Saturday, 29 January 2011
Green tea and chocolate cake in Primrose Hill, with my nails demonstrating the best use of stationery supplies ever invented. (I used this tutorial.)

Left: If this wallpaper could talk and right: the lovely Justin Townes Earle, whose Tennessee tuxedo and myriad charms at the Liberty/Nudie jeans event now has my friend and I trading Twitter gleaned info as if we know him. "Oh, Justin said he's


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Put roses in every room, and next to your bed, where you can look at them all the time. Eat cake, not necessarily from a teeny plate with an enormous fork - also custard doughnuts. (Couldn't bring myself to post doughnut porn here.) Spend more time at your local historic ballroom, dancing with people you vaguely recognise from walking past them in the street or waiting for the train on the

MakeUp Artists: When Should You Work for Free?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011
(Photo credit: Jayne Mansfield?)

(Author's Note:  This post is meant to open a discussion forum amongst make up artists/free lancers.  To my macho male readers, this may be quite too gurly, so you may skip reading this post and go straight to the diagram provided below)

This post is for one of the readers, Capri, a make-up artist  who wrote me about a tricky situation where a client wants her to work for free as a favor to the client- in exchange for introduction to her "A-list" friends.  Hmmm... sounds very J-Lo to me.

I can do my own make-up but I am no make-up artist.  So this post is from a point of view of a beauty company client posing as "Dear Aunt Rowena".

I sometimes engage in small chit-chat with my makeup artists during photo shoots and through them I learn things about the make up artistry trade.  So this post is a compilation of little snippets of wisdom (and gossip) gained from those in between takes. 

A beauty shoot, even a minor one (minor model, local photographer, in house stylist/all around gofer, local makeup artist/hairdresser) sets us back at least 10,000€/day.

A beauty shoot has more stringent make up requirements than a fashion shoot so a lot depends on the make up artist.  It is often tricky to photoshop skin so we find other ways where to scrimp and will not try out a newbie make up artist.

My Creative Director books make up artists through agencies, linked or same that handles models.  We only consider make up artists who have already a portfolio of professional published work in beauty. 

I judge a professional artist by what I call the "zero face".  That is, how well she can do a no-make up look that will stand the scrutiny of the extra high resolution camera.  (Imagine magnifying that picture a billion times for a billboard commercial).   

You see, it is fun and easy to be flamboyant and experimental in make up.  I have met a lot of make up artist divas (some of them a pain in the ass) who do work for actresses, tv, events, for fashion but I do not gauge them for the names they do-  as the beauty shoot is a league apart from hollywood.  

The zero face separates the pros from the hobbyists.

Even if you have assembled your portfolio, I need the reassurance of a published work in beauty.  If, worst case scenario, I have to work with a beauty makeup newbie, I would ask for a make up pre-prod trial prior to the shoot.

Skin.  The better her skin, the easier it is for my make up artist to perfect the zero face, the shorter the make up time required.  So if you are a model called for a go-see, save yourself the trouble and do not put on make up, we will ask you to remove it anyway and we will be annoyed especially if we specifically asked you to come bare faced. 

For this reason, I want my models young.  A model more than 19 will already have a great disadvantage in terms of skin quality.  That and the fact that new models are still cheap.  I try to select those who have potential of making it big.  SO I pay them cheap and then ride on their popularity afterwards.  

There are other factors as well- if the focus is eye make up, i need to make sure i have a good lid surface to work on.  A lip campaign needs "Jolie" lips.  

If the campaign is global and I can use only one model, my best bet is a green eyed brunette as she cuts across regional barriers.

Not to forget, the x-factor, and the mood and attitude of the make up which contribute to other aspects.

A model who is undisciplined, would show up with a hangover, dehydrated on a shoot- i do not use again.

Though some of the most successful make-up artists out there went to make-up school, almost all of them agree that this is not necessary.  

One particularly successful make up artist in fact scoffs at the most hyped hip British make-up artist school (the one owned by that model's sister) as she uses fingers to apply foundation in a professional shoot.  According to her, finger application for professional work just would't cut the grade.

I leave my make up artists alone when they do their magic (essential when you are dealing with the real pros) but I get to judge later if the results are crap.  They just call me in to see the end result.  So I couldn't really have a say on technique and I welcome an exchange of opinion here. 

If my photo-shoot is major, spanning days and/or involving more than 1 model, we would have a separate hairstylist and makeup artist.  But for minor campaigns, I normally hire just one to do both hair and make-up.  

So if you are starting out in the business, knowing how to style hair is important as this will screen you out from a good bulk of projects.

For minor shoots, I watch my budget and book someone local to avoid paying for airfare and hotel.
So it is important for you to be well located where most of the jobs are.

As you get to be a bigger make up artist, then this will be less of an issue.

The opinion is resounding.  Start as an assistant to an established make-up artist.  Not necessary to be an expert right away as you will be there basically carrying stuff and cleaning brushes.

A good starting ground, they say, is during the fashion week - Paris, London, Milan, New York as they are normally short of manpower in these events.

Needless to say, networking and a good personality is essential to progress from there.

From what I remember, we pay 1200-1800€/day for a minor shoot for a minor make up artist.
Mariah pays 12,000$/day, J-Lo lets you kiss her feet for free.

I have come across this chart, used for graphic design work which i think is also applicable for make up (just replace "flyer" with "makeover")

(Photo Credit: Jessica Hische)

As I meant this post to be a forum amongst make up artists, I  would like to encourage all the other make-up artists/free lancers out there to comment, contradict and contribute their experience,opinion and help their budding sisters out.  


I always liked this song and this band, throughout all its various changes in name and line-up. I mentioned them here back in 2007, and this is what they're up to now. Yes, I have stood in many a sticky floored bar singing along raucously. But this, I assure you, is not a me bigging up my mates post. No one asked me to, but I love how they've done this video and the sentiment of the song (


Thursday, 20 January 2011

{Sleek and Pure}

Jil Sander Archive. Amazing.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I've been meaning to write more about the 1978 book The Fashion Makers for ages. I posted last year about its profile on Elsa Peretti, after I scored the book for 72 cents or something ridiculous. As you can see from the water damage on the cover scan, some idiot has obviously left the book out in the rain overnight (that was me). The book was actually in very good condition

Cruelty Free MakeUp- yeah right!

Monday, 17 January 2011

(Author's Note:  Because of some violence in this post, this is highly recommended PMS reading)

First of all, i will tell you what you will not get from this post.

This post will not promote nor  criticize those that support animal rights at whatever cost.
If them guys prefer to go naked  for their cause - i say we let them.
This "strip" is nicked from Dilbert.  
If they feel so much love for animals that they are willing to assault a rich bitch wearing mink- i say they should be free to do so!  
If they do that to me, I also am free to take off my stilettos, run the hell after them (and i promise i will catch them, i used to be a damn good sprinter and i have been spinning like hell lately) and shove my mink up their arse.  While I am at it, I will pull out a hair sample, give it to my witch doctor who will cast a spell that will make their skin burst with boils and worms that cannot be cured because not enough animals have been tested to find a cure.   
They are free to ask me to change my blog name to"Beauty and the Humanshit" to be fair to bulls who are being blamed for what is really manmade shit - in fact, that request actually makes sense.    But I also have the right to politely respond- "F*ck off and mind your own shit, biatch".
Democracy rocks.  Or is that anarchy- gawd, i always get confused with the two.
This post will not take the position of which is more important, humans or animals.
I think this question is personal and no amount of other people's opinion will determine which is more important to each individual.
For example, if I get AIDS and you ask me, Rowena, we have to torture your beloved dog Barney* to save you.  I would choose to die.  However, if that is my mother in question (though i do not think that is possible, as she is a born again virgin), I will perhaps insist they test on me instead of Barney but my mom will not allow that.   
Unfortunately for Barney, because he cannot talk, he will not have a say on the matter.  Yes, life is unfair - animals should be able to talk, really.
If you say, i will not go to heaven if i eat pork barbecue because pigs are actually angels from heaven.  I will say, "Well hello Satan!  Do I have a heavenly pork barbecue recipe to share with you! "
So that out of the way, let us go to something actually related to this blog-

The Bullshit on No Animal Testing for Beauty.

I see that most tend to have strong opinion on this.   Thank you for taking the time to answer the poll.
172 voted and survey said :
  • 20 or 11% PRO animal testing for cosmetics and medicine purposes
  • 89 or 61% pro testing for medicine only
  • 63 or 36% are ANTI  animal testing.
  • Jessica and countless others do not really care and they were not counted- because some senile blogger forgot to put "don't really care" in the poll.   
And gawd, I have the most utmost respect for your opinion- whether you are pro or anti - really.

BUT- this is what i feel strongly on-

If you were to take a strong position pro or anti animal testing, you better be sure you are basing your opinion on solid facts, not hearsay, not propaganda, not staged videos, not hasty baseless generalizations and that before passion takes over (and i do think that passion is a good thing), that your mind has processed the facts first.

To give you the facts- I went to great lengths.

First, I went to the anti-animal testing camp.
And man, these people are real MARKETEERS.  Their site is non-stop entertainment!
There were celebrities, naked celebrities, fancy awards night, lots of nudity, scandal, violence and gore!  Name all the marketeering tactics in the book, and they have exploited it!  
But then, let us not take it against them that they know how to market.  (haha! yeah right!)

Then I went to the pro-animal testing camp.
Ah, the scientists!  Instantly, I regret having committed to writing this article.  These boys are boring.  I actually had to read!  It would have helped if some chemists were cute- but no luck in this department either, just a handful of dorky nobel prize winners and pure logic- what use does a girl have for that.   
If ever they asked me to market them, the first thing i will do is a geek sexy calendar to help their image, probably shirtless while raising a test tube that has the cure for polio (i might have to outsource talent- but heck, what is a little marketing in the name of science).  But, I digress.
But I will not take their boring arguments against them either.

The funny thing I noticed though is that Pamela Sue Anderson took her clothes off to protest anti animal testing, then took her clothes off again to support finding a cure for AIDS.

That is - pardon the pun- milking both sides of the issue.

But oopsie- seems that Pamela is not the only guilty pair of boobies here.

The hard facts:

1. We want to be pretty and demand that we be safe in our quest for beauty.
Oh, yes we do- no ifs, buts about it. 
2. Cosmetic Regulators, tasked by politicians to keep voters/consumers happy – will in turn require companies selling products for animal testing to prove safety.
No proof, no permit. Simple as that. Forget all this conspiracy theory shit. (for now at least). 
Good news is, tests only have to be done on an ingredient once. That is already one great heave of relief. 
3. With existing ingredients already tested safe and some testing alternatives found for minor applications, regulations can afford to prohibit further animal testing for cosmetic purposes - to rid our guilt for those poor animals who didn’t give their consent just so we can be safe and pretty.
Now, the natural goodness brands lurv this! 
It will embrace this “no animal testing” ban to the hilt and announce themselves “cruelty free” to endear themselves more to consumers. 
Such a good marketing advantage against the scientific brands! And it doesn’t cost much too- just need to draw a cute little rabbit and stick it on the label.
And yes, for the record, they are already sitting on a wealth of animal tested ingredients as they draw that cute little bunny. 

4. But for “innovation driven” brands, this regulation is sort of - pardon my french - a real f*cker.
You see, for new ingredients and real breakthrough innovations, animal testing is still needed. But heck, they only allow this  for medicine and not for cosmetics. 
Hmmm…. What will L’Ucifer do? Let me put myself in L’Ucifer’s shoes… 
  • Maybe, I can contract the testing in the 3rd world.   Nope, that is not allowed by the EC as well. Gaah… note to self, try to secretly oppose this "no animal testing" bullshit. 
  • Or maybe, I can test on consenting humans from the third world.  Gawd, still too expensive as I still have to pay angry relatives if I accidentally kill them. And they have too many relatives, killing all of them can be messy. 
  • Or maybe, I can declare that testing is for medicine but then in fact use the result for cosmetics, like what happens for Botox. Hmm… Not a very elegant solution, lots of red tape and grease money but perhaps worth a try… 
So what will L’Ucifer do? 
Fortunately, for L'Ucifer there is always marketing to save the day! 
This strip is nicked from Scott Adams of Dilbert.
Because I couldn't have said it better than he did!

*This blog post is dedicated to the memory of my dog Barney. He loved pork barbecue as much as i do. 

If you think that these bullshit revelations are a good thing to womankind, I would appreciate if you can help spread the word about this blog as it is one thing that can help it thrive.

It does not take much, just click on the share button (at the right side of the blog and at the bottom of each post)- share it on facebook, twitter, like-it on stumble upon, invite your friends to follow.  A little push of a button goes a long, long way.  


Sunday, 16 January 2011
I've got some kind of internet malaise this week, hence the quietness here. My daily internet meanderings are usually inspirational, but recently the amount of information I take in on a daily basis has become more draining than anything, which is no one's fault but my own. I'm struggling to keep up with all the things I must read - but what would happen if I didn't? Not much probably. So I've

Pencil Pornication

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Gurlz, if you are reading this blog because you seriously want to be smarter consumers and save money on cosmetics, read on.

However, if you are perfectly happy with how things are with the cosmetic world that having the right brand name is not only fun but helps your "self worth" and is therefore worth paying more for - then I suggest you skip this post of mine as it will break your heart.

Still here?
Good.  Happy that you stayed.

So ... I would like you to please take a look at your lip and eye pencils.
I do not care if they are cheap drugstore brands or the most expensive luxury brands out there.

Read where they are "Made In".

If I may guess, most will be made in Germany, some in France and some in Italy.

Know why?
I am sure the more observant of you (Caitlyn, Vozni:-) speaking of- Caitlyn, where are you? I miss you!) may have already their suspicions but I will confirm it here.
Ok, here is the deal-
Your make up brand, i do not care if it is Chanel, Boots, Coty, Avon, Body Shop, Beauty Godezzilla... whatever - do not manufacture their own pencils.  They all buy from the same suppliers.
There are about 3 major supplier of pencils worldwide.  And most brands buy the pencils from them. 
So can you get the same pencil that say, what Chanel has in another brand?
The answer- is yes.
The manufacturer does not give exclusive rights of a particular product to one brand.  So the very same product you find in Chanel can perhaps be found in the cheapest drugstore brand.  We just change the decor and the brand name.
But are all pencils made by the same supplier created equal?  
No, not all pencils created by the same manufacturer are equal.
Suppliers propose different textures and it is up to the brands to choose which texture and color they want.
Is a more expensive pencil better then?
No, deciding by brand name or price is no assurance that you are geting better quality.
SO how can you now know which pencil is better than the other if it is not a question of brand?
I will tell you soon.   
I am a biatch, aint i?
But the more important question- do brands manufacture anything at all?  
Take a guess. 


Monday, 10 January 2011

{Prism watch and ring from Unearthen - via Anywho}

Prelude to Animal Testing

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Last week, this blogger site was acting silly and would not allow me to make edits, leave comments or make new posts.  So i decided to make good use of my time by preparing for a post on the controversial topic of animal testing.

Being the non-opinionated blogger that I am, I of course  took into consideration both sides of the animal testing argument even if it meant that I have to "meet my mink and my fried chicken" and read volumes of boring scientific and regulation documents (gawd, the hazards of not having a life).

What info I lacked though, which I do not want to just assume is the general consensus of the public on this.  I would so appreciate it if you can please help me out and let me know your general stand on animal testing.

  • Are you for or against animal testing?   
  • Is your opinion only for cosmetic purposes or is it an absolute for all kinds of testing, ie, medical and cosmetic?   
  • Can you tell me your reasons and the facts to which you are basing this opinion?

No worries, I will not use your opinion to modify mine to something that will please or attack yours.   I just would like to confirm that my understanding of your opinion is correct.

If however, you wish to keep your anonymity, which I will understand, you can still express your opinion by voting on the poll which I have placed on the right side of this blog.

Thank you in advance!

In the meantime, allow me to share with you this gruesome atrocity on animal testing:
One animal rights group has secretly infiltrated and filmed a labz where a scientific ho was making a defenseless frog his biatch.
The ho cut off one of the frog's legs and told the frog "Jump".  The frog jumped and thus the  ho noted in his lab note thingy- "i conclude that if you cut off one of the frog's legs, the frog can still jump."
The ho did this with the second and third leg getting the same result.  Then he cut off the fourth leg, ho told the frog "Jump".  But the frog did not move anymore.  He repeated, even louder - "Jump".  Nothing.   
So he noted "I therefore conclude, that if you cut off all of the frog's legs, the frog becomes deaf."
The animal group released the scandalous video stating vehemently, we cannot allow this  atrocity to continue without anesthesia!
NB  Another question- would jokes like these undermine my authority as a role model of the children, our future?   Speak up now or else i will unleash so many "funny"animal jokes  up my sleeve - you will not hear the end of it!


Over Christmas my dad started telling me this story about my grandmother's Wedgwood teapot. (Stay with me.) My granny had this set of Wedgwood china that was for every day use - it contained everything from eggcups to cake plates to butter dishes, gravy boats and toast racks - all in the Summer Sky design, which is light blue with a white border. I think she bought it in the late 1950s. Anyway,


Thursday, 6 January 2011
*I am going to write this entire post without using the words girlcrush, It girl or power couple. 

I've always loved this photo taken on a Paris rooftop, which must be one of the most re-blogged and tumblr-ized photos out there, but I did not know until just now that it's actually Binki in the picture.
Of course! I must confess to developing a certain...admiration for Miss Binki Shapiro. It's


Wednesday, 5 January 2011
People tell me I'm difficult to buy gifts for. It's true - I have extremely particular taste that no one can ever pin down and I'm an aesthetically sensitive flower. Sue me. Anyway, it is generally considered sensible by those who must give me a gift at Christmas to just silently pass me some cash in an unmarked brown envelope. In the past few years this has ended up going towards my tax bill or

The Hype of Hypoallergenic

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy 2011 Everyone!

This is going to be a great year- i feel it in my fingers, i feel it in my toes.
Easy for me to say- though it was no less than 24 hours ago, that I was still in a food coma- darn 'em lobsters- so good with butter sauce.

Anyway, let us talk about HYPOALLERGENIC.

The cosmetic industry coined the word "hypoallergenic" to assure people that a product "will cause less allergies than average." 

Can you see the marketing genius in that?

This is a statement that I can misconstrue and twist in oh so many wonderfully wily ways!
Why, even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)  has given up governing the claim hypoallergenic because it is such a rich ground for weaseldom.

SO, here are your facts:

  1. There is no such thing as a product that will never cause allergies to no one.  None. Ever.  Period. 
  2. The weasel-dom of the hypoallergenic claim  plays on three things.  Who defines and what is defined as "less than average" and by what accepted type of measure.
    Isn't that stupendously wonderful?!  This is a slide-rule that changes over country and time and the menstrual cycle and mood swing of the tester and the testee.
  3. A brand claims hypoallergenic as a conscious marketing strategy.  Most usual suspects are either new entrants to the market who want to assure you that the lipgloss they churn in their garage is safe OR it can be an established brand that is stuck on a time-space warp with their ancient positioning and the new brand managers are too insecure to change it for fear of not having anymore to say about their brand aherm"clinique"aherm.
  4. A product can be "hypoallergenic" and not claim that they are.  It is because to claim "hypoallergenicity" means we pay to be hypoallergenically accredited.
  5. In the olden days, when we claim hypoallergenic, that meant we have shaved a lot of rabbits and tested them with the usual allergenic suspects.  Less rabbits die, more hypoallergenic it is.*  We keep testing till we get the result we wanted and we tested with all the possible ingredient suspects.
  6. Now, due to this darn "No Animal Testing" regulation (which btw, everybody is required to follow- so anybody who is claiming no animal testing isn't really claiming shit) - we just keep a list of what successfully tested as hypoallergenic previously.  Then we will tell you that we do not test on animals.  What we mean of course is we do not test on animals - anymore.  But to arrive at this list of hypoallergenic ingredients -  hell yeah- we did test on them rabbits!
  7. Let us say, for the sake of argument that we did a "valid" test, and yes, the products are indeed hypoallergenic- I have two issues with hypoallergenic still. 
  • First, everyone has different allergies from everybody else.  Why would i use a product that i paid so much for (because at the end of the day, it is the consumer who will pay for those hypoallergenic accreditation) with less potency just because it took into consideration someone allergic to Kiwi which is normally fine by me?
  • Second,  hypoallergenic is bullshit.

Professionally speaking, I am not one to recommend using the "hypoallergenic" argument in any of the cosmetic lines that i launch- except of course if my client is really a fly-by-night newcomer churning glosses in their murky backyard where i will probably insist that they pay to get hypoallergenic accreditation to help in future lawsuits.

So, to end this, the moral of the story is-
If you really are not the sensitive type, and there are 98 chances to 2 that you aren't, do not make a buying decision just on the merit of hypoallergenicity. Base your decision on other more meaningful qualities.

Happyallergenic new year everyone!

*Disclaimer:  Perhaps, the rabbits did or didn't die.  I will not know this for sure as I was too young when this practice was being done still.  But I state that to have more dramatic impact- the environmentalists lurv these kinds of things.  And i think the web experts think these controversial things where i tag dead rabbits makes for good SEO- whatever that SEO shit is.