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Federal Court Orders Cosmopolitan To Reveal Beauty Secrets

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Federal Court Orders Cosmopolitan To Reveal Beauty Secrets

WASHINGTON, DC—Following a federal grand jury injunction Tuesday, the editors of Cosmopolitan have been ordered to turn over classified documents revealing top-level beauty secrets originating deep within the magazine's inner circle.

Cover of April 1997 edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

"The American people have a right to know which apricot scrubs are best for exfoliating the skin and clarifying clogged pores," said Fifth Circuit Judge William J. Messersmith after the order was served. "And if there is a way to eliminate combination skin—wherein the face is oily in the 'T-zone' and dry in the cheeks—such vital, appearance-enhancing information must be made available to all Americans."

In accordance with the court's decision, on May 1, 1997, 10 beauty secrets from Cosmopolitan files will be opened to the public for the first time. Among the carefully guarded secrets to be revealed: the right hairstyle for your facial shape; unleashing those lashes; the truth about anti-residue shampoos; and 10 great avocado masks for under $10.

Cosmopolitan lawyers expressed "great disappointment" with Monday's decision. "This represents not only a travesty of justice, but a serious blow to national security," said Calvin Burks, chief counsel for the magazine. "Those secrets are highly sensitive tips and tricks to accentuate a woman's natural features and hide tell-tale signs of aging. If such information were to fall into foreign hands, the balance of global beauty power could shift drastically."

Despite their dissatisfaction, Cosmopolitan officials say the magazine will comply with the court order on all counts except one. "There is a new, spray-on frizz fighter that can be spritzed onto a brush instead of directly onto the hair itself. If such high-level anti-frizz technology were to reach Europe, American women would lose a crucial foothold in the fight to eliminate flyaway locks."

Judge William J. Messersmith said that all Americans deserve access to information about eliminating dry, flyaway hair and finding a deep-clean facial wash that actually works.

News of the Cosmopolitan decision sent a chill through the offices of America's top beauty magazines, all of which are placed at serious risk by the ruling.

"It's insanity," Mademoiselle managing editor Kimberly Thaler said. "The French have already successfully tested a pro-vitamin shampoo that penetrates root to tip at a secret base in the South Pacific. And we have reason to believe they've also experimented with botanicals. Giving away such high-level conditioning and moisturizing technology could radically shift the global PH-balance of power."

Added Thaler: "We may as well tell the Italians whether to use long or short strokes when applying mascara."

Beauty law experts say the Cosmopolitan decision may only be the beginning. "This is a landmark, precedent-setting case," said Harvard University professor of fashion and fitness Thomas Schulke. "It could open the door for the release of a vast range of information, everything from, 'How to tell if he wants you,' to 'Are you or aren't you a commitmentphobe?'"

Monday's decision represents the final chapter in the landmark, three-year-old Goodwin v. Cosmopolitan suit. In May 1994, Fort Lauderdale, FL, homemaker Karen Goodwin, 32, sued the magazine for eight counts of malfeasance in beauty advisement. At issue were a series of documents which, according to the Goodwin camp, withheld key secrets from Cosmopolitan's January 1994 "Beauty Blowout" issue.

"I am finally vindicated," said a victorious Goodwin moments after the verdict was announced. "And so are Esther Rosenman and all the others who gave their lives so that make-up and hair-care tips could someday circulate freely." Rosenman, a former Glamour staff writer, was tried and hanged in 1952 for selling eye-shadow secrets to the Russians.

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