Monday, June 27, 2011

Beauty Is Truth. Or Not.

We buy our birdseed at a feed store so that we can get it in fifty-pound bags (hey, we’ve got a lot of birds). It’s sort of fun to wander around the store because they sell stuff for chickens, goats, and horses along with wild birds. The last time we were there, I found a special shampoo and conditioner for horses’ manes. It was advertised as reducing frizziness (horse manes get frizzy?) and improving body (you mean horses’ manes aren’t naturally buoyant?) and it included rosewater. It was clearly targeted at humans as well as ponies. And here’s the really pathetic thing: I would have bought it if it hadn’t cost over twenty bucks a bottle.

I admit it—I am a sucker for beauty products. Particularly for beauty products that promise to solve problems or be a vast improvement over previous beauty products. A face cream that reduced wrinkles eighty percent in laboratory trials? A concealer that has a revolutionary new brush design so that it actually takes care of those long-term undereye dark shadows? A shampoo that will coat the hair follicle with a new polymer designed to simultaneously plump and smooth? I am so there!

I am so there even though by now I know damn well that most of the time the products will do no such thing. Purple eyeshadow that makes green eyes pop? Only if looking like you have bruised eyelids is your thing. Lipstick that lasts all day and doesn’t rub off on your glass? Only if you don’t mind lips that feel like every last drop of moisture has been sucked out. I once bought a tube of mango hair treatment in Charleston, SC, that promised miracles. I worked it into my hair that evening and was rewarded with waves like something out of a thirties musical once I’d walked a couple of blocks in Charleston humidity. No kidding, y’all, I was a ringer for Myrna Loy. I still have the mango stuff, of course. Every once in a while I try it again just to see if those waves were the result of user error (here’s a clue: they weren’t).

Over the years I have at least managed to cut back on my affection for high-end stuff. No more jonesing for Lancome. And I only go to Sephora if I have the hubs in tow (he likes the Phyto 7 hair cream, but he’ll only stick around in the store for ten minutes or so, hardly enough time for me to check all the lipsticks).

Still, five minutes with the Allure Readers’ Choice issue and I’m ready to head over to the Target cosmetics section. And why not? Hope in a jar is a lot cheaper than hope in a shoebox. As long as I don’t develop an obsession with Crème de la Mer I figure I can continue to slather stuff on myself until I’m too withered and gray to work it into the wrinkles.

Now some may say that buying hope in any form is impossible, and I must admit that that’s largely true. On the other hand, I’m a romance writer, which means I’m sort of into making the impossible possible. You might say we’re in the hope business too. So bring on the mascara, let me see that moisturizer, navy blue eyeliner? Hmmmm. Who knows? Maybe that next tube of Cherries In the Snow will be the one that finally makes my life complete.

So what about you? Favorite makeup? Or do you denounce the whole beauty/industrial complex?


PG Forte said...

I'm a fool for LUSH. If money were no object I'd buy out the store once or twice a month.

I don't do much makeup, but anything that claims to improve hair, skin or nails (and is cruelty free) and I'm there, baby.

daydrmzzz said...

First off - Damn PG I thought I was the only one who didn't sleep - lol.
Meg I'm not a huge make-up girl. I must have a nice mascara, moisturizer, and lip gloss or lipstick. That's not to say I don't not wear it but I'm not one of those girl's that takes 30+ minutes to put my make-up on. I love my make-up but it's not a must for me. Perfume on the other hand is a must and an addiction! I have way too much :) I like to smell good. As a matter of fact I got this really beautifully smelling soap ;)

Meg Benjamin said...

Oooh, perfumed soap is a whole 'nuther topic. I can't resist it, especially if it's made by somebody local.

Kelly Jamieson said...

OMG I am SO with you Meg!! I am always looking for that miracle product that will give me silky straight hair, get rid of the under-eye circles and somehow make me miractulously gorgeous! I have a weakness for all new things and their claims even though like you, I know by now it's not gonna happen. My special weakness is lipstick - some day I will find the lipstick with the perfect color, perfect texture, perfect wearability that shines like a gloss. Some day. Meanwhile my purse is full of all the ones I try that don't quite live up to my hopes. And the beauty industry makes big bucks off me.

Meg Benjamin said...

And, of course, if and when you find the perfect lipstick, rest assured that the company will stop making it immediately!

Jen B. said...

A few years ago my skin became so sensitive that all makeup makes my face hurt if I use it for more than a day or two. I like BareMinerals for the rare occasions I wear makeup. I used to love really good mascara. Now I buy really inexpensive because I only get to use it once or twice before I have to toss it. So sad. I used to love makeup! But, I love Olay's Pro line of skin care. It's not crazy expensive, there are always coupons or sales and it really works!

Maria said...

Oh Meg....up until a few years ago I could identify with you but now I have Rosacea and my skin has gotten extreemly sensitive and I'm also going through a hormone thing so ....I have had to cut down on my consumption of beauty products...I do love going to Sephora and Lush though...even if I can't buy everything I used to....*sigh*

daydrmzzz said...

Kelly ... I would think you would be a hair product addict. You have got to have some of the best hair I've ever seen. very jealous of it. xoxo