ABOUT

(Photo credit: Liv Tyler.)
(The text is mine and appeared in Beauty Book 2006, a book that I edited)

When I used to work in the cosmetics industry, my cocktail chit-chat would go something like this-

With men:

Man  : I do not understand why women need so much make-up, when you women look much more beautiful natural- as you are right now
Moi    : Natural takes 14 products, that is how much I have on.
Man   : Ok, what I mean is - how you would look when you just got of my bed.
Moi    : The out of bed look needs 16 products.
With women, soon as they learn I work in make–up, they get this round-eyed look much like a kid begging for one more night time story.   They are instantly my BFFs and they are all ears to hear all about the machinations of the make-up industry.

Now the cosmetics industry controls EVERYTHING about its image/products.
In a photo shoot, I know the exact angle of the head tilt to the degree, number of hairs cascading on face, length of false lashes (inner, center and outer), and which competitor's products I will use on the model and make pass as our own.  
Yup, we take great degrees to make sure you get that "natural look"- but of course we will not tell you what it took to get the finished product and image.

And, so long as one is on the Cosmetic Industry’s payroll- fat chance that you will get the real dirt on your make-up.  So I scoff at the articles of “Beauty Insiders” and paid beauty editors.

Alas, the real critics, individual beauty enthusiasts are kept privy from what really goes on with the products- so they only can react on the bullshit that reaches them.

Which is why, this blog series.

Now, now- do not get me wrong.

I am not an NGO activist.  I will not profess for you to limit your material belongings to 57 things and not take long, luxurious baths.   I love make up and fashion and beautiful things that work and spend good money on it now.

BUT much as you are fed this bullshit, you also have the right to know the real story.

Think of it as having generic names on your medicines.  Then if knowing the bullshit, you still would spend that amount of money for something that is basically,  cake icing, then so be it - at least you are making an informed decision.

The things you will get from the series-
·     Why I discontinue your favorite shade of lipstick
·      How I can make you pay and buy more for the same old product
·      A day in the life of cosmetic development, who gets to name the shades
·      Which products can you buy for cheaper and the same quality
·      Deciphering the truth behind the claims
·      Behind the scenes of a photo shoot
·      How to apply make up while driving
·      Words of wisdom/warning  to those who want to launch their own makeup line
·      The evil companies and the ones pretending to be good but are nonetheless evil
·      I will from time to time also give both praises and the dirt on product finds
I will also talk about the day to day bullshit of fashion, advertising, food, work and whatnot that are relevant to you- that means, i will not talk about my cat  (also because i do not have one).  

But here, however, are what you cannot expect from this blog.
  • I will not post everyday just for the heck of posting.  I will post when i have something to say that i think will be worthy of your time.  Not all my mind farts are stardusts of brilliance you see.  
  • I don't do raffles or contests.   If my content is not enough to lure you here, then so be it.
  • I will not review every new groundbreaking innovation on the planet.  Because chances are, they are not and I'd rather be productive elsewhere.
  • I will not be wearing badges of affiliation or accreditation or liking or recommending other blogs if I do not really like it.  Peer pressure never worked for me.
As well, girls, if you have any questions, shoot.  I am not on the cosmetics payroll anymore and my contract to secrecy has expired.

So, get yourself a glass (or a bottle) of your favorite red, kick up your heels and let's chitchat!

With my 2 guilty pleasures-
Rowena Red lipstick and red wine.
Photograph by my favorite paparazzo Dennis Chan.
-Rowena



44 comments:

  1. I have the feeling that your blog will soon be one of my top reads! It's interesting to get a real insight into the business side of the beauty industry :)

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  2. Thanks for the comment and the words of encouragement Hinna! That is surely inspiring me in this sometimes lonely task:-)

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  3. Hahaha I want to work in a cosmetics company, making cosmetics. Would love to learn all the secrets early! lol

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  4. Hi Janna- thanks for the comment- I really enjoy hearing from you! I see you like nail polishes:-) I will try to write about them in the next few blogs. Let me know if there are brands that you favor for nailpolishes as I will be tackling that and the suppliers that make them. And best of luck!

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  5. Hi Rowena

    I love "I am a woman, creature of beautiful irony". Did you wrote it yourself?


    When my boyfriend and I go out, he doesn't give me the time to put on my make up. He says I'm beautiful with no make up on. And I understand him, he wants to give me more self-confidence.

    But foundation is my armour.

    Without my armour I feel like everybody is going to attack me.


    I just love your blog.♥ Sofie

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  6. Rowena - Thank you! I have no preference at all, any secret would be fun to know =]

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  8. Dear Sofie- Thanks for the comment!
    I can so identify with you! My ex-boyfriend is also into this no-makeup look and THEY do not know what they're talking about! Heehee!
    Yes! I wrote it myself- it was used in a book that I edited for my ex-company. Glad you liked it!

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  9. Hi Janna- I will try not to disappoint you then.:-) I am taking a little more time for the next posting- but will come in soon- an inside view of product development!

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  10. Hi there

    Having been in the industry for such a long time and knowing the "bs" that goes on, are there any brands that are less gimicky and produce quality products?

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  11. Awesome, awesome blog. Looks like it will be lots of fun following you!
    p.s. not that the actual content of your blog isn't interesting enough, but when I read through it, it sounds exactly like the way I talk - straightforward, biting wit, & the occasional bad words that really hit the points home - so I really love that part! Keep it up!

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  12. Hi Vonzi- I wish it was that easy- but NO. The answer to your question will be in a big revelation of a blog that will be coming later. Sorry that I cannot be more straightforward but it is a BIG BOMB that will require explanations. So hope you stick it out with me. I will try to make it fun in the process.

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  13. Hi ScienceGeek- thank you! thank you!
    You talk like me? I like you already!

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  14. I'll be waiting for that and sticking around!!!!!!

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  15. I am so looking forward to reading your blog more, the quoted pic's and the way you talk [well type but who cares] is so sassy and fun to read, and dirt on make up is always good to know. XD

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  16. You know, I think that a lot of women will go "oohhh how could I be so naive!" after reading your blog.

    It's a bit like telling us Santa Claus is dead and the Easter Bunny ate him up ^^
    If it existed.
    Which it didn't ^^

    It's like Alice in Wonderland, only that you let us get a glimpse of what the Red Queen has been doing all the time.

    Although we all know that models in magazines and in ads are photoshopped and no one has really that long legs or naturally that long lashes, we still want to look like that and buy the products that promise to make us look like that.

    And very often we get disappointed when the promised effect is not happening.
    We sometimes even think it's our own fault, wrong application, wrong base, wrong tools, didn't let dry long enough ...

    (btw, I am a huge nail polish fan and I would LOVE to hear what you have to say on them. My fave company is China Glaze, but I also own OPIs, Color Clubs, Essies, Zoyas, Nubars, Misas, Orlys etc. All in all I own over 400 nail polishes. And no, my boyfriend doesn't know how much money I spend on nailpolishes and mineral eyeshadows every month ... and let's keep it this way *grins*)

    So, I am very interested in hearing more from you!

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  17. Not here, you there? Haha, sorry, I couldn't resist.
    Thank you for the vote of confidence! Now, I have got to kick my ass and write more.

    Hey Caitlin, Hmmm- have i got a revelation coming up that will shatter your world or make you save loads of money- depending on how you will take it.
    You know, after all these encouraging comments, I am thinking about organizing a field trip to the wonderful world of cosmetic (but not as you see it. It is like Disneyland for girls to make up for me killing Santa Claus. Heehee!
    But that is me just kicking around some ideas. But whaddyathinks?

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  18. Ah finally! I suspected a few of the points you've already listed in your past blog posts, but it's nice to see that my fears were confirmed. So I have a few questions to ask you,

    I know you won't name names, but the cosmetic company you worked for, was it department store level or drugstore level?

    It seems like the product with the most bullshit about it would be Mascara, what would be in second place behind it in terms of bs us?

    I can't wait for that post you mentioned above to Vonzi! Hope it comes soon! You're so enjoyable to read haha. Some bloggers have to sugarcoat their words even when it's negative so it's nice seeing someone tell it like it is~

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  19. Ah, I think I can take a little shattering if it helps me saving a load of money ;))

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  20. Bring on the exposure...it's high time the bullshit was exposed. I've been a cosmetic marketer's dream for far too long!

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  21. Haha, I love your cocktail talk with men, so true!

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  22. Hi Arrianne- yes, it is like a skit i have on. Really happens- all the time!

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  23. Hi Rowena,

    I like the way you talk :) I'm so sick of companies trying to be "socially responsible", launching this "vibrant, studio 54 discotheque" collection and then 3 months later, launch a "neutral, monochromatic" collection! Yeah, and tell me Eva Longoria wears Loreal foundation to the Oscar.

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  24. I just found out about your blog from another blogger and I love it! I love it's candor ~ SO refreshing!!!

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  25. Came here from BeautifulWithBrains.com... and I intend to stay a while.

    The only problem is deciding where to start - recent posts, popular ones or from the beginning?

    Loving it so far :D .

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  26. Dear Budget Indulgence-
    Thank you!
    It is mad innit? Yet so profitable to be socially responsible!

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  27. Hi OnceBitten-

    Oh thank you! And thank you to that blogger- is it TheNonBlonde or London makeUp Queen? Kudos to them, thank you very much!!!!

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  28. Hi Ana!
    I checked out your blog and wanted so much to follow you back but there doesnt seem to be a follower button.
    Anyway, thank you very much for writing about this blog! I am soooo honored coming from a beauty and brain blogger as you!

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  29. Nah, not Ana(stastia) of L&L, just Ana :) (but L&L is one of my daily reads, she's great).

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  30. Where have you been all my life?! Finally somebody is saying all the things before I only suspected. Love you Rowena. And I am staying here till the end!
    ;)
    xxx

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  31. Hello Rowena,

    I really love your blog. The way it’s written, its artwork and especially its message. It’s rare to find a blog that has all this. I’ve just started a blog and I already have linked to yours, since I feel like Beauty and the Bullshit should be on everyone’s list. You’re free to link back to my website. I would really appreciate it. If you have any advice or feedback for me please let me know.

    Kind regards,

    Karen

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  32. Thank you Karen!
    I will be linking to your blog that is for sure! I am launching anew blog design that includes more topics (including fashion) and hope it will also be to your liking!
    Cheers!

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  33. Replies
    1. Welcome Pandora's box! And happy to have you here!

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  34. I'm from Brazil and I just find out your blog. I'm loving it! It has great things that we all should know. Tank's for sharing!
    Manuela

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    1. Hello Manuela!
      Welcome to my blog and happy to have you here! Obrigada!

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  35. Yep, like I said - liking it more every minute :)

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  36. Hi

    I found your blog posts really interesting and was wondering if you be interested in joining glipho? its a social publishing engine designed for bloggers/writers to further promote their blog posts.Sounds interesting? If yes then you can visit http://glipho.com/ and sign up.

    Happy writing

    Neha

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    1. Hi Neha! thank you for the holler and letting me know about glipho.
      It is true, i never promote my blog because 1) I am a lazy bitch
      2) I am quite happy that everyone here was recommended by somebody else
      3) i suspect that the quest for more readers will affect my writing to please rather than to just lay down the painful truth.
      But, that is just me. More power to you!

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  37. You are one "CooL Lady" I really like the way you express the "BullShit".

    All the best,

    Rudy

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  38. Thank you Rudy! Now if you can only tell that to my secret love. Heehee! Cheers to you and welcome!

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  39. Rowena,

    I am a huge fan of your blog! I found you while I was researching about going into the business side of cosmetics. I was just wondering what did you do to get into the beauty industry? What degrees did you have, who did you know, where did you go to school, what internships did you have, what made you stand out so much that they wanted you?

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  40. Holy cow Rowena! You're like the awesome, no-nonsense tita I never had! I haven't even gotten through half of what you wrote yet (masakit kase sa dibdib to think of all the makeup lies I've swallowed all these years, dahan-dahan muno sa pag-basa) but I am amazed and appalled by everything you've revealed. I hope you don't mind I linked back to some of your posts in my blog as well, this info is so valuable and helpful! Hope you share some more in the future!

    Cheers,
    http://www.girlinatrenchcoat.com

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