As anyone who has recently drowned their recession sorrows in a brand-new tube of red or fuchsia lipstick knows, keeping up physical appearances does wonders for the spirit during times of economic duress. The correlation between an increase in cosmetics sales and hard times is actually a known statistical fact, coined the Lipstick Index by Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder in 2001, who noted, “When things get tough, women buy lipstick.” But according to an article in the Financial Times this weekend, liquid foundation is fast usurping lipstick as beauty junkies’ new pick-me-up of choice. The Foundation Index, as it’s now being called, is based on a study conducted by L’Oréal in the U.K., which found that while lipstick still reigns supreme among the over-60 crowd looking to escape the gloom and doom of financial cutbacks, one third of 18- and 19-year-olds consider foundation to be their must-have product, driving sales of the tinted face paint up 15 percent last year alone. A similar trend is occurring stateside, according to Kline & Company, a market research firm, which we find curious seeing as how every film premiere, art opening, and run-of-the-mill house party that we’ve observed lately (not to mention the Fall runways) seems awash with precise applications of bright lip colors, not makeup masks. What are you more likely to grab for, if you had to choose between the two?
“There are very few businesses that’ve been around this long,” Kiehl’s president Chris Salgardo said last night as he celebrated the apothecary’s 158 years in the beauty biz with new renovations to the flagship store and a host of celebrities in tow. “It’s been about three years in the making,” he said of the East Village mainstay’s refurbishing, which includes new fixtures, an updated layout, and the addition of a gifting station equipped with a collection of products exclusive to the store, like the limited edition lip balm cap (above), designed by New York Adorned. Toasting the company’s increased success worldwide and its continued dedication to the downtown community were Natasha Leone, Kim Kardashian, Amber Tamblyn, and Chloë Sevigny, the latter of whom will forever reign supreme over all that lies below 14th Street. “I’ve been using their products since ’93,” the actress surmised as she rattled off a list of her favorites, including the brand’s line-reducing serum, under-eye concentrate, lavender bubble bath, and Creme de Corps. When it comes to makeup, though, it’s all about Yves Saint Laurent, whose matte pink lipstick Sevigny broke out for the soirée. “It’s great because you don’t need a compact with it,” she said, pointing to the gold rectangular tube’s reflective surface. And then it dawned on us: a Kiehl’s color collection, by Chloë Sevigny. It’d be a great way to usher in the company’s 160th birthday, no?
In a scary bit of news out of South Korea, the Korea Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of five cosmetics products produced by the popular brand L’Ocean after it detected class A carcinogen asbestos in talcum powder used in the products. That’s right: asbestos. In your makeup. Recalled SKUs include L’Ocean’s Finish Face Powder, Perfection Makeup Base, Perfection Face Color, and two variations of the brand’s Double Shading Compact, all of which contained the contaminated ingredient, which apparently originated at distribution companies in China, according to an article in Cosmetic News. If for some reason you’ve been importing these products, stop. If you were considering making the move to talc-free makeup, perhaps now is the time to start the transition. Yes, we’re talking about South Korea here, but America has also been known to use raw materials—not to mention finished products—from the PRC.
Before he made the word fierce part of the country’s vernacular during his winning season on Project Runway, Christian Siriano was a makeup artist. True story. He worked the counter at Bloomingdale’s and even had a brief stint at Sephora before trading in his kabuki brush and face palettes for straight pins and presumably a lot more attitude. In an effort to return to his roots—and complement his most recent collection—the asymmetrical-haired designer has partnered with Victoria’s Secret to produce a line of limited-edition fall makeup. His first official foray into beauty includes a black kajal liner, three different neutral lip glosses, a bronzer/highlighter trio, and five eye shadow solos, including a gold-flecked version of VS Makeup’s best-selling black pigment, aptly named Gilded Fierce. After getting a sneak peak during an editor’s preview last night, we’re pretty sure you’re gonna want to get in on these when they come out at the end of the summer: They’re runway-ready (Alessandra Ambrosia and Adriana Lima were on hand to model the goods) and completely budget-friendly, ranging from $12 to $24 a piece. And just like that, Siriano is poised to endear himself to style-savvy Americans one more time.
Whether or not you consider yourself an expert in Egyptology, you are likely familiar with the bust of Nefertiti. Discovered in 1912 during the excavation of the studio of Thutmose (the royal sculptor to the pharaoh Akhenaten), the 20-inch carving’s symmetry and fine features put it on par with the Mona Lisa as one of the world’s most famous renderings of female beauty. But recent analysis of the limestone core at the center of the external layers of stucco reveal that the ancient Egyptian Queen may not’ve been such a looker. Using advanced CT technology, German scientists have been able to analyze the deepest layers of the art piece, only to discover that Thutmose’s original facial structure had less prominent cheekbones, a slight bump on the ridge of the nose, creases around the corner of the mouth and cheeks, and less depth at the corners of the eyelids. The discovery has prompted experts to suggest that the Pharaoh likely instructed the artist to re-create his wife’s image as he saw her in his mind. And so the origins of airbrushing have finally been discovered.