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The June List: Barbie Curves, Zendaya Serves

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo The List June Hero 16x9

Words by Brennan Kilbane

Originally published on | June 3

The List tracks the ins and outs of the beauty world and assigns them a monthly rank. Here’s the latest, from least to most urgent:


New gazes

Last month, I published a story about the (relatively) new frontier of permanent eye colour change. A few doctors in Europe have invented and honed a technique that represents the latest advancement: it involves digging a channel in the cornea and adding mineral pigment. Advocates love it, and sceptics are sceptical; in the US, it currently costs $12,000. The before -and-afters are otherworldly.


The ‘Barbie peptide’

My friend Jenn Sullivan also told me about something called, irresistibly, the ‘Barbie peptide.’ It’s an injection of Melanotan-II that stimulates the production of melanin, and the side-effects that contribute to its nickname also include tanned skin, increased sex drive, and a svelte-r physique. But, a word of caution: it’s not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, and experts say all that boosted melanin production can increase one’s chances of developing melanoma. Some medicines that operate similarly are in development for specific therapeutic ends, like Clinuvel’s afamelanotide implant for people with rare photosensitivity.


Sealing face

New York’s humidity levels during the summer months are famously unpleasant. This is why we have Summer Fridays (no, not the brand responsible for our favourite lip balms), where each work week ends in a half day; people cannot be expected to leave their makeup on for a millisecond longer than they have to. All month, my brain has played the video of Tems’ makeup artist readying her for Coachella with three different setting sprays on a ceaseless loop, prompting me to invest in my first bottle of Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray. Now I just need to find two other industrial-strength sealants, and I’m ready to go outside!


Aroma change

This is your quarterly reminder to rotate your home scents according to the passing of the season. I want something fresh-off-the-vine-smelling, and am trying to decide between a tomato from Flamingo Estate or a fig from Le Labo.


Ace hair

From my X/Twitter feed alone, you would have thought the new bisexual tennis film Challengers went triple platinum in American theatres. It didn’t, but those few who saw it loved it. And me? I loved Zendaya’s BSB (big short bob). Big hair is back, ya’ll!


Flower power

Please do not harpoon me and toss me overboard for what I’m about to suggest, which is to take inspiration from recent blooms for your spring-summer makeup flourishes. I am not talking about mere reds or pinks, but reaching for further spectrums. I want the crimson poppy of Kosas Wet Lip Oil in ‘Jaws’, the twilit tulip of Stila Blush & Bronze in ‘Dragonfruit’, the solar orange of MECCA MAX Off Duty in ‘Juicy', or I don’t want it at all!


Be real

Within every hundred-billion-dollar economy, you are bound to find bad actors; in beauty, scam stories take on a particularly delicious schadenfreude, stemming, as they often do, from personal insecurities. The two stories dominating lately are of fake Botox injections and bad Vampire Facials, two separate incidents that capture one evergreen truth to those of us who seek cosmetic improvement: there’s more at stake than just our faces.

Those of us who are vain enough to fall for fake Botox, like myself, should be reminded to exercise due diligence. Step one is, always, to make sure you see a dermatologist or other practitioner who has earned your trust. Step two may differ on whatever product or injection you’re trying to verify; if you’re in a doctor’s office, ask to see the product itself, and take a picture of its lot number. Or, if the moisturiser on TikTok Shop seems too good to be true, it probably is. Proceed with optimistic caution.

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The May List: Fast Body Care, Swift Hair

May 8

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