Back In Brussels: Preparing shop

This is just a teeny tiny post to say that I am happily back in Brussels! 

Everyone says Brussels is boring and I have my turn of biatching of how Brussels weather is like a woman on PMS- cannot make up its bloody mind (on the bright side, this has made Belgians such wardrobe layering artists! Though it does involve different shades of grey.)

But even with the yummiest paella and jamon serrano in Barcelonetta- Brussels and this bullshit blog is on my mind.  And I missed you, my bullshit readers- it is corny, i know and i wasn't in a hurry to get back to blogging, i admit - but yes, i did.  

Got so many great posts and new ideas planned for action (read- not have gotten my butt out of the sofa just yet)

What is next, i have been cleaning shop, (for a week now) and I pulled a muscle from my shoulder to my elbow down to my fingers.  I tell people that it is due to this fancy backward smash i do in volleyball - but it also could well have been from too much vacuuming.  But I am sticking to my backward smash story.  (You so didn't have to know that, but, heck, i have got to present my excuses why after weeks of vacation i only have this poor excuse of a blog post instead of a big bullshit revelation!)

I will be answering mails, and comments (thank you! thank you for not giving up on me!) individually and without fail and am working on new blog ideas for now and will be posting after the holidays.

In the meantime- please allow me to wish you a fabulous ballsy bullshit-free holiday season!!!  
Be blogging soon!!!

Bullshit Bedtime Story: L'Ucifer Beheads the Bounty Hunter

There was a time, not so long ago, in a world that had not yet known the internet- when there existed faraway lands untouched by L'Ucifer.
For at that time, these lands were yet too small and unimportant in L'Ucifer's grand scheme of things who was then perfectly happy with the riches of the western hemisphere.
However that is, there were a number of entrepreneurs who saw the opportunity in bringing L'Ucifer's beauty bounties to these faraway lands.
These entrepreneurs shared their vision with L'Ucifer who in turn accepted their pioneering wisdom. 
In an act of benevolence, L'Ucifer granted a number of these entrepreneurs the right to represent, distribute and grow L'Ucifer in these faraway lands.
Each of the entrepreneurs applied themselves fully in their endeavor.
They all toiled for years - built offices, imparted knowledge amongst the locals, marketed, promoted, advertised, registered products - did all that it took- with the certainty that there will come a day when all their investments, their hard work, their strife will be rewarded. 
And that they will soon be bountiful. 
And so, as expected, after years of hard toil- the day did come when L'Ucifer's products have become well known and well distributed that they can already harness the profit from their labor.

But for each of these pioneers, without exception, soon as that day came-
 L'Ucifer appeared to take back the distribution agreement that they had.
The entrepreneurs were only given the opportunity to develop the market for L'Ucifer.

And once profit comes in, L'Ucifer took over.
For L'Ucifer never shares its bounties. 
It beheads the bounty hunters soon as they bring the prize.
So, the same question goes to my head, 
"Can a company who does this, really be worth it?"

Bullshit Police Arrest's L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes

After our bullshit bedtime story, it gives me great pleasure to make the next bullshit arrest.

Bullshit police hereby arrests L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes!

So, what is so bullshit about this ad- you ask me?

I have 3 BIG issues with it.

First, the name - Volume Million lashes.  

What the fuck is that?  

And gawd, when will these ridiculous names and claims stop?  

Well, if I may borrow a quote from The Social Network-
"Million Lashes is Not Cool, Billion Lashes is Cool!"

And the beauty of this is, with this name, they do not have to prove anything- 
because Volume Million Lashes is a product name, not a claim so they do not even have to support this with fake tests.

Second, are those testimonials that appear in their website.

L'Oreal, testimonials that are conducted by yourself, however genuine they seem or they are- 


Testimonials should be from neutral parties.  Leave the testimonials to the beauty bloggers.  

You have no business publishing testimonials which you yourself have conducted.  
That is unethical.

The third and the BIGGEST issue I have is the word "NEW".  

With L'Oreal, everything is NEW.  Well it is NOT 

 Gawd, a mascara cannot be as basic as this one- so they had to compensate by this ridiculous name.

Tell you what dear readers, I will teach you how to create a NEW Innovative L'Oreal product.  

Just follow the instructions below:

And as a subnote, if you go to L'Oreal website- you will be impressed by the really high tech animation of opening the brush.  

I look forward for the next launch when they will make it into a digital 3D animation.  
Though I do not expect much of a new product.

So, the bullshit verdict is 10/10.  They have made a totally ordinary, really old product totally NEW.  

But, L'Oreal bullshit is getting so old and predictable.  
Time to inject new blood in your organization guys!

Top9 Tactic to Make You Buy More Makeup

In cosmetics, I would like to start the year right by making you buy BIG right away!

That keeps the council of the clueless at a comfortable distance from my ass for the first half of the year until September when I will stir you up again with another BIG innovation.

So, just in case you wonder - whether there is real innovation or not, you will surely hear one from me 
  • real or make-believe 
  • pre-programmed like clockwork by mid January.   
This will either be in the form of a lipstick or a mascara (the two biggest sellers in make up- or whatever format is surging growth for the moment).  Normally, if i gave you mascara in January, I will give you lipstick in September, and vice versa.

Anyway, this big "innovation" will come with a cool, much researched and flashy new packaging, a new celebrity endorser and....


Oh shit- I have spent all my money on the new packaging and will not have enough money to improve on the formula.  

WTF do I do now?

 Have no fear - closely watch how I, the priestess of bullshit will now trade my cape and scepter with bling and fur coat and unleash my dirty tactic N°9:

I pimp my claim!  Yeah baby!

Consider this real story:
Rich Colour Lipstick. Creamy color that shapes and defines lips. Wider coverage for easier application. Nonfeathering. SPF 15, with Vitamins A, E.  
Vivid lipstick. With 3D pigments for vivid lips and vivid life! Marigold extract has moisturizing properties for 96%* more sensuous lips. SPF 15. 
*Bullshit research, details of which you do not need to see conducted on 26 women or so. 

What is the difference between the old and the new?  

Nothing, nada, niet, zilch, niente.

But of course, I will tweak the line up a little so it will not be too obvious to you.  This is how I will further cloud your perception.  I will also:
  • discontinue some less selling shades (which are bound to be someone's favorite shade - but I don't care)  
  • put in some wilder colors to give you the impression that our lineup is exciting.  They most probably won't sell as individual shades but it will lift the sales of the whole line. Unquantifiable but true. 
  • sex up the shade names (tactic N°10)
  • I will throw in some research where i will be claiming high percentage of women who noticed a more moisturized lips (more on these on a later blog)
  • Price the lipstick just a tad higher for credibility

And the result:
Long term consumers liked the "new" vivid lipstick better and swore that it had better properties than the old one. Sales were up by 35%. True story.  
You see, of course, we are all prone to the power of suggestion.  If we are hyped that something is better, we will believe and perceive that it is.

Such is how we operate in the biz.

But, are you really better off knowing?
Or would you rather continue believing and perceiving a self-fulfilling innovation?

Only you can decide for yourself.

As for me- I am out of the biz and am here to at least present you the option to decide for yourself.

To answer Yvonne's question on whether products get recycled- this is just one part of the answer.  
You will learn much more (yes, it gets worse!) in the next posts!

Bullshit Bedtime Story : The Brush Brush-Off with L'Ucifer

Before I make the next bullshit police arrest,  I would like to tell you a bullshit short story.  

For this short story and the next to come (if i manage to evade prison) , i would like to use my disclaimer/skip jail card.

Bullshit Short Story 1: The Brush Brush-Off With L'Ucifer

Once upon a time, in a little town somewhere in Germany, there was a small company who was little known to most of the world.  

But, to the people who work in mascaras, in spite of its size, its reputation of having the best mascara brushes in the whole industry was unparalleled - for it had the passion for innovating on brushes that had been passed from one generation to the next.  

One day,  they had the most fortunate news of having one of the world's top brand, who, (for the purpose of the story teller's preference for  a life outside of prison), we will hide under the name of  L'Ucifer - interested in their brushes.  This will mean an assured income not only for the current employees but for the children of their children beyond.  

Such was great news for this small german company in this small german town!

To finalize the partnership though, they were required to train a representative of L'Ucifer on their mascara brush know-how.

The small german company did as they were asked and gave L'Ucifer's rep the best training  and the most charming hospitality that this small village can muster - they regaled him with german beer and sausages as the little village knew how.  

After the training, all of them were so happy  - for this, was the start of a future brighter than they had ever known.

Days have passed but the finalization of the partnership, in one way or another got delayed.  Days went on, and it was becoming a blur.

One day- they did hear from L'Ucifer but it was not from the managers they spoke to nor the representative they had cradled in training.  It was but rather  from L'Ucifer's stable of lawyers.

L'Ucifer had patented all the technologies that they have been taught by our small german company. 

And the army of lawyers have dropped by to kindly inform our small german brush company that as they have become property of L'Ucifer, that the German company may never use their brush technology ever again.

What ensued after that, little more did I know of.  

But the question that came to my mind is - 

"Can any company who can do this really be worth it?"

Call me paranoid.  But it might interest you to print-screen this post just in case I will be forced to take this post out.  

Top10 Tactic To Make You Buy More MakeUp

Photo credit: Jane Russell
At N° 10: Sex Up The Shade Name

I am sure, if you are reading this - that you well have known orgasm.
I mean that rush of warm gold against the folds of frosted pink that have been the subject of many a woman's flight of fancy.   It had been the stuff of legend so much so that we were given second, third, multiple and super servings of it.
Some say it is overrated but everyone admits that you have to poke and fulfill your curiosity before you can turn it down.
I am of course talking about the most successful shade name in the history of makeup- NARS orgasm- why it has been quoted in many a film and tv series (my favorite of which is in the TV series United States of Tara- which i highly recommend or am I so late in the program already?)

Now, had its name not been such, say for example peach rush - it would not have sold nor been talked about as much.   I, for one wouldn't have bought one because this is so not a shade that works for me.

But, being able to say that I paid for an orgasm is already worth the money. And it got reviewed a lot because it just is so much fun talking about it- ah the double entendre of it!
Whether to say you are disappointed of the orgasm, you are buying an orgasm, you would like a second orgasm, you have run out of orgasm- it is a great story!

And honestly, this is the kind of bullshit i wouldn't mind.   Do not just give me a cheek blush, give me a good story- give me a conversation piece, make me feel naughty, reckless, alive - heck- liven up my life- give me orgasm.   Not unlike the bullshit like the "growth mascara" that has the malicious intent to deceive- but this one, i prefer not to live without.

So I think it is such a waste to name shades by the number *cough body shop cough* - as they do not know the power and the gift to joy that they could have been unleashing.

Back where I was in the biz, we would submit our product proposal with our shade name to this wonderful Russian woman who would predict how much the shade would sell.

Can you imagine what kind of talent that is? Back then, I just shrug it off but on hindsight now- it would take a fantastic female brain to do this.

Anyway, the racier my shade name gets, the more sales she would give it to and she has a very good batting average. Yup, in girls as in shade names, horny beats pretty anytime.

So to all the orgasms in the world-  hit me!

Ok, your turn to confess gurlz-  which products have you bought because of the pull of its shade name?

Bullshit Police Arrests The Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara

This is a new series of posts I am introducing as most of you (67%) seem not to mind having bullshit posts every day (I mean really guys?  I am touched!  Thank you!)

The thing is - everyday is a lot of posts - but since I would like very much to accommodate you (even halfway is good), I am introducing these bullshit police posts with a chance of guest blogging- which i will give proper credit to - of course (perhaps i will make some guidelines laters but let us play it by ear and make it up as we go along).

It basically goes this way, you find a real product out there and you try to detect the bullshit that said product gives you.  It is a good exercise for you to hone your bullshit radar.

I will start with this product here, next time I will be happy to have your submission/guest postings in which we can all chirp in to comment.

So without further ado, here is the first arrest made by the Bullshit Police.

I want you to put your guard down and look at the picture below as if you were just flipping through it in a magazine.   
Do not read so much the details just a sweeping glance really.  So just 1-3 seconds should be just right. 

Then cover the picture and tell me 3 adjectives that you can say about this ad.  

There is no wrong or right answer.  So just answer without thinking really.

Don't overthink- just say what comes instantly to mind.   

Done yet?  
If not do not read on until you have done so.  

Okay, now I want you to look at the image below for just 2-3 seconds.

Same thing, tell me your first impression.

Okay so, we will leave that part for now and will get back to that later.


Now, this is what I will do- I will look into the fine lines and dissect what you just saw.

Woh-oh! Whoever did this didn't hold back on the bullshit ammunition!


This name is the master work of art of a true bullshit weasel.  
When you see it- you will think that the mascara will make your lashes grow.  I mean just look at the lashes sprouting out of the word GROW there!  
But then again, she added luscious which means- it will turn it luscious and not make it longer and luscious at the same time.
BUT, then notice how she made the  fonts used for GROW and luscious  different so that you are mislead that GROW is not a verb used for luscious but a different quality that you can expect from the mascara itself.
Wow! Pure bullshit gold!  I am peeing in my pants with bullshit envy.


96% saw instant longer, lusher lashes 

  • Ok, key word is "saw instantly". Whether the difference is big or not, so long as there is a difference, even if they are not satisfied, then that is counted as positive and will belong to the 96% . It suffices that you see a difference.  And of course you will see it instantly- you just applied the freaking mascara eh?!
  • And let me see, only 4% didn't see a difference. If I may guess, that 4% is one person, meaning they have a batch size of 25 women (50 tops). And they chose at least one with bad lashes so that it will not appear too rigged.
  • As well, use of instant longer on the study and with the word grow on the product name makes you believe that it is proven to make your lashes grow. If you dissect the phrase, they have a good defense that they do not claim lash growth- you just understood it that way- so, do not think you will make money on suing them for false claims- they will just argue that you are stupid.
  • they did not mention that the study is independent. So that could mean it was tested by their own paid people 
  • and can somebody tell me, why the f*ck, in this internet age- do we not have a link on the study and that it is on file?  
Now, let us analyze THE CLAIMS:

  1. Lash enhancing formula complements the natural growth cycle of your lashes, improving their overall appearance with each use
  • It complements natural growth rate.  What the fuck is that? It doesn't promote growth, it just complements it- like how- like if you would wash your lashes with water or expose it to air- tell me what would not complement thelash's natural growth cycle?   
  • What it has is perhaps some ingredient that conditions lashes (which could be same ingredient used in shampoos as lashes are hair as well)
    2.   Get lashes that look instantly longer and lusher and will also grow stronger day after day
  • it looks instantly longer and makes it grow stronger.  It doesn't make your lashes grow.  It perhaps has just some extending resin that washes off, wears off in time 
  •  Note the use of these two claims one after another- on purpose (these should have been two separate bullet points if you do not want confusion!)  It is easy to confuse it to make lashes grow longer day after day.
     3.  Oversized lash-extending brush
Ho hum! Nothing new. 
Ok, here, the bullshit weasel got lazy!  Come on!  You can do better than this!   
Heck!  The trainee of my trainee can do better than this!
     4.  Ophthalmologist tested
Tested on what?  
This could just mean that an opthalmologist tried the mascara and it didn't say on what she is testing on.  This ophthalmologist tested doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the study above.   
The opthalmologist could have just put the wand under her armpit to see if she has a fever- and that is ophthalmological testing- hah!
You know all these independent organizations that are verifying the authenticity of the organic origin, fair market source of your products?  

I think they can have good business doing the same verifying validity of these tests.  This could be a good business model that I can branch through really.  Anyone interested to join me, send me your CV - haha!

So, bullshit rate is on a high of 9/10 (-1 for sloppy brush description)

So there you have it- the mascara might/might not be great but these devious little bullshit weasels just need to stoop so low to mislead you that it will make your lashes grow.

Now, for the subliminal part.   Would you please write down your honest answers first time around (no changing!) on the comments.  I will give you more explanations on the next few posts!

Well, was that fun?  Who wants to be  bullshit police next? 

Shall you try it with  the Volume Million Lashes Mascara?  
That is another Bullshit Goldmine!

Two Sure Fire Ways to Make You Buy More MakeUp

Photo Credit: Joan Crawford

You might say I am one lucky biatch for having a dream job in cosmetics.

Well it might have been fun and glam, but when you think about it, after all the jetsetting, the company credit card, the free make up, the glamorous photoshoots, the picking on models- the very essence of what i do is this-
I make sure you will spend more on make up year after year after year.
Let us say you spent 500$ last year and this year you spent only 490$.

One thing is absolutely certain. However well i wiggle my perfect peach shaped arse before the council of the clueless- the only way it is heading is to the unemployment office.

If you spent 515$, that is just 3% increase on a 6% growth rate industry, that is not good enough- I will still be fired but they will give me a slow, painful death- making sure that I suffer during council presentations by quizzing me the growth rate history of the discontinued lipstick used by David Bowie when he was Ziggy Stardust in the 80s.

My personal record (if I may brag) is a 13% increase in your spending.   Yes, I am your mommy.

Yet- I am not proud of myself.

You see, If I do not apply any manipulation, the only one real reason that you will buy make up is when you run out of what you are currently using.

Well, we do know that:
  • a good quality nail polish can perhaps be included in your will and testament (Take note- Caitylyn, you are sitting on a treasure chest of 400 nail polishes there- heehee!) 
  • and you will perhaps grow your pinky nail long so you can dig out the last remaining vestige of your favorite lipstick 
  • and gawd knows these freaking powders never expire!

So, if I leave you alone- I will be better off contemplating a career as a civil servant.

But since shuffling documents is not my bag, I since have developed sure fire strategy that will make you buy more than you need.  In essence there are two ways I can increase your spending.  That is by-

1)  Discontinuing the product that you lurv
Have you ever gone out to shop for just one particular product and then found out that it is gone- never to return again, so you have to compensate for its loss by buying not one but 4 replacements and yet, remain feeling empty?
Why, discontinuing your favorite lipstick can be beneficial to me in so many ways, because you will be open to my next step...
 2)  Giving you something exciting and "NEW".  And if i had my way, the following types of new would propel my career to instant councilhood -
  • a scientific breakthrough which will make your lashes give birth to more lashes like gremlins 
  • a  new packaging that vibrates like the romping rabbit  
But what if I do not really have anything new to offer?   What then?

Well- in the next post, I will tell you my Top Ten (or so) Tactics in Faking Newness to make you buy  more makeup.

The Real Nail Hardening Bitch

At one point or another, some brand will claim that it can harden nails.  And that is darn nice.

Except for one thing - 

it's bullshit.

Do you remember what they say- 
contains calcium, algae, carbon, tough as diamonds (as if they contain diamonds- bah!), bamboo, mineral....
Tell you what - 

they don't work.

There is only one ingredient clinically proven to really strengthen nails.

And that is Formaldehyde.  Yup, same one used to embalm corpses.
But then it was banned together with toluene when there was a move to have all the nail products hypoallergenic. (Hypoallergenicity is so overrated really!)

So, if a product claims to harden your nails and boasts of some wimpy herbs to do the job, save yourself the money and the trouble of disappointment, just stick out your tongue and say-


How To Get a Job in The Beauty Industry

This is a special post to answer an email of one of my readers , she says-
My name is Lily, and I'm a high school student. I will be going to college in the next year or two, and I love makeup, and everything beauty related! So I figured I would either be doing something in the beauty industry or be an interior designer.
However, I don't want to be a makeup artist and I have no idea what careers there are in the corporate beauty industry, so I decided to do a little research. I did some research, and stumble upon your blog.
Now I think your blog is actually really wonderful, but I don't completly understand why you hate it so much. Can you please tell me why I should or shouldn't go towards a career in the beauty industry? Thanks!- Lily

As I can only speak for myself- on how i got my job, this post is going to talk more of my experience.

But first- gaaaah! I didn't realize I seem to HATE the beauty industry.
Well, for the record, I don't -
at least not in all caps, and i would replace "a" with "<3".

But seriously-  I do love the fact that the beauty industry gives us not only cosmetics, but dreams and the desire to be better.

BUT, what I hate is that most brands do not have the balls to stand for what they really believe in but would research what you want to hear and then contort themselves (read: lie) to be that so that you buy them.

I want beauty with balls, gadammit! 

Let me see, perhaps, it helps to point out the upside and downside of this job- then you decide if you want in-
PRO: Free makeup and you even get paid to try it.
CON : Allergies and irritations can be a frequent occupational hazard.  
A colleague of mine started to get too many allergies from the makeup she was trying. As the allergies are too much that it affected her work- she had to be fired.

PRO: You get to be in a glamorous industry.
CON: You go to work without make-up. 
If not, you have to remove it to try more makeup at work. And you wear different eyeshadows per eye and fifty shades of lipstick per arm. Ironic innit?

What is worst is when you have to try long lasting lipstick and waterproof mascara. Go figure. At least you know they are not tested on rabbits. Though in the depths of despair over your falling lashes, you get to question the wisdom of  "No Animal Testing"

PRO: You accumulate loads of frequent flyer miles that can get you free vacations.
CON: You have no time for vacation. 
You travel while normal people would still be sleeping, you go to meetings when others would be working. You work when others would already be relaxing. Basically, you give up life for miles.

PRO: You get to buy Hello on company budget.
CON: You will look incompetent if you do not know who was the worst dressed in the Academy red carpet.  But then, in real life, you would like to know who was worst dressed.
I miss my free "Hello"!

PRO: You get to see makeup innovations two years ahead of everyone.
CON: A trip to the cosmetic counter which used to be exciting- becomes dead boring- like- "oh, that is so 2 years ago!"
PRO : You get to attend photoshoots and criticise models and stuff.
CON: If you screw up the shoot- your ass is fired.
A minor average photoshoot costs at least 10k€ a day. If you want named models and photographers - that's easily 30k€ upwards.

You see- photographers, models and make up artists are more expensive in this industry and for a reason. As far as photographers go, beauty photographers tend to be more expensive than fashion ones- the lighting is more demanding (light is controlled)- at least that's the BS that my photographers tell me. Models also charge higher for beauty brands and make up artists have to be top.

Beauty shoots are an art and a science. You cannot just go with the flow and be impromptu as you perhaps would in a fashion shoot. Too darn expensive!
PRO: You get to create fabulous concepts, products and images.
CON: The make-up artist gets all the public credit. And they will be paid more than you.
I do not mind them taking the credit- it is the paid more than me I have trouble dealing with.

PRO: Other women will envy you for your job.
CON: And so will your ambitious backstabbing female colleagues. Office life is hell.
Put several ambitious women in one room and you will wish to slash your wrist with a stabilo boss. For me, this was the biggest turn off.

But it can also depend on the situation. My position was extra sensitive as I replaced someone who had been fired because the lipstick she launched didn't have a good "clicking" sound. No kidding. In fact, the whole team was fired before me. And before you pooh-pooh this- realize that a mold for a lipstick case can cost easily 1.5million euros. Not to mention the loss of gajillion of sales you will have from a bad launch.

Seriously, I think "The Devil Wears Prada" is work bliss compared to the Beauty Biz.
PRO: It is the only place where it is considered professional to apply nail polish while working.
CON:You have to apply a different color per fingernail.  Haha!
PRO: You get to save money.
CON: Because you do not have a life to spend it on.  
So, if after reading the PROs and CONs, you are still up for it- then read on for more tips.  Otherwise, you may stop right here else you will end up a bitter blogging biatch like me.


I started my marketing career with Unilever.  And, back then - they preferred people with interesting backgrounds.  And interesting could be anything  - except marketing.  (Mine is mechanical engineering).

The reason could be something best explained by a blog of Seth Godin here.

So study arts, styling, architecture, fashion design, fisheries, psychology, mathematics, languages, tourism, engineering, medicine, rocket science, accounting - but not marketing.

Unilever, for example, trains you what you need to know about their way of marketing.

If you want to be in the creation process, it will be an advantage to have a background in fashion, arts or design but as well be knowledgeable of your excel worksheet.

And if you want to be promoted to the highest level- study finance.
Because that is really the heart of cosmetics- money.  (But then again, if you cannot grow an adam's apple, do not count so much on reaching the top).


The toughest barrier that I had in entering the biz was not competition, not education - but visa.

You see, if you want to work in the global central, most of these are located in France, US, Japan, UK.  Some are in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden.

I sent about 70+ CVs in Paris when I arrived there but soon as they learned I was not European, they told me to talk to the hand.

And French companies are reputed to favor applicants that come from their own business school.  No wonder French brands are galactically boring - they do not cross-pollinate.

Language is another barrier.  Just speaking French is not enough.  You have to be damn fluent.  Though now, the French realize how less and less important their language is in the global scale of things, they still could afford to be arrogant in the beauty biz.

But as a tourist, you can basically get by with "Un verre de vin rouge s'il vous plait".  (A glass of red wine please.)   Alas, the french have to learn english if they want to do business with the rest of the world now.

Haha!  C'est la vie!


If you are eyeing to work for certain brands (in Lily's case Bobbi Brown), it will be good to research which gargantuan company is behind the brand.  You can start your research here.

If you follow the link, you will realize why the top 6 companies account for 50% of all the make up sold ever.

You see, each company will have a portfolio of brands- from the most environmentally correct to the high tech to glamorous to luxury to mass.  So whatever you believe in or whatever you want your company to stand for- they have no problem being it.  Your cash does not have to go another way.

Heck -  Body Shop is under L'Oreal for the endangered komodo dragon's sake!


When I interview applicants for a brand manager's job, I try to see how she lives her life.  What her influences are, what books and magazines she reads, what her hobbies are.

The more interesting her life, the more well-rounded she is - the better a marketeer she will be- as the thinking goes, marketing is all about life. (Whatever).

She will need to analyze sales data and do graphs (endless reporting to the Council) and assemble moodboards from trends (this can be learned if you are artistically inclined).  

Eventually, she will have to do presentations of her concepts, analysis of research.


Want to research more?

Try attending professional cosmetic trade shows and get to know the suppliers as well as the brands.

In the US, you have HBA in New York in September
or Cosmoprof in Las Vegas in July
In Europe, you have Cosmeeting in Paris in September
and the biggest one, Cosmoprof in Bologna Italy in April
In Asia, you have Cosmoprof in Hong Kong in November

HBA will be more about the brands, Cosmoprof will be a mix of brands and suppliers while Cosmeeting is more of suppliers and trends.

Cosmoprof is normally open to the public on the last day.  That is also when you can buy samples.

Well, that is all the tip I can think of for now.  If you have more questions, shoot and I will try my best to answer.

The Cause of the Clueless: Who Really Benefits From The Cause

It probably started with Body Shop supporting the cause of everything in the planet or MAC (MakeUp Artists of Canada) for anything AIDS related.
When these two companies started, there were real passionate people behind it, with Body Shop of course, there was Anita Roddick whose life, if you google about it "tallies" with her real intentions to help.  With MAC, there were Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo who intended their line for make-up artists, thus a support to the cause close to their hearts, AIDS has a genuine ring about it.  It made sense because it was genuine.
Since then, Anita has passed away, Body Shop has been bought by the biggest company in makeup.  MAC has likewise been bought by Estée Lauder.
Now, just about all cosmetic brands HAVE TO support a cause.

Nothing wrong with supporting a cause-  we are led to believe that it is noble to think of something bigger than ourselves.

But you know what bothers me?

My bullshit antenna is ringing- fake, fake, fake!

And you know what?
It IS fake.   
It may seem as real as a faked orgasm - BUT it is still fake.  

We really do not care about these causes, we are just doing it because that will make you like us and if you like us, you will buy us.

Why, it makes it easier for you to buy your 212th peach shade of lipstick even if you do not really need it- because you are doing it for a good cause.

Okay, so let me take you to a meeting I had with Public Relations, the geist goes something like this -

Moi : Trending report says our consumers will like us more if we support a cause and care about something - what causes can you suggest?
PR : Well, we can reinforce our natural positioning and support the environment.
Moi : Bah, Body Shop already took all the causes there is to support environment-wise.
PR: Well, we can save some endangered species, like the rhinoceros or the monitor lizard.
Moi : Nah, first, that is not sexy to my target market.  Second, it will not get me a lot of press. 
PR : Ok, what about children related causes?  
Moi : If I support children, only consumers with children can relate.  My target market are those that revere SexInTheCity. Can you actually see Samantha caring about children?  There has to be something else.
PR : Well, what about woman empowerment?
Moi : Our evil nemesis is already is doing that.  And making much noise about it.  Gawd, I hate them.
PR:  Ok, what about about relationships.
Moi: Hmmm, intriguing... like what? 
PR: Mother -daughter relationships, we can have a Mother-daughter beauty contest to start with.  Then we can have have a popularity contest, where customers who buy a product can vote for their contestants.  And contestants will push our cause because they want to win.  And then, proceeds will go to mothers and daughters, scholarships, shopping spree.
Moi: And does it agree with our positioning?
PR: Well, even Samantha, I imagine will have a mother.
Moi: Ok, and how much will this cost us?
PR: 2Million tops and we can have media mileage that is worth 10Million at least. You save 8Million, if you think about it- rather than just buying advertising.
Moi:  Great then, go ahead then- and time it for the holiday shopping season, will you?  And btw, the donations we will give - they are of course tax-deductible aren't they?

So, If we really care about these causes-
  • how come, we cannot support them anonymously and really have the pleasure of giving selflessly?  
  • how come you have to buy our products for us to give a donation to the cause?  
  • how come we have to have our big logo and even worse, name the foundation after our company?
Because, we do not really give a f*ck, that is why.
The only cause we care about is the cause of the Council of the Clueless bank account.

There is a line that divides SUPPORTING a cause and USING it. 

I say you really support a cause if 
  • you expect nothing from it in return, 
  •  even if it is not in your strategy, 
  •  even if it is not receiving a lot of media mileage 
  • and not unless you have the most amazing pair of bee stung lips and are married to Brad Pitt, (because she makes it her job to use her popularity to drive attention to the cause)- support a cause anonymously i dare you
Support a cause- if you really care.

The road to beauty need not be filled with bullshit- beauty companies need not make suckers out of us.

If we really want to make this world a better place,  I say we should cut the crap and give women the real deal.

The Lure of the Lipstick: Why We Don't Take A Stand Against Pro-Nature Controversies

(Photo credit: Marilyn Monroe)

Though you all say that you buy a lipstick on the basis of the color first and foremost, we in the biz think-
Bah! Whatever!

You see, even before we can attract you to take a look at our shade selection (which is the same as anybody else's anyway),  we will make sure you like us, that you have heard of how good our company is, how ethical we are, how we support relevant causes and all that and how you can identify yourselves with our image.

So color, after all these things, though important- is the least of our problems.  
FYI, i can match any color out there faster than you can say "I will have that orgasm blush please".

So, first and foremost, we would like you to think that we are a good company.
Now, to be considered a good company, there is a dictum that we always follow.  And that is- 

Customers are always right!

Yup-this, we firmly believe in the cosmetic biz.

Have you ever heard of a company that picks a fight with these environmental organizations telling them that they are overreacting to the paraben causes tumors scare?   I don't think so. 

And if ever any of our people did - I am sure that they will have been dealt with by the Council, their ass stapled to their demotion letter and shipped to manage a third world country as fast as they can say- "but cosmetics really do not penetrate beyond the superficial layer of the skin, duh" - which of course tantamounts to saying- we have been exaggerating all along on the effect of our products.

And speaking of, I am not a sadomaso- I would rather convert a moslem to christianity rather than make the mistake of having a debate with environmentalists.  
If these guardians of the good have made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up pork barbecue- they will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing to make sure you are protected from fear toxins released by an about to be slaughtered pig and so convert you to eating uncooked leaves instead- gawd bless them.  (Georgia and Apriltini take note).  We do not want that- do we?
While we are on the subject of food, here is a food for thought:
I have to give credit to the person who did this-
but i do not know anymore where i nicked it.
So peace - i pick my battles one at a time and for now abstain to state my overall stand on this one (though i do know someone who does)
You see, one of the most "compelling" arguments of "cosmetic safety groups" is how the skin is the most important organ of the body and that all the 15+ products we use on the skin on a daily basis are absorbed by the body through our lifetime and will do us bad.

Of course they will say that!  As we marketeers have been trying to sell this bullshit of how using cosmetics will actually alter the state of your skin!
We do know that we are lying through our teeth  - cosmetics are classified as such because it only acts on the superficial layer of the skin.  
If it acts deeper than a prescribed superficial layer, then, we will not be allowed by the legion of regulators to call it cosmetics- it will be classified as a drug and then we will have to abide to  another set of regulations altogether, a deeper level in hell which we, cosmetic marketeers do not dare to tread.
Now, if you have watched enough films, you might formulate this conspiracy theory that perhaps, some of these cosmetic giants are buying off the regulators so that a toxic ingredient will pass.  

To these I have one argument- it is far easier for us to play by the rules of the regulators and improvise (ie, bullshit) as we go along rather than be bothered with all this.  Really.

So when an environmental organization comes along to accuse that one ingredient causes unborn babies to be gay, heck we will not do a study to disprove that.  We will not argue with the customer.

We will apologize to the public, withdraw the offending products, change these ingredients (or relabel and call it by another name) and then support a foundation that dedicates research of child feminization and make sure that we get a lot of publicity from it - more than if we had spent that money on classical advertising.

Because- customers are always right!

Let me tell you a little anecdote.  

A few years ago, I was developing a line of nail polishes. We approved a great formula that applies evenly, adheres well and lasts long. Really- the formula was fantastic! Plus- it comes with this NEW technojargon called "nanotechnology"- something about having tiny, tiny particles that make the texture so wonderfully even. 

Naturally- we were jumping up and down with joy as this innovation, for once- is real- not a figment of marketing imagination.

But, months before the launch, (it takes us something like 11 to 17 months to take a product from a brief to the consumer) our labpeople came back to us with bad news:
That there is this small organization or movement or urban legend that accuses nanotechnology products to penetrate the blood system and that there is no sufficient research on the effects it could have on the body.

Note that this is a very flimsy accusation which we could have easily disproven with a study, a simple explanation, admission- whatnot.  

But did we? No.
And what did we do? 

We launched the product as usual, claimed fantastic percentages on how long it lasts, how fast it dries, how even it looks .... blah, blah, blah without the mention of nanotechnology- even if it is there.

So, controversy avoided.  Customer happy.
We stay in your list of good companies and we get the sale.  
Everybody gets what they want. 

You see- customers may always be right,
but the council of the clueless always, always end up laughing their way to the bank.

The Lead in Lipstick Scare-are you dead yet?

This blog is in reaction to Meanniekitty's comment about Lead in lipsticks.

This rumor circulated a few years back:
Lead is present in lipsticks and this will kill you.
And my reaction to it then was  - NOTHING.

You see, I know when I am bullshitting and I know when I am covering up things that are foul.

This is not one of them.

But since it seems to continue troubling some of you, I write here about what the big deal is, where it came from.
Yes, LEAD is bad for you.
Yes, LEAD could be present in some of the dyes that we use for some lipsticks.
But- here's the whole story.

Any brand that sells legally are controlled by regulations.

These regulators are devil incarnates, they sit at the right hand of Satan - which is bad for us, good for you.  They are very strict in the ingredients that they allow.
 If my life as the priestess of bullshit were to be made into a movie, and I will be the heroine (in my make believe world), they will surely be one of the bad guys- perhaps played by Gary Oldman as he played that villain in The Professional. 

They allow lead in lipsticks BUT in very, very, very miniscule proportion.
Something like 1/10 parts per million- that's like a lepton, really, you might get more lead in your lungs breathing air than having maxi-servings of your rich-colour lipstick with coke and fries.
To give you a point of comparison- with candy, something that children actually eat, they allow about 5X more than that they allow in lipsticks.  Or something like that.  You get my drift.
So- NO- there has been no incidence of anyone getting cancer from lipsticks because of lead and I doubt if there will ever be one.

You have far more chances of dying from natural causes than from lead in lipsticks.

Speaking of, natural cause is the leading cause of death- so you are better off eating chunks of lipsticks, hand gliding, parachuting, rather than just sitting on your ass, cross-stitching while waiting for natural causes to happen.

And what about that test, about the gold being dark with contact to the lipstick.  It is actually the gold leaving that mark, not the lead.  But quite a nifty touch to this legend eh?

So, women of the world- continue to be glamorous and use lipsticks without fear.
And while you are at it- why not try paragliding?

(Note to self- talk about all this natural ingredient hooha in the next few blogs).

Why Are Lipsticks Like Marie Antoinette

We knew it, you confirmed it - the most important quality that you seek for in a lipstick is -
Then as well - consistency, texture, coverage, long lasting, moisturizing, no smell, no irritating ingredients, "lightness", cost , packaging, company reputation...
In this blog, i would add definitions so as to make sure we are talking of the same shit.  I know there is the risk that I might sound like one of those preacher/academics clutching an aspirin between their ass cheeks, but please bear with me as I noticed that some terms are used when another is meant -
As I have read your comments, I was pretty sure that most of you have had your share of disappointments, some self-inflicted but most are marketing induced.

With this blog, even if it is a little on the tight-ass academic side, I hope to somehow give you info that will help either manage your expectations or detect a bullshit to stop further unnecessary disappointments.

Lipstick 101 Lesson One:   Lipstick 1,2,3

This is the lipsticks composition-
formula     +      pigments    +    fragrance 
The formula is made of  (base texture + actives) which was discussed in a previous blog and the same principle applies for lipsticks.
  • Pigments are those that impart either color (dyes) or sparkle (ie, pearls, minerals...)
  • And of course, fragrance added which you all agreed to hate.   BUT-  Lipsticks being made of wax, SMELL of wax - some more rancid than others.   Oftentimes, we have no choice but to add fragrance because the option is much worse. We just have to deal with it.
Lipstick 101 Lesson Two:  More to the texture than meets the eye

You normally equate a texture for its finish as we like distinguishing them- matte, shiny, sheer, pearl- but in fact a texture is more than that.

A formula will intrinsically have the following characteristics:
  • glide - how smoothly the lipstick slides on your lips upon application. So a lipstick will either have a good glide or by your terminology, gritty - poor glide.
  • comfort - if it feels like you are wearing nothing when you apply the lipstick, it is said to be comfortable. The more you feel that you are wearing something, the less comfortable it is.
  • payoff - if the color intensity when applied is less that that you see in the bullet, the lipstick is said to have less/low color payoff. 
  • coverage
  • wear - how long it will last
  • and yes - finish. (matte, semi matte, sheer...)
And our task is to make sure that these characteristics respond to those of your expectations.  And we base your expectations to the brands that you can afford.

Evil, but true.  I will not give you Chanel qualities if your point of comparison is Avon.

Lipstick 101 Lesson Three:  Actives "enhance" the formula's performance properties - (or do they really?)

These are the usual claims that you will hear from the likes of me:
1)  moisturizing - we add more emollients or vitamins or plant extracts and we hell make sure to claim.  Everyone is just compelled to have this.
2) long lasting - to really increase the wear of the lipstick, we add what we call volatiles in the formula.  Ingredients that, evaporate as you apply the lipstick to fix the formula to your lips.  With continued usage, this is guaranteed to dry up your lips.  No ifs, buts about it.
To see which lipsticks have this, just look at the packaging they come with.  Are they air tight? (you know those longer proportioned slimsticks? Most of them are in these packaging and they have this distinct "click" when you close them).    
3) no transfer - works in the same principle as long lasting lipsticks.   What is good for your married man lover to hide you from his wife, is bad for your lips.  Both cases, you lose.
4) sun protection factor, SPF -  Ok, here is the deal with sun protection.  Because all lipsticks contain pigments,  the pigments in itself act as a shield - so in effect, all lipsticks will have a certain protection value to them, the darker and more pigmented, the higher.   
The thing is- if I want to claim to have SPF , there are two things i need to do- 
  • First - is to subject it to an independent SPF testing that costs money (which is nothing  for a big brand).  Side note :  i can claim SPF 5, 8, 10, 12, 15... nothing in between like 11, 6.  If my lipstick tests 14, I have to claim 12.  That's the regulation.
  • Second, I have to add an active SPF ingredient to it.  (I am not allowed to claim SPF based just on the natural protection of the pigments.) 
 Most common active SPF ingredient is titanium dioxide which is a white pigment.  
This is a bummer.   
Because first, as an active ingredient, it may affect the stability/performance of my formula.  So sometimes, a formula is already beautiful but with its addition, the properties are affected.   
Second, the white pigment affects how the color registers - so particularly tricky in color matching!
There ends our lesson on basics of Lipsticks.  Whew!  (Nosebleed)
With this working knowledge, I now unleash the the bitches.

As far as lipsticks go, there are two things that you should know.

 Bullshit N°1  The curse of Marie Antoinette
"You cannot have your cake and eat it too.  (But as we are marketing biatches, we will make it appear you can.)"  
OR paraphrasing-
You cannot have something without sacrificing another thing.
  • If you want it creamier, then it will be softer and bullet will be weaker, less comfort
  • If you want it moisturizing, then it will not last as long. If long lasting, then it is drying
  • If you want better glide then you have to lighten the formula ie, pigment, sparkle, cream
  • and so on...

    Sure we can balance qualities somewhat- but if you want more of something, you are bound to get less of something else- you studied that in Science, action-reaction - that is just how nature works.

    And yet- we will never say it that way- you will always feel you are getting every freaking thing your heart desires! That is also why you have come to demand more from your lipstick- because we would like to pretend to be giving you more.

So, the moral of this lesson is -  

If your true NEED is to really have a beautiful color, do not ask for everything from your lipstick formula or you will end up with mediocre qualities.
  • If you must have moisturizing, then accept to reapply lipstick more frequently.
  • If you refuse to reapply frequently, then apply a lip balm/moisturizer first before you apply your long lasting lipstick.
  • If you must have a high SPF protection, then apply an SPF balm as an extra layer 
Sorry, there is NOT one product that will have all the superlatives.   NONE.  NADA. RIEN. NIENTE.

You either accept that, or keep on buying bullshitful of products and keep on being disappointed over and over and over again.

 Bullshit N°2  It's never only about the "color".

What determines the color is not just the pigments but the combination of formula+pigments.
You know this really. 
If I go to my lab with a color swatch and ask them to match it on the existing formula that we use, not unless the formula is similar, I will not have the same result.
It is like applying paint on plastic against applying it on a concrete wall.  The color will take on the characteristic of the material that it is applied to.  
The matte, semi matte, sheer as you know are more a function of formula and not pigment.   
If you want the pearl/shiny lipstick- this is now based on adding shiny pigments like pearls, minerals... A shiny ingredient i like is called metashine, they're really fine particles of brilliance which, the last time i checked is not allowed in latin america but is ok with the rest of the world.  
If you add sparkles/pearls, the color perception will not be the same- but most of the time, we throw the request to our labs- that goes- oh i want this but with sparkles.  The lab will have to adjust the pigments with the sparkles.  It is not that straightforward.  But that is their problem.
Now some formula can take in a lot of color pigments and some cannot.
Some can take in sparkles and pearls and some don't.
So If i pick a certain formula for my line, I will have a range of colors, pigmentation, sparkle limitations.

Now you might wonder (like I did) why I just don't use different formulas to have as varied an offering as possible?

Aha!  You have forgotten that my main point here is to make money.

If I have a common formula for one whole line, it is cheaper to have tons of one common formula made and then just add pigments afterwards rather than having several kilos of formula for each shade.

That is also the main thinking that goes to separating a line of mattes, semi mattes, sheers, frosted, creamy... so I can optimize use of a formula to many shades.

Plus, for every formula used, I have to make a series of tests and then register to each and every country I sell to.  That process of registration costs me a lot of energy and money.

So less formula i have, less i spend, more the Council of the Clueless earn.

Bullshit N°2 The Carmine Corollary
Something on pigments.  There is this certain type of crimson red lipstick which is so vivid and beautiful that no self respecting brand will not have this color.  I personally call it Rowena Red but you can more relate to it as China Red (you can see it in one of my colour matching example).  All the women in my family wear this color for occasions when we mean business.   
This type of red is near impossible to create without using a pigment called Carmine.
And guess where carmine comes from?  Crushed beetles.     
Everyone has it-  yes, even the company B.S. the first to boast of natural everything!   
No animal testing?  Sure!
Animal slaughtering? Definitely!    
Look I am comfortable in my place in the food chain and I will trade my ex-boyfriend for barbecue.   I wear leather and have a few mink stoles.  And, if there is a real possibility of dying of starvation, it is plausible that I will eat a vegan, so I will not be casting a stone here.

But what I think is, go ahead if you feel like killing em beetles in the name of beauty, but do not go beating your chest with self righteousness about not harming/testing the animals and all that BS.  Just own to it! I will respect you more for that.  (Natalie Portman may not agree - but then again, what is this she's wearing?!)