on being reasonable

and its limits: when it’s unreasonable to be reasonable, when the only reasonable thing to do is to be unreasonable, and when Things Just Get Too Silly–all rules and rulebooks go out the window.

This post is metaphorically related to dealing with sensitive skin; though mainly about the good mej5s having a new blog.

UPDATE: and he’s back, under a new name 🙂

In my experience, one should be reasonable. One should know one’s skin and its limitations. One shouldn’t demand the impossible from it. Nor, indeed, from a beautification product. Knowing all these things, and putting together recorded experience with theoretical savvy, one can make reasonable guesses as to what will and won’t work. But sometimes skin reacts. Over-reacts. Is irritated. Will not calm down. Then one has to try what’s worked before–being reasonable, again. But sometimes things are so dire that one has to go for over-the-top measures, because the alternative is losing one’s merry marbles and doing something really silly. In skin terms, that would be losing one’s healthy scepticism and joining a cult. Buying products from one of those derm-lines flaunting the academic credentials of the head honcho (ad auctoritatem fallacy. I abhor it. A last recourse of the weak and pointless. By which I mean, someone who has no point and no argument, indeed not even a weak one.)

Like jump into a cold bath. And, probably, have a nice cool drink.

This might be going a bit far, by my standards; but the chap does look happy.

Sometimes MakeupAlley can go a bit far.

Raised hackles, bad moods, lousy days at work, lousy days of continuing lack of work, favourite products dissed, opinions and views ridiculed, spending silly money on silly things causes hilarity, believing idiocies is rightly condemned, honesty and forthrightness in the wrong place at the wrong time, vendettas start, vendettas continue. People don’t always like hearing the truth, especially when it’s not what they were convinced it was. They don’t like being wrong, and proven wrong, and worse still proven silly, when they were sure they were right.

Don’t get me wrong. Calling a spade a spade: good. A rose is always a rose, and by any other name smells as sweet or foul, no matter what the price-tag or pretty packaging or marketing BS (or whether or not it’s got a named MD, PhD attached to it). Truth is truth.

And, reminding everyone again, BELIEF ≠ FEELING ≠ OPINION ≠ ARGUMENT ≠ FACT. I say this as a card-carrying feminist. Epistemology and logic are absolute and transcend all borders and confines of gender, race, class, geographical location, language, culture, historical period. That’s the whole point: to have some way of thinking that is fundamentally human, and free of all such constraints and externally-imposed limitations.

I digress.

On the other hand: without even getting into white lies, there are ways and means of tempering matters, of couching the substance of what one’s saying in YMMV, up to you, with all possible due [and, indeed, undue] respect, etc., etc. And I’ve been as guilty as anyone of just about managing to edit an “OFFS” into “well, no.” I’ve been learning that sometimes one should just not respond to a board query (especially a repeated question: some examples of Things That Make Me Go “Hmmm” at end of post)

But: sometimes it all gets too much. Ice-baths and massive doses of antihistamines, washed down with mint juleps (see MUA Skin Care Board: this is a historical in-joke…), just don’t do the job anymore.

My good MUA friend mej5s reached that point. Back in one of my homelands, that state of being is called “at the end of your tether.” He left. There had been extra drama–on board, off-board in private messages, on other boards off MUA–and what he’s saved of those, errm, exchanges might be resulting in legal action to the heinous Other Bad People. So I’m not saying any more. Not really my place to do so, anyway.

But: he’ll be missed on both the Green and Skin Care Boards. I might be cheeky and check in with him from time to time and act as discreet mouthpiece when appropriate. Maybe it’s time to set up another MUA persona, called The Voice Of Reason, a mask that would be shared by–well, my good self for starters, and maybe whoever else (mej5s for one) deemed sufficiently Vocal and Rational to be worthy? Maybe we need a more superhero-ish name? After all, this is a particularly fine summer for superhero-movies. Though they do all have such frighteningly perfect skin… sigh… and better still, infinite powers of self-healing and regeneration …

The good news is:

mej5s has a blog!!!

Some of mej5s’s greatest hits are filed in my MUA “favourites” in

common sense, reason, science, anti-nonsense, mythbusting, and some ethical conundrums (errm, this looks like a bit of a mej5s shrine already…)


greenwash, the EWG, quackery, & other unethical beauty posing as ethical

Here is one of my favouritest amongst these favourites, mej5s in full swing at his finest and fieriest. For more, start following the blog…


expand whole threadPOLL: What type of questions & posts do you dislike on this board? ashley92504 6/14/2011 4:49PM
being relatively new on this board, i am curious to find out what are the “annoying” or ignored posts that aren´t welcomed /liked .

Thanks 🙂
& sorry if this is one of those questions 😉

Posting a ?? about a product nobody ever heard about and disapearing without any giving any ++ icaria 6/14/2011 7:45PM
explanations about it.

1) puffed eyes – what?

Annoyance: People who type five cryptic words and expect in-depth answers

2) Does this cause acne? INGREDIENTS: Isopropyl Myristate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Dihydrogen Monoxide, Ethanol, Asbestos

Annoyance: the packaging of a product or its brand assist us in evaluating as certain brands and packaging types have strong implications on product functionality

3) pe0plE wh0 tyPe lyke 1ll1t3rate sk8R trAsh…r0xorz Avril

4) People who are clearly shilling a product by recommending an obscure bizarre product over and over out of the blue “SuperBabyYoga MommyBootyFuntime Kids N Family Sunscreen SPF 45 TOTALLY healed my acne, cured my grandma’s multiple myeloma, and helped me become a follower of Christ!!!”

5) People who believe the marketing claims made by L’Oreal or P&G or any brand without some suspicion “NUN UH YOU ARE WRONG YOUTH CODE IS THE FUTURE AND AMAZING L’OREAL IS A BIG COMPANY BIG COMPANIES ARE NEVER WRONG!” …umm thalidomide, vioxx much?

6) People who are not thankful for the advice they are given and people who take take take but never contribute back to the community because after all this is a community and you are expected to give and share as much as you ask and take.

LOL but do you have an opinion?  lolgita 16/15/2011 10:40AM

Oh My God, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in a month. ReginaHubbardGiddens 6/14/2011 10:39PM

good answer 🙂 ashley92504 6/14/2011 7:46PM

LOL squared! elf_107 6/14/2011 7:24PM

LOL the IVth gingerrama 6/14/2011 7:12PM

Lololololololololol into infinity. honeywell66 6/14/2011 6:52PM

LOL at the asbestos! mcalcia 6/14/2011 6:49PM

What’s the BEST moisturizer for oily/extremely oily skin? *head spins every time* babybuddha 6/14/2011 6:15PM

or, what is the best moisturizer that won’t break me out? jetfan 6/14/2011 6:18PM

Yes! babybuddha 6/14/2011 6:22PM

I hate, HATE deleters. Post a question and leave it so others can benefit from the responses jetfan 6/14/2011 6:05PM
AND certain picture posters. Same pictures over and over with great skin saying how awful and terrible it is. Enough already:( Just fishing IMO.

One more. The posters that want instant gratification. ie: How can I clear my skin………(1 minutes passes) ANYONE?Then repost the same question every 3-5 minutes, then go complain on the cafe that “we” ignored the question.

I’m annoyed when I answer a post, specifically 1 w/ little or no other replies & the OP doesn’t boezoe 6/14/2011 6:03PM
acknowledge my response. I never know if they even read it. When I post I try 2 at least say thnx.

uh-oh. *passes out chilled wine glasses* jetfan 6/14/2011 6:02PM

bottoms up! gingerrama 6/14/2011 7:12PM

I only have red wine !! :(( icaria 6/14/2011 6:35PM

I’ll take a glass of Cabernet please ☺ barbiH 6/14/2011 6:55PM

Sorry! You’ll have to settle for Chianti :(((, ate italian tonight. icaria 6/14/2011 6:57PM

♥ That sounds delish too. barbiH 6/14/2011 6:59PM

:))) icaria 6/14/2011 7:00PM

*clink* kittehkat 6/14/2011 6:09PM

Only when people think they need to decide their skin care by majority – go by what works for you! sniffer 6/14/2011 5:49PM

I think there’s no wrong questions. If someone thinks it’s a stupid question, you’re not obligated + requisite 6/14/2011 5:20PM
To answer it.

ITA!warhol6/15/2011 2:14AM

There theoretically may be no wrong questions, but there are definitely annoying ones. palebluex 6/14/2011 6:02PM

agree yummykeylimepie 6/14/2011 6:48PM

true jmh1wdh2 6/14/2011 5:25PM

But though it might have been asked that morning, the poster wouldn’t necessarily know that. kittehkat 6/14/2011 5:24PM

Absolutely! warhol 6/15/2011 2:14AM

They would if the did a board search. palebluex 6/14/2011 8:07PM

Yes. And re ss stability. Is it that hard to write yes/no? It’s like people expect everyone to know+ requisite 6/14/2011 5:32PM
everything. If we all knew everything, there wouldn’t be a sc board. We were all newbies at sc at one point right? And I bet if all the sc experts were to go on a astronaut board or something and ask a question, they would think it was a stupid question. Just something to think about.

It’s supposed to be a fun board where we can share product recs and experiences. Not be afraid to post because someone might think it’s a stupid question :/

Absolutely! I have learned A LOT from this board from asking those questions! yummykeylimepie 6/14/2011 6:50PM

I like those questions! sniffer 6/14/2011 5:48PM

Good, cause I’ll be writing them lol :* requisite 6/14/2011 5:52PM

good point jmh1wdh2 6/14/2011 5:25PM

Needy people who post & repost because they’re not satisfied with the answers they get ++ icaria 6/14/2011 5:18PM
as if this was a customer service dept.

posting questions to inflate self esteem…MUA is not therapy…well it sort of is..LOL jmh1wdh2 6/14/2011 5:18PM

Good one :))) icaria 6/14/2011 5:19PM

None really, if I don’t like the question I don’t answer! 😉 Just becomes white noise… elf_107 6/14/2011 5:16PM

I totally agree with Elf…..I only answer the ones I want to these days. ☺ barbiH 6/14/2011 6:58PM

Best answer, IMO. wingedtwilight 6/14/2011 5:20PM

Thanks guys. 😀 elf_107 6/14/2011 5:30PM

^ wise gingerrama 6/14/2011 5:18PM

1. asking a question that’s just been asked gingerrama 6/14/2011 5:09PM

2. asking a question that’s been asked within the last few posts gingerrama 6/14/2011 5:10PM

3. asking a question that gets asked a lot, which would be clear if they read down the page gingerrama 6/14/2011 5:11PM

I do have to say it is remarkable how much the same questions get asked FAQ in order? elf_107 6/14/2011 5:17PM

4. ditto, without having the courtesy to do a board search first gingerrama 6/14/2011 5:11PM

5. and idiocy in general: mej5s covered this well recently++ gingerrama 6/14/2011 5:14PM

i can imagine why those would get ignored ashley92504 6/14/2011 5:35PM

*humm* I think I remember that one… Icaria :))) icaria 6/14/2011 5:17PM

I dislike it when people make an error and post on the wrong board and before they can fix it retrorunway 6/14/2011 5:04PM
they get blown away with post of what they are doing wrong. What is it the post police? lmao sorry, but it is true

omg 2nd this! lol beautymarksandscars 6/14/2011 5:08PM

3rd. Any type of board policing is lame. Eskapist 6/14/2011 5:09PM

huge 4th!!! gita1 6/15/2011 10:42AM

I’m so glad to know I am not the only one who feels this way 🙂 retrorunway 6/14/2011 5:20PM

Listing ingredients and not telling us what the product is. skincarekev 6/14/2011 5:03PM

2nd jmh1wdh2 6/14/2011 5:15PM

3rd! rambow 6/14/2011 9:57PM

And people are really mean to people who ask anything about tanning. BarbaraJRice 6/14/2011 4:53PM

Coming on here asking about tanning is like +++ mej5s 6/14/2011 6:50PM
someone going on to a new or expectant mothers’ forum and talking about how they cannot wait to get an abortion (I have nothing against either for the record) —- we are here to prevent damage and take care of our skin…asking tanning advice implies that the knowledge and precepts of this forum are all for naught and that we should simply throw away caution for the sake of a false idea of beauty

I LOVE YOU EVEN MORE! You’re on a real roll. ReginaHubbardGiddens 6/14/2011 10:41PM

Understand that the cafe thinks it’s comical to ask over here just to see the responses+ jetfan 6/14/2011 6:09PM
then go back to the cafe and laugh at the skincare board.

*goodbuyekids*!!! ROFL I DO remember that one :))) icaria 6/14/2011 6:47PM

There is a lot of passion re: tanning, partly because to people w/ skin cancer experiences + elf_107 6/14/2011 5:29PM
asking about the best way to tan is akin to asking how to better load a gun and point it to one’s one head… 😛 (Granted I’m exaggerating a bit, but for someone who’s seen the dark side of tanning it is about that scary.)

In less dramatic terms though, one would expect a spirited response if one asked a health care forum how to better get high or go on drinking binges! The mandate is opposite. I realize the skin care forum is for both skin health and beauty aesthetics… And some people will find tanning attractive. Where health is concerned however I think the science is clear…

Some might even go as far as saying that healthy skin = beautiful skin! 😀

I don’t think they are? People just don’t recommend it. Eskapist 6/14/2011 5:07PM

? I don’t get this. Below, you say it’s terrible that people ask about >> honeywell66 6/14/2011 5:04PM
sunscreen stability, and you question how hard is it to know that avo and octinoxate are a bad combo. I personally wonder how hard it is to know tanning is bad for the skin. I think it no es bueno to ask a skinCARE board how to get a deep,dark tan.

2nd this beautymarksandscars 6/14/2011 5:07PM

1 group gets the information kindly explained to them, the other gets yelled at in a really mean way BarbaraJRice 6/14/2011 5:07PM
See the difference now?

SS stability is rarely discussed in magazines and other media. We’vebeen hearing that tanning is > honeywell66 6/14/2011 5:10PM
Bad for years and years. Stability factors also go beyond those two ingredients. It’s pretty complex to a person completely new to skincare.

So true and I had shingles and was home sick once accidently had caps on and before I could change retrorunway 6/14/2011 5:09PM
that my email and post was blown up! Seriously, how many people have dies in the war but this is end of the world.

Reconsider your hyperbole. palebluex 6/14/2011 5:58PM

true mich523316/14/2011 4:57PM

I think it’s terrible that ppl ask just about everyday whether this or that rop BarbaraJRice 6/14/2011 4:52PM
sunscreen is stable. I mean, how hard can it be to learn that avobenzone and octinoxate together no es bueno?

I get confused. There are so many SS filters that start with “O” that I can’t keep them straight.++ samanthadread 6/14/2011 7:39PM
and depending on the information you read, avo needs a certain filter to actually stabilize it (but this isn’t referenced everywhere I see talk of stability, just sometimes). It is actually confusing and frustrating, and I can see how many people would rather ask and get an answer from someone who can remember all this, than *think* they’ve got it right, and end up with a sunburn.

I get that. But how hard is it to answer a simple yes or no? + requisite 6/14/2011 5:11PM
Not everyone knows about avo when they ask.

LMAO! I love this voguegrl 6/14/2011 5:00PM

I know one is listing ingredients for a product and asking if it looks alright, lol beautymarksandscars6/14/2011 4:52PM


On which happy note:


  1. mej5s

    I am touched and flattered to receive my own dedicated blog entry and rest assured my participation on this (and my own blog *ahem* someone is remiss there) will increase as I now will be focusing my skincare/green/ethical contemplation to these fora.

    My departure (contrary to some speculation elsewhere) was indeed voluntary – as to the disappearance of my goodbye thread I will only assume that the same parties who lead me to make the decision to leave also objected to my speech and had it deleted.

    The self-censorship, lack of ownership over one’s personally created content, and community-level censorship (most frequently carried out with little regard for intelligence) were the primary motivators behind my decision to leave. The nastygrams from various MUAers were only the icing on the cake.

    A Voice of Reason sounds like a splendid idea. Reason being in short supply everywhere these days.

    Thank you so much for this entry and look for an update from me soon on my own blog.

  2. gingerama

    YVW! It will as ever be a delight to see you over here, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing your blog evolve, expand, and so on.
    I admit, one reason I started this one up was to retain control over my own intellectual property–yes, it may be beauty product reviews, and they may just be responses on discussion-boards, but it’s still *my* ideas, organized and sorted and juxtaposed *by me*, in *my* words.
    The other main one being that the notepad is cumbersome (the scripting leaves, errm, much to be desired), has been known to crash mid-update, and becomes more unstable the more content it has. Also, there’s the other side of cumbersome–mine had way too much stuff on it for one single page, contrary to every principle of good web design, and the better notepads had all gone for the simpler shorter approach. So I followed suit.
    Movement to a blog format seemed a natural progression. Indeed, if I were MUA, I’d be thinking of setting up a “stable” for a network of blogs–like the totalbeauty network, independent fashion bloggers, gawker, etc., etc.
    Will investigate the Voice of Reason. Any other ideas on suitable name? On the superhero front, the only one that sprang to mind was SuperEgo (+ snort / guffaw / evil cackle, as appropriate…)

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