I knew I would fail the test before I even started it. Whatever possessed me to take the “Are You in a Beauty Rut?” quiz escapes me now. It’s fair to say, however, that someone who began shopping at Talbots at age 25 probably isn’t on the cutting edge of anything in the beauty and fashion world. Nevertheless, I carefully considered each question and gave my most truthful answers. My score: “0-9 points: You are most definitely in a beauty rut. It’s time to get out there and experiment with new products and trends.”
Baby steps were in order, but I had no idea where to begin. Just a month earlier I’d panicked when my favorite shade of lipstick was discontinued. After all, I’d loved it since the lady behind the makeup counter at Kerrison’s (Yeah, I know. It closed 20 years ago.) selected it for me. Because my life was yet to be changed forever by the Beauty Rut quiz, I had taken the dregs of my last tube to the makeup lady at Belk, imploring her to find the next closest shade. Two or three days after my dismal quiz performance, a television beauty expert came to my rescue. I recognized immediately that she was a beauty expert because she had her own makeup line and no last name. Anyway, she had a trick she guaranteed would make anyone’s eyes appear bigger, brighter, and more alert. Who doesn’t what that? All you had to do was apply a dot of light-colored eye shadow in the corner of your eye. Simple.
The following Saturday morning I put on my eye makeup as always. Then, I applied that all-important dot — but just my right eye. Time to compare the new and the old. I stared at my reflection, unsure whether this change was different good or different bad. I needed another opinion.Minutes later, my husband and I sat reading the morning paper. Remembering the new sofa pillows that went unnoticed for weeks, I jumped right in, “Mike, do you notice anything different about my eye?” “Well, yes,“ he hesitated. “ I just didn’t want to say anything. Are you getting a sty?”Perhaps makeup was too drastic a first step.The last time I’d been to the dermatologist’s office, I had picked up a sample of an expensive looking lotion at the checkout counter. Sure enough, it was still in my purse. Before heading to work Monday morning I applied the new, and perhaps trendy, product. The lotion smelled lovely and gave my legs a nice sheen. For some reason, though, my skin simply would not absorb the lotion. All day long it sat right on the surface. My skirt stuck to my legs, and the once lovely fragrance eventually became annoying. What was in that stuff, anyway? Perhaps my body didn’t like new things any more than my brain did. As soon as I got home, I went straight to find the offending bottle. Ah yes, that would explain things. Nine hours earlier I had slathered body wash on my legs and had yet to wash it off.
Strike two. Makeup, skin. How about nails? A trendy new polish color seemed fun and relatively risk free. I strolled the aisles of CVS, determined to avoid my usual pale pinks and beige-y pinks. The choices were there: blues, purples, grays, metallics. Twenty minutes later I took my place in line with two bottles, a clear and a pale pink.
Strike three. While mulling over whether or not to continue my quest for newness, I scheduled my monthly visit to the hair salon. As I waited for my turn, I perused several magazines, hoping for inspiration from Hollywood or New York. None came. “Well,” began my long-time stylist Dana as I settled into the chair. “I believe it’s time to change things up a bit. We’re going to need both highlights and color to cover those grays.”Problem solved. Thanks, Dana. Thanks a lot.