Whitening Cosmetics: A Look at The Dangers of Skin Bleaching

Skin bleaching: the use of lightening or whitening products have long been on the global market. Recently, it has become a trend which is sold to the masses who are in search of a lighter complexion. “Shady” is a video produced by fashion media company, Refinery 29. Reporter, Lexy Lebsack, tells the story of the possible dangers of certain skin bleaching creams with the most toxic ingredient; mercury. Lebsack’s video about the whitening cosmetic industry and its potential dangers, is part of a series, SHADY. She is an investigative reporter and producer, covering topics about beauty issues around the globe. The Asian market is inundated with whitening creams, lotions and soaps. Shiseido, the luxury Japanese cosmetics line, sells White Lucent with Sakura Resist Technology which is derived from sakura cherry blossoms. This fades dark spots and hyperpigmentation and can be used in conjunction with lasers. Other whitening brands contain less harmful ingredients such as ; Kojic acid, vitamin C and hydroxyquinone. Porcelana’s fade cream has been a staple in the US for decades, but it never made headlines. It showed its brand as an ad for a clear and lighter complexion which helps to diminish age spots and freckles. This video focuses on the country of the Philippines. The Philippines tends to value lighter skin because it can increase attractivity, foster self esteem and creates a feel of a more “beautiful” image. A city spa, Bello, is shown and the owner speaks about the lightening phenomenon. The spa has a procedure where many females flock to use a treatment such as; “The Cinderella Drip”. This IV drip contains glucothiamine which helps lighten the skin. The goal is not to look Caucasian, but to have a lighter coloring which can help the Philipina female become more economically marketable in the workplace and increase their “value” as a beautiful woman. The spa treatments might be relatively safe, but the lower costing creams which contain mercury, are the danger. High levels of mercury can cause kidney and liver damage, leading to death. Lexy Lebsack buys a variety of these creams and takes them to be evaluated. A director at the environmental regulatory board, finds these creams contain on average.. 42,000 times the legal limit of mercury. Some customs agents are overlooking the importation of these mercury infused whitening creams. They feel these products will help the image of the country. The Philippines was under the control of the US, Spain and Japan, gaining independence in 1946. The countries’ history might lend to this trend, but much is new. Social media influencers, show pretty lighter skinned females and they have millions of followers. Young girls see IG pictures and want to look like the latest it girl of Manila. One female said, she has decided not to use these products anymore, as she is pregnant and wants her child to grow up liking their heritage and browner complexion. It is more than skin deep.. One can attribute beauty standards and marketing skincare lightening to a range of variables, but when it comes to safety.. what will someone risk in order to get a particular look.



Clarins Paris, Total Eye Lift

Eye cream, a ritual in most people’s skin routine. Clarins, a prestige cosmetics line based out of Paris, makes am eye lift concentrate which helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles as well as help clear up dark circles. The under eye skin is 7 times more sensitive than the rest of your skin, why not choose a product such as : Clarin’s Total Eye Lift to brighten and tone your eye area. The red bottle has a dispenser top which lets you put a dab of the cream around your eye orbit and penetrate the skin during the day or night. This concentrate is powered by two plant ingredients, Organic Harungana extract and Cassie Flower Wax. It can provide an immediate lifting and smoothing effect. Clarins states the the eye cream has 94 % ingredients of natural origin. It has a blend of horse chestnut escin, albizia extract organic guarana, plant based caffeine and shea butter are a combine of elements which help to diminish circles, smooth eye skin and reduce puffiness. It is a lightweight formula and has an ultra balm texture, blending right into the skin. It is easy to then apply eye makeup. The slogan; “Good For The Skin, Good For The Planet”. Clarins has a fair trade partnership Jardins du Monde which enables the purchase of Organic Harungana to improve the local communities who harvest the plant. Their headquarters are in Paris and Neuily-sur-Seine and the customer relations is in NYC.. Clarins promise; to see major results within a month, but it will refresh and brighten the eye area, giving skin a glow, immediately. Applying the concentrate from temple to temple and watch the video as to how to accurately apply.

Paris and Nicky Hilton; Socialite Sisters

As long as there has been Reality TV, night club promoters and parties, fashion designers, influencers, Paris’ pink and sparkle, Nicky’s French Sole shoe collaboration, a start up Hilton boutique and celebutantes, the Hilton sisters have become a household name. Paris Hilton’s expression; that’s hot and sliving-slay/living and chihuahua, Tinkerbell, have become pop culture. Born to Richard and Kathy Hilton, they were born in LA and moved to NYC. Kim and Kylie, are their maternal aunts and have been on The Housewives of Beverly Hills, the family fame game is de rigeur. They’re the great granddaughter’s of Conrad Sr. and the grandaugther’s of Barron Sr., founders of Hilton Hotels. Their world has revolved around in living in NYC and Beverly Hills, traveling to places such as: Las Vegas, Paris, London, Ibiza and around the world, we have watched the pair of sisters grow up. The Hilton Hotel Corporation and Hilton Foundation, started by Conrad and Baron Srs., a worldwide hotel chain and business and an established philanthropic foundation, lends to the family name.

Paris and Nicky Hilton seem closer than ever and have q and a sessions and are in the spotlight again. Paris has created the campaign #breakingcodesilence in order to end the troubled teen industry, where schools such as the one she attended, Provo County in Provo, Utah, have made the news. Her documentary; “This is Paris” shows her life in music, merchandise, fashion and personal interests, but focuses on teens at a school which is marketed as therapeutic, but ended up being a nightmare for her and many of her peers. She speaks of the school staff screaming and keeping her in isolation, which resulted in a diagnosis of PTSD and night terrors There are other similar programs across the U.S.. Provo Canyon, was sold to another company, they deny these allegations. She is well remembered for her reality show; The Simple Life, with Nicole Richie. A parody with the two milking cows while residing on a rural farm and making blunders at a fast food place, while missing their cosmopolitan lifestyles. She speaks of this as a comedy and her perception of acting ditzy, being well that, an act. Paris Hilton has a taste for bling which can be seen in her passion for sparkles, her favorite color pink and clothing collection. For her 21 birthday, she wore a short silver Swarovski Crystal beaded dress, designed by Julian MacDonald which was paired with a tiara. Kendall Jenner copied the dress and Nicky, have worn the actual ensemble for a party. Her days of self promotion with other celbutante influencers such as; Kim Kardashian are not quite at the same level. She has her music career where she sings pop songs and DJ’s. Paris has created a multi million dollar business with products ranging from perfumes to clothing. Paris and Nicky’s favorite travel destination; Tokyo. They worked with Japanese handbag designer, House of Samantha Thavasa. Paris was a model and Nicky worked on creative, Paris has matured, almost 40, she is in love with bf, Carter Reum. According to People Magazine and other media outlets, the couple is trying to conceive using IVF. Paris Hilton influences a fantasy world which is glamorous, but some of it is business and not all is perfect and golden.

Nicky Hilton married banking heir, James Rothschild in London’s Kensington Palace, She had a lavish wedding and wore a custom made Valentino wedding dress which required many atelier fittings. The couple have two daughters, Lily Grace who is 4 and Theodora or Teddy, 3 yrs old. Nicky Hilton collaborates on a shoe line with French Soles. The shoes are flats, some with tie bows and come in a rainbow of colors. Some have designs with leopard patterns, velvet and a set of batting eyes with eyelashes, The sisters were offered a role on Sex and The City, but this did not work out,. Nicky works with a foundation which helps to prevent child sex trafficking. Nicky collaborated on an eye makeup line with SmashBox Cosmetics. The eye palette features a smoky color palette, eyeliner and mascara, packaged in a black case with a cat eye symbol. She designed jewelry for a company and has come out with a book: Style 365.

sThe Hilton sisters have two younger brothers, Barron who recently married and the couple has a newborn daughter, Milou. As well as the youngest sibling, Conrad. Keep on the lookout for a new generation of Hiltons.

Kilian Hennessy: Intoxicating Scents in a Glass or Carafe

Kilian Hennessy is a French perfumer who reigns from the Hennessy Cognac family. Hennessy Cognac began in 1763, as his family hailed from Ireland and immigrated to France. The Hennessy family developed the prestigious liquor in 1763. Kilian named after the cognac’s founder, started his own niche in 2007. He did not want to be in the family corporation mainly because he wanted to carve out his own identity. Kilian Hennessy has done well as a perfumier, curating a distinct luxury brand with themes of religious angels, devils, Adam and Eve, heaven and hell, sexuality, love, symbolism in painting from renowned artist; Gustav Klimt, using archetypes of a noir mystique and narcissistic eroticism. His first collection; Noir Love was sold out in Paris’ Printemps and was then launched in NYC. Kilian speaks to culture in perfume and marketing a brand without a lot of traditional advertising. How to create appealing packaging and alluring bottles, conveying the Kilian brand image. His unique approach to an upscale scent which is musky, oud, sweet, sensual and clever. Kilian was inspired by crystal at France’s Baccarat Museum and uses the style concepts in his glass bottle designs. Kilian Hennessy mentored with the House of Guerlain, Paco Rabane and Alexander McQueen, before pursuing his own perfume venture.

The most current fragrances; Angels’ Share and Roses on Ice are part of The Liquor Collection. Angels’ Share or, La Parte de Ange, is housed in faceted clear glass bottles which resemble a drinking glass and carafe. The perfume, a cognac color, is Kilian’s collaboration with Benoit Lapouza. Foundations lie deep into the cellars of the founder’s mind and memories. An evaporation of liquor oak barrels with a caramel color of notes; cognac oil, cinnamon, oak absolute, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood and praline. It is a tribute to the Hennessy cognac family. Roses on Ice is akin to gin on ice. Its top notes; rose, juniper berry and cucumber. Both scents come in a 1.7 refillable square shaped bottle and a larger carafe size. Other collections are The Smokes; Dark Lord: Ex Tenebris Lux, Smoke for the Soul, Royal Leather and Light My Fire. The Cellars; Straight to Heaven, Apple Brandy NY, A Taste of Heaven and Absinthe Vert. The Narcotics; Good girl gone Bad, Woman in Gold and Liaisons Dangereuse are in white bottles. Kilian uses a serpent symbol which represents the Garden of Adam and Eve. Woman in Gold is named after Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt’s famous gold portrait painting of Adele Bloch Bauer and is valued as one of the highest paintings ever sold at auction. Kilian has a Muse Klimt Coffret. The My Kind of Love Collection features; Princess, Adult, Kissing and After Sunset. The bottles have a black sphere on top, you turn the ball over, to spray. Each perfume has a catchy and flirty saying printed in red and gold. Princess with the top note of matcha tea, has princess in bold red and the gold lettering says; “You do not need a prince, to be a princess”. Kissing is made with notes of hot milk, lily of the valley and sugar candy. The tagline; “Kissing, burns off 6.4 calories in a minute, do you wanna work out? My Kind of Love is slightly less expensive than the other perfumes and is sold at Sephora. Fresh fragrance line comes in blue lacquer bottles, reminiscent of Yves Klein and has a silver Achilles shield emblem on the bottle’s side. The shield symbolizes protection and a lasting essence. The fresh citrus and aquatic notes have scents with names such as; Moonlight in Heaven and Vodka on the Rocks. Moonlight in Heaven contains: grapefruit, mango, creamy coconut, rice and pink peppercorn, evoking romantic and tropical emotions. Vodka on the Rocks visualizes smoky ice, rising from a crystal decanter, The top notes of rhubarb and oak moss conjure up a fragrance of a crisp and fresh sensual drink. The Kilian line offers perfume, but by Kilian sells decorated coffrets, mini spray collections, candle holders, home gifts and sensual rose red lipstick shades in black patterned cases. Cheers, to a dynamic house of fragrance.

Streets of Dreams: The Diamond District

The Diamond District, located in Midtown Manhattan, has been the center of the diamond trade for over a hundred years. Marcus Lemonis, the star of CNBC’s: The Profit, has a five part series covering five interesting city districts around the U.S.. He decided to to cover the business and trade aspects of NYC’s diamond district. Diamonds are a valuable commodity and have been used as one of the most precious gemstones in jewelry throughout history to the present day. The traditional diamond engagement ring and a wedding proposal conjure up images of love, romance and fidelity. Marilyn Monroe sang; Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend and Madonna’s Material Girl hit video illustrates the allure of sparkly white diamonds. Elizabeth Taylor and her jewelry collection as well as her signature, White Diamond perfume is another pop culture reference to the gemstone’s desirability. The show portrays West 47th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, as rows of store fronts with jewelry displayed in windows and the booths. Men use a magnifying tool to inspect the diamond and business people scurry around the diamond shaped building which is the center of the district. Lemonis’s goal, breaking some of the mystery on the streets which sell diamonds, the hawkers in front of stores, negotiations, backrooms and the trade which rocks the area. Movies such as; Uncut Gems and A Stranger Among Us are films illustrating the lives of characters who walk paths of diamonds, money, intrigue, generational mystique and gambling. Marcus Lemonis questions if the millennial generation will buy the same jewelry as past generations. The answer is yes. Even if the stores, nature of business, branding, people and styles change, the diamond district will carry on.

The diamond market has international business centers in New York, Antwerp, Belgium, Amsterdam and diamond mining in several African countries. India is a major force in the diamond trade. The blood diamond conflict is brought up, but the presentation centers on the standards which the diamond district adheres: a code of trust and the production line of: mining, stone cutting, polishers, distributers, traders to the retail-merchandise floor. The industry uses the Rapaport book to describe the value of a diamond’s clarity, cut, color and carat. Lemonis talks with several companies which showcase the diversity of styles. Shiffon Company is a line which features a pinky ring, named the duet ring. The start up venture began as the brainchild of Shilpa Yarlagadda who is creating “a new generation of jewelry.” She is a business student and entrepreneur is on a hiatus from her studies at Harvard. Yarlagadda taught herself jewelry design online. The pinky ring is a symbol of a pinky promise which pledges that females can achieve entrepreneurial status and spiral upwards to their dreams. The ring’s spiral design comes in silver, yellow gold and rose gold with a diamond positioned towards the top. Shiffon is comprised of an all female team who work together on the jewelry and 50 % of sale’s profits support capital venture funding to female owned businesses. Their website features prominent female CEO’s in technology, cosmetics, fashion and education. Shilpa Yarlagadda developed The Startup Girl’s Foundation to support other females. Shiffon focuses on this ring which is worn by Emma Watson, Nicole Kidman, Shalaine Woodsy and Michelle Obama. Instagram influencer, Richie Rich, runs a third generation company, selling higher end bling to a men’s market. Big rings with large stone settings and thick layered gold chains, which can run up to millions of dollars. Richie Rich creates “high end art” and the jewelry has a hip hop vibe. Many of the clients are athletes, celebrities and influencers. Richie started a new phase of the business, posting images of the jewelry on sites such as; Instagram. Jacob and Co., owned by Jacob Arabo, is a known for a hip hop style collection, intricate colorful stones and trendy high end watch merchandise. Jacob was born in Uzbekistan, a Mizrahi Jew who immigrated to the US. He worked in the diamond district before opening a store off of Madsion Avenue and is nicknamed; “The King of Bling”. His jewelry is styled with big and plentiful diamonds and unique watches with design images of a roulette wheel, collaborations with Paramount Pictures for The Godfather watch, a Bugatti brand watch and the Astronomia collection. A fairly new jewelry niche are synthetic or lab grown diamonds which are expected to reach peak sales by 2025. They are now classified as diamonds, similar to the natural ones, but the diamonds do not take billions of years to develop underground and cost less. Lemonis takes us to see an office where the owner sells synthetic diamond jewelry, The owner’s marketing message; they look just like the natural ones to the human eye, educate the consumer. Another store has estate jewelry from Cartier and Bulgari. A model shows a ruby and diamond necklace as well as elaborate blue sapphire and diamond drop earrings. Many years of trade and trust have been built on these Midtown Manhattan streets, mostly occupied by a majority of the Orthodox Jewish community. It has been “easy” for the community to trade in diamonds, as they are small and easy to carry. As Orthodox Jews often fled persecution, the diamond business became a stable occupation. The tradition has passed through many generations. Trust is earned and anyone who violates the trust in the trade, can be blocked from ever doing business again. The majority of diamonds pass through the diamond district and are sold to other household name brand boutiques, even if the new price is slightly higher. The motto; diamonds are a girl’s best friend can ring true.