Friday Fun: Totally cute is an understatement

Care to guess why I bought Too-Faced's Totally Cute palette in a matter of seconds after seeing it online?  Two words:  mermaid stickers!!  I'll get to those and the artist who created them in a second, but right now let's take a look at the actual palette.

Too Faced Totally Cute palette

Obviously I didn't put any stickers on mine. #collectible

Too Faced Totally Cute palette

Too Faced Totally Cute palette

I liked the guide almost as much as I liked the stickers.

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Does anyone else think the drawing of Too-Faced founder Jerrod Blandino looks a little like Hermey from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?  He just needs his hair in the opposite direction and a little elf hat. 

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

I spy a mermaid!

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Now for the even cuter part.  The palette comes with 2 sheets of kitschy stickers that I don't think I'll ever tire of.

Too-Faced Totally Cute stickers

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

But if you order from Too Faced's website directly, they will add a bonus sheet of stickers!  I didn't know this, however, and placed my order at Sephora.  I nearly cried when the sheet with the mermaid stickers wasn't there, as I had seen it at various other blogs and couldn't figure out why it wasn't included.  So I headed over to the Too Faced site and realized this sheet is exclusive to them.  So naturally I had to order it and then returned the other palette to Sephora.  Because MERMAIDS!!

Too Faced Totally Cute bonus stickers

So now let's take a look at the work of Humberto Cruz, a.k.a. iscreamcolour, the 32 year-old San Diego-based artist behind these adorable illustrations.  After graduating in 2007 from the Art Institute of California in San Diego, Cruz worked at a grocery store to make ends meet.  His luck changed for the better after joining Instagram and getting the attention of major fashion designers like Jeremy Scott.  With over 26,000 (!) followers now, his prospects are definitely looking up.

Cruz has done some great editorial pieces for the likes of Nylon - I was so excited when I opened this month's issue to see his work.

Iscreamcolour - Nylon July 2016

And some wonderful illustrations for V Magazine, showing off the best looks of the week (a feature that no longer seems to exist - not sure why).  The constantly fluctuating nature of fashion, particularly in cities known for being on the cutting-edge of trends, captures Cruz's imagination.  He remarks in an interview, "It’s always changing every season. I just like the way people express themselves with clothes. Here in San Diego we don’t get to wear those things, interesting things. It’s not New York or Paris."

Iscreamcolour - Cara

Iscreamcolour - Katy Perry

Iscreamcolour - Rhianna

While these are a lot of fun, his Instagram is pure gold.  Cruz clearly shares my affinity for mermaids and cites Disney's The Little Mermaid as a favorite subject to draw when he was young.  "As a kid I was always into different characters, the Little Mermaid...I would watch the movie and pause it to draw the characters and specific scenes."

Iscreamcolour - Merboy

Iscreamcolour - mermaid and octopus

Nearly died when I saw these punk mermaids - two of my favorite things, together at last!!

Iscreamcolour - punk mermaids

Like me, he also seems to have a taste for '90s pop culture.  Since he was just a kid in the '90s, it makes sense that he includes motifs like troll dolls ("I collected them as a child and I’ve started buying them again on eBay," he says) in his illustrations, but I also love his representations of the decade's icons in general. 

Iscreamcolour - Drew Barrymore

I remember Lil Kim's 1999 VMAs outfit like it was yesterday!

Iscreamcolour - Lil Kim

Iscreamcolour - '90s supermodels

Iscreamcolour - Spice Girls

Iscreamcolour - Spice Girls

Iscreamcolour - 'N Sync

Iscreamcolour - Cher

Iscreamcolour - Romy and Michelle

Sometimes mermaids and the '90s collide, as in these '90s era photos of Leonardo DiCaprio sporting a mermaid tail.

Iscreamcolour - Leonardo DiCaprio
(all images from @iscreamcolour)

As for Cruz's fascination with stickers, he maintains that they serve as a perfect backdrop to his celebrity illustrations.  "I’ve always collected [stickers], and had them in a box. I wasn’t inspired for a few years after I was finished with school. I’m drawing celebrities, thinking what should I do with the backgrounds? Should I use my stickers? Are they going to stay there in the box forever? It’s better to look at them in a drawing," he says.  

I feel as though Cruz and I are kindred spirits - we love collecting, mermaids, and anything from the '90s.  The mark of a good collaboration is when you can tell it's a particular artist's work, but slightly modified to fit the brand they're working with.  In this case Cruz was right on the money.  Not only did he use his signature cute symbols like troll dolls and and anthropomorphic food, he incorporated other motifs so that the stickers specifically captured the playful essence of this palette and of Too-Faced as a brand.  Both the fun side of makeup in general (blue lipstick, "I wake up for makeup") and Too-Faced (images of the company's other products, a caricature of Blandino and his dog Clover, etc.) were well-represented.

What do you think?  And did you collect stickers growing up?  I did, among many other things. :)

Friday Fun: Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles artwork, solved (Part 4)

Today's post will conclude my series on Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles and the original artwork that was used for the covers (see the 3 previous entries here, here and here).  I was pleased I was able to find the original images for every palette, but I'm dismayed that these particular ones do not have an artist listed.  All of the following were done by anonymous or unknown artists. 

Afterglow (1949) was used for the Hopeless Romantic palette.  Looks like they completely dismissed the guy in favor of a plethora of hearts.

Afterglow pulp novel = Too-Faced Hopeless Romantic Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

The mini Make A Wish palette was based on the Leg Artist (1949).

Leg Artist pulp novel = Too-Faced Make a Wish Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Divorce Bait (1949) was used for The Starlette palette (isn't it spelled Starlet?) As we saw with several previous Too-Faced Quickies, I guess the original model was also too racy this time - her strap has been firmly placed back on her shoulder and the entire garment is opaque rather than the sheer number we see in the original image.

Divorce Bait pulp novel = Too-Faced The Starlette Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Wild Parties (1950) serves as the original image for The Party Girl palette.  I'm not sure why the image is reversed or why the woman's cup is removed from her hand.  Can't a grown woman enjoy a drink?

Wild Parties pulp novel = Too-Faced the Party Girl Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

The model in Untamed Darling (1950) posed for the Glamour Girl palette, with the apple cleverly swapped out for a compact.  More pearl-clutching, I noticed - this time Too-Faced made sure she had underwear on as opposed to the original image.

Untamed Darling =Too-Faced Glamour Girl Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Call South 3300:  Ask for Molly! (1958) was used for the Sephora-exclusive mini palette released in honor of Too-Faced's 10th anniversary. 

Call South 3300:  Ask for Molly pulp cover
(image from

This is another one I don't own and couldn't find a good picture online, but you can sort of make it out on the lower left in the photo below.

Too-Faced mini Quickie Chronicles
(image from

The allure of the stewardess was captured in Flight Girl (1965) which Too-Faced used for the Jet-Setter palette.  I couldn't find a larger picture of this cover.

(image from

Too-Faced Jet Setter Quickie Chronicle

I burst out laughing when I saw the title of the pulp novel whose cover was used for the Fun in the Dark palette (which, incidentally, I never did get around to buying).  This one was from 1962.

Sorority Sluts pulp novel = Too-Faced Fun in the Dark Quickie Chronicle
(images from and

We're up to the very last palette.  At this point I'm pretty sure Helen Lovejoy was behind some of the design changes.


The Beach Bunny palette was based on Surfside Sex (1966).  Heaven forbid we see some undone bikini straps!

Surfside Sex pulp novel = Too-Faced Beach Bunny Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

My parting thoughts: I was really excited to be able to track down these images and match them up, but I still have so many questions.  I guess the retro trend was pretty big in the early aughts so that might explain why Too-Faced looked to pulp novels as their inspiration for a series of palettes, but I want to know the details, i.e. why they chose particular covers.  I'm especially curious to know why they modernized the illustrations in some regards (like erasing the cigarettes held by some of the women) but were very conservative in other ways (alcohol, implied nudity and in some cases, a wayward strap or copious amounts of cleavage are apparently unacceptable.)

That concludes the series on Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles palettes and their corresponding original artwork.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did researching it.  :)

Friday Fun: Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles artwork, solved (Part 3)

Welcome to part 3 of my series on identifying the original artwork for Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles palettes.  Since today's palettes are one-offs, meaning the artist's work was used for only one palette, I'm not going to provide bios for each of them - otherwise this post would be way too long.  Instead I'm linking to their information (where available) in their names so you can click on that if you're so inclined.   Here they are in no particular order.

First off is Sin in Space (1961), illustrated by Robert Stanley and used for the Future Lovers palette.  I spy more prudery from Too-Faced in that they lengthened the model's shirt.  So they're against both cleavage and underboob.

Sin in space = Too-Faced Future Lovers
(image from

Tempted! from 1949 was illustrated by Fred Rodewald and used for the Summer Lover palette.

Tempted = Too-Faced Summer Lover Quickie Chronicle
(image from

Here's She Couldn't Be Good (1951) illustrated by Ray Pease for the  Man-Eater palette.  I can't quite figure out what's going on in the background in the palette - the size of the pillows is off compared to the original.

She couldn't be good =Too-Faced Man Eater Quickie Chronicle
(image from

Carnival of Love (1949) illustrated by Ray Johnson was used for the Plaything of Passion palette.  Is it me or is the blonde in the background totally giving us the stinkeye?  

Carnival of love = Too-Faced Plaything of Passion Quickie Chronicle
(image from

The cover of the August 1949 issue of Coronet magazine, illustrated by Wesley Snyder, was used for the Bathing Beauty palette.  Here's a funny story about this.  In my usual scatterbrained state I couldn't locate the picture I took of this palette in my files so I thought I'd just re-shoot it.  When I went to fetch the palette from storage I couldn't find it anywhere.  I basically overturned my house looking for it in a panic...only to realize that it was still sitting on the exhibition shelf in the bedroom, as I have yet to dismantle the summer exhibition.  Duh. 

Anyway, the original Coronet cover oh-so-helpfully advertises its article on "ways to find a husband." And I thought it was tough being a woman now.

Coronet = Too-Faced Bathing Beauty
(image from

The Life of the Party palette was modeled off of a cover for a December 1940 issue of Love Story Magazine designed by Modest Stein.  Unfortunately I couldn't unearth a larger picture of the magazine.


Love Story Magazine, December 1940
(image from

Finally, we have It Happened in Hawaii (1961) created by Tom Miller for the Tropical Tease palette.  It looks like Too-Faced interpreted the original image to have a more Caribbean feel since they named it the Spiced Rum palette.

It Happened in Hawaii = Too-Faced Tropical Tease Quickie Chronicle
(image from  

That's it for today! The series will wrap up in part 4, where I was able to match the artwork but the artists are sadly unknown.

Friday Fun: Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles artwork, solved (part 2)

The first part of this series focused on the art of George Gross, who did some of the illustrations used in Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles palettes.  Today I'm looking at the work of two more artists whose work was appropriated by Too-Faced:  Reginalde Heade and Paul Rader.

The very mysterious British artist Reginalde Heade was responsible for many pulp covers in the 1950s.  I say he's mysterious because there's not even a formal record of his birth (he was born in either 1902 or 1903.)  According to the author of Good Girl Art, "[Heade] died in 1957, leaving no children, no will and no evidence of his existence other than his signatures on those gorgeous covers he produced.  And in 1954, he even stopped signing his work, when the publisher of the books he illustrated went to jail on obscenity charges.  Heade produced over 300 covers, most of them impossible to find.  He is not listed in any British standard artist references - no one even recalls meeting him."  How strange. I wonder if this man was leading a double life, sort of like Ron Swanson/Duke Silver.  In any case, while he was best known for his covers for pulp crime books, he also did some covers for "romance" novels.

His cover for Plaything of Passion (1951) was used for Too-Faced's Sex Kitten palette.  I was looking for any differences between the two, and it looks like the left side of the pin-up's bra provides a little more coverage than in the original.  Who would have thought we'd be more prudish in the early 21st century than in the 1950s?

Plaything of Passion = Too-Faced Sex Kitten Quickie Chronicle
(image from

Heade's work for the 1950 book Coffin for a Cutie (uh, nice title) was also used for the Bad Girl side of the Too-Faced Good Girl/Bad Girl palette.  The Good Girl side is by an unknown artist and used for a book titled No Time for Marriage.

No Time for Marriage and Coffin for a Cutie
(images from

Sorry for the small picture.  Believe it or not, I actually don't own all the Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles, and this was the best stock photo I could find.

Too-Faced Good Girl, Bad Girl palette
(image from

Now on to the second artist of this installment, Paul Rader (1906-1986).  Fortunately there's a lot more information on him.  He got his start painting portraits of well-to-do figures in Detroit in the early '30s.  In the early '40s, with a family to support, he moved to New York and began doing advertising illustrations for various companies like General Electric.  By the late '50s he had started getting work with top publishing companies, most notably Midwood.  It was during this time that he cemented his status as a top illustrator for pulp novels.  His wife Edith explained, "[Paul] had the ability to create a desirable woman on canvas...his idols were [George] Petty and [Alberto] Vargas. Paul loved George Petty’s formula for turning each woman he painted beautiful. But Petty’s girls were sometimes anatomically impossible, if those legs were real they would be 9 feet tall. Paul was more of a realist.”  (source

Among the many pulp novel covers he created was for 1961's Sin on Wheels, which was used for Too-Faced's The Makeup Trailer palette.  Saucy!

(image from

 I apologize again for the atrociously small picture - The Makeup Trailer is another one I don't own and this was the only stock photo I could find online.

Too-Faced The Makeup Trailer palette
(image from

He also did the cover for The Little Black Book (1961), which Too-Faced used for its Sure Thing palette.  I like that there is a nod to the book title in the description of the palette.  I noticed the same kind of change as in the Sex Kitten palette:  Too-Faced covered up the model a bit more by extending her blouse on the right side.  Again, I'm not sure why the company chose to do this.  Does Too-Faced have a problem with substantial cleavage?  I guess they didn't want to sex up the covers too much for fear of offending their consumer base, but honestly, it's a pin-up.  They're supposed to be scantily clad. 

Little Black Book = Too-Faced Sure Thing palette
(image from

So that's it for today's installment.  Stay tuned for part 3 where I will be covering more artists.

Friday Fun: Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles artwork, solved (part 1)

I was so heartened to find the original artwork for some of The Balm items a few months ago I thought it would be fun to revisit Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles palettes to see if I could dig up the original images for those as well.  Part 1 will cover the art created by illustrator George Gross for some incredibly cheesy pulp novels from the late '1940s and early '50s.

George Gross (1909-2003) started out doing illustrations for Winford Publications, including Mystery Novels Magazine and Double Action Western.  He then became the top illustrator for Fiction House, cranking out hundreds of illustrations for all manner of pulp novels ranging from sports and war stories to romances.  Artistic talent ran in the family; his father, Paul Gross, was a successful fashion illustrator whose main source of income was illustrating the mail-order catalogs for legendary department store Montgomery Ward.  While Gross is primarily known for the voluptuous, scantily-clad women that graced the covers of various pulp novels in the 1950s, he continued illustrating up through the '80s for men's magazines and serial action-adventure books.

First up is Love Cheat, 1949:

Love Cheat = Too-Faced the Cupcake Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Everyone Loves Irene, 1950:

Everybody Loves Irene = Too-Faced the Vixen Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

It was alternatively known as Everybody Loves a Looker.


(image from

These remaining ones do not show Gross's signature on the front as in the previous two, so hopefully the attributions I've found online are correct and these really are his illustrations.

Quickie!, 1950.  Seriously, what kind of nickname is that?!  It's interesting Too-Faced took the guy completely out of the equation for their cover art.

(image from

The Virgin and the Barfly, 1950.  Too-Faced made the woman's dress a little more modest by removing the cut-outs on her midriff (and, which I find hilarious, they also removed the minor camel-toe she had going on - something only a 21st-century audience would notice.)

The Virgin and the Barfly = Too-Faced the Royal Flush Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Fast, Loose and Lovely, 1950:

Fast Loose and Lovely = Too-Faced the Sweet Tarte Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Hard-Boiled, 1950:

Hard-Boiled = Too-Faced the Heartbreaker Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

One Night with Diane, 1950.  I like how Too-Faced jazzed up the cover a little by adding some rhinestones.

One Night with Diane = Too-Faced the Fabulous Flirt Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Confessions of a Dime-A-Dance Queen, 1951:

Dime a Dance Queen = Too-Faced the Bombshell Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Passion Has Red Lips, 1951:

Passion Has Red Lips = Too-Faced the Temptress Quickie Chronicle palette
(image from

Overall, the biggest differences I see between the novel covers and the Too-Faced covers are that some of the colors have changed, most of the images are zoomed in and cropped - I suppose to accommodate the titles and descriptions of the palettes - and finally, the women portrayed smoking no longer have their cigarettes (see Virgin and the Barfly/Royal Flush, Hard-Boiled/Heartbreaker, Confessions of a Dime-a-Dance Queen/Bombshell and Passion Has Red Lips/the Temptress).  The man in the Fast, Loose and Lovely/Sweet Tarte images also is missing his nicotine fix.  That's a good PR move on Too-Faced's part.  While for the most part the images are absolute replicas of the originals, the company was careful to tweak them as needed to suit a contemporary audience, who no doubt would not approve of encouraging such a health hazard.  Could you imagine the public outcry?

So that's part 1 of this series.  While the lion's share of illustrations used for the Quickie Chronicles were by Gross, there were a few other artists that were chosen so I'll be covering them in the next several parts.

Friday Fun: Pretty by the poolside

Well, today is the last day of the Museum's On the Water week.  But I'm not sad because summer is just getting started!

Today I'm taking a peek at two pool-inspired palettes:  Benefit's Cabana Glama and Too-Faced Summer Eye.

Cabana Glama (love the name!) includes a host of summer essentials encased in a vintage postcard designed palette.

Benefit cabana1

(images from

Too-Faced's Summer Eye palette has a mix of pink shells and flowers on the outside, and summery eye shadows set in a swimming pool background on the inside.  The water looks so refreshing!

TF summer eye

TFpool(images from

Both of these make me want to lounge by a big pool at a fancy resort with drinks being brought to me...ah, summer dreaming.  I'm not the only one who likes the idea of cooling off poolside, though.  One of British artist David Hockney's recurring themes is the swimming pool.

A Bigger Splash, 1967 (read about it at the Tate's website):

(image from

Portrait of Nick Wilder, 1966:


Pool With Two Figures, 1972:

(images from

Since I'm short on time and can't discuss these as fully as I'd like, here's a description of Hockney's fascination with the Southern Californian swimming pool from Socialphy:  "He's best known for his iconic swimming pool paintings that were a key part of the pop art era. His obsession with pools stems from the time he spent living in sunny California in the 1960s. He got inspired by the blue sea, sun, sky, young men and luxury. Who wouldn't? But you wouldn't think that paintings of swimming pools would attract so much hype but looking at them, they do have a certain hedonistic charm and appeal. It's the simplicity of them, the inviting aqua-marine water, sunny LA setting and his use of bright colors."

What do you think of these palettes?  And Hockney's swimming pool paintings?   I think all capture the relaxed yet glamourous spirit of summer days by the pool.

Friday fun (?): Child's play

Some recent collections have gotten me wondering about why makeup companies have been doing packaging that would appeal more to little girls than to women (or even teenagers.)   It started with Too-Faced's 2010 holiday collection called Enchanted Wonderland, which included 2 pop-up palettes featuring the girlie trifecta of fairies, flowers and tons of pink. 

Too_faced holiday 2010
(images from and

I have nothing against pop-up palettes - I love Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland and NYC palettes - but it seems that Too-Faced took it just a step too far by making theirs fairy-themed, or at least, didn't execute it in such a way to make it seem sophisticated the way Urban Decay did.  The palettes look more like something that my 2 year-old niece would be drawn to rather than an adult.

After this collection, I started noticing a spate of odd, "little girl"-type cosmetics.  I've already discussed the packaging for Tarina Tarantino and MAC Wonder Woman, but Sephora has introduced the Hello Kitty line, along with a set of flower-shaped brushes. 

(images from and

Finally, the new ad campaigns for Illmasqua's Toxic Nature and MAC's Quite Cute collection feature women whose clothing and accessories definitely have little-girl elements to them (butterflies, pigtails and exaggerated tutus for Illmasqua, stuffed animals and bubbles for MAC):

Blonde Wasps_face

Green wig_full body

Not only does MAC present a sort of overgrown tween in the image, it revels in the theme.  According to the ad copy, Quite Cute is "a style ride that combines postage-stamp-sized puppies with pixie swizzle-stick fashion and butterfly kisses for cute boys and even cuter shoes!"  I have a vicious sweet tooth but that's too saccharine even for me!

(images from and

Now, I have defended more kiddie-esque makeup and collaborations, such as various Disney, Barbie and Alice in Wonderland collections.  And I love stuffed animals - the entire Museum staff is composed of plushies!  It's okay for grown-ups to take comfort in and enjoy the delights of childhood on occasion.  But I feel as though the line between sweetly childlike and just plain immature needs to be drawn somewhere.   With this kind of packaging and advertising, are companies encouraging the infantilization of women?  Or possibly the sexualization of little girls?  (Tutus aside in the Illmasqua ads, some of the models are wearing fishnets and heels.)  I don't think anyone can say for sure.  I do know that I am slightly confused as to what makes certain ads and packaging that are centered around kid-friendly themes feel more acceptable than others.  Good:  MAC's Hello Kitty line.  Bad:  The regular Hello Kitty line.   Maybe it's simply a matter of personal taste.

What do you think?  Are these designs playfully whimsical or painfully juvenile?  And if the latter, do you think it encourages a societal view of women as children or is it totally harmless?

Friday Fun: Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles

Long overdue, but today I'm looking at the Quickie Chronicle palettes by Too-Faced.  According to Sephora, company founder Jerrod Blandino was inspired by a documentary on 1950's "pin-up" magazines.  Each of these limited-edition palettes (only 7,000 of each are made), has a different story written by Blandino on the back to express the personality of the woman on the front, and by extension, the makeup look the palette colors will provide.  But every palette has the same text at the top:  "She had always been a good girl. She played by the rules, never kissed on the first date, and agreed Daddy always new best. But then the innocent girl picked up the Quickie Chronicles, and honey, she was never the same."

Almost of the images are from PC Designs, while some, like the Miss Sixty palette (which was done in conjunction with the women's fashion line), seem to be original artwork.   To the best of my knowledge I am missing only one of these - the "Rent" palette, which does not feature a pin-up girl but images of the actors in the play/movie Rent.  Seeing as how I'm not into musicals I never bothered to buy it, but maybe I should to make the collection complete.

TF quickies small

The feminist in me doesn't think a series of 50's-style pin-up girls is the best representation of women, and the copy for some centers on women using their looks to snag a man and his money.  For example, take this text from the Bathing Beauty palette:

"The Bathing Beauty knew she needed a man to bankroll her leisurely, luxurious lifestyle, but she couldn't decide what sort. He, of course, had to be willing to buy her diamonds for absolutely no reason at all, and she positively had to have beach houses in Malibu, Maui, St. Barths, The Rivera, and Monaco so she could work on her beautifully bronzed glow year round - and this kit was always at her side to help her lure in the bait."

Yikes.  That aside, I do think the creator meant all of the copy to be tongue-in-cheek and not serious, and I love that he actually writes for each one to make them unique and represent the feel of each palette.  As a consumer I think it's great to be able to pick up one of these and know that the makeup inside directly relates to the image on the outside.  Looks like you can judge a book by its cover!