Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

My thoughts on makeup, let me show you them

Bear with me as I lead into this, because I have some philosophical ramblings about beauty products that guys (i.e., people who do not wear makeup and may not understand the appeal of cosmetics) may find interesting.

So. I have gift cards to Sephora, and also a promotional code from their newsletter that expires today, and then three free mini lip glosses as a birthday promotion, therefore: it's economy-boosting time. My on-and-off obsession with makeup, as previously documented here, is somewhat peculiar, given that I wear very little of it. I mean, number one: I don't leave the house much. I have sensitive problem skin, so there doesn't seem to be any point in irritating it with the constant application and removal of makeup that no one's going to see, you know? What I really love is trying out different colors, because if I wear anything, it tends to be eyeshadow and lip gloss--I really need to wear foundation and concealer, but honestly, when I do, all I look like is someone very obviously wearing foundation and concealer, so I figure the flawed natural look is preferable at that point, and I'll just have fun with my favorite eyeshadow palettes (Hard Candy's Suede and Star). Hence the recent fixation on Aromaleigh, because the samples are so cheap that I can play all I want, and I'm hearing from other patrons that their face powders do a really good job of blending and disappearing, so I'm going to get samples of those and see if I can finally achieve the no-makeup makeup look ("Like you, only better!").

As for why girls--some girls--get so obsessed with makeup, even someone like me who rarely wears it, I can tell you very simply: it's the promise of transformation. Philosophy has a moisturizer called Hope in a Jar, which pretty much sums it up. Or--to jump to a different area of retail--you know the Headset Vince informercial for the Slap Chop? The one where he declares, "Stop having a boring tuna, stop having a boring life"? Which is a bizarre leap of logic--if your tuna sandwich is marginally more interesting, your ENTIRE LIFE will be a new thrill every minute from here on out. I mean, obviously. But that's advertising: not selling you a tangible thing, but a new life and a new you. There's a line in The Women (the original, not the crap remake) where Norma Shearer's wise old mother says something (I'm paraphrasing from memory here) along the lines of, men have affairs in order to see a new version of themselves reflected in someone else's eyes; women just go get manicures, and if men would just move their office furniture around now and then instead, they'd be a lot happier. It's not the most progressive sentiment--remember, this movie was released in 1939--but I think there's a kernel of truth in there regarding makeovers: the idea that a superficial, cosmetic change will ripple all the way down to the core of what makes you unhappy. Stop wearing a boring lipstick: stop having a boring life.

So to me, the most alluring cosmetic lines are the ones that create an entire persona. Benefit is a really, really good example of this; the product names and packaging create this kicky retro girl-on-the-go aesthetic, both coy and confident. "That Gal" (quotation marks theirs) brightening primer! Get Even pressed powder! You Rebel moisturizer! Ooh La Lift concealer! (Fun fact: their Ms. Behavin' lipstick was used on the first Twilight movie. Guess who had to wear it.) On the other hand, there's Urban Decay, with all their gritty, "edgy" trying too hard eyeshadow names: Asphyxia, Midnight Cowboy, Grifter, Smog, Oil Slick, Roach. (The latter of which is actually a really great color that I'm not sure I could ever bear to put on my face.) I feel like if I was wearing these, I would go out and something badass would happen to me, and I would totally be ready for it. You know, all because my eyelids were sporting "lavender with blue sheen." In short, cosmetics are selling you a fantasy that most likely won't come true, but they're selling you so many different of flavors of fantasy that there's always something new to play with, some new means of reinvention, always some new hope.

(I ended up spending my gift cards on the Get Baked eyeshadow palette, the "That Gal" primer, and the Realness of Concealness kit. Happy birthday to me.)

(Zomg e-book! The Annotated Movies in Fifteen Minutes: Wizards!)

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Tags: birthdays, makeup, philosophical ramblings, shopping
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