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Makeup: The Greatest Invention since shoes

Where would we be today without makeup? Shiseido, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Shu Uemura, these are god-like beings to us women (after Christian Louboutin of course!). Makeup is not about hiding your features; it's always been to enhance what we have. It's about flaunting not covering up. It's about showing off your creative side. It's like art, but for your face.

Makeup has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the 1st Dynasty of Egypt (3100 - 2907 BC). The Egyptians used paints made from trees and herbs to tint their faces and even used soot as Kohl.

The Romans were also very big on makeup. In fact, it was Roman philosopher/drama queen Plautus (254-184 BC) who wrote, "A woman without paint is like food without salt." So you see, it was men who made us use makeup in the first place! Romans widely used cosmetics by the middle of the 1st century AD. Kohl was used for darkening eyelashes and eyelids, chalk was used for whitening the complexion (the very first foundation), and rouge (blush) was worn on the cheek. Depilatories were also used at the time and pumice was used to clean teeth.

The Persians used henna to dye their hair and the Greeks used white lead and chalk to achieve the perfect complexion, which ended up killing them. Talk about killer looks!
European middle ages brought the most drastic makeovers known to mankind yet. Twilight epidemic must have been all the rage back then too because being pale was totally in. Women even went as far as to bleed themselves to achieve the ghostly skin.

During the reign of Charles II, history repeated itself and heavy makeup made a comeback as a means to contradict the pallor from being inside due to illness epidemics like the plague.

Then the French Restoration of the 18th century brought trends as the still beloved red lipstick and rouge, both of which were used to give the impression of the healthy, fun-loving woman. For the Regency era the most important item was rouge, which was used by everyone, be it peasant or noblewoman. At that time, eyebrows were blackened and hair was dyed and high foreheads were the shizzle. White skin, as always, signified a life of pampering while skin exposed to the sun indicated a life of an outdoor-sy girl. So, to get the much coveted pale complexion women wore bonnets, carried parasols, and covered all visible parts of their bodies with whiteners and blemish removers.

Now for the hilarious part (suck it, Dr. Who): men actually wore makeup until the 1850's. George IV even spent a fortune on cold creams, powders, pastes, and scents. So it is safe to say that the people from the middle ages were crazy, vain and a tad stupid. It wasn't till 1910's that REAL makeup was invented.

The first mascara formula ever made and branded was named after Mabel, the sister of its creator, T. L. Williams, who used the wax/petroleum jelly method. This mascara eventually evolved into Maybelline and its volume express lashes without which we'd still be stuck in the dark ages. In 1914, Max Factor introduced his pancake makeup and Vogue featured Turkish women using henna to outline their eyes causing the movie industry to immediately take interest. This technique made the eyes look larger, and the word "vamp" became associated with these women, vamp being short for vampire, proving that the fascination with vampires is as old as time.

The newly emancipated women of America began to display independence with cherry red lipstick. By the late '20's, visible makeup was a can't-leave-home-without staple for city girls but was still frowned upon by the countrywomen. During this decade, lip-gloss was introduced by Max Factor and all the different (and necessary) shades of red lipstick were developed even though they were soap-based and incredibly drying. The first eyelash curler came on the scene, called Kurlash and was expensive and difficult to use but popular nonetheless.

Then there was the makeup boom.
From the 1930's through the 1950's, various movie stars proved to be the models for current trends in makeup. With the '60's and the hippies came a more liberated makeup look, from white lips and Egyptian-lined eyes to painted images on faces. Heavily lined eyes continued through the '70's and '80's with a wide range of eye shadow colours like bright blue in honour of the disco era.

For us, the modern girls of today, we've had the advantage to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors. We don't follow trends, we make them. We don't hide behind makeup, we use it as yet another tool in our arsenal of drop-dead gorgeousness. So if you're a makeupholic like moi, throw caution to the wind and such and work out what looks best for you. Be it over the top feather-y lashes for the girl who loves theatricality, the pretty pink glow for the girly-girl, the blue eye shadow and winged liner for the disco queen or a fusion of it all for a girl who wants to be everything! But always remember, Shiseido makes the world go round.

By Musarrat Rahman

Tacos and Jimena: Spicy Mexican Treats

'God broke the mould, When he made this one I know
She's breathtaking but so much more
She walks in the room, your lungs close
Making you never want to breathe again'

(Mario Vasquez, Gallery)

It was last Monday that the World witnessed the crowning of the next most beautiful woman on the planet. The title of Miss Universe was bestowed upon 22-year old chiquita, Jimena Navarrete, considered to be Mexico's most beautiful woman. The Guadalajara resident stood out among a bevy of beautiful babes, expressing surprise and shock at her victory. Were the spectators surprised? Not entirely. Jimena is as beautiful as it gets and if looks couldn't win you over, her accent surely will. Speaking in Spanish, Jimena answered all her questions thoughtfully, with the aide of a translator. But don't let that deceive you, as Miss Universe 2010 is fluent in English, has recently moved to New York City and is about to go to work for Donald Trump, if rumours are to be believed.

Of course mere words would never be able to justify or describe her heart-breaking beauty. Best defined as delicate, the sight of seeing Jimena strutting around the stage in the most stunning red gown in the history of the universe and advocating teaching kids family values, remains the most memorable scene of the year. Those that missed it are probably dweebs. Jimena Navarette is the second Mexican to win the award after Lupita Jones, who won the award in 1991. Jimena Navarette, the current Miss Mexico, replaces Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela, who was Miss Universe 2009 and she also successfully denied handing Venezuela a third successive Crown by topping Marelisa Gibson. The lesson here is that Mexico and Venezuela have very beautiful women and we are really wasting our time here. Enough talk, it's now time to feast your eyes on this vivacious beauty and regret ever having said your girl was the most beautiful chick in the world. Word of caution though, Miss Universes break hearts.

By Osama Rahman

Mr Congeniality

REMEMBER Sandra Bullock as the FBI agent who had to go undercover at a beauty pageant? Yeah well, undercover infiltration as the image of hotness is not limited to Hollywood. As it happens, yours truly had to execute a covert mission at a-location-that-shall-not-be-named to investigate tipoffs regarding underground male beauty pageants. I'm not here to elaborate on the results or the actual purpose of my mission. That is still classified information. But I have been asked, by your editor, to kindly share my experiences of entering into the dreaded pageant, staying within the bounds of anonymity of course … for the agency's sake.

There were four candidates, including me, vying for the top spot of Mr Winnage. You have to understand, no matter how lame it seems to us, out there, that title is worth something more than life. The event is the Olympic of Olympics; the winner the Champion of Champions. This title is the origin of the cliché phrase “all the women want him, all the men want to be him.” So the candidates were ready to do pretty much anything, not least because the judges were all attractive young ladies.

The event was pretty straightforward really. The emphasis was on confidence and ability to carry oneself. First there was the catwalk. While one guy decided to pull off the sassy, hip-swinging walk of a female ramp model, the other decided to give the narrow eyed smouldering look of male underwear models. The third went dancing down the catwalk, missing only a pole to make things really raunchy. For the sake of introducing something a little different and classy, I just simply walked to the end of the line with cool indifference. Little did I know then that my cover was blown with that crazy, impulsive stunt.

Next came [Lord, save me!] the dancing competition. I went first and, call it perfect hindsight, but I should've known by the song choice that my secret was out. It was Usher's Yeah, the same song with which Will Smith teaches Kevin James to dance in Hitch. Get it? Will Smith, the ultimate Man in Black? The secret agent? Stupid as I was, I did what anyone who saw Hitch would do. I did the cool dance. If anyone needed confirmation on my real identity, that was it. But what came after me was even more astonishing. The female-model-dude got a dishting dishting Hindi song. In answer to the calls of, “strip! Strip!” he started unbuttoning his shirt, revealing a Teen Wolf hairdo underneath, prompting the enthusiastic girls to gag and hoarsely yell at him to put his clothes back on. The male-model-dude pulled the pole-dancer-without-the-pole along with him and what followed was a jaw-dropping three way Punjabi dance routine. Someone tried to shove me from the back into the fray, but I was rooted to the spot. When the results came in nobody expected me to win. So when I was declared the winner, I understood that it was a ploy to get me off guard. And by the looks of the people around me, they knew that I knew that they knew. What followed was a heroic gunfight, a desperate escape through tunnels and corridors and a ride off into the sunset on an Audi TT Roadster.

I still have the sash they gave me.

By Agent X
Illustration: Sarwat Yunus



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