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Author Topic: Makeup brand offering witchy product line  (Read 328 times)

Allaya

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Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« on: May 21, 2019, 03:46:16 pm »
One of my areas of interest, only developed in the last few years, is in the power of cosmetics to alter the perceptions others have of you. While there is some intersection between this subject and the general topic of glamours/perception manipulation magic...it's not one that I've consciously explored as of yet. There's only so much time in the day.

Anyways, I tend to keep half an eye on new products that come out from brands I'm acquainted with, as one does.

Recently, a limited-edition collaboration product line came out that, in theory, sits squarely within the intersection of cosmetics and magical practice.

https://www.smashbox.com/crystalized-collection

I'm deeply bothered about it from several different angles.

* The use of witchcraft/alt-stuff's rising mainstream popularity as a marketing gimmick. Nothing new there, though.

* The sale of mass-produced "witch stuff" that doesn't actually have anything to do with witchery other than a slapped-on label. Also, nothing new.

* The sale of mass-produced "witch stuff" that is guaranteed to have no actual magical properties because there are little-to-no magical ingredients. Also nothing new.

* The contribution it makes to perpetuating the whole 'instagram witch' thing. Smashbox isn't a drugstore brand like Maybelline or L'Oreal, but it sits more-or-less at the introductory level in the cosmetics counter/shop brand hierarchy (price-wise; the quality is fantastic). The demographics skew younger than a lot of the other brands owned by Estee Lauder. I suppose that I'm irked because I see it as a bit of a remix of the 90's teen witch fluffery.

Le sigh. I'll freely admit that the colors are really pretty.

I just...I don't know. I guess I want to hear other people's thoughts on the topic. I can't be the only one bothered.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

Sefiru

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 06:53:54 pm »

* The contribution it makes to perpetuating the whole 'instagram witch' thing. Smashbox isn't a drugstore brand like Maybelline or L'Oreal, but it sits more-or-less at the introductory level in the cosmetics counter/shop brand hierarchy (price-wise; the quality is fantastic). The demographics skew younger than a lot of the other brands owned by Estee Lauder. I suppose that I'm irked because I see it as a bit of a remix of the 90's teen witch fluffery.


I guess I feel a little more charitable towards this sort of thing. I remember how a lot of pagans in my generation got their feet wet with 'teen witch' stuff. In the generation before that, there was the New Age and Hippie movements, and a couple of generations before that, the craze for mediums and seances. For every 'serious practitioner' there are a hundred just looking for cheap thrills or a cool look.

I say, let the dabblers dabble and the poseurs pose. Some of them may yet get curious and explore more deeply.

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 07:45:15 pm »
I guess I feel a little more charitable towards this sort of thing. I remember how a lot of pagans in my generation got their feet wet with 'teen witch' stuff. In the generation before that, there was the New Age and Hippie movements, and a couple of generations before that, the craze for mediums and seances. For every 'serious practitioner' there are a hundred just looking for cheap thrills or a cool look.

I say, let the dabblers dabble and the poseurs pose. Some of them may yet get curious and explore more deeply.

I know, I know. I'm trying to avoid getting into "stop liking what I don't like!" territory.

I guess it's just that, the more I ponder, it seems like Aura Shield Primer Spray by Smashbox Cosmetics(tm) seems like something that cheapens and diminishes the whole notion of shielding, f'ex. It's just primer water with scent added and some extra lettering printed on the bottle.

Being that I actually do have an interest in the cosmetics/magic intersection AND that I really like Smashbox, it strikes me as somewhat odd and worth pondering why this rubs me the wrong way
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

Jenett

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 08:57:23 pm »
I guess it's just that, the more I ponder, it seems like Aura Shield Primer Spray by Smashbox Cosmetics(tm) seems like something that cheapens and diminishes the whole notion of shielding, f'ex. It's just primer water with scent added and some extra lettering printed on the bottle.

I feel like this is on the milder end of some of the witchcraft-as-aesthetic I've seen, which doesn't mean it's not annoying. (Aura is a widely used term in a number of practices/approaches/etc. these days, somewhat different than say, the Sephora witch kit.)

Kaitlin Coppock, of Sphere and Sundry has had several good posts on related topics - about why there's a difference between stuff like this and ritually effective magical items, and things to think about: On Witchcraft as a market force (re: the Sephora kit, specifically), Differentiating frauds from the real thing (dealing with the particular issues of someone specific, but with some useful tips for general purchases) and Authentic talismanic materia  (Disclaimer: I current have one perfume oil and two vials of magical waters on my working altar from her and am finding them fascinating to use.)

Since reading the last of those articles (which came out this week), I've been thinking a lot about her comments about labelling - and the fact that if we're talking about magic having real effects in the world, we should be honest (with ourselves and others) about what kinds of materia and materials we're talking about and what reasonable to expect.

A cosmetic item is lovely - and could indeed be tailored to be more magically useful than similar products without that background/intention. But it's a far cry from an item that was made with specific magical intent, only the relevant materials, astrological timing, etc. etc. that has been clearly communicated to the eventual owner.
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Ashmire

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 09:33:03 pm »
I feel like this is on the milder end of some of the witchcraft-as-aesthetic I've seen, which doesn't mean it's not annoying. (Aura is a widely used term in a number of practices/approaches/etc. these days, somewhat different than say, the Sephora witch kit.)

Kaitlin Coppock, of Sphere and Sundry has had several good posts on related topics - about why there's a difference between stuff like this and ritually effective magical items, and things to think about: On Witchcraft as a market force (re: the Sephora kit, specifically), Differentiating frauds from the real thing (dealing with the particular issues of someone specific, but with some useful tips for general purchases) and Authentic talismanic materia  (Disclaimer: I current have one perfume oil and two vials of magical waters on my working altar from her and am finding them fascinating to use.)

Since reading the last of those articles (which came out this week), I've been thinking a lot about her comments about labelling - and the fact that if we're talking about magic having real effects in the world, we should be honest (with ourselves and others) about what kinds of materia and materials we're talking about and what reasonable to expect.

A cosmetic item is lovely - and could indeed be tailored to be more magically useful than similar products without that background/intention. But it's a far cry from an item that was made with specific magical intent, only the relevant materials, astrological timing, etc. etc. that has been clearly communicated to the eventual owner.

If it weren't for the thread here and the tiny fine-print tagline about being "inspired by the power of crystals", I would never have recognized this as having anything to do with witchcraft at all---at least no more than is implicit in the fact of the word "glamour" having an older meaning as a type of spell.  At most I'd take it as marketing with a vague idea of witch-as-fantasy-archetype, like many older cosmetics having shades with names like "Moonlight Enchantment" or whatever.

  As a general thing, I tend more towards Sefiru's opinion on fluffery, though I also do see why it's a tad cringey, but here I'd be surprised if anyone even is thinking of this stuff as even goofy Teen Witch-level "real magic".

   Certainly nothing says "occultism"
or "witch aesthetic" about the packaging to me---they could make it a space opera theme without changing a thing but the text.

Morag

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 03:01:26 am »
I guess it's just that, the more I ponder, it seems like Aura Shield Primer Spray by Smashbox Cosmetics(tm) seems like something that cheapens and diminishes the whole notion of shielding, f'ex. It's just primer water with scent added and some extra lettering printed on the bottle.

By that logic the nail polishes I've enchanted for different purposes cheapen and diminish those purposes, as what I did was basically drop some essential oil in them and then added a little of my own intention.

If someone buys the Aura Shield and uses it every time with the intention of shielding...what's the difference between that and my "homemade" version, except that mine cost me more spoons?
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Castus

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 03:19:51 am »
One of my areas of interest, only developed in the last few years, is in the power of cosmetics to alter the perceptions others have of you. While there is some intersection between this subject and the general topic of glamours/perception manipulation magic...it's not one that I've consciously explored as of yet. There's only so much time in the day.

Anyways, I tend to keep half an eye on new products that come out from brands I'm acquainted with, as one does.

Recently, a limited-edition collaboration product line came out that, in theory, sits squarely within the intersection of cosmetics and magical practice.

https://www.smashbox.com/crystalized-collection

I'm deeply bothered about it from several different angles.

* The use of witchcraft/alt-stuff's rising mainstream popularity as a marketing gimmick. Nothing new there, though.

* The sale of mass-produced "witch stuff" that doesn't actually have anything to do with witchery other than a slapped-on label. Also, nothing new.

* The sale of mass-produced "witch stuff" that is guaranteed to have no actual magical properties because there are little-to-no magical ingredients. Also nothing new.

* The contribution it makes to perpetuating the whole 'instagram witch' thing. Smashbox isn't a drugstore brand like Maybelline or L'Oreal, but it sits more-or-less at the introductory level in the cosmetics counter/shop brand hierarchy (price-wise; the quality is fantastic). The demographics skew younger than a lot of the other brands owned by Estee Lauder. I suppose that I'm irked because I see it as a bit of a remix of the 90's teen witch fluffery.

Le sigh. I'll freely admit that the colors are really pretty.

I just...I don't know. I guess I want to hear other people's thoughts on the topic. I can't be the only one bothered.

It's just the barest, thinnest, most transparent half-glaze of millennial 'spirituality, not religion' thrown onto what looks like, to my patriarchal eye, perfectly normal makeup.

Like, idk, it seems just so aggressively milquetoast to me. "Mindful AF", "Ya Heal Me?", and their companions seem to exist so far out from meaningful esoteric/magickal practice they can barely being considered gimmicks.

Allaya

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 04:43:46 am »
By that logic the nail polishes I've enchanted for different purposes cheapen and diminish those purposes, as what I did was basically drop some essential oil in them and then added a little of my own intention.

If someone buys the Aura Shield and uses it every time with the intention of shielding...what's the difference between that and my "homemade" version, except that mine cost me more spoons?

That's not at all what I was trying to convey.

You actively turned a mundane product into a magically useful item with intention and action.

There isn't any intention or action or anything else on the manufacturing floor for Smashbox. There isn't even any intention or action later on.

It's not as if there's even a cursory attempt, like:

Step 1: Spray Primer water on
Step 2: ?? that maybe involves setting intention
Step 3: TA-DA! Crystal Power Achieved!

Instead, we have:

Step 1: Spray primer water on
Step 2: TA-DA! Crystal Power Achieved!

That was what my gripe is about.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

Allaya

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 06:10:58 am »
If it weren't for the thread here and the tiny fine-print tagline about being "inspired by the power of crystals", I would never have recognized this as having anything to do with witchcraft at all---at least no more than is implicit in the fact of the word "glamour" having an older meaning as a type of spell.  At most I'd take it as marketing with a vague idea of witch-as-fantasy-archetype, like many older cosmetics having shades with names like "Moonlight Enchantment" or whatever.

  As a general thing, I tend more towards Sefiru's opinion on fluffery, though I also do see why it's a tad cringey, but here I'd be surprised if anyone even is thinking of this stuff as even goofy Teen Witch-level "real magic".

   Certainly nothing says "occultism"
or "witch aesthetic" about the packaging to me---they could make it a space opera theme without changing a thing but the text.

Some of the marketing materials feature the "inspired by the power of crystals" line prominently.

Anyways, marketing. This is where it gets complicated due to the online makeup subculture.

What Smashbox has done is termed a collaboration. In this case, the collaboration is with the Hoodwitch (aka Bri Luna).

With a normal brand collaboration*, you generally buy the product line because you are #1 - already a fan of the beauty influencer, familiar with their body of posts, tutorials, etc, and want to buy their merch; or #2 - a fan of the makeup brand that collects limited edition lineups; or #3 - are attracted by the splashy marketing hype, look up the beauty influencer, and get on board with them.

What makes THIS case markedly different than normal collaborations is that, as far as I can tell, Bri Luna exists entirely outside the community of online makeup influencers. There is no context or backhistory for her to be suddenly be given such a valuable thing** as Influencer status.

Because of this, one then has to examine and take into account the body of work being 'sold' as the contribution to the collaboration by the Hoodwitch side. It is NOT makeup tutorials, brand reviews, etc. It's NOT "witch aesthetic" or "witch-as-fantasy-archetype". It IS actual practice...and I see that as being a bit problematic.


* Which follow the formula of (Cosmetics Brand) + (Beauty Influencer) = Co-Branded Limited Edition Product Line
** Influencers can rake in a shitload of cash by virtue of being an influencer.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

Allaya

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 08:16:27 am »
That's not at all what I was trying to convey.

You actively turned a mundane product into a magically useful item with intention and action.

There isn't any intention or action or anything else on the manufacturing floor for Smashbox. There isn't even any intention or action later on.

It's not as if there's even a cursory attempt, like:

Step 1: Spray Primer water on
Step 2: ?? that maybe involves setting intention
Step 3: TA-DA! Crystal Power Achieved!

Instead, we have:

Step 1: Spray primer water on
Step 2: TA-DA! Crystal Power Achieved!

That was what my gripe is about.


Okay, now this is interesting. The product descriptions at the Norwegian cosmetics chain where I shop at have changed in the few days it's taken me to formulate my thoughts on the matter.

For example: the description for the Smashbox Crystalized Highlighter Opti-Mystic now reads (bolding mine):

Quote
Denne highlighter gir huden din en regnbueskinnende glød som er inspirert av krystallfargen fra lilla kvartssten. Den gjennomsiktige base reflekterer lys mens teksturen er kremet, myk og legger seg jevnt på huden. Highlighteren er Cruelty Free.
Makeup Mantra: Sweep onto skin & say: “I am radiant & powerful!”
Studio Tip: Påfør på kinnbenene under en blush for å skape en unik utstråling. Påfør highlighteren våt for et mer intenst uttrykk.
Smashbox Crystalized Collection ble skapt i samarbeide med krystall-eksperten Bri Luna (@thehoodwitch) for å feire skjønnhetsritualer. Kolleksjonen er inspirert av krystallers naturlige skjønnhet og helbredende krefter.

While somewhat offhand, that simple bit of intention-setting does change things quite a lot. I think I need to make a trip to my local shop and see if there is anything similar on the outer packaging.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

Morag

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Re: Makeup brand offering witchy product line
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 05:09:34 pm »
That's not at all what I was trying to convey.

You actively turned a mundane product into a magically useful item with intention and action.

There isn't any intention or action or anything else on the manufacturing floor for Smashbox. There isn't even any intention or action later on.

It's not as if there's even a cursory attempt, like:

Step 1: Spray Primer water on
Step 2: ?? that maybe involves setting intention
Step 3: TA-DA! Crystal Power Achieved!

Instead, we have:

Step 1: Spray primer water on
Step 2: TA-DA! Crystal Power Achieved!

That was what my gripe is about.

I wasn't talking about intent on the manufacturing end; I was talking about on the consumer end.

If someone buys it because they want to do some make-up magic and they believe it will help, and they use it with that belief...I don't see it not working.

My nail polish is literally still nail polish. It was made with the same intent all nail polish is -- profit -- and I took it and added a few drops of essential oil and called it magic.

If someone buys something that they think is already witchy, regardless what intent was behind it when it was being made, and then use it with that intent...I see no functional difference.

To clarify further: there's a make-up brand I've been wanting to buy for some time because I feel their stuff would be perfect for witchy or devotional makeup. As far as I know, they do not put any witchy intent on the backend. And were I to get the make-up (it's super expensive), there's not much I'd be doing to it. I'd be setting it aside and saying "This is for this purpose". And then using it for that purpose.

No ritual, no extensive will-pushing into it. I can't even do that much energy work these days anyway, so "actual witchcraft" hasn't really been accessible for me for a while. Pretty much everything I do has to be fueled by my belief it will work -- that is what I mean by my intent. I believe it will work.

So my point was: if there is belief it will work on the consumer end, I do not see a functional difference between that and someone buying make-up marketed as normal and using it for the same purpose. Just possibly a use of fewer spoons for the consumer.
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