Jack & Hill in the Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards 2007 ...

Don't get too excited: Beauty edior Bethan Cole just refers to Hillary's comment about Bobbi Brown's Maoist ethos, without crediting her, in this year's edition.

And now for the diatribe:

The awards themselves are determined by readers' votes. I find it somewhat depressing that with all of the innovation going on and the explosion of so many fabulous brands over the last several years, boring old Clinique ended up the brand Sunday Times readers voted for most. While I'm as pleased as anyone when a classic, inexpensive stand-by stands the test of time, I can't quite relate to the women who buy the same products over and over again every year. Isn't that just a bit lacking in fun and adventure? Perhaps this is just a reflection on Sunday Times readers, but gosh, how sad (not least because it's my Sunday newspaper of choice).

And is it possible that women aren't totally over Juicy Tubes and all things sticky lip gloss by now? I mean, they're not my lips and I don't have to wear them (or kiss them), so it makes not much difference to me, except from planting the suspicion in my mind that my fellow females and I have a lot less in common than I thought. Lip gloss, your favorite lip product? Really? If you say so.

One last whinge: Can we please stop with this mindless acceptance that 'fair trade' products are ethical? I know this is only a beauty section, but it is pretty insulting to the intelligence of readers who have more than a basic grasp of economics to pretend that 'fair trade' is any such thing. See also how it has become beauty editor gospel that 'organic' ingredients are also ethical. **Do these magazines and papers really believe their readers to be so lacking in critical thinking skills, or is it the editors themselves who haven't done their research? **Either way, it's troubling and offensive, not to mention a setback for those of us who would like to promote the idea that being interested in beauty is not synonymous with being an airhead.

Finally, it strikes me as curious just how absent medical-grade products are from this list. Is this because British women are not accustomed or prepared to go to private doctors for their skincare? I suspect it has something to do with regulations on how medical-grade products are advertised (it is illegal to advertise pharmaceuticals of any kind in the UK), but will have to dig deeper. Either way, it's hard not to feel that - for whatever reason - British women are missing out on the best skin of their lives. If they're the sort who are slavish Clinique devotees, though, perhaps they deserve what they get.

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