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Yes, Makeup Matters -- This Is Why

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Since the election two weeks ago...

It’s been challenging for me to write about, and, frankly, care about, the beauty industry. Should coverage of new makeup collections really be given any sort of bandwidth when the world has bigger things to worry about?

It took a teen boy with magnificent eyebrows and a special talent for highlighter application to remind me that the conversation about beauty – to paraphrase L’Oréal’s signature line – is worth it.

In mid-October, CoverGirl announced that 17-year-old James Charles, an Instagram makeup sensation with over 900,000 followers, would be the brand’s first-ever Cover Boy.  I was following James on Instagram before he went viral for insisting that he needed to retake his senior yearbook photo because the lighting on the first one didn’t do justice to his makeup; he’s always been an upbeat and positive force to watch on social media.

During the interminable presidential campaign, tiny wars were waged daily in my Facebook feed (as they were across social media). One day a former co-worker posted a comment on a magazine website’s story about James landing the CoverGirl gig. She wrote something along the lines of, “Stop normalizing this because it’s not natural.” I unfriended her immediately.

A week later, UK brand Boots announced that feminist author (and professed makeup lover) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would be the face of its No. 7 line. And a few weeks after that, CoverGirl announced that it had signed its first-ever ambassador who wears a hijab: Nura Afia, 24, will be featured in TV commercials and on a billboard in Times Square.

Once upon a time, it would have been easy for cynics to call these appointments stunt castings. Looking now at James with his painted-on freckles, using makeup to express himself, it feels like more than an advertisement for mascara. It’s a statement, and it’s a statement worth normalizing, to use a word that’s been thrown around a lot lately.

Celebrating uniqueness and self-expression has never been more important. Makeup can help.  And it’s definitely worth writing about. —Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter


When Did Revolve Become a Thing?
Revolve clothes.

A friend forwarded me an email with a subject line that read: "So, we teamed up with Vogue." Inside, Revolve, the email’s sender, teased a sweepstakes partnership in which the company had "scored you an exclusive invite to a ‘VIP Vogue members-only program’" (boiling down to a play for more subscriptions from the magazine). "Guys," my friend wrote, "When did Revolve become a thing?"

"When DID Revolve become a thing?" I thought to myself, realizing she’d articulated what I didn’t know I was thinking. A powerful omnipresence whose approach I hadn’t seen coming, Revolve was in my search results for "over-the-knee boots," in my Instagram Explore page; credited in the photo captions as the reason for a group of celebrities to be standing next to each other. It felt ubiquitous but sudden, like when everyone started draping coats over their shoulders and collectively forgot the original purposes of a sleeve.

I couldn’t remember a world in which there wasn’t Revolve (where did we purchase our duster coats and velvet chokers beforehand?). It wasn’t just the result of images that required clear choreography, like Kim Kardashian rolling into the brand’s party in the Hamptons this summer, but also organic ones, like when I complimented my friend’s dress on Instagram and she replied in the comments: "Thanks! It’s from Revolve!"

"It’s from Revolve!" might be the calling card of the digital native customer as she enters an adulthood unprecedented in its documentation. Flip through Instagram and you find her catalogued under #revolveme in crop tops, bell sleeves, floor-length silk dresses, and irreverent body suits — all with that relaxed-but-provocative boho vibe, against the backdrop of a lively, art-directed life. She’s not putting on a pencil skirt for work, settling onto a bike at SoulCycle, or chasing a toddler around the floor. She’s at brunch, she’s holding a passport, she’s got an artillery of expressions ready for the photo booth. And in those vignettes there are dollars. This year, amid a fickle climate for e-commerce catering to young women — see Nasty GalLucky Group, J.CrewGilt Groupe — Revolve is on track to pull in $600 million.

Keep reading this story here >>
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Who: Sallie Krawcheck
What they do: Founder, Ellevest
What they want: Fran's Gray Salt Caramels, $15-$58

Chocolate is my love language. Period. When I agreed to co-found my most recent business venture, Ellevest, last year, I knew wine and chocolate would be a necessity for the startup life. And really, any life, for that matter. Fran's Chocolates, based out of Seattle, is my go-to gift for friends and family. The authentic French salted caramels are beautifully packaged and rumored to be an Obama family favorite. Sure to impress.

Check out the rest of our non-gift guide picks here. Want to make donations your gift of choice instead? We've got you covered on that front too.

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