Wednesday, 28 March 2012

{1 - 5, Venice; 6, rainy day in Trieste; 7, 8, Castello di Miramare; 9, 10, How to walk in Venice; 11, say hi to my fake Venetian boyfriend.}

Top 6: Those Pestering Patents

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Author's Note:  This post can also benefit male readers, with special kudos to my colleagues from engineering.  (Sorry, I missed the reunion.)
This article is part of a series countdown- Top Ten tactics to Make you buy More cosmetics.  
I have done 10, 9, 8 and 7.   

Now for the Top 6:  Those Pestering Patents.
I got three words about patents...  sneaky little bastards.

Let me tell you why-

Publishing Vs. Patenting

If someone gets to concoct something really innovative, she can do either of two things:
  • One is to divulge it so that the whole world benefits - that is called publishing*
  • Or keep it exclusive so that whoever uses it, pays a price- that is called patenting.
This is  the main reason why cosmetic companies hire an army of researchers, formulators, engineers and chemists- because anything they "discover" while working for the company gets to be denied to the whole world for the company's financial gain.
*A little piece of  trivia- only those who publish their discoveries, innovations and inventions are eligible for a Nobel Prize.  No glory for those who dig for gold here.
Perhaps you would say- well that is fair, after all,  if they worked for it, they deserve to reap financial gains.  Right?

I would agree (my father was an inventor and when I was a wardrobe-deprived teenager, i wished he cashed in from his inventions so I could have had more of those fantastic 80's Dynasty shoulder pads - but i digress)...

...  BUT sadly, that is just half of the story.

28,462 Patents and counting... 

L'Ucifer claims to have 28,462 patents... but, tell me, are your wrinkles gone yet?

You see, 99.99%  of the time, a product will not have any stupefying effect on your skin- and yet, stupid moisturizer can have as much as 478 patents.  What gives?

Allow me to briefly explain the technicalities of patenting.

What can you patent really?   
You cannot patent just anything, silly!  You must have something ├╝ber-extraordinary like ...
  • A "Miracle" Formula.  If you use whale sperm extract like everybody else, why, you can still patent your formula to contain 1. 2875%  sperm whale while rest of the world use 1.28748%.  And don't be shy about it, miracle worker you!
  • A "Magic" Ingredient.   What? Your sperm extract comes only from atlantic-swimming albino whales?  Extra patent points for you oh pioneering one!
  • An "Innovative" container.   Increase the diameter of your competitor's lipstick case by 0.025mm, change its curve by 0.0025° and round the edges .0018mm more and voila!  Don't see a difference?  Well, numbers don't lie- so advance to GO and collect 500.  Your "innovative" case is now patent worthy. 
  • A "Special" Delivery System.  So, you think my mascara wand looks like any other?    Well, mine has exactly 207 hair filaments which are 3cm long twisted 8.5 times with a torque of 500joules in a .02mm wire*.  Who is special now?
    *I might not be making sense here, forgot most my engineering studies you see.
  • A "Pioneering" Idea.  Hmm, seems to me that none of my competitors has thought of patenting this idea we all are using.  Well let me do it for them then and sue the ass of everybody else!  (See this post for more juicy details on this one.)
Ok.  But let us say for example that I have this stupid moisturizer that doesn't do shit, really. (Heehee!  Don't they all?)

And what if  I have a technically-challenged marketing bitch (who also goes by the "original" name of "marketing guru" or "marketing ninja") that couldn't be bothered to get into the nitty-gritty of patenting.  What then?

Meet  "Pestering Patent's" worthy sidekick- "Trademark, the Traitor"

Instead of calling my cream a "stupid moisturizer"*, we shall now call it the  Pro-ultraelectropixellizedhyaluruminizingpieceofmiracleXTM,  give it a snazzy logo and a "scientific" illustration of silver hexagons and double helixes and  trademark the damn thing.
* Marketing gurus and ninjas never (and i mean ever) call them "stupid moisturizers" as we have been properly indoctrinated to believe in our own shit.
You know, something like this-

For your reading pleasure, I have included here fine examples of "stupid moisturizers" other aliases.

See all these fancy products below?  They all answer to one generic name....

--- stupid moisturizer.

Now, why patent if there is nothing innovative after all?

I think you all know the answer.  But here is a clue anyway.

Patent is Still Pending yet Money's Already Coming

And you know what else is so beautiful?  The patent pending claim.  Absolute genius!

You see, after I have filed for my patents, (for a very small price, mind you) and way even before it is proven or accepted (can take a few months to a few decades) - why, I can already advertise that I have a patent pending application and give you all the illusion that I have the fountain of youth in my hands.

A concrete example- remember this product?

When it was first launched, it claimed to have been the result of 10 (or 20- but 10 bullshit year difference doesn't  matter really) years of research and 20 pending patents (or a stupid number like that).

Years hence, where are 'em patents now?

Maybe this article will give you a clue as to what becomes of disapproved/expired patent applications.

But disapproved or not, doesn't really matter.

What's important is - that I was able to launch with a big bang, made a mark on you dear consumers with an illusion of a miracle who in turn gave the Council of the Clueless enough money to wipe their arses with.

And to this I have those sneaky little bastards, patents and trademarks to thank for!


Monday, 26 March 2012

An entire roll of Portra 160 I took in Venice and Trieste has a thin red line through every picture - oh well! (Top tip: Portra 160 + Venice = perfect.) I'm going to take it back to the lab since I don't see the line on the negatives and it's not a light leak - hopefully it's something that happened during processing and can be re-done. So annoying because I really want to show you those photos


Sunday, 25 March 2012

 Paolo Roversi shoots Prada for Vogue Italia. I love the mix of colour sliced with black and white.

Deborah Turbeville for Vogue Italia Couture supplement (which I've never seen in England?) Valentino Couture - wow. Turbeville also shot the spring/summer 12 Valentino campaign, which I love for its natural dappled light and shadows. Models who look like humans in natural poses who happen

Conned to Blog

Thursday, 22 March 2012
Author note:  This post is a writing exercise to get my blogging mojo back.  It is the story of how I got started blogging.  There is no useful practical make up knowledge here, though it is dang scandalous anyway. 
This post was prompted by two things:
  1. A fellow blogger suggested that I get raging mad then start writing as a way to get my mojo back.  And I remembered that this was how i got started- mad!   So I am revisiting my stressor (as Criminal Minds would describe it), to help trigger back the fire in my loins.
  2. I was reading Donald Trump who said - "When somebody hits you, hit them back harder"  because if you don't, you are one big schmuck who deserves to be taken advantaged of.  
And so, here goes the story of How Beauty and the Bullshit was born...

I had the idea of Beauty and the Bullshit while I was still in the beauty industry.  I was not allowed and didn't have the time to write it back then but I registered the domain name anyway.

When i quit the biz, in spite of all the material I had, I still did not have the inclination to start blogging.

Years later, while struggling with a new business that I launched in Belgium, I was introduced to a smooth-talking, gay Asian version of George Hamilton who I will not hide with the name Miguel Sarmiento.
I have been warned that Miguel has a shady past.  That he conned people to lending him millions in Manila and fled on a one way plane ticket to Singapore to avoid jail and/or death.  His then roommate just found himself locked out one day because Miguel didn't pay the rent and was gone.  Without a word.  
In Singapore, Miguel found work assembling cellphones and would swing by classy bars after work to find a man that will save him from his misery.  He found a rich gay Belgian national whom he married and had then settled comfortably in Belgium.
Miguel admitted to his past, and adds...
I have learned my lesson.  I have come clean to my husband who has paid off my debts.  I have changed and am a new person now and i hope you give me a second chance.
And so his ex-roommate forgave him.  And that was how I met him, introduced by his ex-roommate, our common friend who visited me in Brussels that time.
However, we found out later that Miguel never admitted his past to anyone else in Belgium.  In fact, he insinuates to be a relative of one of our country's ex-Presidents and that he left the country because he is pissed off by how stupid our people are*.
Anyway, Miguel has aspirations to be internationally known and to go back to our country with a vengeance.  His plan was to establish himself as the new version of Robert Leech of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous series fame of the eighties and to do that, he will first start blogging.

Problem is, Miguel is grammatically challenged.  And that is where I come in.

He begged me to write for him while my business has not yet taken off.  I declined, but after a lot of prodding, begging, courting on his part, I agreed, on the condition that he pays on time.  So I wrote, he paid a partial sum and then kept me hanging week by week for two months promising the rest of the money.

Money never came.

In  the meantime, he was enjoying his blogger clout.   Think of all the dirty blogging practices in the book - he does it all- and more.
  • He asks for airline ticket upgrades and if he doesn't get it, he trashes the airline
  • He asks for free hotel accommodations, meals for him and his boyfriends
  • He claims adamantly to have paid full fare for everything nonetheless
  • He blogs about events that never happened, name drops people he has never met (Vuitton heir, Richard Branson) and holds contests that never had prizes nor winners
  • He trashes fake products but buys just fakes himself
In spite of his changed situation,  his nature of living beyond his reality stayed intact.  Nothing has changed, and in fact he was worse.
I remember one incident -  he invited me to join him watch a polo match.  He claimed he was invited, yet he fumbled looking for his invitation when security asked for it.  We were sent to the public viewing deck instead where he still insisted to buy a champagne in a plastic glass from a kiosk.
Later that day he wrote in his FB something like "The polo match was ok, my argentinian polo instructor's team did well and won but the VIP food was so bad that me and Rowena left early to eat elsewhere."   
WTF?  I didn't even see the shadow of that VIP food!   
I can cite many other incidents like that- well in fact, all incidents in his life were fabulously distorted.
His blog bio boasts of a law degree when he didn't even graduate from college, having worked in CNN and the European Parliament- when in fact he didn't.  
*Our embassy has declared him persona non grata and the networking group ASmallWorld has ousted him from its roster of members.
Anyway, at the final day that he was supposed to pay, he again cancelled.

And that was when I went Jessica Rabid.

I had a couple of blog posts that i wasn't submitting yet till i was paid.  So I went into blogspot, registered a blog, drew the logo of Beauty and the Bullshit, then started blogging.

And so it was in July 26, 2010 after 6 hours of hammering blind and foaming at the mouth on my keyboard, that Beauty and the Bullshit was born.

And to this, I have a con artist to thank for.


When Miguel learned of the new blog, and realizing that I can expose his sham to the rest of the world, he started a smear campaign and fabricated stories to discredit me.   Eventually, after a flurry of an email war, people caught on the real story or at least raised suspicions in his circles.  He has since decreased his presence in Belgium and has set his sights in the US.

To this date, he refused to take out the unpaid blog posts that I have written, took all the credit of my past work and would trash me in his posts.  He also claims ownership of Beauty and the Bullshit and maintains that I should pay him for using it.

He also did not return my blackberry, some bags that I had him carry from Asia for me.  Till this day, he takes every chance he gets to do me bad.

I am not one to use my blog for revenge but I believe that if I can save another soul from being conned by this Satan's little helper, then this rant has served its purpose.

And so may the public be warned.

P.S.  In my country, whistleblowers like me are sued for libel.   That is to protect offenders who most, (though not all) of the time, have influence with the law.  This con-artist makes my life hell every chance he gets- so I say- bring it on, till death do us part!


Whenever I come back from Venice, after first thinking about how I miss my friends, I think about the food I can't eat anymore!

I have a lot of Instagram photos I didn't post on there during my trip - but sometimes it's just not possible to take a photo with the camera (though I have 2 rolls of film to be developed), especially in an exhibition or somewhere you're not supposed

No Bullshit Product Review: MUJI MAKE UP BASE

Monday, 19 March 2012
In my line of work, I   never had to buy my own make up and am even paid to try them.  But since I quit the industry, I have to spend my hard earned money for it.
Even with my insider knowledge, I still occasionally get disappointments from my purchases.  Here is one.

Recently, I bought this Muji Clear Make Up Base.

I chose a clear make up base instead of foundation because:

  1. Foundations look too made-up, even the light coverage ones
  2. Foundations come only in limited number of shades (for the brand's economic reasons).  So chances are, it will be dang difficult to find a perfect match to my skin color
  3. My skin tone darkens or lightens depending on the quantity of my exposure to the sun.  So even if I find a perfect match today, it will not be a perfect match tomorrow.
  4. A clear base helps provide a good layer to hold the rest of my make up well and longer.  I can look my "natural best" without seeming like I have spent much time on myself (and well, I haven't- I only spend 5 minutes max to make my Face Zero)
I chose the MUJI brand because of the ff. reasons:
  • ORIGIN: MUJI is made in Japan.  My experience is good with most Japanese made products and brands as Japan is more stringent with its quality standards compared to FDA of US and that of Europe.
  • PACKAGING: MUJI has decent and yet non-superfluous packaging.   No box but with a sticker seal, and just a one color printing.  This means that more of the cost goes to the product rather than the packaging, ergo, I do not spend unnecesarily to show off.
    As well, they chose a dropper type of delivery system.  This means that there is less chance of product contamination which helps the product stay good longer.

  • NO TECHNOJARGON BULLSHIT: MUJI did not give me any bullshit descriptor- no techno jargon, no vitamin bullshit.  It just claims SPF 15 at the back (SPF15, is nothing impressive.  An SPF claim, though not bullshit, is no reason for me to buy a product).  Of course it could have said some bullshit in Japanese but since I cannot read Japanese, I judged only from what i read.
  • NO ADVERTISING BULLSHIT: It is not promoted by celebrities or expensive advertising.  But it was presented well in the counter.  So I don't give the company money just to blind my judgement by celebrity and/or advertising.
  • GOOD TEXTURE:  I tested the texture in my hand and it was just the right consistency, it is absorbed easily and did not leave a sticky sensation.
  • GOOD PRICE:  I bought this in Asia and paid about 6€ for a 30ml.  
I felt good when i bought the product.  It didn't make any false promises and delivered just what I needed for a fair price.

However, after about 3 months, the formula became runny and its components have separated.  %*#!!!

Now, a little technical backgrounder to explain to you what happened here.

Emulsion 101
 This product is an emulsion.  An emulsion is made of oil and water and as you know, oil and water do not normally mix.  For them to mix, an emulsifying agent is introduced.  
A good formulation which is packaged well (protected from sunlight and contamination) should remain stable for at least 3 years.   
They are tested in the lab for stability by subjecting them to an elevated temperature for a few months.  If the product remains stable (water and oil do not separate) during this time, it is assumed that it will remain stable for at least 3 years in normal climate conditions.*
Sub -note on expiration dates
*BTW, if a formulation is good, it can stay longer than the expiry date states.  Expiry date is  just a legally required guideline.   Learn to judge if a formula is good aside from the expiration date and save yourself money.

So, What happened?
The formula itself is obviously not very stable.   
Though the texture feels good, and the product has passed its  lab stability test, lab tests are just simulations and are never a 100% assurance of a product's long term stability. 
It also did not help that the packaging  is white as it could not have been enough to protect the formula from the sun and heat.  So, the texture is more exposed, more "aggressed" and thus broke down.

If you live in colder country and you can keep your product in a less aggressive environment, then this product might be worth the risk, though there is no guarantee.  

What would I do?
To avoid this formula separation, and if I were Muji, i will :
  • tweak my formulation and subject them to more stringent and longer lab testing
  • go for a darker color packaging
  • I will also refund me for this texture fiasco 
Will I buy this product again? 

Not unless MUJI has changed the formulation and the packaging-  I will not and I do not recommend you to buy it either.  

Nonetheless, I will not discourage you to try the other MUJI products in the range because of the other reasons I had when I bought this product.   BUT,  not because it is MUJI means all products are good- be sure to try the textures that they are satisfactory and hope that they do not break down on you in the long run.

There you go! My first hands-on no bullshit product review.
In the next posts, I will write to give more guidelines in choosing your textures.


I received no compensation, whether it be in cash or in kind to write this review.
I have no contact with any MUJI company representative  prior to this article- well, except of course for the sales person who assisted me in this sale.

?. . .

Saturday, 17 March 2012

{p.s. In the next few days I'll be posting on Instagram and intermittently on Twits...}


Sunday, 11 March 2012

The last winter photos from a roll I shot in Regent's park when it snowed, and on winter walks in Greenwich park.

Bonjour spring.


Friday, 9 March 2012

It makes me very happy to rejuvenate clothes. I always go by the principle of quality over quantity and I'm surprised at how many people still don't get this. Buy three well made, but relatively expensive, pieces of clothing per year, wear them for ten years vs. buying a whole new wardrobe every season from the high street: Guess which is more economical?

I am seriously hardcore about this: I'd


Friday, 2 March 2012
At last, I scored a second hand edition of Allure to complete my collection of Diana Vreeland books. The others are: Diana Vreeland by Eleanor Dwight, Why Don't You - The Bazaar Years by John Esten, The Eye Has To Travel by Lisa Immordino Vreeland and of course, D.V. by D.V. Is it possible to do a PhD in a person?!

Allure was always the one I was fussy about: I didn't want the new (2010),