughter by oohing! and aahing! over nail polishes that symbolize the adornment of the fatted calf, while we pay for movie tickets that target our own sense of the macabre-as-entertainment. How is this NOT life imitating art? Am I the only one who is incredulous, appalled, and horrified? How can they have missed THE ENTIRE POINT?!!?!??!?!

Says the press release (according to

“China Glaze has developed 12 shades of nail polish, each associated with a respective district and ‘allowing citizens to show their solidarity and support for a favorite tribute.’

‘What will you be wearing to the opening ceremonies?’ the ad reads.”

No, no, NO! “Allowing citizens to show their solidarity and support for a favorite tribute”? “What will you be wearing to the opening ceremonies”? Do you not see, people, that you are becoming citizens of the Capitol, who adorn themselves in commercially-available colors representing the tributes from subservient districts who are about to be made to kill one another?

Is such a point lost on the vast majority of idiots and fangirls who will flock to buy this collection, squeeing about how much they love the film while tripping along, tra-la-la, with nary a thought about the irony and incongruity of such a pairing? Based on the squeeing I’ve already seen on beauty blogs, the answer to that is an unqualified “yes.” Honestly, it is one of those far-too-frequent events that make me lose my faith in the human race.

Shame on you, China Glaze. What’s next — Hunger Games Barbie?

Oh, and a note about the lawsuit: while the details are hard to uncover (no doubt due to nondisclosure agreements), the colors that first appeared in preview images last fall are the same colors that appear now, but the names have been changed. I hope that this is a result of the author, Suzanne Collins, trying her damnedest to prevent her works about marketing suffering as beauty/entertainment being marketed as vehicles for beauty/entertainment.

Original colors/names, as seen all over the interwebz a few months ago:

New colors/names:

There’s more to say, especially about the changing of the names, but I’ll end here. Otherwise I’d go on for pages, and no one wants that.



People’s Choice Awards Beauty: You’re Kidding Me, Right?

I swear to God, I must have been born on some other planet.

I don’t know which planet that was, of course. I don’t even know if it was in our solar system. All I know about it — and this is purely inductive reasoning here — is that its inhabitants are probably generally human-shaped, drink martinis (possibly for breakfast), and have a deep and abiding love for all things girly, pink, and/or covered with rhinestones.

Where I apparently differ from Earthlings (in particular, mass media) is in my understanding of beauty. To wit: the following pictures, which are part of a BellaSugar slideshow on the 2012 People’s Choice Awards entitled “2012 People’s Choice Awards: See the Coolest Beauty Details Up Close,” under the general category of “Prettiest Hair and Makeup.” BellaSugar is a hefty presence in the beauty blogosphere, straddling (or attempting to straddle, anyway) the divide between “corporate/magazine PR site” and “individual beauty blogger.” I always read their posts with skepticism, but this time I’m just plain flummoxed at what they are choosing to laud as “prettiest.” Is it just me? It’s OK if it is, really. I’m used to it.

Images by Getty, via BellaSugar.

Ginnifer Goodwin

OK, look, I love Ginnifer Goodwin. And I am a sucker for ABC’s Once Upon a Time. It’s a guilty pleasure. HOWEVER — I do not think that the shape of your eyeliner should mimic the shape of your hair. On Planet Voxy, you can either have a flip in your hair or a flip in your eyeliner. NOT BOTH. Also, while it’s nice to see that even perky pixie Ginnifer Goodwin has undereye circles, isn’t this the reason that you have $1,000-an-hour stylists in the first place? Also, WOW, those brows are close to her eyes. And noticeably a different color than her hair. Yes, brows should be a little lighter than your hair color, but this much difference definitely implies that one or the other is dyed.

Kelly Osbourne

Aaaaaaaaah! OH MY GOD. This is terrifying. Seriously, I will have very un-foxalicious nightmares tonight on account of this.

I get that she likes to experiment with hair color. Really I do. But this looks horrible. Horrible! And when paired with red lips and orange eyeshadow — and you will remember that I am a surprise fan of orange eyeshadow — it’s just hideous. Her stylist is doing her no favors.


Lea Michele

More Aaaaaaaaaah! If I ever find out who was behind the “Let’s Make Opaque Lipstick in Candy-Cotton Pink and Convince People It Looks AWESOME” movement, I will shoot him. Or  her. Either way. Good Lord, this looks terrible. Also, wow, look at those lashes. They look like the stuff you put on buildings to keep birds from sitting on them.

Kat Denning

Holy drawing-outside-your-lip-line, Batman! Conventional wisdom: People don’t actually notice this. Real life wisdom: They do.

Jennifer Morrison

Ow. That hair looks hurty. And it makes her look hard. Also, please please please go back to being a brunette. It was so much more attractive!

Kaley Cuoco

I think we’re supposed to be looking at the nails. But I can’t tear my gaze away from the eyes. Those terrible, terrifying eyes. And the brows, which are not quite as terrible, but that is like saying that Kim Jong Il was not quite as bad of a tyrant as Pol Pot.


Now, lest you think I’m a complete snark (too late, right?), here is a picture I actually liked. You know, just to show that I’m fair and balanced.

Jennifer Lawrence


“It’s Like There Is an Intoxicating Flower Coming Out of Her Mouth”

Via’s Beauty Counter blog:

“If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki’s work, the retina-burning ombré pink lips at Prabal Gurung were likely a bit of a jarring site [sic]. But put in the context of the photographer’s vivid images of exotic blooms, the mouths made perfect sense. ‘It’s like there is an intoxicating flower coming out of her mouth,’ makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury said of the different shades of MAC Lipmix she applied in gradation from deep purple to magenta to fuchsia. ‘Its [sic] a play on darkness and light.’ Pouts were kept matte to contrast with dewy, highlighted skin and purposely overdrawn at the corners “as though she’s been snogging,” said Tilbury, pointing out that the key to coloring outside the lines is to use a soft, melted pencil without a sharp tip so you ‘keep from looking like a drag queen.’ To further acheive [sic] that delicate balance between looking ‘sensual, but strong and powerful’ at the same time, Tilbury swept an elongated stroke of silver gray cream eye shadow across the crease of models’ lids.”

First of all, I had to use [sic] three times in that one-paragraph quote. Hey Beauty Counter people — were you all getting drunk on mouth flowers over there?

OK, so remember I said I was intrigued by the two-tone lips from the Maybelline calendar? Yeah, uh … I take it back. These models are going to be coming at me in my nightmares, droning “BRAAAAAAIIIINNNSS” while hibiscus blossoms fall from their mouths. And I guess Tilbury thought that the whole “keeping them from looking like drag queens” bit was successful?

It’s like Georgia O’Keefe meets Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Nope, no thanks, that’s quite all right, I’ll stick with a boring, single-color, flower-free mouth, if you don’t mind.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri of, via

I’m Going With “Maybelline”

“Maybe she’s born with it — maybe it’s Maybelline.”

You choose.

Below are the images from Maybelline’s 2012 calendar, which have just hit the web. Every year Maybelline puts out a calendar that is supposed to predict and/or dictate (predictate?) trends in makeup for the year. Photography by Kenneth Willardt, via ExposureNY. Shall we have a look-see and ruminate on which looks we might wear to work or school?

Let’s do.


Nope. Cool nail polish; wish I could wear it. Next!



Uh, no. Will consider wearing the outfit to school. If you replace the newspapers with sheet music, that could be me teaching a class. The likeness is uncanny.



Aaaaah! Run for your lives!


1980s! Glad you’re back. I missed you. And, dear readers, take note — not only is there GOD-AWFUL GOLD GLITTER on the lips, but the glitter is star-shaped! That’s right, ladies of Dynasty — be jealous.


This is possibly my favorite. There is so much to pick at in this one, and that’s without even mentioning the blue lips! First of all, I want that superhero outfit. It has a breastplate. Literally. That plate has breasts. And they are pointy. Are they weapons? Possibilities abound. Because it is, apparently, metal, it also is a great way to cover any little water weight gain from last night’s debauchery at the Caped Crusader Cocktail Lounge, or to disguise your lack of a Superhero Six-Pack in the abs department. And it has a NAVEL! I would wear this to work in a heartbeat. No sleeping in my class, that’s for sure!

And the boots, oh my God, the boots. I want them. They have WINGS! Or fire. Or flaming wings. Anyway, something. And they are evidently Christian Louboutin. And I am so glad to see that gloves will be back in style, particularly ones with giant cuffs to catch any stray crumbs of food that you might spit out when suddenly confronted by a supervillain. Totally practical. You notice she has chosen these gloves over the eminently sensible but very un-couture blue ones in the bukkit bucket. Stacy London would approve.

And the hat! I mean, the head thing. The helmet. The … well, I don’t really know what it is. But I’m sure it’s awesome at being whatever it is. And it certainly is a great accessory to Jazzercise in, as our model so elegantly demonstrates.

Oh, was there makeup? I hardly noticed.


I see now that my previous (unsuccessful) attempts to do maintenance on my own car failed because I wasn’t wearing leather boots with a five-inch heel, and because I throw out my stockings when they get holes in them, and because I shower occasionally. Who knew?


Oh good, finally something easy and practical that doesn’t continue the superhero theme. Oh, wait.


Because every woman needs to look like a traffic light. Do the various features change color? Like, do the lips stay green for awhile, then briefly turn yellow, then turn red? Because THAT would be awesome.


When I think about my friends who are in Science, this makes me just howl with laughter. So that’s what you do in your labs all day, is it? Uh-huh. Okay. Nice lab coat. And she has only the finger part of gloves on. Now that’s practical.

Makeup-wise, this is possibly the most wearable look we’ve seen so far, although I know that’s not saying much. The two-tone lip is an interesting concept, and I dig the lime green. (No, seriously, I do.)


I’m not really sure why I would want to paint my face like a subway map. Could I use it to give directions?


Leaving aside the makeup for a minute (though there is more STAR GLITTER! In different colors! And does that model only have the one eye?) — is it really necessary to have a woman in a skin-tight, half-open mens’-style suit straddling a giant microphone stand (with four phalluses) telling us to vote? Yay women! Vote faster and harder! Ride that vote! Ain’t America great? (I am HORRIFIED, in case you can’t tell)


I have no words. It makes me want to just beat my head against a wall.

Oh, Maybelline. Sigh.



That is all.

(Post-Oscars party, apparently.)