Touch Me, Teese Me - "Your Beauty Mark"
I've always been drawn to the glamour of yesterday. I loved how polished and put together movie stars were once upon a time. The ones who made it through had true talent and tenacity! From Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly to Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand, if they graced the silver screen, it was no doubt they were a triple threat. With all of the amazingness oozing from the screen, I couldn't help but devour the classics. During my middle and high school years I grabbed any classic movie I could get my hands on. Coming across a Jean Harlow VHS wasn't an easy find back in the day, so I scoured the shelves at my local Hollywood Video and local library.
(Why not Blockbuster? I'm glad you asked. Their classics selection was straight TRASH compared to Hollywood Video! Hollywood's movie selection was pretty deep. Blockbuster was more superficial with their selections, you know, only the popular stuff. And if you're unsure what Blockbuster is, because this is the internet and whothefuckknows about y'all, then hop into my time machine, right here.)
The singing, dancing, melodrama, and costumes... o-m-gag! Now, can I hoof it like the 40's stars? Absolutely not. AB-SO-LUTE-LY NOT. What I look like? If I could, you'd know about it. I can in my head, though! And I'm as graceful as can be. Ha-cha!
Not to mention, I'm not expert level at applying makeup – though I'm finally starting to get the hang of it – I loved picking up beauty books too. Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin's reads Making Faces and Face Forward were so painstakingly beautiful, it's unreal how his HD-before-HD creations leapt from the pages. (One can only imagine his creations in person.)
No one has perfected the combination of Hollywood's glamour in a modern world quite Dita Von Teese. Her latest release, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, is the model for classic Hollywood with beauty/health/life inspiration flair. Naturally, I was drawn to it.
If you're like me, you don't know much about Dita. All I knew was that was previously married to Marilyn Manson and, at the very least of things, a burlesque superstar. Oh, and she never changes her hairstyle or makeup. Those were the things I absolutely knew about her. if you knew more, or were an early fan, props to you, because the more I read the more I realized she seemed like a cool spirit.
I don't know about you all – and I feel bad for what I'm about to admit – but I don't care about book jackets once I take the book home. When I'm browsing at the bookstore, I totally use the book jackets to draw me in, however, when the actual book is in my hands, they get in the way wit all the sliding up and down. It's just best that I LeBron it in trash. That being said, I did the same to Dita's book, but her actual book cover was glorious. Raven hair Veronica Lake'd to the left. To the right, piercing blue eye, long lash waving hello, red lips front with a beauty mark to top it off in a swath of white, it was something to behold.
It's a weighty book filled with beautiful color and black-and-white photos. It's not your average coffee-table book. There's a lot of words in there. It's meant to be read. Dita gives you her background, how she got into makeup and developing her signature look, as well as her health and diet tips. These type of books are typical for celebrities, and I'm addicted to those, too (I don't always spend money on them, though, I will pick up at the library, okay? 💁) Your Beauty Mark, in my opinion, is one of the best I've seen. Comprehensive and thorough, I consider it a valuable read. Books are expensive, and I don't think building a personal library is a delicate task, though it's a worthwhile one.
What I really love is that she just wants her readers to love and appreciate themselves from the inside out. Cliched, yes, but you can see why I developed the connection. Since reading Your Beauty Mark, I've incorporated baths into my weekly routines and I went back to practicing pilates, which is the only way that I actually enjoyed working out when I was in high school. Dita also just had a very honest way of speaking that made me appreciate it as well.
Each chapter also highlights a friend-slash-expert in the beauty biz or a person she admires. I thought that was a cool touch because it introduced me to people who seemed interesting, like black pinup babe Angelique Noire, who is dominating Instagram's social space. There's also favorite of mine, makeup artist Raja Sutan, who I recognize from RuPaul's Drag Race. He gives his account on what makes him live is "true authentic self."
Below are my favorite quotations that I live by, but Dita just said them in a book first.
"A great set of brows is a thing to behold. i'm convinced among the features we are most impressed by, more than lip or hair color. The goal is to cultivate a pair that does not overwhelm the face. Brows are a key factor in the expressions we make, but they don't have to dominate communication."
(I did say something similar and on the record about eyebrows in 2012.)
I'm sure I'm a bit obsessed with brows because I had the nerdiest accident when I was six and busted my left brow. Flashback time: Picture it, Hartford, Connecticut, 1991, It was a Saturday and my mom had some type of meeting or very long errand, and I knew her tricks by this point. I was coming prepared. I grabbed my Barbie lunchbox and packed as many books as I could fit and I made my way downstairs. I'm small framed now, and I was small then, and my little lunchbox was too heavy for me! I tripped, took a tumble downstairs and hit my face on the cracked opening of our very old-school radiator. (I was Scarlet before Scarlet.) I'm sorry, but isn't that the most adorable way to go down the stairs? I was a martyr for my books! I had to get stitches, and as a result, I had a cool story for the other first graders on Monday, and my eyebrows have been uneven ever since.
"Bathing is baptism by soap and bubbles, an interlude in life to cleanse the skin and the mind, and most of all, the senses. It's an opportunity to wash a riotous night or bad day away, a chance to start all over again."
As I stated earlier, I love taking baths. They are a regular part of my self-care routine; Dita has the right idea. She starts out with a few bath history lessons, mentioning Marie Antoinette's bathing ingredients, which included marshmallow root and sweet almonds, and actress Jayne Mansfield famously bathed in champagne.
Your Beauty Mark highlights what you need to have the perfect bath: neck pillow, herbs/flowers in a "pouchette," and water heated anywhere between 90 to 105 degrees. #Science. Excuse me, my thermometer's calling.
For me, I add a lot of the same ingredients into my body stew as Dita, specifically: lavender epsom salt (straight from Rite Aid), Cleopatra Rose Bath Milk, coconut oil, and a Lush bath bomb. My absolute favorite is Sex Bomb - POW! I light incense and candles, play music, and light a J, read a book, and just zone out while I soak every single care out of my body. I am so serious about these baths that I don't like to take them when people are around (my apartment is small and you can hear everything; i like my noise only, ya dig?). I recommend it every once in a while. You will thank yourself and feel lavish and wonder how you went without them for so long.
(And if you have a normal-sized tub, you are blessed! I have a tiny tot tub in my bathroom, and I didn't even know shit like this existed until I moved in. I really thought all tubs came a standard size. 😝)
"I believe in fragrance and its powers. Perfume transforms a charming woman into an enchanting one."
One thing that struck me was Dita has four fragrances of her own. Wow! It's a dream of mine to have my own fragrance one day, even if it's just for me. From an early age, I thought perfumer were the fanciest. When my grandmother would watch me, I'd sneake into her room to spritz her fragrance with her vintage atomizer. Even if there was nothing left in the bottle, I wanted to hear the puff-and-release sound it released when I squeezed the ball.
I finally got my first perfume when I was 10. My mother, aunt, and cousin were shopping in Nassau, Bahamas during a family reunion (anyone remember the The Big Red Boat?), and we stopped into a perfume shop.The store had a little section for perfumes for girls and my cousin and I ran to it. I cant fully remember the name, but it was something along the lines of Girl in Paris. It smelled like nectar to my 10-year-old nostrils. Citrusy and a little flowery, yet still baby fresh, I wanted to wear it every day for the rest of my life. Much to my chagrin, my younger cousin had the same exact plan as I, but we lived in different cities, so so I allowed her the purchase. I smelled like a sassy garden, i was a woman. had arrived.
I've had a slew of favorite fragrances over the years: Romance by Ralph Lauren, Miss Dior Cherie by Dior, Chance by Chanel, and J'adore Dior to name a few. Nowadays I wear an oil, and I've never received so many compliments! It comes straight from the natural store in my hood. I won't tell you exactly what it is (I don't want you hoes smelling like me. I am still petty about my fragrances.) but I will say if you want to find a signature fragrance, get you some essential oils, wear one at a time and see which you gravitate to. Then research fragrances where that particular note comes through and pick, choose, sniff and take it from there.
What else is there to say? Your Beauty Mark is unquestionably a great pick if you are into beauty gorgeous photos or want a glance into past with a twist.
As usual, hit ▶️ on the tunes below when you're reading Dita's book. What do you think of these??