Browsing in my head

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

My Name is Cybele and I Support Sweatshops

It seems really strange to admit the above because the word sweatshop is such a dirty word. And it’s spawned what has become something called fast fashion Fast fashion = inexpensive, low quality clothing and accessories. Places where one would find fast fashion would be H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret, Zara, Gap, Walmart and the like. New stock comes in daily so the consumer always has something new to look at and buy, which is what I and I’m sure people now come to expect.

I’ve gotten very caught up in some of the above stores over the years. I mean, why pay $25 for a bib necklace on discount shopping sites like Rue La La and Ideeli when I can get it at Forever 21 for about $5.80? It got to the point where I was visiting a Forever 21 every week for a few months just because I didn’t want to miss out on anything they put on the floor. The latest was great and all but just wait until next week where I might find something even better! My thinking was why not? My purse strings could handle it. I mean I wasn’t usually spending more than $50 in a whack, and that’s how I justified it. But sadly, it adds up. Not only the bills but also the useless clothing and accessories I had acquired, most of which I didn’t even want or wear. It was the thrill of the hunt that had me hooked.

The above was a cycle for me and also an addiction and right now I seem to be in the ‘off’ mode where I’m really scrutinizing purchases with, “will I really wear/use that?” and “do I need it?” 90% of the time the answer is no, so for now, I’ve been able to control it. But when will the urge strike again? Do I need help like Shopper’s Anonymous? While I’ve wondered both, I can see exploring it to find out what’s behind it and I also have the feeling I’m not alone.

It seems odd to me to talk about this topic on a site about beauty products and what’s coming out, but it’s just really struck me lately how huge fast fashion in this country. We want things now and at a really low price. So this got me thinking, where does it end? I mean, I can’t be 100% guilty of this without something there to feed my addiction.

Thankfully documentaries and things I have read online have helped me realize that I’m not the only one feeding the beast and companies in this category are making huge amounts of money but at whose expense? It seems all of ours but mostly foreign workers and the earth.

We’ve all heard about brands moving their manufacturing out of the country due to cost and I remember hearing about the horrible conditions in NYC sweatshops but those pretty much don’t exist anymore. By having items made abroad, the bottom lines are even broader and these big corporations have gotten used to having their garments made for pennies on the dollar, which is why they are able to sell it to us consumers for a super low price all the while still making a nice profit on each piece. It’s a vicious circle with no winners besides those at the top. 

Two of my favorite brands, Stop Staring! and Pinup Girl Clothing, make their items in the US and the prices reflect that. Many times I’ve found myself wishing their items were less expensive but one has to pay for labor that is being paid at a fair living wage.

And the term ‘Made in America’ is a tricky one. Made can mean just assembled here but the “pieces,” so to speak, are created abroad, so until we are able to educate ourselves, I guess we are going to have to be in the grey zone with this.

So where do sweatshops exist? Any place where there is a vulnerable population, which is usually in third world countries like Bangladesh, China (still), Indonesia, India and I’m sure places I’m not even aware of because it’s very hush-hush for these manufacturers. Remember the Kathie Lee Gifford scandal in the mid-90’s about her clothing line? PR disaster.

And unfortunately manufacturing companies in these cities compete with others to offer the lowest price to make the garments to these gigantic corporations so if they don’t offer a good price, they don’t get the account. And sometimes the jobs are outsourced even further so that the big corporations can distance themselves from a scandal should it arise, and it has.

Thankfully there are people that are exploring the issue and putting it on blast. Films like “Behind the Swoosh,” a documentary about Nike’s practices, “This World: Clothes to Die For,” a doc by the BBC about the Rana Plaza building collapse in Dhaka, India in 2013, which killed more than 1,100 workers, to the latest one, “The True Cost,” are thankfully exploring the subjects but is anyone really listening? I mean where does it end? Yes, we want to pay the lowest we can for an item and corporations are giving us that but there is a cost to it. Not only the exploitation of people but also the killing of the earth. Faster and quicker comes at a price for all of us so how can we keep up the pace? I don’t think we can and at least I’m not feeding into the cycle … this week. 

# # # 

Here are a few links you may want to check out regarding this issue:

Something that got me off my butt to finish this story was this report about it on just the other day

I came across this while researching this story - Made In LA

A Ted Talks about Chinese garment workers. 

And from Huffington Post, 16 fashion brands that are “Made” in America

Films about sweatshops -

15 Most Notorious Sweatshops of All Time.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Happy 13th Year Blogiversary! And Shu Uemura News!

Wow, can you believe it? 13 years ago today I launched one of the first beauty blogs on the Internet; before the word "blog" even existed! Time really does fly as I didn't even remember this milestone until late last week.

Have you ever looked at my archives that are listed at the end of each page? The site used to be a monthly, publishing a new issue on the 1st of every month and this is what it looked like.

This week also brought some other good news. I was chosen to be one of the "shade-finder" faces for Shu Uemura's new Lightbulb Fluid Foundation and the launch went live earlier this week. Posted below is a screen shot or click here and here to see if on their site (click the below pics to see them bigger). 

And do you see who is right below me in the top shot? Leesha/Xsparkage! So I'm in good company, huh? I will be on the US and Canadian sites for the rest of 2014 with the foundation. I was so excited to be asked to do this and the foundation is pretty great, so phew on that front. 



So here's to another 13 years!!

All my blush, 


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Happy 11th Year Anniversary!

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the launch of Can you believe it? I’m quite excited and I was recently thinking about what I should do to celebrate, so, besides going live with a bunch of contests this month, I also thought I’d do some review.

Happy-AnniversaryWhen you reach a milestone in your life, it’s pretty common to stop, look around and take stock of what’s important and what's not. And we all know that changes from year-to-year, and for some week-to-week.

So what’s important when it comes to beauty products? I thought in the next 30 days I’d take a look at my Hall of Fame products and go through each one again to see if they’ve stood the test of time. There are 35 picks in there right now, so I have some ground to cover!

Lalicious Body OilSo starting off the reviews, in no particular order, let’s look at LALICIOUS Body Oil

Pros: I just wrote up their latest scent of Sugar Reef just last week and really liked the scent. When I first tried this line quite a few years ago, I liked that the oils she used are not fillers and petroleum etc.; the products were superior quality. So has the quality waned over the years? Nope!

Cons: there really are not any with this product so this first one is an easy guess!

Does it stay in the Hall of Fame?

Click here to read more

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cybelesays in Women's World Magazine

Not only am I excited that my hand cream picks is running in this week's Women's World magazine but they included both of the ones I suggested!


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Happy (Blogging) Birthday To Me


Dear Readers,

Wow, 10 years! 10 years ago today, I started not knowing what to expect or how the site was going to be received. It's been awesome and quite an accomplishment to reach this milestone. Thanks for reading and here's to another 10 years!!

All my blush,



Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Story of Cosmetics - The Critique

Monday, July 26, 2010

Something to Think About...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Much Ado About Ingredients in Beauty Products

I’m having quite the beauty conundrum so I’m just going to put it out there. The subject? Ingredients in beauty products. When I try a product, I usually go into it not knowing anything about it except that it’s a body wash or a mascara, etc, for example. I then use it a few times before reading up on it. That way I feel I can give a more of a honest answer and not just thinking I like it because of what I already know about it. But in the last few months when I like a product and the performance and wow, it lists great ingredients, upon looking deeper, POW, there are what some consider to be bad ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Mineral Oil, and polyethylene glycol, just to name a few. Maybe that’s why I got so excited when I discovered this one. I know that some people don’t care when it comes to ingredients in beauty products and that the FDA is there for a reason but I think more and more people are starting to pay attention.


Click here to read more

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shameless (not really) Press Plug

News-clip-art Did you see in the September 14, 2009 issue of  Women's World magazine?

Click here to see it!


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Superbowl, Smooperbowl, I Hit A Beauty Show!

Once a year I hit the mother of all beauty trade shows, the International Spa & Salon Expo (ISSE) here in Long Beach, CA. I think this is my 5th year going? It showcases the latest products in the categories of hair, nails and some skin. The publicity firm that clears my press pass to cover the show, Y Public Relations, sends out an Exhibitor HOT LIST so with that in hand, I hit the floor today in search of these and other hot products. Here are some I think you will probably be hearing more about soon.



Blinc Inc’s new Resurf.A.Stic (same people that make my Holy Grail mascara, Kiss Me Mascara) are taking a dip into the skin care arena. This one is the first one-step microdemabrasion, hydration and treatment stick on the market.


I predict that these Footsie Baths will become the norm in nail salons. They are disposable tub liner you put water in so everything is sanitary. I’m not sure exactly what these are made of (felt like regular thin plastic) but hopefully they can be made by recycled materials as I can't imagine throwing one of those things out after every pedicure. very wasteful.


Another new product debuting at the show was Curl Gel-les’c by CURLS. It an organic “styler” that isn’t a gel and isn’t a serum, but helps create enviable curls, and banishes frizz.


On the hair front, Brazilian Heat from Mega Hot just came out and this is one collection to pay attention to! From what I saw with the Brazilian Heat Dryer, it has a lot of firsts like a variable air speed dial. I’ll report back to you on this one after I have a chance to try it out a few times.


I heard about this line “It’s a ‘10’” before and got a brief education and some samples of their new Miracle Hair Mask to take with me. Will letcha know if it’s worth it.  


I don't know much about this SKIN1 by Dr. Gram line ... yet but from what I've heard, it's the latest skin care line combining science and nature so I'm curious.


Even though we focus on products, I couldn’t help taking pictures of the cool hair styles at the T3 booth with the Orlando Pita created styles.

There were a few of the products on the YPR list that I couldn't even find! Like one on the list that was Pro Iron by Create Ion hair straigtener and then the Micro-Bamboo Towel Set by Hollywood Face. Couldn't find either booth because it was so crowded and row/booth numbers were a little confusing. Yes, I could have pulled out the show map, but then I would have had to put down all my bags and well, make an effort! All-in-all, it was a great show.


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