Beauty Bytes: December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012

And you thought bee stings were only for lips: A new(ish) trend is growing in Britain for bee-venom facials. The venom is extracted from the bees by keeping them in a glass container and vibrationally “agitating” them to sting (they supposedly keep their stingers in this procedure). An unspecified amount of this venom is included in a cream which is applied during the facial. Danielli Marcelino of the Suddenly Slimmer Med Spa tells reporters that the treatment is a gentler version of being stung, with “a numbing kind of a relaxation of the muscles…speeding up circulation also reducing collagen while adding overall radiance to the skin.” Since Kate Middleton’s had one, possibly at the urging of her stepmother-in-law, it might become a thing, with various creams and facials coming your way. Even Gwynneth Paltrow’s Goop got into the action, albeit with more yummy recipes than promises of perfect skin. KLTV. The Star. Goop.


  • Maybe you’re allergic to bee venom…should you get DNA tested instead to improve your chances of looking younger? There’s a new industry of “recreational genetics”, where consumers take over-the-counter DNA tests(at $300-$500 each) to assess their genetic makeup for all kinds of reasons, both medical and cosmetic. Doing this for beauty is controversial: proponents say we’re shortchanging ourselves if we’re not matching our creams to our personally specific issues, and critics say that we’d be wasting our money. Dr. Tony Nakhla tells Today, “There are genetic disorders that involve the skin – if you’re testing for one of those, it’s an elaborate test. There’s no real rationale for a hokey DNA test.” Today.


  • Just because expensive, “scientific”-sounding treatments may or may not be be hokey, doesn’t mean that scientists aren’t rushing to develop them: the market for luxury cosmetic fixes is huge – as in $1.2-billion-dollars-a-year-huge. And developing a cosmeceutical product is far, far easier than developing a medical drug: no spending years in clinical trial, which can cost up to $1 billion per drug. And with the right language, a company can promise without promising – a new cream called Senté, which contains a compound used in Italy to treat burns, claims it can penetrate three layers of skin and “stimulate collagen fiber production and provide long-lasting benefits by addressing age-related loss of skin elasticity and tone.” The company reports that it’s “marketing language” has been cleared by the FDA. Business Week.


  • Scientists may be slumming when they create beauty products, but there’s good news from another faction of the beauty industry: branches of Empire beauty schools in Massachusetts have made detecting possible signs of domestic abuse part of their curriculum. In partnership with Cut It Out, an initiative of the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund, students are taught how to spot domestic abuse through physical and conversational cues. As the beauty salon is often one of the few places an abuser allows a victim go by herself, it may be the only place she can get help.


  • As a makeup artist, my job is to encourage people to take risks with their “face paint”, but there’s more to trying a new look than liking it yourself. Courtney at Those Graces has been running a Red Lipstick challenge for the past month, and now lets us know that her partner dislikes red lipstick. Well, that complicates things a little. Since I’m a professional creative, a substantial amount of aesthetic overlap was necessary for me to even consider dating my now-husband, but that’s not necessarily the case for all women. Visit the comments section for a mini-survey on how her readers work this little issue out. Those Graces.


In pictures: So often a photograph is a fantasy, and in fashion, that’s a good thing. But quite often, documentary photography also concedes to an existing narrative in the photographer’s head – a telling of a story, rather than a truth waiting to be revealed. Aaron Sexton of Monrovia, Alabama was seeking material for a photography school project when he realized that, instead of “taking” photographs of homeless people, he would get to know people well enough for them to offer their own truth to the camera. By asking his subjects, “What is the truth?” before snapping their photos, he gained insight into their stories, which are deeper that their circumstances suggest. In hearing these stories of illness, loss, and previous achievements (Willy, pictured here, used to be a university mathematics professor) from the subjects themselves, Sexton challenged his own professor’s maxim that art is a lie, and captured at least some of the truth of his subjects.


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