May Allure: Why You Should Wear Makeup In Prison


This month in Allure, a writer describes how being incarcerated taught her some life lessons — about the importance of makeup! Meanwhile, the editors explain the key to looking good naked is to lose weight and get more beauty treatments.

In “Beauty Behind Bars,” Piper Kerman writes,

No one who meets me would ever think that I once resided behind bars. I am a Seven Sisters-educated, middle-class, professional woman with a loving family and a solid work history.

What? Middle-class ladies don’t go to jail! Ever! She explains,

But a brief and reckless involvement with the narcotics trade in my early 20s came back to haunt me years later (because, believe me, there is no escaping the consequences of one’s actions), and I was sentenced to federal prison for a ten-year-old crime.

Totally understandable — so many of my fellow Seven Sisters-alumnae weren’t sure what to do after graduation and wound up falling into the narcotics trade themselves. It happens.

We never learn if Kerman is sorry for her crime, but she does tell an interesting story about why makeup is important to female prisoners. She learns there are some drug store cosmetics available at the prison commissary, including, “liquid eyeliner, Maybelline foundation, and Great Lash mascara.” (Don’t expect Maybelline to start using the phrase, “#1 Convict-Recommended Brand” on their packaging.) At first she finds, “that when I was dressed in shapeless men’s clothing and steel-toed shoes, some mascara and lip gloss went a long way toward making me feel like perhaps I still had something to offer my fiance,” but by the end she bonds with the other ladies through pedicures and doing each other’s hair. Does she learn something about the perils of dabbling in drug trafficking? It’s unclear, but she does discover that beauty products (Allure‘s raison d’être) are important for maintaining you individuality and bonding with other ladies. (So pack some mascara for your next prison stint.)

Also: This is Allure‘s annual naked lady issue, but even when stripped-down, Kara DioGuardi, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jessica Capshaw, Colbie Caillat, and Regina Hall aren’t terribly interesting. Catherine Zeta-Jones poses sans-clothing too, but she isn’t really nude if you count the figure-obscuring light bursts and retouching that cover her entire body.

Since we common folk don’t have the benefit of a professional Photoshopper, the editors offers a list of “22 Way To Look Better Naked.” The subhead reads, “Summer — and life, for that matter — is too short to waste hating your body and scrutinizing every pucker and pore.” So true! Too bad all of the tips involve constantly rubbing creams on yourself to fade scars, reduce cellulite, and minimize stretch marks, and getting pricey cosmetic procedures to remove hair and spider veins. Most of which seem pretty time-consuming anyhow.

(Click to enlarge.)

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