Mascara, the mother of all biatches

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Mascara is the mother of all biatches.

For no matter how mighty and compelling the claims are, how well-critiqued it is by "gurus", paid beauty editors, beauty insiders and make-up artists- it is NO GUARANTEE that it will be your BFF.

Sorry princess, but with mascaras as with prince charmings, you will have to kiss a lot of toads  before you find your prince.

The way a mascara works depends on 3 things which we call in the 'biz as the holy trinity of mascara development.
  1. formula - it is an emulsion (oil+water+things that binds them together) where we put a number of blah-blah actives
  2. brush - a good brush separates lashes, imparts the right amount of formula at the right interval.   A balancing act that is a subject of a lot of study, court cases.  This in itself can sustain a proper TV series.
  3. container - see the rubber thingy at the mouth of your mascara container?  that is the wiper and it controls the amount of formula that goes to the brush.  Too much and you get clumps, too little and you get less than optimum results.
Seems elementary my dear Watson but the iterations here are endless and only the most balanced of the trinity will make the grade (my way of saying, heck, my work is darn difficult).

Then, to add insult to injury, one perfect trinity will behave differently from one pair of lashes to another.   So not unless, the one who tested it is your identical twin who was raised under the same environmental, social and emotional conditions and who slept with the same guys- all those reviews are for nought- you have to try the mascara yourself!

Change any of the trinity and your mascara will be totally different- like Mr Hyde to Dr Jekkyl.  For example, if you test the mascara with those little brushes provided by make up counters to avoid contamination- that is wrong!  Even if they are dressed the same, mascara will lead you to believe that it is the teeny bopper Lourdes when it is in fact the menopausal Madonna.

And if you want to test with the real brush in the actual container with the actual formula- good luck and make sure your medical insurance covers for warts, aids, athlete's foot contracted from toxic waste.

The only way,  is to buy the mascara and hope for the best.
Kaching! That doesn't bother us.  That is why we come up with so many new mascaras so often, give you outrageous claims with pictures of lashes longer than Ozzy's nose hair.

- more blogs to come on how to interpret mascara claims-

  • why mascaras are not for you
  • those outrageous claims
  • waterproof, weatherproof, lifeproof?
  • plastic brush innovation?
  • carbon black
  • lash growth

HELLO?...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010
I'm not even going to try and write a proper post. Total internet horrors in Paris, despite bringing an iPhone and a macbook. I thought Paris was supposed to be all wi-fi'd up? Maybe the wi-fi went on holiday to Biarritz a week early...Anyway, who said Parisians don't want to make friends with foreigners? (don't tell Lola)p.s. Obviously internet horrors notwithstanding, Paris is wonderful,

The Council of the Clueless:MakeUp Artists Do Not Create Your MakeUp Line

Monday, 26 July 2010




Let us get this first bullshit straight- make up artists do not create your make up line.
They are great for telling you which shade goes with your skin tone, make you over from flat to fab, give you the real spill on your celebrities (Catherine Deneuve is a regular at orgy clubs and JLo is an über-materialistic biatch who cannot sit still while her fake lashes are being attached), great confidantes (if you do not mind having it shared with all his facebook friends) - BUT- creating make up is not in their skill set - which is my politically correct way of saying that this is something they do not know sh*t about.
But we pay them very good money to make you believe they do.  And why?

First, because they are the people you know, relate to  and idolize.  
Who wouldn't want to use a makeup line by someone who touches the face of the fabulous Demi Moore or Beyoncé or Scarlett Johanssen  (btw- D&G people- great job on the Johanssen shoot!  Haven't tried the products though.)
Second, so you do not get to know or wonder of people like me.  
I am the evil one who discontinues your favorite lipstick and who says that  a model is too fat or too old and gives orders to photoshop them to death.  (FYI- 24  is like 200 years old in model years not unless you are Kate Moss who will probably survive the holocaust together with the cockroaches.)
 I, of course am not the sole to blame.

I report twice a week to an all-male Council - 

You have there the CEO who was trained in law and business and I have always suspected that he fought the Afghanistan war.  If his life were to be made into a movie, I would definitely cast Van Diesel.  
I think he plays golf with the competitor's CEO because he calls me after every golf game to say something in the line of "Our evil competitor just launched minerals, I want you to launch a better one fast".  (Of course he rejected my proposal to launch minerals a year ago- but that is just me bitching). To the right of the CEO sits his mini-me.  They went to kindergarten together.  CEO doesn't make a decision without asking what his mini-me thinks first.

Also in the Council is the Commercial EO (a pervert who throws me the most stupid comments like- "my wife who never wears make up finds it odd that your mascara cap has a gap from the case").   I would cast Borat to play him if Borat would be willing to shave his moustache.
There are also minor EOs in the Council- the one common thing about the members of the council is they do not know sh*t about make-up.    Which is why I am required to panel test all concepts and products I have so they can have an opinion.  I lovingly call them the Council of the Clueless.
To do my job, I have an army working with me.
On the product side -
I have the formulation manager and her labrats and regulation specialists, packaging engineers and their labelling sidekicks , purchasing manager & her minions,  project managers, planners.  I deal with 3rd party trendcasters, packaging designers.

On the image side -
I have the creative manager, art directors, PR manager, research manager.  And they take care of hiring 3rd party models, photographers, make up artists, hairdressers, stylists.
And as well, I also deal with my research manager, research agencies, advertising companies who deal with production companies.
But the most important people I work with are the product managers.  
They are overworked, underpaid, overzealous creatures.  Because they don't have a life- they have the delusion that the products they create are their babies.  That is why I call them the baby-mamas.  The way to identify a baby-mama is to find  someone with different shades eyeshadow, different colors of nailpolish at each finger and  287 lipstick smudges on both her arms.

My work normally starts with  the Council of the Clueless telling me -

"Rowena, you sold only 3 gajillion million jillion  euros this quarter.  I want you to increase that by 300% and present us a plan how to do so by tomorrow.   And, btw, decrease the size of your line by 33% (read: discontinue some products) because we need more space in the stockroom for mini-me's new private jet."    
Of course I exaggerate, but you do get the idea.

I would now look at my sales figures, see which product is delivering how much sales from which part of the world.  Then see external figures- competition, new products and other figures that will be boring to you at this point in time (my way of saying, heck, i am big deal!) .

Then I would tell the baby-mamas,  ok- we will cut down the lipstick line from 48 to 24 so anything not selling more than 48 trillion pieces have to go (that will include your signature plum shade, dear anonymous one).


Also, present me your spring concept with 3 lip products, 2 eye products, 1 mascara and 1 multi face product.  Your budget for each product is 7% of your selling price (this figure is true! haha! suckers!) and this has to generate 4 trillion million euro sales.

And the product baby-mamas then go to work ...

Guru, shmuru

(Photo credit: Marlene Dietrich)


I marvel at how many self-marketing “experts” can declare themselves “gurus” with a straight face.

We all have to pay the mortgage but do you really have to buy your own BS?

I mean guru is a title you can bestow upon yourself without having done any studying or real world experience.  You just have to really, really believe in your own mind that you are big deal - and voila- you can call yourself a guru and carry around a scepter while you are at it.

If them gurus insist on calling themselves such, then I am the High priestess of Bullshit and I will have them gurus as my petal throwers, thank you!

Fucking Amazing Mascara!



The super all-in-one mascara of your dreams!

It does everything except balance your checkbook.
But with lashes like these, we don’t see why you have to!
Available in shades- catwoman, wonderwoman and supergirl.
Translation:
It is a cheap ok formula where we have nothing extraordinary to say but we describe it in such a cute way claiming superlatives without actually committing to anything that you will think you are so hip and smart to buy it.
Another smashing success brought to you by the High Priestess of Bullshit!

Revenge of the Dumped Girlfriend Exercise Program

(Photo credit: Elizabeth Taylor)


Being a positive chirpy person that I am, when my boyfriend dumped me only because I threatened to slowly poison his coffee until the time he proposed which i only did to give him the incentive to make a move to make his happiness with me guaranteed for a lifetime, I took a positive spin of the situation and directed my wrath to making myself the most fantastically freaking fabulous version that i have ever been of me.

This is such a great way to prep myself up for the field again - as in this stage, it is important to attract the prey first with the body of a fit bird. Once in my lair, i show the keepers some good old fashioned loving and then seal the deal with my home cooked meals.

But I digress...

This exercise program is great in so many ways,
  •  it fills all the hours that you used to spend with the yet to be enlightened ex
  •  it directs the craving away from the chocolate cake and into the treadmill
  •  and it prepares you for the inevitable aftermath encounter with the ex- and show him what he is missing
The original program is to look like Elle Macpherson.  But as my personal trainer so politely pointed out the gross difference of proportion between me and Elle that not even an extreme bone extension operation can correct, I had to put my aspirations  down to Jennifer Aniston provided that I eat nothing but baby goop.

In two months, which is about the time i plan to come across the ex- i will be doing 4X a week, 3h a day of Body Combat, Body Attack, Body Jam and Zumba.

My personal trainer suggested as well tranquil exercises like yoga, tai chi  and body balance but I managed to convince him that I try it as I move on from anger to bargaining in my 5 stages of mourning.

It is actually not just an exercise program, with it comes learning of a new language, buying a sexier wardrobe and the overrated but always effective- makeover.

So my message to all dumped girlfriends out there -  do not self destruct.

In the words of the wise AliG - "Big up. Respect yourself- buyakasha!"

Goodbye Cruel Corporate World!

Sunday, 25 July 2010


You know those goodbye emails that people send when leaving a company? Well, this one was mine when I left the cosmetic corporate world for good...

Subject: Thank you and then some


Dear Colleagues,

My last day today here at *bip* - no wise words from the departing, just a big thank you to everyone especially to the "French Cleavage Club"* without whose help I will be leaving empty-handed.

Before I leave, there are just some things I want to get off my chest-
  • Colleague who lost his wife's anniversary present bracelet, I have a bracelet exactly like that you have lost. Price is 1000€.
  • Ms. Office Manager, I confess to pouring coffee on the company plants. But it was an accident- both times.
  • Ms. Receptionist, I am guilty of the loss of some of the office cutlery. I accidentally threw them into the garbage and it was too icky to fish out. To make up for it, I propose to take the cute lunch delivery boy out to lunch.
There has been a lot of rumours what I would be doing after this company. Here are just some of them:
- that I will be joining the Pussycat Dolls, whose lead singer is rumoured to be pregnant
- that i will be founding my own religion called "Rowenaism"
- that I will join this company's arch nemesis and am getting paid twice my salary here
- that I will settle down with my 20 year junior boyfriend, and bake cupcakes for a living
- that I will be creating my own cosmetic company, called R'ôweal
Well, you just would have to watch this space and google my name in 6 months time to find out.

In the meantime, since this is a time for honesty, I wish I could say I will miss you all, but I cannot.

Till then, I wish you to look good, have fun, earn money, - the *bip* way!

Rowena
Ex-Global Priestess of Bullshit
and oh so relieved about it!

NB: Soon as I sent this email, my email addy was disconnected so I didn't receive all the fan mails afterwards.


* more on the French Cleavage Club in my next blogs

WINDOWS...

I'm looking forward to spending this week looking both up at and out of Parisian windows. {my photos: 1. from the bedroom window of the flat in rue de Sévigné where I used to stay. 2. looking up at windows on the Île Saint-Louis. 3. the outside of R & K's windows where I'll stay.}

LOST SATURDAY...

Saturday, 24 July 2010
Appalling hangover, first homegrown courgette, watching of To Catch a Thief DVD foiled by mistakenly setting language to "Benelux countries" and being too befuddled to reset it, favourite PJs ripped in sleep, spaghetti with lambs lettuce, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and parmesan, naps, tax bill paid, fast falling delphinium petals...

FURRY FRIEND...

Thursday, 22 July 2010
Audrey Hepburn's furry friend was called Famous. (She had a dog called Famous for about 40 years so...) I love how jealous he is of Ip the deer! {photo credits clockwise from top left: 1. unknown, 2. Bob Willoughby, 3. Conde Nast archive/Corbis, 4. Sid Avery, 5. unknown, 6. Bob Willoughby}

FLYING VISIT...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010






8 hours of driving in two days means packing light, a swim in the sea (no better way to tell your body it's still alive than by plunging it into icy cold waves), a sunburnt nose, cat foot snuggles with no danger of losing a toe, ice cold rosé, fresh crab and seabass (not pictured - food pics usually look gross on blogs) and realising this is precisely the correct time of the summer to

I TOLD YOU I WAS ILL...

Sunday, 18 July 2010
Thanks for all the table love - I must admit I'm eyeing up other various bits of wooden furniture as potential future projects. The fact that my first one was an enormous hulking dining table that seats 12 when extended means anything else looks easy enough to accomplish by comparison.I'm supposed to drive to the south coast today (it takes about 4 hours) but I don't really feel well enough. I've

60 HOUR MAKEOVER...

Thursday, 15 July 2010
I used to think my aunt and uncle's house was weird. It was built in the sixties and was completely different to any other houses I knew in my childhood. The ground floor living area was open plan with a wooden floor and a huge white modular shelving unit on wheels dissecting the middle of it. (Obviously "modular shelving unit" wasn't in my vocabulary back then.) All the furniture was straight

DUSKIN...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Duskin has a gorgeous proper website to go with Stephanie Tran's lovely clothes now.{photos from FW10 lookbook}

JUST WHEN...

Monday, 12 July 2010
...you thought you were dying of ennui you get spontaneously invited to a poetry reading thing in Deptford. You don't even have time to - Shuffling in to a white wooden basement lined in old mirrors you sit on a pew (literally, you sit on a church pew) and hear the end of a cute young bloke who talks about sorrow and makes everybody laugh. Another man recites something very, very long with

TIRED...

I've been so tired for the past few days, I don't even know why.


{I heard the air conditioning, the sound of the ceiling fan, the unfamiliar sounds of Udaipur waking up. But I couldn't place the whirring, clicking noise...
photo taken by Anna at 6.30am on our first full day in India}

LULA/LULU...

Thursday, 8 July 2010
Finally I popped up to the Lula pop up shop in Harvey Nichols. Behold, my lightning fast investigative reportage. Aren't you glad we have the internet so that we can communicate about new things instantly? So, the Lula pop up shop has been there for about a week - shall I just hand calligraph this post, seal it with wax and cycle round to your house to hand deliver it instead? I don't get over to

THE MOST PERFECT...

...couple of magazine pages I've seen in a long time. Pages 66 and 67 from Russh issue 33. Click here to read the text. Thank you If Jane for sending me this copy of Russh during its perplexing disappearance from London's magazine shelves!

7...

Monday, 5 July 2010
If Jane and Ephemerette passed the versatile blogger award on to me - merci beaucoup! So now I have to reveal seven things about myself and pass the award onto some of my favourite blogs...Seven things I like. I cheated a bit, but surely the things you like reveal something about you?1. The number 7. 2. Being an autodidact. I only learned this word the other day - hey, sometimes things take a bit

LINKAGE...

* I've always loved Elisa Nalin's styling, so it was nice to see inside her wardrobe, having previously seen inside her home. (And her new haircut!)* TinEye Reverse Image Search. No more excuses for not crediting photographers blogworld!* AnOther Loves - I wish I had thought of designing my blog like this.* Lost Cat Poster.

FRANKLY...

Sunday, 4 July 2010
Franks Cafe and Campari Bar is BACK and about 80 times more packed than it was last year. This could be because last summer, lolling about on the top floor of a multi-storey carpark in Peckham involved wearing multiple woollen layers and trying to find the least wind battered spot. Or it might just be because more people have heard about it this year. In any case, the weather forecast continues

A CASA...

Friday, 2 July 2010
I promise I haven't spent the entire week floating in a swimming pool - that was just last weekend. I'm afraid that, when the weather turns to sweet, wonderful summer I start skiving off. I can't believe it, it's been like summer for two weeks. Unbelievable. It can't last. Lola and I have been hanging around at home with all the windows open, meeting up with friends, wearing short shorts in