Life According to Cosmo: What Women (Should) Want

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Taking (yet another) cue from Jamie Keiles, whose Seventeen Magazine Project, prompted my little foray into Cosmoland, I wanted to see what types of products are advertised in its pages. This breakdown doesn’t include all of the advertorial items included in the what-to-wear, how-to-be-beautiful sections, but rather the actual ad spots.
As expected, there’s a major emphasis on beauty aids and skincare. That rang true in Seventeen as well, with Keiles’ ad analysis finding 80 percent focused on beauty aids and health/hygiene. By the time girls grow up into Cosmo women, they’re already conditioned to think that they’re face and skin could probably use some touchups. Moreover, what Seventeen readers lose in ads for educational products (8 percent of Seventeen ads), they make up for in booze billboards (8 percent of Cosmo ads).
But there are also a few categories I included that caught my attention. Namely, the amount of razors, depilatory creams and laser hair removal promotions throughout the pages. In fact, there were almost as many hair remover type ads (10 percent) as there were hair care — shampoo, mousse, etc — ads (17 percent). Molly and I frequently get emails from Stuff Mom Never Told You listeners requesting podcast on why women shave their legs and why we’re culturally obsessed with women being as hairless as possible (which we’ve covered, if you’d like to take a listen). This advertising trend speaks directly to that conundrum. Society tells us to have full, lustrous locks up top, but don’t even think about letting a single follicle grow freely below the scalp! And this is the data to prove it.
I was also interested to see the lack apparel advertising. Perhaps clothing and shoe companies save their marketing dollars for more fashion-y titles, but I’d venture that there’s a deeper message at work here as well. When you flip through the magazine and just look at the ads, all you see over and over again are close-ups on women’s faces and shiny, hairless bare skin. Considering that skincare and hair-related ads (47 percent combined) outranked those for cosmetics (11 percent), Cosmopolitan’s advertising emphasis is incredibly body conscious. Don’t have that flawless skin and shapely gams? Too bad. All the makeup and clothing in the world really isn’t going to fix that, now will it? Swirling around that exposed flesh, we have diet friendly food offerings (17 percent), cellulite cures (5 percent) and even eyelash extenders to fix those “trouble spots.”
Big surprise then, that about a third of the way into the July edition, there’s a full-page ad for bipolar disorder. Because taken together, all of these skin-deep beauty messages can set a gal’s head topsy-turvy.
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5 Things to Do Before Going to the Nail Salon

At the first sign of summer, women everywhere kick off the thick socks and heavy boots of winter in favor of strappy summer sandals, flip-flops and sun-kissed bare feet. Before you expose your toes, however, it’s best to hit the nail salon to give your lower digits a bit of cosmetic attention

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. After all, nothing ruins a great pair of open-toed shoes more quickly than ragged, overgrown nails and dry, callused skin. With more than 50,000 nail salons in the U.S. alone, you should have no problem scoring an appointment for that start-of-summer mani-pedi. Get the most out of your visit and learn to avoid potential problems with our list of the top 5 things you should do before going to the nail salon.

5 Must-have Shorts for Women

Summer is coming — are your legs ready? Shorts are everywhere this year! Recent trends steer away from the longer Bermuda-style pants and more towards short shorts

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. (Think mid-thigh and up.) When worn with heels or wedge sandals

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, shorts can make your legs look longer and leaner. Pair them with ballet flats or sandals and a silk shirt for a polished, preppy look, or just toss on a tee and a pair of oversized sunglasses to don a classic, retro style. However you wear them, shorts are perfect for just about any summer activity, from lounging by the beach or pool all the way to working a day at the office or dancing the night away at a rooftop party.
Read the next page to learn about the benefits of shorts that end low but start high!

What Color Heels Match a Cream Dress?

A cream dress is a blank canvas for footwear. Regardless of dress¡¯s style ¡ª knee-length cap sleeve, A-line sheath ¡ª a rule of thumb is to avoid looking too ¡°matchy.¡± In other words, you can avoid staying within the same color family and instead pair the heels with a rich color like pink, green or red. The unexpected color combination gives the outfit a fun edge.
Bring on the color. Sidestep strict color matching by adding a pop of color to the heels. Wearing one solid color from head to toe washes you out. Bright colors like pink and crimson or a nice navy draw attention to your footwear. You can really pull off any color with cream, but these accent it best because their contrast in color provides a sharp divide from the top of your outfit to the bottom. When pairing heels with cream, the stronger the color the better

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The strategy is simple: combinations of contrast keep the pairing unique. Pairing the fabrics follows the same lines as adding a pop of color. If the dress is tweed, go with a magenta leather heel. If the dress is satin, try a red peep-toe with lace bow or jewel details. If the dress is patterned and has intricate detailing stick to a modest style like a basic blue leather pump.
One occasion to let your dress, instead of heels, take center stage is in a formal setting. Err on the conservative side and stick to a black heel if the event is more reserved. If the dress is detailed, direct attention to that feature by choosing a standard black leather heel

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. If the setting is formal, like a corporate gala, an awards ceremony or a charity function incorporate color choose a more reserved heel like black that does not stand out.
Every season is marked by trends in color. While it¡¯s important to choose a bright color that you personally like and feel comfortable wearing, following the trend is another route to select a heel shade. Emerald, nectarine, poppy red and Monaco blue are just a few ideas.