Archive for the ‘Vanity’ Category

It’s been some time since I’ve managed to do a contemplative post; and for good reason – for the past few years I’ve been highly occupied with my degree. But now as I am awaiting graduation, I finally have more time to breathe, craft… and write out thoughts unrelated to my degree.

Yesterday, I came to read an article on “Size Zero” in the fashion industry by former editor of beauty magazine Vogue (Australia), Kirstie Clements. I was outraged to hear about the extreme tactics used by some models in order to obtain an incredibly low weight/skinny physique. After all, models are supposed to be models in the first place for being genetically blessed with a beautiful body, why should they have to resort to practices which endanger their health as well? I suspect that in many cases, such models resort to such behaviour not necessarily always because they might have an eating disorder, but because they feel that it has become a necessity within their industry. I agree with many of the sentiments in the article, among them that “it cannot be denied that visually, clothes fall better on a slimmer frame, but there is slim, and then there is scary skinny”.

The affinity of the fashion industry for Size Zero has often been blamed for society’s preoccupation with losing weight. I recall a study by Becker (2002) which would seem to support this notion. I would also imagine that adolescents – who tend to be specially sensitive to socially-based information (as fMRI studies have shown – Sebastian et al 2010) – might be specially susceptible to pictures implying that thin and Photoshopped is beautiful.

But irrespective of the cause, it would seem obvious to me – as a member of society – that many people in developed countries have a dysfunctional relationship with food. The other day, I heard a friend of mine mentioning that despite her efforts to eat healthily, she had been “naughty” (or words to that effect) due to lack of sleep and snacked on sugary foods. Irrespective of whether one wants to/needs to lose weight, it is my opinion that food high in fat and/or sugar has a place within a balanced diet. Perhaps I am one of the lucky minority who feels that I am able to eat whatever I want (within vegetarian limits, of course) – yes, that includes sticky toffee pudding and chips – and still weigh in on the lower end of the “normal weight” BMI category. In my opinion, there should be no “bad” or “good” in diets, only “more”, “less” and “enough”. In fact, I personally think that “sinful vs. good” thinking with regard to food mirrors thinking in eating disorders. One only needs to read about emotional eating, feelings of self-control associated with food deprivation in anorexia and feelings of guilt in bulimia & binge-eating disorder to recognise some degree of parallel. That having been said, there are of course other factors that prevent such thinking from actually contributing to a fully-fledged eating disorder as such, such as healthy self-esteem (relative to the disordered), genetics, personality and upbringing to name a few.

Perhaps part of society’s obsession with slimness stems from the relatively recent abundance of food in developed countries. It is all very well to adopt a Seefood diet attitude (“I see food, so I eat it”) in times of scarcity, however food is relatively easily available and cheap to get in developed countries. It is all very well to eat for pleasure – I do so myself – however unfortunately I think this is where insight, willpower and personal pleasure derived from food come into play. Perhaps part of the reason as to why I am able to stay relatively slim is due to the very fact that I recognise that delicious treats are relatively cheap and in abundance in the first place; so I realise that I could eat that battered halloumi cheese whenever I’d like, as opposed to being obliged to eat it right now. I thought about this after having considered separate occasions where 2 other people I know (who happen to be watching their weight) who have mentioned that they “were full” after having consumed their meal, and then displayed a significant margin of indecisiveness when offered more food or dessert. I suppose it is easier said than done, for others!

So, it would seem to me that society’s psychological maladaptation to an abundance of food might partially be to blame for the thin ideal, given that being svelte has become an elusive state. Perhaps just as being curvaceous was a sign of vitality, good nutrition and wealth to support it in days long gone, being slim has become associated with having the money to have a personal trainer, a gym membership and health food (although in my opinion, seasonal vegetables, wholemeal grains and cheap proteins such as beans/pulses/eggs are widely available – and at prices comparable to those of crisps and sweets; and exercise can be done for free in the form of walking, gardening and other hobbies). It is just crazy and sad when the end response of the fashion industry is to go overboard, though.


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At last I can end my search for a lovely discrete pink. This has to be my favourite shade ever, a lovely nude beige. Now if only I could find a brand which does this plus has a DBP-free/phtalate-free policy…

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Now this is one review I’ve been meaning to do for a longggg time!
N.B. this post merely contains the personal opinion on an individual uneducated in the specifics of dermatology/cosmetology. I accept no responsibilty for any possibly related consequences to advice from this post! And I am in no way affiliated with Bioré, I just like this product of theirs. :-))

Now, if you come from East/South-East Asia like me, chances are you have probably heard of Bioré Pore Pack. (Perhaps we have more of a blackhead problem in this part of the world?) I have seen it occasionally in Boots here in the UK (with a different packaging) but it is much more expensive here, either because it’s more expensive to live here or because it is less popular here. Basically, it’s a self-adhesive strip which you put on your nose to remove blackheads. The adhesive matter on the strip is meant to stick to the deposits of sebum/blackheads, so when you carefully peel it off – ta-da, no more blackheads.

I’ve read a couple of mixed reviews about such blackhead removal strips. I remember one picking on how the packet said not to use the strips if your nose is sensitive to “bandages”. Another bemoans the fact that although the strip is effective, the blackheads are sure to come back again in about 3-5 days.

Personally, I am all for these self-adhesive blackhead removal strips. If you think about the mechanics of it, there is only so much exfoliants can do – do you think those little gritty bits really lift out all the dried sebum out of your pores? I’d imagine they would be effective at “scratching” out the top bits. (I do however think that exfoliants are great for gently removing bits of dead skin, but that’s another matter.) Meanwhile, if you were to get a bit of ahdesive meant to be used on the skin and stick it to the top of a blackhead sebum deposit, it gently removes most of the sebum deposit, as sebum sticks to sebum. Just google a bit to find pictures of used bioré pore packs and you will note disgusting bits of sebum sticking on them, thanks to slightly-too-eager users of the pore pack.

Sure, the blackheads come back again. But would you stop washing your face if someone told you that the effects were only superficial and if you stopped washing your face, impurities and sebum would accumulate? Point is, these pore strips are meant to be used regularly, and if you do use them regularly, you will have less blackheads. Just as your skin will tend to be healthier and look clearer if you wash it once to twice a day. (Of course if you don’t have blackheads in the first place/aren’t bothered about them then there is no point in using these pore strips :-P.)

(Update 25/11/2011): This is what I like to do:

1) Get a bowl of hot (not boiling!) water and soak a corner of a handkerchief in it. Apparently heat does NOT make your pores wider or smaller, but it does help to loosen the gunk in your pore for this purpose.

2) Pick up the handkerchief, test to make sure that the wet bit is not too hot for comfort and place on nose for about 5 minutes. Repeat Step 1 if the handkerchief gets cold.

3) Use water from the bowl of slightly-cooled water to really moisten the (already cleansed) skin around my nose.

4) Apply Bioré pore strips as normal. 🙂

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Another colour swatch for you! This colour is discrete yet pretty (by now, you should have guessed that these tend to be qualities I appreciate in my choice of colours!) but the pigments in this one tended to separate rather quickly over time. A little nail polish remover and a shake of the bottle seems to do the trick.

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Having had long hair below my waist in the past, and currently having hair that reaches my waist, I am aware of how difficult it is to keep your hair secured in a nice hairstyle that doesn’t allow it to get tangled or suffer extra damage outdoors. From time to time I wonder what it would be like to have short hair and secure it in a bun. However I do this sparingly as my hair is quite thick and I want to avoid having all the weight of my hair pull on a single section of scalp as the bun sits suspended in air.

Binosusume has designed a fantastic updo for her long hair, which turns it into a short-hair style.


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The colour is nice, but the application sucks and it chips really easily (well, what did you expect for £1.79). In short, a much better choice for toenails rather than fingernails.

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