My Thousand-Dollar Face

An appointment with a makeup artists prompts a barrage of products and a some soul searching.

by Jan • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

The Great Reveal. All right, I admit it. I did feel like Cinderella. I just didn’t look like her (or in any other way resemble a glamorous, normal or fictional being.) My eyes (although way overdone) did look hot. Not Angelina Jolie hot, but Helen Mirren if she was having a good day hot. And I liked my lips, even though their pouty, glossy look lasted the length of the car ride home. My face was one white flawless mask, with two fuschia Figure 8s painted on it. I couldn’t feel my skin at all. So the care products must have worked, right? I did not look younger … just, well, better-tended (as anyone who worked at this for an hour and a half ought to look).

Gwen and the cheerleaders started pushing ALL of the products like crazy, especially the skin products (given my age, I am a pathetically vulnerable sell). I held firm against much pressure, and wound up purchasing only the brow thing (one needs a facial expression) the lipliner and lipstick. They were good sports about it, and threw in a free sample for my time spent — a totally confounding wand tool that features a concealer tube at one end and a mascara tube at the other (why?).

Not that I wasn’t tempted to greater excess, or have my moments of doubt. I found myself asking, would I actually do all this, ever? Would anyone outside the performing arts actually do all this, ever? (I think I mentioned that all around me, women were purchasing this stuff like it was Sale Day at the Dollar Store.)  Normally, I have my priorities straight, and they do not include “luxuries” or self-indulgence like this. But what if I got an invitation to a State Dinner at the White House? Or got asked to the Grammy Awards? Or just wanted to feel semi-hot a few times? Or wanted to “treat” myself? After living life in service to others, didn’t I deserve to splurge? Shouldn’t I be taking better personal care of myself, anyway? Wouldn’t this undoubtedly lead to higher self esteem, greater confidence, healthier eating and exercise habits, more effectiveness at the tasks I choose to pursue, a better marriage, decreased reliance on meds, prospectively hotter sex life, real progress on controlling gun violence and balancing the budget, etc.?

Throughout my professional life, I would normally have done a cost-benefit analysis at this point. So I did a very brief one, while the Hard Sell was proceeding and the adorable, Size 2 cheerleaders were trying to convince me that with all these products life as I knew It would never be the same.

(Before I total costs, please note here that the skin products used were daytime versions. You also need night versions so double the products and double the costs. Nor am I figuring in the cost of my time, should I elect to pursue this beauty routine on a regular basis. When I do paying freelance work, I bill $125 per hour.)

Starting Point For Cost Benefit Analysis — Total Cost of Products Used: $1,590


— My skin felt softer.

— I felt a bit prettier for a little while, excepting the above-mentioned scary whiteface and garish blush.

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