Curator's corner

Curator's Corner, April 2021

CC logoThe April 2021 rewind.

- I forgot to include this in the March edition of Curator's Corner, so here's my interview with antique jewelry boutique Lillicoco. I was so honored!

- A Sephora within walking distance is going to be fun but also very bad news for my wallet.

- This year's Oscars marked the first time Black women won the awards for Best Makeup Artist and Hairstyling.  Allure unpacks why, despite this victory, more needs to be done when it comes to diversity in Hollywood.

- Attention makeup history fans! "Makeup: A Glamorous History" has aired in the UK and getting very good reviews. I can't wait till we're able to watch it in the States.

- Here are a couple of updates on men in makeup.

- Cover Girl will be featuring my favorite '90s model in an upcoming campaign. I'm so happy to see Niki Taylor's gorgeous face again, I feel like she had quietly faded into obscurity while the other "supers" still had a good amount of visibility.

- Another one bites the dust. Farewell, Rodin Olio Lusso. I will always fondly remember you as the creator of one of the best mermaid makeup collections ever.

- So sweet: an elderly gent learns how to apply makeup for his wife, whose vision is failing. (Remember this lovely man, too?)

- It was National Unicorn Day on April 9, so here's the Museum's current collection of unicorn-themed goodies.

The Makeup Museum: Unicorn themed makeup

The random:

- Another holiday this past month was Easter, and I'm still scratching my head over Peeps soda.

- I'd love to take a dive into the world's biggest collection of magazines!

- Adored this photo series of Black merfolk.

- New documentary to add to my Netflix queue.

How was April in your neck of the woods?


Curator's Corner, March 2021

Curator's cornerLate links as usual...I get so frustrated at not being able to stick to even the most basic of schedules. But as I'm demanding more of the Museum these days it's hard to keep up.  ;)

- The Curator's favorite publication turned 30 this month, and I was so pleased to add a copy of their very first issue to the Museum's collection a while back. For some reason though they started celebrating back in February, but I'm including a link to their 30th anniversary content anyway.

- The beauty industry has a renewed focus on fighting racism against the AAPI community, which is long overdue. 

-Beauty enthusiasts have been making this argument for ages, but it's always worth repeating.

- The U.S.'s ever-shrinking middle class is still buying beauty products, but their habits are different now. One word: masstige.

- On the one hand, it's good that this website is available for domestic violence victims; on the other hand, as with roofie-detecting nail polish, I feel like it shouldn't exist.

- I'm baffled as to why Hourglass's new vegan red lipstick getting so much buzz, considering that there's no shortage of vegan red lipsticks on the market. Obviously, not killing insects to make lipstick is a good thing, but I'm not sure what the breakthrough is here.

- Also not wowed by the removal of the word "normal" from Unilever's products. I understand shifting language is necessary for social change, but "normal" when referring to skin type isn't really offensive or exclusionary despite the company's market research. ("Normal" hair type and body weight...now those are different stories.) Thank goodness for r/skincareaddiction telling it like it is.

-
Astrology-themed beauty is still going strong, perhaps even more so due to the pandemic.

- Sad that I missed this oh so spicy collab before it sold out for the second year in a row.

The random:

In 90s nostalgia, HBO will feature a documentary on actress Brittany Murphy (Clueless, Girl Interrupted) and Netflix has released a documentary on the last Blockbuster video store (the irony). Also, while it doesn't take place in the '90s, Moxie is apparently brimming with Riot Grrrl vibes. I need to see it, obviously!

- How adorable is this mini art gallery?

- I enjoyed this article on the work of fashion illustrator Marcel Vertes, who also created ads for a number of perfumes and cosmetics.

- If you ask me, mermaidcore is always trending.

How did March treat you?  Generally speaking I hate it so I was glad to see it go. Here's to longer days and warm weather!


Curator's Corner, February 2021

CC logoLinks for a busy February.

- It was Black History month, so that means major companies (Ulta, Sephora and Nordstrom, among others) are rolling out new diversity and inclusion initiatives. Time will tell whether they're in earnest or just crossing some items off their lists for Black History month. 

- Other anti-racism agendas within the industry include speaking out against anti-Asian racism and skin whitening.

- The Washington Post reports on the serious side of a viral TikTok beauty mishap. (Turmeric face mask staining is funny though.) Overall, I still hate TikTok but this was also an interesting read.

- Other things besides TikTok making me feel ancient: Chanel's new lip scanner and Clubhouse.

- I'm still wary of anything claiming to be "green," but refillable luxury packaging is something I can get behind.

- So sad to see Becca go. But Burberry's cool star makeup helped take the edge off, along with this adorable palette ring.

- Another reminder for me to update my post on faux freckles.

- This new book about the history of men's facial hair and grooming is on my wishlist.

- I had lots of new Museum acquisitions for the various celebrations in February, so here are some Instagram highlights. 

Lunar New Year picks:

Lunar New Year makeup 2021

Mary Quant crayons in honor of her birthday:

Mary Quant crayons, late 1960s-early 70s

Valentine's Day picks:

Valentines day makeup 2021

Twiggy lashes for National Lash Day:

Twiggy lashes by Yardley

The random:

- It was '90s week at Jezebel so you know I was all over that.  My favorite article involved the mystery of the oversized yet flattering suits worn by X-Files' Dana Scully.

- Some reflections on Linda Nochlin's groundbreaking essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?", which turns 50 this year.

- HBO has an interesting-looking documentary on influencer culture.

- On the local front, I must thank my friend Ally for alerting me to these painted salt boxes in Baltimore.  I wish there were some in our neighborhood!

How have you been?  Are you looking forward to spring?


Curator's corner, January 2021

Curator's cornerLinks for one of the most miserable months of the year. Good riddance, January!

- Sephora unveiled an action plan to eliminate racial bias in their stores.  Let's hope they keep the public informed on their progress.  Ditto for L'oreal's new partnership with the NAACP and a ban on animal testing in the EU.  

- In accessibility news, here are some new makeup brushes designed for people with vision and motor impairments.

- You know I'm obsessed with vintage makeup ads and can spend hours dissecting the harmful messages they embodied, so I'm loving these reimagined ones featuring diverse models.

- Refinery29 had an interesting piece on the meaning of tacky makeup for fat women.

- The future is here: more developments are on the horizon for AI and AR in beauty.

- Not sure how I feel about my favorite magazine opening a store in NY.  Guess I'll have to check it out and see if/when the pandemic ever ends.

- Undereye circles, both exaggerated versions of natural circles and wildly colorful ones, are making the rounds on TikTok.   (BTW, the Museum has a Tiktok account but no clue what to post...I'm open to suggestions.) Not all are enthusiastic about the trend, however.

- You knew "regencycore" makeup only a matter of time thanks to Bridgerton

- Vogue has an ode to a '90s cosmetics staple. Can you believe I didn't own a Caboodles?  If I recall correctly it's because even when I was a teenager I hoarded collected makeup and I knew it wouldn't all fit.

- Inaugural beauty: the always fashionable former First Lady Michelle Obama wore Fenty and Pat McGrath makeup to President Biden's inauguration, and a makeup artist turned the Bernie meme into lip art.

- It was Christian Dior's birthday on January 21, so to celebrate I took a picture of nearly all the Museum's 5-Couleurs eyeshadow palettes.  Of course I managed to forget one.  Oh well. They still look pretty. :)

Dior 5-Couleurs collection, Makeup Museum

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Silence of the Lambs turned 30, and for some reason one hit wonders New Radicals performed, well, their one hit at the inauguration.

- Museums' new purposes apparently include serving as vaccination centers and sites for Bernie memes (yes, I had to mention the memes a second time.)  Still, I'd take those over "for-profit experiential art centers", which in my opinion are not actually museums.

- Who came up with this monstrosity?  I love candy and I love Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese, but the two together sound positively putrid

- At least this made me laugh. The resemblance is uncanny!

How was the first month of 2021 for you?


Curator's corner, December 2020

CC logoI was too tired and sad to do a 2020 version of Curator's Picks and Pans, so I'm skipping straight to Curator's Corner for December.

- Mother has become a Dame!  Huge congratulations are in order for Pat McGrath, who became the first makeup artist to receive damehood from the queen. I remember when she got the MBE in late 2013, so I was thrilled to see this. 

- I was also really pleased to see Allure's digital feature on accessible beauty.  Just wish it was in their print version.

- I was not, however, happy to see that the president of Japanese brand DHC is under fire for some racist remarks. The really sad part is that instead of making an attempt at any sort of apology he just shrugged it off, but I guess that's to be expected as he has a history of doing this.

- Interesting piece on beauty and makeup as instruments of political power over at Teen Vogue, the author of which will be releasing a whole book on the subject.  I only hope the fable about Elizabeth Arden handing out lipsticks to suffragettes doesn't make it in there, as no one has been able to produce solid proof.

- Wallpaper had an article about the new marketing and branding for Shiseido.  How nice that the company they hired gets access to their archives for "guidance" and "inspiration" but researchers like me are repeatedly shut out.

- While I'm being a cranky old lady, I must confess that new tech advances like digital makeup printing and Google's virtual makeup try-on service seem rather stupid.  There's also Moi lipstick, which I grudgingly admit sounds somewhat interesting in terms of being able to match basically any color in the world, and I understand the need for reducing makeup packaging waste...but it also reeks of a futuristic dystopia.  

- Sad news from happi.com (the irony): Benefit co-founder Jane Ford passed away. I imagine it was tough to go on without her co-founder and twin sister Jean, who died in January 2019.  Flori Roberts, founder of her eponymous line that catered to Black women as well as Dermablend, also passed away.  More to come on Roberts as I have mixed feelings about her.

- And because I'm lazy and various news outlets have covered them already, I'm linking to some articles on beauty in 2020 and what's in store for 2021. In 2020, the biggest trends I saw were the rise of TikTok, a slew of celebrity lines, an emphasis on skincare, experimental and "ugly" makeup, and video game/makeup and beauty crossovers, whether that meant a collaboration with a video game or beauty brands making an appearance in Animal Crossing and the like. Of course, the impact of Black Lives Matter and other calls for diversity and inclusion in the industry cannot be ignored; however, I refuse to see it as a passing trend that was unique to 2020.  Both companies and consumers need to keep up the momentum.

The random:

- I love grey and yellow together, as evidenced by my wedding colors and some beloved Museum staff members, so I'm very in favor of Pantone's picks for 2021.

- "A virtual experience of high quality is not just second prize to being there in person, it may offer fresh revelations." Great piece on why digital museum exhibitions should become standard accompaniments to real-life ones.

- If Reservation Dogs is half as funny as What We Do in the Shadows, it will be hilarious. 

- Memes were one of the few things that helped keep me somewhat sane in 2020.

Are you looking forward to the new year?  I have to admit I'm not feeling optimistic, not just about the pandemic nightmare but the Museum and my family.  It was more of a slow burn of trauma and grief in 2020 rather than the sudden, unexpected events that took place in 2019...and I'm not sure which was worse. I hope 2021 will be better but based on these past two years the outlook is bleak.  :( 


Curator's corner, November 2020

Curator's cornerThe November rewind. 

- Tooting my own horn, again...this time I was interviewed for a short video segment on makeup during the pandemic.  If you want to see what I sort of look like - I swear I'm not quite as hideous in real life - keep your eyes peeled around the 1:20 mark.  Alas, they only included a tiny snippet of what I was saying so it doesn't make much sense, but my answers were better in the full context.

- In makeup history, be sure to check out this lovely post (complete with sources!) on '50s beauty tips from Hollywood stars over at Mermaidens blog.  I also enjoyed this interview with Beauty Blender founder Rea Ann Silva.  (BTW, they have the cutest zodiac-themed sponges available now so clearly I need to add them to the Museum's zodiac collection.)

- Move over '90s, y2k has taken over as beauty nostalgia's new muse.  I plan on having a little bit of this era in the epilogue of my 90s book. ;)  

- Makeup sales are falling, yet beauty overall is still set to reach nearly $130 billion by 2030. I'm guessing the rising demand for "personal care" items is making up for the losses in color cosmetic sales.

- Target is one of those stores that I could spend all day in. If I ever feel safe enough to go into a store that's not a necessity (i.e. a supermarket) I suspect my Target runs will be even longer due to Ulta setting up shop.

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Toy Story turns 25 (a film I still haven't seen because I think it'll make me cry) and one author tries to explain the appeal of the "butt cut" for guys.

- On the art front, I've got two words for you: underwater Impressionism.  I'm also really enjoying this blog by a museum professional - she's given me so many things to think about!

- Finally, Thanksgiving was sad again this year, but at least the plushies kept us company.  They were very eager for the desserts I was making (candy cane brownies, pumpkin cupcakes with caramel filling and frosting, and coffee heath bar ice cream) so to get them out of my hair for a bit I allowed them to play with some of the Museum's objects.  Colourpop released the cutest Candy Land collection complete with a board game, and I finally got around to snagging Revlon's $64,000 Question game from the '50s.  So they had a nice little game night.

MM staff

No pics of the desserts I made because we ate them all too fast, but they were pretty good!

If you celebrated, how was your Thanksgiving?  Are you ready for the holidays?


Curator's Corner, October 2020

Curator's corner logoI was hoping to do a history of Day of the Dead makeup in addition to Curator's Corner, but as usual I wanted to tackle a very in-depth topic that I lacked the time to cover, so here are some links instead.

- Just gonna toot my own horn, again - I was interviewed for not one but two publications, both of which happened to be in German. I hope nothing was lost in translation!  Here's a link to an article on medieval makeup in the Swiss edition of Fokus magazine, and photos are below for the October 2020 issue of Madame magazine.  The journalist never made good on her promise to send a copy (as a matter of fact, never followed up at all) and it's not available online, so I had to enlist the help of a very kind Instagram follower in Germany to send it to me.

Madame Magazine featuring the Makeup Museum, October 2020

Madame Magazine featuring the Makeup Museum, October 2020

I got a whole big quote!

Madame Magazine featuring the Makeup Museum, October 2020

- Bobbi Brown in 1993, two years after starting her original brand: "I don't like women to look like they're wearing makeup."  Bobbi Brown on her new line, Jones Road: "I honestly think people look better with less makeup...[Jones Road] is the ultimate no-makeup makeup."  I mean, it's great she's sticking to her minimal aesthetic, I just find it funny that she's essentially starting the same line she did the first time around, despite her claims that it's completely different. (Also, everyone needs to stop with the "clean" jargon already!)

- Having said that, sustainable ingredients and beauty waste are real issues, as proved by some disappointing news on ecoglitter and sheet masks.

- We're all in the throes of Election Day anxiety (I guess Election Week at this point), so here's a timely article on how beauty brands were pushing voting more than ever.  

- Beauty Matter had an interesting piece on the rise of the anti-haul.  Believe it or not, there are some things I actively choose not to buy...would you like to see a Museum anti-haul?

- Why aren't more retailers doing this??

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, here's a look back at 1994's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  Meanwhile, Oasis's What's the Story Morning Glory and Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness turned 25 on October 2 and October 23, respectively.

- Always hate to see a museum close, but I'm so curious to know how much a gun disguised as a lipstick would sell for.  Also, check out the world's most haunted museums.

- I need to watch the mermaid episode of Hulu's Monsterland ASAP.

Finally, here are some of the Museum's staff in their Halloween finery.  And candy, of course!

Halloween plushies

How are you?  Did you have a nice Halloween despite the pandemic?


Curator's Corner, September 2020

Curator's corner logoLinks for September. 

- Any makeup history fan must check out Lisa Eldridge's video showcasing highlights from her amazing collection.

- Estée Lauder will be the first company to send beauty products into space, to the tune of $128,000.  To what end I'm not sure.

- Byrdie had a good summary and history of Black-owned beauty brands, while Allure discusses the deathknell for skin whitening products and why getting rid of them is only the start of the conversation surrounding colorism.  Elle also featured several Black influencers who sounded off on the areas the industry still needs to improve in terms of inclusion and diversity.

- Like these makeup artists, I predict lipstick will make a huge comeback once masks are no longer part of our daily lives.

- I don't know what's more ridiculous - press-on nails to match your phone's pop socket or the fact that someone started a beauty line in Joe Biden's honor. I guess if the latter helps get people to the polls, who am I to complain?

- September 29 was National Coffee Day! Here's most of the Museum's coffee-themed collection. (I couldn't find my Hard Candy caffeine lipstick.) I'm really enjoying Beauty Bakerie, it would be perfect for a revisited Sweet Tooth exhibition.

Makeup Museum coffee collection

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air will have a 30-year reunion on HBO, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar turned 25. You can also enjoy this new column on PJ Harvey.

- This new museum in Amsterdam looks pretty interesting.

- It might be impossible to keep your cute aggression in check upon seeing these Japanese dwarf flying squirrels. Unbelievably adorable.

How did you fare in September? 


Curator's Corner, August 2020

CC logoLinks for August, plus another special milestone.

- I'm just gonna go ahead and toot my own horn - I was honored to be interviewed for an article on gender-inclusive beauty over at Mission Magazine. Not the most insightful quote but at least I got a mention!

- You could say I'm supremely excited for this new Pat McGrath lipstick, along with Byredo's new makeup line.

- Let's hear it for Juvia's Place, who is providing $300,000 worth of grants for black-owned businesses.

- Some new beauty shows to binge: Jackie Aina's Social Beauty, a documentary featuring Black women fostering social change through beauty and Rosie Huntington Whiteley's About Face, which will explore the stories behind major brands.

- AOC shares all the details of her beauty routine, including her favorite red lipstick.

- Allure consults its crystal ball for their latest issue, predicting the future of beauty products and evolving beauty standards.

- Move over, Cheeto nail polish. Everything Bagel is where it's at. (I will most likely end up buying this.)

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Animaniacs is being re-booted and some enterprising person is marketing a Friends-themed advent calendar.  Also, in reunions no one asked for, Smash Mouth returned to further the spread of COVID with a concert in South Dakota.

- Loving this new museum of BLM protest art, plus it's proof that a museum does not need a physical space to be meaningful and educational.  Meanwhile, the International Mermaid Museum just opened.

Finally, in addition to the Museum's anniversary, August is the month for me and the husband's anniversary. Since we got hitched on our exact 10-year dating anniversary, we're celebrating a total of 20 years together this year. Woot! If you've been following the Museum since 2010 you know we had a lovely wedding day and a wonderful honeymoon. Here's some wedding miscellany to celebrate, including our stationery that the husband designed, my shoes, jewelry, and of course makeup. I know I need to get rid of the Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation and probably the Bobbi Brown lipstick I wore, but I can't part with them. (Hey, at least I got rid of the mascara and the Stila Kitten eyeshadow pan is a replacement).  I also included a couple of Museum wedding-related pieces, like Stila's June Bride palettes and a cute little Elgin compact from the '40s, which unfortunately suffered some chipping.

Wedding anniversary makeup

How are you?  Are you looking forward to fall?


Curator's Corner, July 2020

Curator's cornerThe July rewind. 

- I think every single business should follow Target's lead and clearly indicate the black-owned brands they carry.  In other diversity news, indigenous-owned brands are finally getting some attention.

- "Creatives all over the world have been using lockdown as an opportunity to push their boundaries, psychologists say this could be a new form of self-care": How the pandemic is encouraging more experimentation with makeup than ever before.

- Trend news:  matching your eye makeup to your mask is the hot new thing, while the TikTok teens are bringing back tooth polish, which you might recall had a moment in fall 2018. Also, I have no idea how I missed the airbrushed butterfly makeup trend back in March when I was prepping for the Soaring Beauty exhibition! 

- R.I.P., Clarisonic.  I need to look for a replacement ASAP.

- How about some biscuits and gravy with your KFC lipstick?  It'll also go well with the nail polish they released a few years ago.  Unfortunately only 400 are being made and you have to sign up for their "Colonel Club" so I have no chance of procuring it for the Museum, but food-themed makeup is something I never tire of.

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Clueless celebrated its 25th anniversary, which for some reason I thought was much earlier in the spring, while the A.V. Club pines for Crystal Pepsi - don't we all?  Jim Carrey, insufferable though he is (with the exception of Dumb and Dumber), shared the unsettling origin story behind Fire Marshall Bill, one of the characters he created for In Living Color.  Side note: in the name of "background research" for my '90s makeup book that I will never actually get around to writing, I'm rewatching this show along with Kids in the Hall and The State.  Comedy in the '90s was...something else. 

- Artsy had a good article on how graffiti artists are at the forefront of raising awareness for the BLM movement.

- You know I've long-considered what I'd do if a huge beauty brand offered to sponsor the Museum or an exhibition, so this was an interesting case study to see the results of one such partnership between a business giant (Ikea) and a tiny, nonprofit museum founded by private collectors (the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.)  However, one of my pet peeves was confirmed in that Ikea insisted on putting their name in the exhibition title.  Blech.  I understand companies need to advertise their sponsorship but to put it in the title just seems so crass and distracting from the museum's mission.

- Kudos to Ryan Reynolds for helping return a very special plushie to their human. #imnotcryingyourecrying

How are you doing?  I'm struggling a bit...between Museum woes and going the longest time in my life without seeing my parents, it's been tough.  But I'm still employed and the husband and plushies still support me so those are two good things.