Stop and Smell The Bullshit

Stop and Smell The Bullshit

Well hello there stranger, thought your world could use some rocking today.  A little post from your friendly neighborhood bitch.
Recently, at
a Body Shop in Brussels, I was asked to sign an international petition against
animal testing in cosmetics. 
Oh, what a delightful gem of an idea, protecting those cute fuzzy little bunnies, I thought to myself… isn’t the world such a beautiful place?

But then, an alarm went ringing in my head that said:

 “BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!”

This is what I saw in my head:

The end.
Author disclaimer.  
The author does not take the side of pro or anti animal testing here (Well, at least not in this post).  Just that you stop and smell the bullshit  before you commend in haste  anyone’s seemingly noble actions.

Top 6: Those Pestering Patents

Top 6: Those Pestering Patents

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 über-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  ProultraelectropixellizedhyaluruminizingpieceofmiracleXTM,  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!

Conned to Blog

Conned to Blog

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.

http://www.facebook.com/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.

————-
Epilogue


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 and now the Arab world.


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.

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, whistle blowers like me are sued for libel.   That is to protect offenders who are most often those that make the  law (or sleep with them).  This con-artist makes my life hell every chance he gets- so I say- bring it on, till death do us part!

No Bullshit Product Review: MUJI MAKE UP BASE

No Bullshit Product Review: MUJI MAKE UP BASE

Photo from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Tierney#/media/File:Gene_Tierney_-_AAFPOABrief.jpg

Photo from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Tierney#/media/File:Gene_Tierney_-_AAFPOABrief.jpg

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.

 

DISCLOSURE:
 
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.

 

PMS Journals: Dignity in Humility

PMS Journals: Dignity in Humility

My mum, as she wil remain in my eyes

Today, I have witnessed my mother hold on to the last vestiges  of her pride.

She is one gracious woman, who prides herself for being the proper lady.  At the age of 71, she would boast that so far, in spite of her sicknesses, she has always been in control of herself, her mind and her body functions.

In her hospital bed, with dextrose on her arm and air tube stuck in her nostrils- she insisted to go to the bathroom, resisted all efforts for a bedpan or diapers inspite of doctors orders to lie down, inspite of the fact that she cannot support her weight.  She had to be held down by several nurses.  And yet she insisted- tearing away all the tubes attached to her body.

After an eternity of battling, she gave up, peed in her bed and wept.  And I felt her tears.

Mom, the human body is frail.  It will give up on us before our consciousness does.
Accepting this takes humility.  And there is much more dignity in that.

You will always be the dignified human being in my eyes even if your body will have given up on you.

I love my mum.

Drawn by my nephew, Mox
Purse and Prejudice:  HOW TO BE COOL

Purse and Prejudice: HOW TO BE COOL

Hello and welcome to Purse and Prejudice– a new section of Beauty and the Bullshit that talks fashion and lifestyle.

It will be filled with lots of inspirations – pictures, moodboards and sensorial delights but for now, a little intro – see if it rhymes with yours. 

———

COOL

It is simple.
If you are in the quest of cool. Big chance is that you are not.

Because this is the cardinal rule of cool.
Substance over style.

Let me explain.

Have you ever experienced public speaking and you fret over how you come across, what you will wear, what poses you will take, what you will do with your hands and how people will see you? Nerve wracking innit?

And uncool too.

But once you get over yourself and get into the message you will deliver, that you will fashion yourself in a way that will help in the message being understood – then message takes possession of the messenger, your substance takes over style.

You will find that getting lost in the message, you forget about yourself and you think only of how you can make your audience understand, on how you can win them over to your point of view.

That is cool.

Allow me please to give you a concrete example.

No-grade glasses. WTF for?

Not unless you are Doogie Howser (which you are not, he is a fictitious character) who needs to make himself look older to be taken seriously so as not get in the way of the message- no-grade glasses are uncool.  (Ok, so Doogie doesn’t wear glasses but you get the point)

Look who else are cool-

  • Jesus(the one who got crucified, not the one who tags along Madonna, the one who sings, not the one who had an immaculate conception),
  • Einstein (I mean, after you have heard the theory of relativity, would you really have sanity left to contemplate the hair? )
  • John Lennon
  •  Manny Pacquiao

These people have messages bigger than themselves.   Whether you buy that message or not, you have to respect the sincerity of their belief.

And the ones who are not:

  • Boy Bands
  • Justin Bieber (No, my dear niece Patreng, he is not!)
  • Kimora Lee Simmons (fabulous, which she is not anyway- is not a message)
  • Jlo (singer that can’t sing)

They are but marketing products, all style, no substance.

Successful? Perhaps.  Cool? Not.

So, bref, want to be cool? Get over yourself already.
Stand for something.

Not sure what it is you stand for?

Search for it. Meet people, try new things, be the lowly student of life.
But do not look for answers in your navel.* That is not cool.

*there is a beautiful word for it and I think that it should be used more in conversational language. Omphaloskeptic- someone who contemplates the meaning of the universe by staring at his own navel.  Gawd knows I have used this for my exs.

Now that we established priority of substance over style, here are some thoughts on how style can support your substance.

If you read style books (and I must have read them all! I am a sucker for them and I am thinking of reviewing them all here), you get mixed messages.

They will start of with a statement like “be yourself” or “that the only rule is that there are no rules” or some shit like that.

And then, they start bombarding you with rules and rules on rules and exception to the rules and rules of the exception.  What gives?


I think that there are 3 balancing acts which is up to you to decide on.

Blend In or Stand Out

Standing out is great! I love being overdressed and standing out and showing off my style (which is a combination of Mrs. Robinson, Amy Winehouse, Bianca Jagger, Jim Morisson, Iris Apfel and Jackie O- go figure). But consider this…

You get to observe and learn from people more if you make them comfortable in their own habitat. At times, have the confidence to blend in, be a local. Be just one of the crowd. .
It is easy to power play and stand out but it takes the utmost confidence to just blend in.

Beauty Vs Comfort

I am one to favor beauty over comfort.

For if i were to be honest, if i didn’t favor beauty, i will be in my adidas sweatpants and flipflops all day long.   Heck I might throw in some UGG Boots in winter for good measure.   And I will not wear make up.
And oh, i will also not be taking a bath.

On the other end of the spectrum, hell impossible to run in 4 inch heels at the airport, or carry a Chanel Ibiza bag in the favelas of Manila or wear mink in meeting my vegan unenlightened business colleagues.

What is your message? And how much comfort or beauty are you willing to sacrifice to deliver that message?  You be the judge, you set the rules.

Important Vs essential

An object is either important in helping you deliver your message or essential – it doesn’t play a part, you don’t care about it but you need it just the same.

If an object is important, buy the best you can afford as you cannot afford not to.

If it is essential, buy the cheapest generic shit out there. 

It is either Brunello Cuccinelli  or H&M, IKEA or Eames (No, I don’t like Stark). 
Anything in between is superfluous and money not well spent.

So decide, which things are important and which are essential? 
Then, spend your money accordingly.

In the next posts, I hope to review concretely things that are essential and important and other things.
It will be all Purse and Prejudice.  I hope you stay around and we can be inspired together.

PMS Journal:  PMS PRIMER

PMS Journal: PMS PRIMER

Warning: Though this post might be helpful to the male species, I would like to forewarn them of morbid language. I advise just to look at the video below for some enlightenment.

Welcome to PMS Journals!  A new section of Beauty and the Bullshit.

I figured that if people can post updates on what they have for every meal, then I can push the envelope a teeny tiny bit to update everyone about the state of my ovulation cycle.

For when I am PMSing (premenstrual syndrome for the uninitiated), that wonderful time in the menstrual cycle just after ovulation and before the actual bleeding, i believe (in my case at least), my hormones are a raging and I am one rabid woman. My ex can attest to this.

I think this is better with a video explanation…

Now, do not get me wrong, not all PMS is bad.

Good PMS exists and it is pretty easy to spot – when you want to move the sink to the living room, the sofa in the bathroom, the whole house and your whole life upsde down… that is good PMS.

It follows this chart but where the answer to the first  question is always “NO”:

Which is governed by this:

But then, oh then … there is BAD PMS and VERY BAD PMS.

Ooooh, just the thought of it makes my hair stand on end…


At very bad PMS, I am known to unleash THE RED DRAGON- a stuff of legends . Not a lot of people have seen it but those who did have left and live to tell the tale.

So, i think my point is, …. hmmm, i don’t have any.

Just need a place where we can take everything light seriously, or serious things lightly.  Where we can express our passion or our rage and just rant away about how the earrings of Kate Middleton doesn’t do anything to the tiara or the whole outfit or how bottled water is affecting the future of the galaxy (yes, i do have an opinion) or what I think of the Da Vinci Code or The Alchemist (crap) or why the fuck I still am single to this day.  Phew!

And PMS, here is your home.

Another option would be this- but i dont think it is happening anytime soon.  But am calling on interested female business partners and possible male prostitutes.

And since this is PMS country, we can gossip and bitch on anything as much as we want and we will blame it on hormones.  And if anyone is offended of my rantings, it is not me, it is PMS.  In this section, we got PMS immunity.

But, I promise you this, i will respect your counter—opinion and let us agree to disagree.

Gawd, I wonder how long will this last having PMS ing women in the room together.

Photo credit:
I would like to give credit to Thomas Fichter the artist photographer of the Warning police line do not cross, part of which I used for the PMS Journal artwork. I just stumbled upon his work.
I have not given him any money nor has he given me any for this. But I have provided here a link for you to thank him for sharing his excellent work .