Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Highly recommended

Because WWPD is not a forum to discuss grad-student angst - and the grad students are angsty! - I will instead make some beautification recommendations. Because WWPD is not in fact a beauty blog, none of these places, alas, send me anything for free.

-Bourjois, it turns out, makes a glitter eyeliner almost identical to the Hard Candy one I was obsessed with in high school and college, and that now seems to be unavailable. (The Walmart version seems different, at least going by the website.) The Bourjois one's a tiny bit less glittery, which is for the best, but also has the fine glitter particles, which you need for the effect to work properly, and a better, more grown-up makeup texture. About 8 euros at the Zaventem Duty-Free, which is of course a place convenient to us all, or $12 on ebay.

-Shiseido's Japanese line includes a miracle deep-conditioner that's slightly less expensive at Sunrise Mart. You know when hair starts to look/feel like straw, and you probably should get a haircut, but that's $60 (if you're lucky) and an hour you don't want to spend? The best way I can describe this product is, it gives the impression of recently-trimmed hair. I fell asleep with wet hair and woke up with tendril-y waves, nothing nest-like. And the "mask" smells perfectly reasonable, inoffensive-conditioner scent, not (this was what happened the last time I strayed from the usual) like artificial grape.

-This one's a re-recommend: Uslu Airlines nail polish in "ultra light rose." I put this on exactly a week ago, travelled (economy, carry-on only) across the Atlantic and back, and it remains almost as good as new. No base coat, top coat. Not expertly applied I assure. If this stuff were available in the States, professional nail salons would promptly go out of business.

11 comments:

kei said...

Tsubaki!!! I've been using that line for a while now (there are at least three sub-lines: the regular red one, the white one for damaged hair, and the golden/yellow one for scalp treatment; I prefer the white and yellow ones). My hair stylist said that my hair is much softer than it used to be, and I'm pretty sure this is why (I rarely use other products and I've been consistently using this one has for a while now).

The original commercials for this line was interesting. The tagline was basically that these products are to make "Japanese hair beautiful." Which to me sounded potentially problematic (as in, not for other Asian women's hair, which is relevant if you take into consideration a different, also popular line of products (not by Shiseido) called "Asience"). But then I thought, maybe they're alluding to the fact that Japanese hair is not fine and pin straight, but varied (even on one head), and this is the stuff that will speak to all hair types. I guess I thought that because it has spoken to my wild-ish, inconsistent hair (truer of my earlier days relative to recent days, for better or for worse). So even if the commercials made me a little uncomfortable, I stand by this line of haircare and stock up if it's even remotely on sale at Mitsuwa!

Phoebe said...

This conditioner is amazing, right? I now want to buy the entire "damage" line, but alas, have about $60 worth of Coppola Keratin products to get through first.

The racial categorization of hair products is an interesting question. On the one hand, it can sound offensive. On the other, that "normal" hair means fine, stick-straight, white-person hair means that everyone else needs to figure out what to use, and "ethnic" isn't specific enough. Somewhere along the line, I realized that with thick, coarse, wavy-more-than-curly hair (straight in places - "inconsistent" indeed), I'd be better off with products for Asian hair than black or white. That and two people recently - a good friend, and my own mother - thought they saw me from the back, but it turned out to be someone Asian. This was some kind of message from the hair-product gods. I can see how this mask thingy would make hair with even the potential to get greasy a big ol' mess, but as someone who could most likely not wash my hair for three years without that problem (not that I'd do this!), I'm beyond pleased with the results.

Britta said...

I once used shampoo for Scandinavian hair at a family friend's place when I was in my early teens. It made my hair look like shampoo commercial hair, but now I'm thinking I have no idea where you'd buy shampoo like that, or how/why it was marketed as such. I can't even remember if the writing on the bottle was in English, or if it was for fine blond hair but I translated it into meaning Scandinavian, or what. Anyways, I would buy it again in an instant (and perhaps it would prevent my shampoo hogging thick/coarse haired roommates from using up all my special fine-haired shampoo), but I've never seen anything even remotely similar.

I remember a professor once saying that equality doesn't mean erasing difference, and I think beauty products are a good place to recognize human diversity, even if it doesn't really fall exactly on racial/ethnic/national lines, and of course it might be a little problematic to market it as such (after all, what does it mean to have "Japanese" or "Scandinavian" hair?).

Phoebe said...

Britta,

Not sure re: Scandinavia, but in Belgium there's shampoo for fine, grease-prone hair, like the kind of hair that needs to be washed daily or it shows. To me, this is what "normal" shampoo in the States seems like, but if you have that hair type, as I guess a lot of N Eur people do, a little bit more in this direction is appreciated.

What's funny, I suppose, is that the end goal of these various ethnic products is very much grass-is-greener. One is either trying to make thick, poufy hair more flat and shiny, or fine, flat hair less slick and more voluminous.

PG said...

Are the shampoos with sulfates intended for people with the fine, grease-prone hair? I got a hair-straightening treatment last year that required follow-up care with some expensive Brazilian acai shampoo and conditioner ($40 per bottle even on Amazon, twice that at the salon), and after I'd used up the first couple bottles, the underlying treatment seemed to have worn off anyway. Still, I thought it might be worthwhile to keep using that type of shampoo/conditioner if I could find it at a lower price, and when I Googled the internet said the main thing was for the products to be sulfate-free. So now I've been using $5/bottle Tea Tree Tingle from Trader Joe's. Unfortunately my science competency is not great and mostly in biology, so I don't know exactly what sulfates do, why they seem to be in most hair products, etc.

Britta said...

PG

Very quick googling shows that sulfates are used to strip oil off the hair, but they're not great for damaged/delicate hair. Very fine hair (which I just learned is called 'baby fine hair') is extremely fragile, and suffers from the oily scalp/dry tips problem, which means you need a gentle cleanser which won't stimulate oil production and won't further dry out the tips. It sounds like sulfate-free stuff would be good for all that. Interestingly, I also read that body/volumizing shampoo which works for fine hair can actually weigh down baby-fine hair, making it look limp.

With shampoo, I would say that 'normal' shampoo is probably better for my hair than your hair-type in terms of not making it look socially unacceptable, Phoebe, but it's certainly not aimed at people with ultra-fine hair, but rather at those with straight and not coarse hair. I think part of this is that there's no social stigma with walking around with flat hair, but people with flat hair generally find it undesirable and would prefer bouncy shampoo-commercial hair.

Phoebe said...

PG,

I thought you were anti-straightening? Or am I mixing up blog-commenters?

But in any case, the Coppola Keratin line I'd had luck with, which is semi-expensive ($37 or so for a jumbo bottle that lasts forever) makes a point that it's sulfate-free. Maybe that's supposed to be a thing for hair 'of texture,' maybe it sounds vaguely like a health claim, who knows.

Phoebe said...

Britta,

I know about incredibly fine hair mostly, alas, because of having a poodle. Apparently it can get matted! But it feels soft, which is something. I guess every hair type has its plusses and minuses.

Britta said...

Phoebe,

My hair gets matted too! And especially now that it's longer (a little below the shoulders), every morning I wake up with a gravity defying rat's nest of tangles that require a fine tooth comb to get out.

PG said...

I am generally anti-straightening. Last year's straightening was sort of under duress and not going to be repeated. I posted pics to Facebook at the time and no one said "Ack!", but basically I thought the immediate post-straightening look was really unflattering. It was extremely flat, and since I don't have a large number of hairs (is that lack of volume? thickness?), it meant the hair on top of my head was lying just over my skull. If I had been drawing myself, there would have been a single black line curving over the top of my head to indicate a thin bit of hair, whereas normally my hair can be accurately illustrated only with *several* black lines. Since I have a very round, full face, that sort of severe look does not work well. I have concluded the gods knew what they were about when they gave me curly hair, though I could wish they'd made a world with less humidity.

Phoebe said...

PG,

"I have concluded the gods knew what they were about when they gave me curly hair, though I could wish they'd made a world with less humidity."

Agreed so much re: humidity.

As for the gods and their hair-will, I very much like the idea that we all look our best natural, but that's not how it always goes. I look better with flat-ironed hair - I have, I suppose, a lot of hair, and because my hair texture isn't far from straight to begin with, it doesn't get that semi-smooshed look that can happen if hair that you can kind of tell would look better curly is straightened that way. I like the idea of embracing my natural hair texture, but the idea only. I'm sure there's some complicated way I could have more elegant wavy hair, but this would probably take much more time/effort than flat-ironing where it flips up a bit and being done with it. Mostly, I figure that if I lost the wash-and-go genetic lottery, I at least never have to worry about hair that looks dirty.