Book Review: In Your Face: The Culture Of Beauty And You By Shari Graydon

in your face shari graydon

Name: In Your Face: The Culture Of Beauty
Brand: Shari Graydon
Pages: 172
Price: AUS$20.95

A lively, thought-provoking look at the power and pitfalls of the beauty industry hype.
From fairy tales and Hollywood movies to magazine ads, reality TV and the Internet, we absorb the lesson early: being beautiful is the answer to our dreams. It’s harder than ever for teens to tune out the endless media messages promoting unattainable ideals, yet at no time in history have they had more tools to change the message.
With “In Your Face,” Shari Graydon encourages readers to think critically about the culture of beauty both past and present. Whether it’s the different standards for guys versus girls, racial and size biases, the assumptions we have about models and celebrities, or the message that the “right” clothes, makeup, or surgical procedure can make you a better person, Graydon’s unbiased look into the realities behind our ideals will help teens deconstruct the beauty industry hype.
Fully rewritten and redesigned from the 2004 edition, “In Your Face” has been updated to reflect the heightened pressures of beauty in the digital era — both good and bad — to shape our self-image. The appealing magazine-style format, stylish illustrations, and conversational tone will draw readers into this empowering exploration of the complex subject of beauty.

Beauty is powerful. It’s transformative. It doesn’t just affect our looks, but also our state of mind. When we like how we look, we feel good. We’re ready to face whatever challenges come our way with confidence and a smile on our faces. We can conquer the world. But when we feel ugly, and stress about every perceived flaw, our self-esteem plummets to the ground and nothing ever seems to go right. We start believing we’re not good enough and give up our dreams.

In today’s world, feeling good about the way we look is harder and harder. The beauty industry has set standards that are impossible to achieve for everyone, and then sells us products that promise, by making us look pretty, to solve all our problems. And its customers are getting younger and younger. From fairytale to social media, from TV shows to magazines, young girls are bombarded with the message that being beautiful is the only thing that matters in life. But what does beautiful mean?

With “In Your Face,” a book aimed at teens but that every woman who doesn’t like the way she looks should read too, Shari Graydon encourages readers to answer this question and to think critically about all the beauty messages we are exposed to every day. Graydon explains how companies make money by preying on our insecurities about the way we look, the different standards for guys and girls, how the concept of beauty has changed throughout the centuries, how social media has increased the pressure to look good, and much more. Graydon also wonders if being beautiful is a good thing. We assume that beautiful people have it easy, but their beauty has disadvantages too.

The book is visually appealing. Each chapter is short, but very informative and thought-provoking, and full of pretty illustrations, comics and visual aids that make it an engaging read. Graydon writes in a colloquial way that makes you feel like you’re talking to a friend. Although she’s biased against the beauty industry, she never preaches. Her tone is not angry. It’s frank. Straightforward. Graydon makes you think and challenge your perspective of beauty. Her book’s a very enlightening read that will open your eyes to how profoundly we’re manipulated by the beauty industry.

Available at: Booktopia

With In Your Face, Shari Graydon encourages readers to think critically about the concept of beauty. She also offers media literacy tips to help us notice and evaluate all the messages coming at us. Visually appealing, beautifully illustrated, and well-researched, In Your Face is an enlightening and engaging book every teen and woman who is dissatisfied with her looks should read.

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration.In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

5 Cosmetic Oils Used By Our Ancestors


What oils did our ancestors used on their skin and hair? The Toilette Of Health, Beauty, And Fashion mentions the most common:

1. Oil of cacao

The oil of cacao is the best and most natural of all pomades. It is well adapted to dry skins, which it renders soft and smooth, without the appearance of being greasy. It is much used by the Spanish ladies of Mexico. In France and England it cannot be used pure, because it grows too hard. It becomes necessary to blend it with some other oil—as oil of ben, or oil of sweet almonds cold drawn.

2. Oil of ben

Oil of ben is extracted by expression from nuts of the same name. Oil of ben possesses the property of never becoming rancid; it has neither taste nor smell; and in consequence of this latter quality, the perfumers use it with advantage to take the scent off flowers, and to make very agreeable essences. The ladies use this oil to soften the skin. When mixed with vinegar and nitre, it is also employed for curing pimples and itching. The oil of ben, moreover, is used with success as a lenitive for bums, acrid eruptions, chapped lips, and sore breasts.

3. Oil of Wheat

This oil is extracted by an iron press, in the same manner as oil of almonds. It is excellent for chaps, either of lips or hands, tettery eruptions, and rigidity of the skin.

4. Oil of Tuberoses and Jasmine

The essence of these and other fragrant flowers communicated to olive oil, oil of sweet almonds, or oil of ben. The oils of tuberoses, or jasmine flowers are of use for the toilette on account of their fragrancy. There are cases in which they may be successfully used by way of friction, to comfort and strengthen the nerves, and brace up the skin when too much relaxed — though we apprehend beyond their fragrance, they possess little advantage over the oils above named.

5. Oil, or Water of Talc

High encomiums were bestowed by the ancients on a water or oil of talc, which they averred possessed the property of blanching the complexion, and ensuring to women the freshness of youth till the most advanced age. The manner in which they composed this precious cosmetic has not reached us. A French author, however, has given the way of composing a liquid that may serve as a substitute for it; and a German chemist some years ago published a method of supplying this secret possessed by the cosmetics of antiquity. ‘All,” says he, ‘who have directed their attention to cosmetics, have regretted the loss of the secret of making water of talc, and have looked upon it as a discovery of the utmost importance to the Graces.’ ‘The following composition, perhaps, approaches nearest to that highly vaunted cosmetic,’ says the author of Abdeker, which is laid down by him as follows :—

“Take any quantity of talc, divide it into lanunae and calcine it with yellow sulphur. Then pound it, and wash it in a great quantity of hot water. When you are sure that you have extracted all the salts by this washing, gently pour off the water, and leave the pulp at the bottom of the vessel to dry. When dry, calcine it in a furnace for two hours with a strong heat. Take a pound of this calcined talc and reduce it to powder, with two ounces of sal ammoniac. Put the whole into a glass bottle, and set it in a damp place. All the talc will spontaneously dissolve, and then you have nothing more to do than to pour off the liquor gently, taking care not to disturb it.” This liquor is as clear and as bright as a pearl, and it is impossible to present the sex with a cosmetic whose effects are more astonishing.

M. Justi, a German chemist, who also endeavored to recover a secret of such importance to the fair sex, lays down the following process: Take two parts of Venetian talc, and two parts of calcined borax.

After M. Justi had perfectly pulverized and reduced these substances, he put them into a crucible, which he covered with a lid, and placed in a furnace. He exposed it for an hour to a very violent heat, and at the end of that time he found the mixture transformed into glass, of a greenish yellow color. This glass he reduced to powder, then mixed it with two parts of salt of tartar, and again melted the whole in a crucible. By this second fusion he obtained a mass, which he placed in a cellar, upon an inclined piece of glass, with a vessel underneath it. In a short time the whole was converted into a liquid in which the talc perfectly dissolved.

The authors of the Encyclopoedie Fransaise, say, “it is obvious that by this process you obtain a liquid of the same nature as that called oil of tartar, per deliquium, which is nothing but fixed alkali dissolved by humidity. It is very doubtful whether the talc contributes at all to the properties of this liquid: but it is certain that fixed alkali possesses the property of making the skin perfectly white and clear, and of taking away any spots which it may have contracted. For the rest, it seems that this liquid may be applied without any danger to the skin.”

Which one would you have used?

Why You Shouldn’t Use Toothpaste To Get Rid Of Pimples

toothpaste for pimples

Once upon a time, I used toothpaste to get rid of pimples. It was what every magazine recommended. Back then, magazines were the only source of “wisdom” for a young girl. There was no internet to check out if all their recommendations were true. Had there been, I would have stayed clear of this particular trick. Here’s why:

Toothpaste can dry out pimples

I don’t know why people started using toothpaste as a spot treatment. Maybe a girl, while trying to get the last bit out of a toothpaste, accidentally squeezed too hard and had a dollop land on a pimple. Or maybe she noticed most toothpastes contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in many anti-acne products , and tried applying it on her pimple. However it happened, triclosan, and other ingredients used in toothpaste such as menthol, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol, can cause pimples to dry out. But that doesn’t mean you should use it.

Why you shouldn’t use toothpaste on pimples

All the ingredients mentioned above, and a few more such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is commonly found in toothpastes too, can dry out pimples. But they can also dry out and irritate your skin. Worse, if you leave toothpaste on a pimple a little too long, you may even experience burning! Ouch! Is it worth risking all that when there are much more effective and safer spot treatments available? I don’t think so.

What to use instead

if you have oily, acne-prone skin, use an exfoliant with salicylic acid (it can penetrate inside the pores to unclog them) to prevent breakouts. Two of my favourite options are Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA and Philosphy Clear Days Ahead Oil-free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment & Moisturizer.

If you already have a pimple, instead, opt for a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide such as ProActiv Plus Emergency Blemish Relief or Serious Skin Care Clearz-It Acne Treatment (it contains tea tree oil too). If your blemishes are so stubborn they don’t respond to small concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, try something a more heavy duty, such as Clearasil DailyClear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream (it contains a whooping 10%!).

Have you ever used toothpaste on pimples?

Product Review: Ojon Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2 Minute Hair Mask

ojon dry recovery hair mask 01

Name: Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2 Minute Hair Mask
Brand: Ojon
Size: 200ml
Price: $29.50

From the packaging:
Intensively hydrate and re-condition your dry, dehydrated hair in just 2 minutes. This nourishing, creamy mask with Blue Agave Nectar (rich in oligo-minerals) instantly infuses hair with essential hydration. Formulated with Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Mango Seed Butter and Ojon Oil, a 500-year-old beauty secret. Seals hair’s cuticle and locks in moisture to keep hair healthy and resistant to future damage. Hair instantly becomes more manageable, easier to comb and style.

What I liked:
– creamy consistency, neither too runny nor too thick
– very moisturizing, leaves hair soft, manageable, and easy to style
– doesn’t weight hair down
– because you only need so little, it will last you for ages

What I didn’t like:
– unpleasant scent
– not suitable for oily hair

“What on earth is this stench?,” I thought, as I was massaging a small blob of Ojon Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2-Minute Hair Mask through the lengths of my hair. My nose curled up as it got a whiff of the rancid herbal citrusy scent. It smells like it has gone bad, but it hasn’t. Whoever formulated it just threw in all the oils and herbal extracts they could possibly think of, and while the result is beneficial for your hair, it isn’t that pleasant to your nose.

I admit I hadn’t smelt the mask before using it, but even if I did, I would’ve still been deceived. When I sniffed the product inside its huge, round, pale yellow jar, the scent wasn’t particularly pleasant, but it was subtle. And so it was afterwards, on my hair. I’m not sure if it is because I only used a very small amount (thankfully, this stuff is so moisturizing you need very little of it), or because I used a stronger scented, deliciously smelling shampoo beforehand, but the rancid odour of the mask didn’t persist on my hair for long. It’s only when you apply it that it hits your nose with all its full force.

If you can put up with a few minutes of discomfort, and have dry hair, you may actually like this mask. A pale beige in colour, the mask isn’t runny nor thick and doesn’t weight hair down. The instructions say to use it only once or twice a week and use it after shampoo. Conditioner? I didn’t use it. Although called hair mask, this is a conditioning treatment too. It’s full of nourishing ingredients and must be rinsed off after a couple of minutes. Doesn’t that sound like a conditioner?

ojon dry recovery hair mask 02

Besides, my hair is oily, so I wouldn’t want to apply too many moisturizing ingredients on my hair. That’d just make it even more oily. And this mask is already too rich for me. While it left my locks soft, shiny, and hydrated, the next day my hair started to itch a bit and needed to be washed again. I guess that’s what happens when you use the wrong product for your hair type. But it was given me by a friend, so I just had to try it.

Instead, Ojon Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2-Minute Hair Mask is a wonderful treatment for dry and damaged hair. Although infused with any oil you can think of, Palm Oil is the only one used in a high dose. What does it do? It moisturizes hair. The other two main conditioning agents are Cetearyl Alcohol, a fatty alcohol with hydrating properties, and Behentrimonium Chloride, which creates a protective barrier on the hair that makes it smooth, manageable, and less prone to breakage. Even my very prone-to-knots hair was pretty easy to detangle afterwards!

water, cetearyl alcohol, palm oil, behentrimonium chloride, glyceryl stearate se, safflower seed oil, bergamot fruit oil, orange oil, soybean oil, orange flower oil, camphor bark oil, palm kernel oil, cananga odorata flower oil, sweet violet extract, rosemary leaf extract, blue agave leaf extract, sweet almond seed extract, coffee seed extract, astrocaryum murumuru seed butter, shea butter, mango seed butter, potassium stearate, dimethiconol meadowfomate, hydrolized soy protein, hydrolized corn protein, hydrolized wheat protein, butylene glycol, potassium hydroxide, linalool, limonene, methylchloroiso thiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, phynoxyethanol

Available at: amazon and ulta

Ojon Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2 Minute Hair Mask is a wonderful treatment for dry hair. It hydrates it, leaving it soft, shiny, and easy to detangle and style. But it is too rich for oily hair, and the scent isn’t very pleasant.

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

New Fall 2014 Collections: China Glaze Pop Top, Londontown Lakur, & Zoya Ultra PixieDust

Hello gorgeous,

here’s what China Glaze, Londontown, and Zoya want us to wear on our nails this fall:

China Glaze Pop Top

china glaze pop top fall 2014 collection
Make your nails pop with a touch of glitter this fall. This collection also includes two creme shades to use as bases. They’re called:

Heart of Africa: shimmering deep red
White on White: crisp white crème
Pizzazz: twinkling multi-dimensional glitter blend
Fairy Dust: delicate silver sparkle overcoat
Luxe & Lush: a high octane flaky overcoat
Your Present Required: multi-sized and multi-colored glitter
I Pink I Can: multi-sized pink glitter
Techno: glitter confetti polish

The collection is already available in stores.

Londontown Lakur


Londontown has create a small collection of fall shades with a metallic finish that makes your nails look pretty while hardening and nourishing them. The shades are called:

Best of British: gold
Cockney Glam: copper
Londondium: deep rust
Cheeky Noir: gunmetal
Brilliant Night: charcoal
Posh Rising: moss
Skyline Reflect: slate
Smashing Majesty: blue
Dishy Splendour: platinum

Each nail polish retails at $22 and can be purchased at Londontown USA.

Zoya Ultra PixieDust

zoya ultra pixiedust fall 2014

Meet the next generation of our best-selling textured, matte and sparkling Zoya PixieDust formula ­ Zoya Ultra PixieDust! Three shades featuring both fine micro glitter and mega hex particles for tone on tone 3D effects. This easy glam nail is available in 3 shades in a gradient of red, wine and plum hues. No base or top coat required.

The shades available are:

Noir: deep vampy plum, textured PixieDust with red Mega Hex Particles
Arianna: blue-toned red wine, textured PixieDust with Mega Hex Particles
Oswin: true red, textured PixieDust with Mega Hex Particles

Each shade retails at $10.00, and is already available at

Do you like these collections? Which one is your favourite?

7 Makeup Myths Busted

makeup myths busted

Match foundation to your wrist, they say. And don’t forget, concealer should be one or two shades lighter than your skintone!

Well, I followed that advice for years and now I’ve come to bitterly regret it. Looking back at old photos, I looked a right mess! And these are just two of the many beauty myths we commonly hear. There are many more, and they prevent us from looking our best and having fun with makeup. Let’s debunk a few, shall we?

1. You should match your foundation to your wrist

Every magazine was recommending this when I was a teenager and it is such terrible advice! Because of sun exposure, genetics, environmental factors, and other causes, the skin on your face is usually a different colour than the rest of your body. The perfect foundation shade must match exactly those areas of your body that don’t have makeup on, thus giving your skin a seamless look. In winter, matching your foundation to your neck may be enough. But in summer, or whenever you’re wearing a low-cut top, you should match your foundation to your chest. And then, blend, blend, blend!

2. Darker foundations make you look tanned

Absolutely not! Please don’t do this. That telltale line on your jaw line where your foundation ends will just makes you look like you’ve used the wrong shade. To use dark foundation to achieve that tanned look, you should apply it on all the exposed areas of your body. But then, a self-tanner applied all over your body would usually do a much better job. If you want to give that sunkissed glow to the face, apply bronzer to those areas where the sun would hit first, such as the top of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, your chin, and along the hairline.

bobbi brown creamy concealer kit 02

3. Concealer goes before foundation

I used to do this all the time when I was younger (those crappy magazines again), but once I switched I never looked back! Foundation helps cover up some of the blemishes and discolourations, allowing you to use concealer only on those stubborn areas that need some extra help. This won’t just save you quite a bit of product, but will make blending makeup easier and give you a more natural look.

4. Concealer should be one or two shades lighter than your skintone

I believed this for years, until I tried Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain. It matches my skin so well and boy, what a difference that makes! It just hides everything in such a natural-looking way. A lighter shade, instead, can make the darkness and flaws you’re trying to hide even worse! If your dark circles are really stubborn, then you should opt for a colour corrector that will neutralize the discolouration. To correct violet or blue tones, choose a yellow or orange colour corrector. To neutralize redness, opt for green. I love Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette, which is available in three versions: light, medium, and dark skintones.

5. Spray water on your makeup to refresh it

I’m very tempted to do this during the hot Italian summer months, more to refresh myself than my makeup! lol. But I don’t. Spraying water onto your face will just make your makeup cake, streak, and run. And then you will have to take it all off and do it all over again. It’s much better to just bring your makeup products with you and retouch them as needed throughout the day.

kryolan lipstick 01

6. Red lipstick is not for everyone

Of course it is! Everyone can pull off red lipstick. It’s just a matter of finding the right shade for your colouring. Orange-based reds look better on warm skintones, while blue-based reds are more flattering on those with cooler skin. True reds usually look good on everyone. It’s not just the undertone of the lipstick that matters, but how intense the shade is too. If you have fair, cool skin, you can pull off an orangey red, just as long as it isn’t too dark or too bright. In that case, the lips will stand out too much against your skintone and make you look a bit off.

7. Never use the same colour eyeshadow as your eyes

It is true that wearing the same eyeshadow colour as your eyes won’t make them stand out much, but that doesn’t mean you should never wear it. If you like the colour, go ahead and use it. I have green eyes, and I wear green eyeshadow all the time. It’s my favourite eyeshadow colour. It doesn’t make my eyes pop as much as purple does, but it doesn’t make them look flat and ugly either. Most importantly, makeup is supposed to be fun. So if you like something, try it!

Do you believe in these myths? Do you know of others that need to be busted?