Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lakshmi Menon in Vogue India May 2009

I love Lakshmi Menon's cover of Vogue India May 2009 - her hair, the statement necklace and the color of that dress!! I read somewhere that the color Lakshmi is wearing (sort of a coral pink) is the hot color for summer. Now if only Vogue India would start putting some other great Indian models on the cover!!

Below, check out the scans of Lakshmi's editorial in the May issue. The shot below of Lakshmi in a long white dress just makes me want to take a vacation!

Q&A with Donna Maggi from Nioxin

Remember the Q&A session I did with Chicago based hair stylist Daniel Cerda? Well, here is a shorter Q&A session with Donna Maggi of Nioxin, where I asked her some of the questions on hair fall and achieving shine. Donna worked on some of the hair styles at the Fall 2009 New York Fashion Week. Donna touches on a good point in her answers which is to treat your scalp well, not just our hair, since that is where new hair growth occurs.

RC: I'm in my late 20s and I've noticed a lot of hair fall recently as have my friends. What is the cause, how do we prevent additional hair fall and what do we do to stop current hair fall?

Donna Maggi: Hair Loss has many causes including diet, stress as well as hormone changes. Let’s go through a check list. First, ask yourself if you have a well balanced diet. Are you experiencing a sudden weight loss or weight gain? Is there any stress in your home life or work? Do you have any health issues or do you take any medications? These things can all affect the condition of your hair including hair loss. Genetics can also play a part. Do you have a family member with thinning hair either on your mother’s or father’s side of the family?

Additionally, the environment can contribute to thinning hair. Do you protect your scalp from the sun or swim in chlorinated water? Do you frequent the gym? Over blow-drying the hair (heat damage) i.e. blowers, flat irons, curling irons, hot rollers can damage the hair. And a typical sign is if you see a lot of hair in your brush?

Ways to help: Use products that can care for the scalp first and the hair. Cleansing is very important. Try Nioxin’s 3 part System to care for the scalp skin where the hair begins. Use a wide tooth comb when hair is wet to protect the hair. When the hair is wet it is most fragile and likely to break. I like to think of the hair as fibers of silk. You would be very careful with a silk garment and would not be using anything harsh. The same thought can be applied when caring for the hair. Cleansing the hair after a workout is very important for removing any toxins from the scalp skin. We are all familiar with skincare for our face. This is skincare for the scalp. You simply cleanse, restore and activate with Nioxin’s three part system. Using styling products that can build up on the scalp and hair is not a good thing. Nioxin’s styling products can help address these needs. Try Nioxin’s Bliss Thermal Protector before you use heat for great protection.
RC: Imagine your model has a mass of thick, black curlyish hair that absorbs light like a black hole (this is me). What do I do to achieve shine on a daily basis with my natural texture without the grease?

DM: Most models use a lot of products to make the hair do something that it can never come close to doing naturally. Start by cleansing and gently removing all of the product build-up on the hair and scalp to create an optimal scalp environment. Next you need to restore moisture and resilience to the scalp and hair with Nioxin Scalp Therapy. Then activate the scalp and hair with Nioxin Scalp Treatment. Now that the hair is ready to style, use Nioxin styling products which do not contribute to the “grease” factor. A lot of people think that oil equals shine, but that is not the case at all. Oil is not moisture; in fact it clogs the hair follicle and makes the hair feel greasy. It is very important to apply products in a layering effect, which will help evenly distribute the products. I believe in order to achieve the best look, start with just a little and add more to achieve the desired style.

Hello Beauty Buffs!

I am so excited to be here! When my lil' sis asked me to be a part of her beauty blog, I was thrilled. In fact, when I first heard that she was writing in a beauty blog, I wasn't surprised...she has some amazing talents and her knowledge of beauty products over the years has far surpassed mine. Who would've thought?

Ever since my adventure into my Mom's makeup collection at eight years old, giving myself and friends a makeover has always been a fun hobby of mine. Over the years and now that I'm a Mama for a 15-month old baby boy, there are more important things for me to consider when purchasing my beauty products than just colors and trends. So hopefully, I'll bring a slightly different perspective to Roop Cafe by discussing more natural products that actually work or ones that don't have as many yucky toxins! Look forward to having you all read up and your comments:)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Max Factor Vivid Impact Lip Color Swatches

Here are my swatches for the four lipsticks I tried from the Max Factor Vivid Impact Lip Color line!! In the picture above, the lipsticks from left to right are 28 Rose Rage, 8 Sweet Tart, 36 Ablaze and 52 Romp.

52 Romp - Romp looks very purple in the case but its actual finish is an iridescent purply-pink. The color and the finish remind me of the '80s era but I still think the color is very pretty. This color would look best on dusky to darker toned ladies (for reference, think of the skin tone ranges of Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Joy Bryant and Iman). This color would be harder to wear for someone with a lot of yellow or green in their skin tone, such as South Asian and East Asian ladies with fairer tones or olive skinned Latinas (think of the skin tone ranges of Gong Li, Jennifer Lopez and Kareena Kapoor). If you can wear this color, though, it sure is an attention-getter!!

8 Sweet Tart - This is a creamy, slightly chalky, bright pink with a touch of coral. This was the least favorite of the lipsticks I tried because the chalkiness did not suit my skin tone. Sweet Tart would look best on fairer skin tones of all ethnicities (think Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Kim Kardashian).

36 Ablaze - Ablaze was one of my favorites of the four, next to Rose Rage. It is a tomato red (with a hint of orange) with a satin finish that makes it muy caliente for the summer!! I can't wait for a really warm day to wear this lip color with a sundress!! I actually applied to color below without lipliner and it did not bleed. This lip color is the most wearable for all skin tones as I believe it would look awesome on all skin tones from the fairest to the darkest. For reference, I probably have the approximately skin tone of Lara Dutta if we're thinking Bollywood or Alicia Keys if we're thinking Hollywood.

28 Rose Rage - Rose Rage is a creamy, light rose pink shade. It is another one of my favorites of the group and can be worn day or night, for a subtle or more loud look. For day, I dab it on and pop some pink lip gloss on top. For night, I apply it heavily for a bright pink look. It would also look good a range of skin tones although maybe slight less so than Ablaze. Very dark skin tones might find it a bit chalky but I think most women of color can pull it off.

Keep in mind that the Vivid Impact Lip Color line comes in different finishes that are not necessarily indicated on the case. For example, while 28 Rose Rage and 8 Sweet Tart are cream finishes, 52 Romp has an iridescent finish and 36 Ablaze has a more satin finish. I would use the testers at your local drugstore or Ulta to determine what color and finish suits you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Max Factor Vivid Impact Lip Color

April 2009 has been a whirlwind for many changes which will definitely affect my life path - hopefully for the better. All through it, there is nothing like a great makeup product to pep me up on a down day!! And for this month, Max Factor Vivid Impact Lip Color definitely brightened up my days!

I was able to try several colors of the lip color - 28 Rose Rage (a rose pink), 52 Romp (an intense purple pink), 8 Sweet Tart (a candy pink) and 36 Ablaze (an intense coral). A swatch of 28 Rose Rage is pictured below. Reader and fellow blogger Indian Girl recently asked what lip color I was wearing in a recent post and Rose Rage is it. I love this color and have been using it frequently.

For someone that is used to the quality, texture and pigmentation of high end lipsticks, I was truly impressed with the Max Factor Vivid Impact Lip Colors.


  • The texture of the lipsticks is smooth and easy to apply. Even when my lips were dry, there was zero flaking.
  • The pigmentation of the lipsticks were a definite plus of this line because they are well pigmented. The great advantage of this is that you get more for your moolah and you can apply it as light or heavy as you want depending on the look you are going for.
  • There is no need for a lipliner because the color does not bleed.
  • There is no awful artificial smell, one of things I hate about alot of drugstore lipsticks. There is no detectable scent at all.
  • The price is right! Each one retails for about $8. You may also be able to find a discount through your drugstore chain.


  • The only con I can think of is that the color on the lipstick case doesn't always match the actual color of the lip color. For example, the color on the case of 28 Rose Rage appears much more muted than the color on my lips.

I'll be doing another post with lips swatches of all the Max Factor Vivid Impact Lip Colors that I tried, so look out for it!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Steal the Look: America Ferrera's Makeup at Gotham Magazine Issue Launch

At the latest Gotham magazine issue launch, on which America Ferrera is on the cover, the Ugly Betty actress looked amazing with raspberry colored lips, long black lashes and highlighted cheeks. Makeup artist Linda Hay did America's face. Reader A.J. asked us to do a breakdown of America's makeup, so here it is!!

How to get America's look:

Eyes: Apply a shimmery champagne shadow such as Bobbi Brown Metallic Eye Shadow in Gold Dust all over the eyelids. Concentrate some of the same shadow in the inner corner of the eyes to really make eyes pop. Apply a black liner such as Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink to the upper lash line, making the liner thicker as you approach the outer corners of the eyes. Apply a white eye liner such as Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Pencil in Pure White to the lower waterline of the eyes. Generously apply black mascara to the upper lashes.

Cheeks: Apply a pink cream blush such as Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pink Raspberry to the cheekbones. Apply a shimmery highlighting blush on top of cheekbones such as Bobbi Brown Platinum Pink Shimmer Brick. It looks like Linda Hay also applied a little blush to America's temples as well which helps to slim down the face.

Lips: Line lips with a pink liner such as Bobbi Brown Lip Liner in Ballet Pink. Apply Bobbi Brown Shimmer Lip Gloss in Ruby Sugar (this is the actual gloss color used - can't wait to try it, it looks amazing on her!).

Photo courtesy of

Monday, April 20, 2009

Introducing Glam Mamma!!


I am very, very excited to introduce to you a new blogger here at Roop Cafe - Glam Mamma!!
Now Glam Mamma isn't just any beauty blogger. She's very special...why, you ask?

Well, Glam Mamma is actually my older sister who pretty much taught me everything I know about beauty. If any of you have an older sister or female cousin, you may have done some of the things I did when I was little such as stealing her makeup, stealing her clothes, watching her spend hours in front of the mirror doing her makeup, and generally copying everything she did, much to her annoyance!! Funnily, as the years went by, I would sometimes find that one of my holy grail makeup items mysteriously landed in her makeup bag....hmmm.

I'm really excited to be blogging with my beauty mentor now and hope you are excited to read some great posts!

As usual, feel free to email us at or with any of your questions, post ideas or feedback!

Friday, April 17, 2009

MAC Eye Shadow in Sushi Flower: My New Favorite Blush!!

Multi-tasking beauty products include lipstick that can be used for blush or hair conditioner that can used as shaving cream...but what about eyeshadow that can double as a blush??

Well, not always, but if your shadow is the right color and texture, by all means use it as a blush!

I discovered this fantastic used for shadow when I bought MAC Eye Shadow in Sushi Flower, a bright candy pink shadow, even though I rarely wear pinks on my eyes. Sushi Flower has been sitting in my makeup bag for ages and I finally realized that the candy pink would look gorgeous as a spring blush.

I tried it out and here are the results -

I love the result and can't wait to use it for the rest of the spring and summer. The Sushi Flower shadow itself a satin formulation so it goes on as a super smooth blush with very fine shimmmer.

Try it out yourself and let me know what you think! Brightly colored shadows in a range of pinks, corals and peaches will no doubt look beautiful. Make sure colored shadows are in a matte or satin formulation - definitely nothing too shimmery. Additionally, you can use a finely milled champagne or gold shadow as a cheek highlighter!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Can Astrology Determine Beauty Trends?

By now, you may have heard about the Financial Times April 11th article which declared that the famed Lipstick Index of 2001, which measures economic activity by monitoring lipstick sales (i.e. crashing stocks + unemployment = more women buying lip color), has now been replaced with the Foundation Index for the current gloomy times. According to FT, sales of foundation increased in 2008 while sales of lipstick actually fell.

The theory behind the Lipstick Index, which could also be applied to the new Foundation Index, is that women are more likely to spend money on a makeup product such as lipstick or foundation rather than splurge on clothing or other luxury items.

Now, there could be a theory behind the theory that comes from...astrology?! That's right, one of my favorite astrology blogs, Wall Street Weather, poses an explanation for the Foundation Index:

"Foundation’s growing popularity is reflected in the planetary cycles of Saturn in Virgo (Sep 2007-Jul 2010)* and Pluto in Capricorn (2008-2024), as Saturn and Capricorn rule the skin. These planetary energies demand more from a beauty product than a mere pick me up. They need to provide value and a natural yet polished appearance since these energies relate to work and professional reputation.

Saturn rules time and Virgo efficiency. Foundations at all brands and price points have become multitaskers, saving money by eliminating the need to purchase multiple products. Today’s foundations contain sunscreen, moisturizers, and ingredients that claim to correct uneven skin tone. The foundation trend will continue under Saturn in Libra (October 2009 - April 2010, Jul 2010- Oct 2012) as Saturn in this Venus-ruled sign values a radiant looking complexion."

What do you think? Do you believe in astrology? Think its a plausible explanation? There has been a noticeable shift from lip gloss and bronzers on the fashion runways to a very natural, bare-skinned look during the past few seasons which is telling and fits well with the explanation. I'd also be interested in learning whether sales of skincare products have also increased in addition to foundation.

If in fact the astrological explanation is true, we're looking at a major beauty trend of perfect, glowy looking skin for the next few years which will no doubt bring in additional innovations in facial makeup and skincare!

Monday, April 13, 2009

How to Create a Braided Chignon

Loose hair, cascading over the shoulders is always lovely but what about those times when you just want to put your hair up, yet still look polished?

For as long as I can remember, I have had extremely long hair past my shoulders but more often than not, I put my hair up when I need to run errands and/or get work done. And after all these years, I have finally figured out how to create the perfect chignon.

First, what is a chignon? Its basically a bun or knot worn at the nape of the neck. At fashion week, whether its in New York or Paris or fall or spring, you can bet the the chignon will be on at least a few runways because it is just so classic.
I like to add a braid to the chignon because it adds a little twist to a classic look!!
How to create a braided chignon:
1. First, make sure your hair is long enough. Hair that is to or past the shoulders is of sufficient length - the shorter the hair, the more pins you'll need and the messier the chignon tends to look.
2. Work with "day-old" hair - that is, hair that was washed the day before rather than the day of. Hair is easier to work with when it is not freshly washed. Dampen dry hair just a bit with water and if you didn't use any styling product after washing, use a bit of mousse for hold.
3. Brush or comb hair back into a low ponytail. The ponytail should be at about the height of your ears. Secure with a rubber band. Its your choice whether to part hair or leave it unparted - I prefer a side part.
4. Braid the hair from the rubberband down. Secure the end of the braid with another rubber band. For me braiding the hair, rather than twisting it up into a bun immediately, is KEY in order to tuck in all the shorter layers you might have.
5. Wind the braid into a bun. Wind the braid around the base of the ponytail around and around in a circle until you come to the end of the tail. While holding the chignon in place, put yet another rubber band around the chignon to hold it in place.
6. Secure the braided chignon with pins. Hold the braided bun in place with the "U"-shaped hair pins. For fine hair, the thin metal pins work well. If you have thick hair like mine, try the Scunci Magic-Grip Hair Pins, which you can find at Walgreens or CVS. These plastic pins withstand really thick hair without bending in half as I have experienced with the thin metal pins!
7. Set the braided chignon. Spray hair lightly with hairspray and you're done!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Steal the Look: Bipasha Basu's Makeup at Filmfare Magazine Issue Launch

At the launch of the latest Filmfare magazine issue, Bipasha excelled at pulling off a natural makeup look while still looking sophisticated. Her eyes were accentuated with ultra long lashes and her skin glowed in golds.

To get the look:

Eyes: Apply a golden peach shimmery shadow such as Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow in Seashell all over the eyelids from lashline until eyebrow. Line both the top and bottom lashline with a dark brown shadow such as Revlon Matte Shadow in Rich Sable. Wet the liner brush slightly to make it easier to apply. Bipasha clearly has false lashes on so opt for a strip of false lashes or a super lengthening mascara such Maybelline Colossal Volume Mascara in Glam Black, which I recently reviewed.

Cheeks: Achieving glowy cheeks like Bipasha's is simple. Simply pop a tawny pink blush such as Bobbi Brown Blush in Tawny on the apples and brush towards to the temples. Then pop a highlighter blush such as NARS Highlighting Blush in Albatross on the cheekbones and blend.

Lips: Apply a apricot pink lip gloss to the lips. Chanel Aqualumiere Lip Gloss in Candy Glow matches Bipasha's lip color perfectly.

Photo courtesty of Filmicafe

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Shampoo and Conditioner Review

Having blogged about Padma Lakshmi in the Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Line ads, I tried the products myself to see if my hair looked as good as Padma's in the commercial! The Nature Fusion line comes in a Moisture Balance shampoo and conditioner and a Smooth Vitality shampoo and conditioner.

I used the Moisture Balance line and was quite surprised at the results of the line. A lot of drugstore brands do a mediocre job, but the shampoo cleansed my hair and scalp well without stripping the moisture out. The conditioner, which I thought would leave my hair weighed down, actually moisturized my hair but didn't make my scalp greasy.

The consistent results for me are shiny, bouncy and moisturized hair. My hair has been significantly less frizzy and I notice a bit more shine as well. I'm actually in interested in seeing what the difference is between the Smooth Vitality Line and the Moisture Balance line since the latter does such a great job of smoothing already.

The shampoo and conditioner each retail for about $4.99.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Makeup Artist Ann Orcutt's Favorite Drugstore Buys

The New York Times recently interviewed Ann Orcutt, makeup artist to celebrities, on her favorite drugstore makeup products.

While I wasn't surprised by some of her picks, there were others that I am intrigued by! For example, Orcutt likes both L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara and L'Oreal Le Grand Kohl Eyeliner Pencil, two products that I used for ages and have blogged about before. I'm not surprised she chose these staples because they are of great quality. Orcutt also recommends Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector, stating “This is practically an exact copy of the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch Highlighter, which costs about $40." As someone who is addicted to the Touche Eclat, I had to raise my eyebrows at her comparison....hmmm, I forsee a beauty battle post coming up to compare these two products!!

Here is the full list of Orcutt's cheap beauty buys:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Freida Pinto's Lip Color in Vogue India March 2009

If you read my post on Freida Pinto gracing the cover of the Vogue India March 2009 cover, you will remember that I was obsessing over her rich, wine colored lipstick. I finally, FINALLY, found out the name of the lip color. I had heard rumors of what it was on the web but I decided to ask the source - Vogue India - to find out what lippie it was, once and for all.

Geeta Rao, who is the beauty editor at Vogue India and who writes her own blog, was nice enough to answer my question in her blog. Geeta wrote:

"KOHL GIRL wanted to know the colour of Frieda Pinto’s lipstick on the Vogue cover. I wrote to Gucci Westman who did Frieda’s make-up at the New York shoot and she said it is Colorstay Liquid lipstick in Superb Sangria – I think this is Revlon’s Colorstay."

Thanks to both Geeta and Gucci!! So there you have it - the Freida's lip color is the new Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Superb Sangria. And yes, I will definitely be running out and purchasing it and doing my own lip swatch/review, so stay tuned!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Slow Blogging Week

Hi ladies!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week...its a bad week for me but I hope to post soon once I get some other tasks cleared up. Thanks for your patience!!

In the meanwhile, let me know if there are any particular products or celebrity breakdowns you'd like me to do - send me an email or leave it in the comments!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Battle of the Drugstore Mascaras: Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara vs. Maybelline Colossal Volume Mascara

Given the dire state of the economy, its hard to believe that at one point in my life, I was so footloose and fancy free that I actually spent around $25 or so on my holy grail mascara - YSL Faux Cils Mascara. This mascara really did give me fake looking lashes - or so some of my girl friends said. However, about a year ago I realized what a waste it is to spend that kind of moolah on something you are supposed to throw out in 3 months anyways. Grudgingly, I gave it up and settled for a similar drugstore brand that was good, but not amazing.

Enter Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume Blasting Mascara. The first time I tried Lash Blast, about 6 months ago, I knew it was possible that I may never go back to the YSL. It gave my lashes a equally long and voluminous look as the YSL mascara and well, was faux looking. And it was so cheap! And then, funnily, other drugstore brands must have viewed Lash Blast's success and started producing lengthening + volumizing mascaras similar to Lash Blast....for example, Maybelline Colossal Volume Express Mascara. When I tried on Colossal Volume a month ago, I was equally giddy with the results and I KNEW a battle of the drugstore mascaras was ON.

Maybelline Colossal Volume Mascara in Glam Black

Colossal Volume has a traditional bristle brush, thick and layered in the middle and tapered towards the end. The formula is generally good although I noticed it is slightly drying to my lashes, especially in comparison to the Cover Girl Lash Blast.

The separation and length provided by the Colossal Volume was fantastic - look at the photo immediately above for evidence. The photo was taken right after I had applied several coats to my lashes and I did not even comb out my lashes. Yet my lashes look close to perfect, at least in my opinion!

The packaging is a fat, bright yellow tube. Some people might be bothered by the fatness of the handle but I did not find it uncomfortable to use. It retails for around $6 but you could likely get it for less with drugstore deals.

Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black

Cover Girl Lash Blast departs from the traditional bristle brush standard and uses a spiky rubber bristled brush instead. As a result, the feel of the application is much smoother and softer than a traditional bristle brush.

The formula is thicker and less drying than the Colossal Volume. While the length and volume the mascara produces is amazing, it doesn't yield as good of separation as the Colossal Volume. Notice in the photo above how my lashes tend to stick together a little bit more than in the photo of the Colossal Volume Mascara. I generally don't care about separation as long as my lashes are lengthened and volumized but this might be an important point for some of you ladies.

Lash Blast comes in a fat orange tube and the handle is enormous. Again, a lot of people might prefer a more dainty handle but I didn't mind it at all. It retails for around $7.50 but you can likely get a lower price through drugstore deals.

WINNER: Its a TIE!! Really, I could not pick between the two because they were both fantastic! So how to decide between the two when you are at the drugstore?? Pick the Maybelline Colossal Volume (in the photo above it is on the left) if you want super long lashes that are well separated. Pick the Cover Girl Lash Blast (in the photo above it is on the right) if you want more volume to go along with your very long lashes and like a rubber bristle brush.

Steal the Look: Kareena Kapoor's Makeup in Jab We Met

Roop Cafe reader Anshu asked us to do a breakdown of Kareena Kapoor's subtle makeup in Jab We Met. Have you seen this film with Kareena and Shahid (made in the pre-Kareena + Saif days)? If not, go see it! It came out a while ago but it is actually one of the better Hindi films I have seen in a while...its nothing serious, just a typical Hindi film with a cute romantic comedy storyline - great for those times you want to watch a movie where not much analysis is involved!
Anyways, the makeup breakdown is from Kareena's look in the song Nagada Nagada - I posted a YouTube video of the song below- enjoy!!

To get the look:

Eyes: Although the entire look is subtle, Kareena's eyes are the focus. First, apply a shimmery peach tone shadow such as MAC Eye Shadow in Arena all over the lid up until the crease. Be sure to choose a shimmery peach that is slightly darker than your skin tone so that the color pops out, as in the above photo.

Apply a shimmery beige shadow such as MAC Eye Shadow in Bisque that matches your skin tone from crease to the brow. Blend colors together where they meet. Apply a dark brown shadow such as MAC Eye Shadow in Tempting in the crease to contour the eyelids and blend with the peach shadow. Use a smudgy black eye pencil such as MAC Eye Khol in Smolder to line top and bottom lashlines. Also apply the black eye pencil to the lower waterline.

Cheeks: Apply a light dusting of peachy tan blush such as MAC Blush in Peachtwist to the cheeks. Light application to simply wake up your complexion is key - there is no bronzed effect here!

Lips: Line lips with a nude lip pencil to give the illusion of fuller lips. Apply a pinky nude lipstick such as MAC Lipstick in Jubilee to the lips.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is Society's Beauty Obsession Affecting Young Girls?

Newsweek released an article this week entitled "Generation Diva: How Our Obsession With Beauty is Changing Our Kids." The frightening premise of the article is that our society's beauty obsession has seeped into the youngest generations making little girls grow up way too fast and in turn, hurting their self-esteem. As examples, Newsweek cites the TLC reality show "Toddlers and Tiaras" (Have you seen it? Sooo weird!) as well as market research reports that the age of ladies using cosmetics is decreasing at an alarming rate.

The article is pasted below. What do you think of the premise of the article? Tell me in the comments!

I mostly agree with the article's theory that society is creating little divas by being too focused on image. My parents definitely did not approve of a face full of makeup, hair coloring (even to this day!) or leg shaving when my sister and I were growing up. Yet take a turn at your local mall and you'll notice little girls with makeup, highlights, the works!! The main negative I see in this is that the age that the girls are at should be the time to really focus on school to build self-esteem - rather, as one mom in the article points out, school is not much of a priority for her daughter.

Its very sad but the one point I will bring up is that at least little ladies of today are in a society where we are more aware of bringing diversity to beauty images whether or not we are fully diversified. I hardly ever saw women of color in magazines when I was in grade school besides an odd editorial with Naomi Campbell. Now we are a bit more lucky that players in the beauty world are beginning to understand that they can't sell their product without appealling to a wider audience. I'm not trying to justify the fact that beauty companies are pushing their products to the tween set but at least there is a positive.

Generation Diva
How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.

There's a scene in "Toddlers & Tiaras," the TLC reality series, where 2-year-old Marleigh is perched in front of a mirror, smothering her face with blush and lipstick. She giggles as her mother attempts to hold the squealing toddler still, lathering her legs with self-tanner. "Marleigh loves to get tan," her mom says, as the girl presses her face against the mirror.
Marleigh is one of many pageant girls on the show, egged on by obsessive mothers who train their tots to strut and swagger, flip their hair and pout their lips. I watch, mesmerized by the freakishness of it all, but wonder how different Marleigh is from average girls all across America. On a recent Sunday in Brooklyn, I stumble into a spa that brands itself for the 0 to 12 set, full of tweens getting facialed and glossed, hands and feet outstretched for manis and pedis. "The girls just love it," says Daria Einhorn, the 21-year-old spa owner, who was inspired by watching her 5-year-old niece play with toy beauty kits.

Sounds extreme? Maybe. But this, my friends, is the new normal: a generation that primps and dyes and pulls and shapes, younger and with more vigor. Girls today are salon vets before they enter elementary school. Forget having mom trim your bangs, fourth graders are in the market for lush $50 haircuts; by the time they hit high school, $150 highlights are standard. Five-year-olds have spa days and pedicure parties. And instead of shaving their legs the old-fashioned way—with a 99-cent drugstore razor—teens get laser hair removal, the most common cosmetic procedure of that age group. If these trends continue, by the time your tween hits the Botox years, she'll have spent thousands on the beauty treatments once reserved for the "Beverly Hills, 90210" set, not junior highs in Madison, Wis.

Reared on reality TV and celebrity makeovers, girls as young as Marleigh are using beauty products earlier, spending more and still feeling worse about themselves. Four years ago, a survey by the NPD Group showed that, on average, women began using beauty products at 17. Today, the average is 13—and that's got to be an overstatement. According to market-research firm Experian, 43 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss; 38 percent use hairstyling products; and 12 percent use other cosmetics. And the level of interest is making the girls of "Toddlers & Tiaras" look ordinary. "My daughter is 8, and she's like, so into this stuff it's unbelievable," says Anna Solomon, a Brooklyn social worker. "From the clothes to the hair to the nails, school is like No. 10 on the list of priorities."

Much has been made of the oversexualization of today's tweens. But what hasn't been discussed is what we might call their "diva-ization"—before they even hit the tween years. Consider this: according to a NEWSWEEK examination of the most common beauty trends, by the time your 10-year-old is 50, she'll have spent nearly $300,000 on just her hair and face. It's not that women haven't always been slaves to their appearance; as Yeats wrote, "To be born woman is to know … that we must labour to be beautiful." But today's girls are getting caught up in the beauty maintenance game at ages when they should be learning how to read—and long before their beauty needs enhancing. Twenty years ago, a second grader might have played clumsily with her mother's lipstick, but she probably didn't insist on carrying her own lip gloss to school.

New Methods, Old Message. Why are this generation's standards different? To start, this is a group that's grown up on pop culture that screams, again and again, that everything, everything, is a candidate for upgrading. These girls are maturing in an age when older women are taking ever more extreme measures, from Botox to liposuction, to stay sexually competitive. They've watched bodies transformed on "Extreme Makeover"; faces taken apart and pieced back together on "I Want a Famous Face." They compare themselves to the overly airbrushed models in celebrity and women's magazines, and learn about makeup from the girls of "Toddlers & Tiaras," or the show's WEtv competitor, "Little Miss Perfect." And while we might make fun of the spoiled teens on MTV's "My Super Sweet 16," these shows raise the bar for what's considered over the top.

A combination of new technology and the Web, is responsible—at least in part—for this transformation in attitudes. Ads for the latest fashions, makeup tips and grooming products are circulated with a speed and fury unique to this millennium—on millions of ads, message boards and Facebook pages. Digital cameras come complete with retouching options, and anyone can learn how to use Photoshop to blend and tighten and thin. It's been estimated that girls 11 to 14 are subjected to some 500 advertisements a day—the majority of them nipped, tucked and airbrushed to perfection. And, according to a University of Minnesota study, staring at those airbrushed images from just one to three minutes can have a negative impact on girls' self-esteem. "None of this existed when I was growing up, and now it's just like, in your face," says Solomon, 30. "Kids aren't exempt just because they're young."

What that means for kids in the long term is effort and money washed down the drain each night, along with the remnants of a painted face. It's constant, and exhausting. I should know: at 27, my daily maintenance regimen takes at least an hour, and I own enough products to fill a large closet, not to mention a savings account. I have three shades of tanning lotion and $130 Crème de La Mer face cream I use so sparingly it defeats the purpose of having it, and 34—I counted this morning—varieties of lip balm, gloss and tint. I have hair wax and cream, a balm that's made of latex, surf spray for when I want that weathered look, and grooming cream to get rid of it. And I haven't even started to look at the anti-aging products yet.
This is what the 11-year-olds of the world have to look forward to—times 10. Eight- to 12-year-olds in this country already spend more than $40 million a month on beauty products, and teens spend another $100 million, according the NPD Group. This trend seems unaffected by the tanking economy: cosmetic surgery procedures dipped slightly last year, but cosmetics sales have increased between 1 and 46 percent, depending on the product, according to the Nielsen Co.

Forever Out of Reach. There's no evidence to prove that women who start primping early will primp more as they get older, but it's a safe assumption that they won't slow down. And what that means, say psychologists, is the evolution of a beauty standard that's becoming harder to achieve. New statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that cosmetic- surgery procedures performed on those 18 and younger have nearly doubled over the past decade. Dr. Alan Gold, the society's president, says that nearly 14 percent of Botox injections are given in the 19 to 34 age group—and while his trade group doesn't break down those ages any more specifically, he's seen a significant increase in the younger end of that group, seeking treatments as preventative. "I think what we've done is level the playing field, in that someone who may not have had great exposure to these things before—say, on a farm in Iowa—has the same options available to them," says Gold, who runs a private practice in Great Neck, N.Y. "Thomas Friedman has written how the world is flat economically. Well, it's getting flatter in terms of aging and appearance, too."

But if the world is flat, and impossible standards have become ubiquitous, can a person ever be satisfied with the way they look? In Susie Orbach's new book, "Bodies," the former therapist to Princess Diana argues that good looks and peak fitness are no longer a biological gift, but a ceaseless pursuit. And obsession at an early age, she says, fosters a belief that these are essential components of who we are—not, as she puts it, "lovely add-ons." "It primes little girls to think they should diet and dream about the cosmetic-surgery options available to them, and it makes body the primary place for self-identity."

The body, of course, cannot carry the weight of that—and these days, body dissatisfaction begins in grammar school. According to a 2004 study by the Dove Real Beauty campaign, 42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to be thinner, while 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of getting fat. "When you have tweens putting on firming cream"—as was revealed by 1 percent of girls in an NPD study—"it's clear they're looking for imaginary flaws," says Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff.

Which can lead to very real consequences—and a hefty debt. A lifetime of manis and pedis could cover four years at a public university; hair and face treatments would pay for a private college. "I think it's a very interesting time for girls, in that what we all grew up believing—that you have to play the hand you're dealt—is no longer true," says screenwriter Nora Ephron, who has written often on women and beauty. "In some sense, you really can go out and buy yourself a better face and a different body."

If tweens can be convinced they need to spend to perfect their already youthful skin, it's hard to imagine what they'll believe at 40. And with all the time they'll spend thinking about it, it's even harder to imagine all they're missing along the way.