Cruelty-Free: a misnomer.

As many of you who read this blog are aware (especially if you’ve seen the sub-header on this blog) that I also double as a graduate student in Public Health. One of the biggest issues in Public Health (and one of the goals of Healthy People 2020, a public health initiative created by experts in the field) is reducing and eliminating disparities which contribute to inequities, one of which can be access to care (in terms of who has it and who does not.)

While makeup is not critical such as having access to resources like healthy foods, mental health care providers, and the ability to afford care in general, makeup is something that can be considered a means of self-care for many, or if nothing else, a means to increase earnings in the workplace if you are a woman. So, yes, makeup isn’t on the radar for the Health and Human Services (and rightfully so!–they have enough on their plate.) But for many women (men and other non-binary genders too!), it is something to help appear “more polished,” or as a means to help reduce anxiety, or even just give a nice moment of zen for a few minutes out of the day. Though it is not the same, it is still a brief moment of importance to that person.

I know what you’re asking: what does this have to do with cruelty-free? We’ll get there. Sit tight.

There’s a lot of terms in makeup and beauty, and many of them are either ill-defined or not at all. For example, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory body in the United States for cosmetics (obviously, among other things like food and drugs), does not even have a specific definition for “organic.”

Cruelty-free is another one of those definitions that I, personally, find to be ill-defined. The general idea behind it is to reduce, or preferably, eliminate all non-human animal-based cosmetics testing which to many (this writer included) is considered “cruel.” From an ethical standpoint, I can understand the desire behind this 110%.

However, I am also a stickler for details (pedantic powers, activate!) Cruelty-free does not have a legal definition per the FDA. Cruelty-free, in general, is a really difficult thing to pin down depending on who you ask and it is reliant upon the company to disclose their status on non-human animal testing. Some may say they may not actively test, but they may have a third-party demonstrate safety on certain ingredients or products by doing the testing for the company, “absolving” them of any responsibility and, on a technicality, making that a true statement (because it isn’t truly Cosmetics Company A doing the work–it’s their ingredients supplier or manufacturer on their behalf.) Not to mention, all cosmetics have benefited from previous animal testing, regardless of whether or not they currently and actively test.

Obviously, we can’t go back in time and change things. I don’t like the argument that just because we did it once, it should be continued. The idea of “Well, this is how things have always been done and should just continue!” is a line of thought I loathe because it impedes progress.

There are also situations wherein the parent company may not be against or actively performs non-human animal based cosmetics testing, but after being acquired, smaller brands under the parent label may not perform the testing and consider themselves “cruelty-free.” (An example of this is Urban Decay under the L’Oreal umbrella; Urban Decay offers cruelty-free products, some of which are vegan, which the parent company, L’Oreal, is not.) Some individuals will not purchase from these brands under these circumstances, others might–it is an individual person’s prerogative to determine how ethically permissible it may be for him/her/hir.

To be clear: I am not saying it is a bad thing to want to end non-human animal testing. People are absolutely capable of caring about more than one thing at a time! It is still good to want to reduce this! I am, however, saying that is a misnomer and it is important to recognize that. Cruelty-free is a terrible name because cruelty-free is often not free of overall cruelty.

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Paying the Puppy Tax to make up for how long this article will be.

There are two examples of this I would like to point out. Get your tea, cookies, and a blanket, because this is going to be a long one: Continue reading “Cruelty-Free: a misnomer.”

Decluttering: Fall 2017

I wouldn’t consider myself a minimalist; although some would say there’s a lot of freedom that comes with being one. For the first time in a few years, I’m starting to put down roots-ish (with a lot of help from my significant other.) For the last several years, I’ve been bouncing from place to place and now that I’ll be in the same place for at least a good few years now, I have an actual vanity and with it, space for makeup. With this as well, my vintage/vintage reproduction wardrobe has also grown.

Despite this, I tend to make myself every few months go through my collection. I have a hard limit of 6 months; if I have not used a product at least once or I don’t love it anymore, it has to go. Even if there is a sentimental reason for keeping it, if I don’t use it, it’s time to lose it.

So, without further delay, here are the things I’m removing from my collection and why I am no longer keeping it.

Continue reading “Decluttering: Fall 2017”

Pincurl MVPs: Curlettes

Hair is not my strong suit. Part of it is that my hair is feral and does whatever it wants. The other part is that, while I have a lot of it, my hair is also very thin, fine, and prone to frizziness and tangling. Pincurls, however, are one of the few vintage hairstyles I can moderately work with.

I have done pincurls several ways, but the easiest, bar none, is by using Curlettes. It also is the most comfortable for me when I’m trying to sleep, compared to having a bobbi pin driving into my ear or scalp because it’s know rather than metal or plastic.

Continue reading “Pincurl MVPs: Curlettes”

The Perfume Collection

“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” – Christian Dior

I collect a few things: lobster kitsch, vintage clothing, but when I travel, the one thing I do is wherever I go (especially if I’ve never been there before), is buy a new perfume. Scent is a particularly strong way of triggering memories, and having a particular perfume reminds me of my travel. I always buy it right away when I get somewhere and wear it religiously during my time where I am.

I’ll be upfront: I am not anywhere as well versed on perfumes versus eau de toilettes and eau de parfums as some others may be. I vaguely know the difference. My tastes are not particularly sophisticated (or at least, I don’t think so), but much like art: I know what I like. When I do buy perfume for a trip, I only require two things: 1. that it represents where I was as best as possible, 2. it also has to be flattering on me.

These are the scents that I have in my current collection and what they mean to me.

Continue reading “The Perfume Collection”

This or That? #1

There are a lot of products on the market that are similar. Some people consider them to be “dupes” (side bar: I loathe this term; a dupe, or duplicate, is something that is identical in formula, color, and consistency–most “dupes” are not that, they are alternatives), some might be knock-offs, but generally, they perform pretty similarly. As with most makeup-related products, your mileage may vary and what works for me best may not work for you.

In this particular post, I’m planning on comparing a few items that are intended to do the same thing but review how they perform and make a recommendation based on my experience with the product.

Continue reading “This or That? #1”

Silken Twine Capri Pants in Chambray Blue

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When I was coming up with the idea for the photoshoot seen in Putting the Blue in Bluegrass, the hardest thing was finding a reasonable pair of blue capris in the perfect color family. Fortunately, Etsy pulled through for me and brought me to SilkenTwineAustralia, who made it super easy to find exactly what I was looking for and at a very comfortable price!

The pants themselves at the time of purchasing were $47.02 (USD) and international shipping was $11.76 (USD), making it a comfortable $58.78 (USD) in total. (At the time of purchase, the USD was stronger than the AUD making my dollar stretch further.) This is cheaper than many other brands both domestic and internationally for comparable products. Upon purchasing it, the shipping time was very reasonable, especially for something made to order. I had purchased on June 15th and received a shipment notification on June 19, receiving the package from Australia on June 30th.

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The pants themselves are made of stretch bengaline, and having worn them several times now, can attest to their comfort and willingness to stretch (I have done a little yoga in them and they passed eating at a buffet test!) The website states that it is built to be taken in or out, which is very handy.

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The quality is outstanding; I find the stitch work to be particularly impressive near the hem. As someone who does live in the petite range of things (being 5’0″ and all), the size 6 was perfect and I did not feel like it cut off circulation or was in any way uncomfortable or too long. It was perfectly made for my size, though, I will confess to not usually struggling with sizing issues except for length.

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My only criticism with the capris is that they are slightly sheerer, meaning, depending on what kind of undergarments you are wearing, they may come through the fabric. I could not wear my typical boyshorts with these, but a thong pairs nicely and is undetectable. I do not currently own any vintage/vintage-inspired undergarments, so I do not have the ability to test with that, though, I’m not sure it would make a difference. If the fabric was more opaque, I’d consider this perfect and would purchase in every color. This being said, I would still not hesitate to wear these to work, but I would be prepared to wear specific undergarments with them.

SilkenTwine does make them in a variety of sizes on up to size 16 Australian (which is comparable to a L in US sizes and is approximately size 12 US) and provides a sizing chart on her page. It would be nicer to see them in a larger size variety for more plus sized folk, but if you are within this range, it’s definitely something to look into.

She also has the capris in a variety of colors and other items, and I plan on purchasing the above ankle length black capris shortly.

In short, I had a great experience with buying from and wearing the capris, and have no issues recommending purchasing from them. They’re comfortable, great vintage reproduction staple pieces, and affordable. All of which are more than enough to keep me as a repeat customer.

All photography in this post is by Janna Michelle Photography

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Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

Pinup Anti-Haul #1

If you are a big fan of Kimberly Clark (and you should be!), you are probably familiar with the concept of anti-hauls. However, on the off chance you are not, the point of an anti-haul is to discourage empty consumerism and encourage empowered, thoughtful purchases. In the current pinup culture fueled by social media, it can feel very pushy to buy more and more so you can fit into that perfect aesthetic. I, for one, am not the type to buy mindlessly. Because I don’t get sent things for free (though, I would not mind if I did!) and money is a finite resource, it’s important to know I’ll be able to use what I buy.

The purpose of an anti-haul isn’t to be mean to brands and businesses (there are some I don’t like and won’t purchase from and there are plenty which I do like, but will not be buying because I’m going to be smart about what I do spend on!), but to be smart about what you do choose to spend your money on. Unlike a wishlist of things to pine over, these are things I know I will not be purchasing and why I will not be spending my money on it. While Kimberly Clark focuses on makeup and skincare, I’m choosing to focus on pinup related purchases.

For me, this also feels more like a “genuine” attempt to be reliving the pinup life of the 1940’s. Purchases were often tactical, and as such, it’s a nice way to be reliving that kind of culture. So, without further ado–here’s what (sung in Kimberly Clark voice) I’m not gonna buy~

Continue reading “Pinup Anti-Haul #1”