BUST Magazine: Saving Face

BUST Magazine

August/September 2005

Saving Face

California teens expose the ugly side of the beauty biz

Teenagers hate being lied to. So when some teen girls in Marin, California, learned they weren’t getting the whole story from the cosmetics industry, they made up their minds—instead of their faces—to form Safe Cosmetics Campaign: Marin, the first teen-led branch of the national organization. The Marin activist coalition, which now boasts over 50 girls, launched in January to educate consumers about harmful chemical cosmetic ingredients linked to cancer and birth defects while advocating for healthier alternatives that will keep their insides as beautiful as their outsides.

Sasha Hoffman, an 18-year-old who has worn her share of makeup, says, "I assumed that the FDA regulated and tested cosmetics.” She was surprised to learn, however, that they do not. "One company was caught saying that their products are ‘crap in a jar,’” says 15-year-old Jessica Assaf. “How do they sleep at night?”

Saving FaceSince January, the teens have spearheaded five major actions, including Operation Beauty Drop, a program that asked women to drop used cosmetic containers into bins around Marin. With those items, they created Safe Face, a five-foot-tall collage of a female face, with mascara tubes for eyelashes and shampoo bottles for hair. The collage travels locally to teach consumers about products to trust and to avoid. Members also lobbied for – and helped to pass – the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005, which now requires cosmetic manufacturers to inform the State Department of Health Services of any ingredients in their products known or suspected of causing cancer or birth defects. “The kids who went to [lobby in] Sacramento came back feeling 10 feet tall,” says Safe Cosmetics Campaign director Judi Shils, who notes that the teens are already bursting with other ideas for future events. “We can travel with makeup artists and teach teens how to go organic,” imagines Hoffman. “Changing things overnight isn’t easy, but it’s possible.” To learn more about the campaign, and to see a list of conscientious companies who have signed the Compact With America Safe Cosmetics Pledge, check out

Time Out New York: The aud ball


June 16-22, 2005

The aud ball

"Audio is a different experience from print," says Karen Huyser, president of audiobook publisher Bolinda Audio. For example, you might actually finish Ulysses if you listened to the abridged CD. Skillful narrators and music make Joyce's notoriously difficult classic easier to digest. Huyser promises: "It's not cheating."

Just ask everyone else at the Audies held June 3 at Tavern on the Green. The awards for the audiobook industry were handed out at a black-tie dinner hosted by postmodern writer and narrator Neil Gaiman. "It's the moment of intersection between theater and the publishing world," he says, "where the Tonys meet the National Book Awards." Maybe. It's certainly true no one was watching. Audies were given out in 31 categories, including Audiobook of the Year, which went President Bill Clinton's self-narrated My Life.

Authors often record their own books, says Gaian (whose reading of his own work Coraline was nominated last year), and when outside narrators are used, the author approves them. This year's winner Johnny Heller says he "goo-goo-ga-ga-ed on the phone to the author for 45 minutes" to win the title role in The Happiest Toddler in the World. What does the Audie mean to Heller? "It validates my decision to wear a tux tonight."

Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva of The Kitchen Sisters flew in from San Francisco for the ceremony. "I consider myself a siren luring people into the world of sound," says Nelson. Their Audie-winning Lost and Found Sound and Beyond was adapted from a book adapted from their radio program on NPR's All Things Considered, a circle that makes them laugh.

Gaiman envisions an exciting future for this genre. He recently ripped several audiobooks onto his iPod and then played it on shuffle. "One minute you're listening to Seamus Heaney reading Beowulf and the next it's Jim Broadbent reading Winnie the Pooh. It's brilliant."

Time Out New York: Dumpster Diving 2.0


May 12-18, 2005

Dumpster Diving 2.0

Freecycle NYC lets you give as good as you get

Tired of watching dogs pee on that sofa you put out on the curb? Join Freecycle, a national online movement that reduces waste by gifting. "New Yorkers produce 13,000 tons of garbage daily, nearly one ton per Freecycler," says Christina Salvi, who founded a local chapter, Freecycle NYC, in 2003. The group, which now has 14,000 members, connects givers with getters via e-mail. Just join their free Yahoo group and start giving (sign up at I easily gifted a printer and a suitcase in 24 hours. Posts must be legal, G-rated and, above all, free. It beats Craigslist's "Free" board because "it's more like a community with a cause," says Salvi.

TONYAlastair Ong, an e-commerce entrepreneur whose prize "get" is an industrial microwave, loves Freecycle's e-mails because "you never know what's going to pop up." He's not kidding—daily posts range from Baywatch Barbies to bicycles. Sandrine, a 32-year-old recycling enthusiast ("even my toothbrush is recycled plastic!") who didn't want to give her last name, recently scored an ice-cream maker. Yolanda Brooks is a die-hard Freecycler. She's given and gotten almost 300 items, including her favorite score: a bag of designer shoes.
On Saturday 14, the group hosts its third Freemeet, which is like a spring-cleaning love-in. "You bring what you have, and take what you need," Salvi explains. "Everyone's really friendly."

The strangest offer Salvi has seen? An antique dentist's drill. Still, it found a home: "It was turned into someone's Halloween display."
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