I absolutely adore beauty products.
Little pots of swirly, nummy-looking cremes that I first want to eat and then put on my skin. Sleekly packaged bottles of potions that don’t need to try hard at all to make me pick them up. Little rectangles and squares of colour that I can paint my face with. Lipsticks, don’t get me started on them. I love all of it.
Where I’d readily disbelieve Mathew if he told me that the Sun actually is the centre of the solar system, I don’t bat an eyelid when a sparkly blue bottle of The Lovely New Thing From Oh’Real promises to make my skin look like it’s just been polished with gold dust. Yessiree, you should see my face when I am in the makeup/beauty section. It wears an expression that is a mixture of ecstacy, complete and utter concentration in case I miss out on one little totally incomprehensible ingredient in the toner, and absolute faith that, because the liquid inside is water-like and the blue is just the right blue, plus the school-project-star label says ‘new formula’, I will outshine the Muscat sun tomorrow morning. And you all know how bright the sun here in the Arabian gulf is.
In the past, I’ve had a stock of at least three brands of cleansers and toners, at one single time. Hey, one promised to be gentle on sensitive skin, and then when I went back to the supermarket another promised to have AHAs* and one set was from when I decided for the upteenth time that I would take care of my naturally good skin by being true to the beauty experts’ mantra — cleanse, tone, moisturise twice a day. What’s a girl to do?
I’ve owned green eye shadow, ‘pearl’, dark grey, gold too. Green eye pencil, various blue ones, grey, silver, copper, gold, brown also. I tend to be boring with only lipsticks — nudes, and dazzling pinks or crushed berry tones. I’ve owned creme blush, powder blush, compact blush, gel blush, mineral blush. Mascara — lengthening, thickening, non-clumping, non-smudging, lash-nourishing. Many compacts (I currently own four. Yes, I overdo life like that), many kohl pencils and absolutely no nailpolishes.
After all my trying and applying — here are my make up essentials. A bloody good compact, (skip the base if your skin is blemish free and even toned), mascara, my surma and/or kohl pencil if not good old ayurvedic kajal, and lipstick for the day. Depending on my mood and clothing I add or subtract from this list.
For example, today, I wore a classic combination. White linen fitted shirt with dark blue jeans. I initially thought it was a great outfit to wear my yellow shoes with. So I threw on a nice faux gold chainlink necklace, tiny gold earrings, got mascaraed, added some blush and crush-berried my lips. Then I changed my mind and went with black balerina flats (I’ve been wearing balerina flats for nearly five years now, and they always look good. Fashion pundits can kill themselves) a gun metal bag and replaced the very Beyonce-like necklace with a flower pin. I have five flower pins (yes, you finally got it right, I don’t do anything in moderation) in varying designs and colours. And felt like the prettiest woman in a 4-km radius.
I often wonder at my gullibility where beauty products are concerned. My mum makes do with a minimum of products. Cleanser, toner, moisturiser. Not for her are age defying cremes and capsules stuffed with the regenerative bile of a blue arrow frog from South America that only reproduces every four years under a tree that flowers only every six blue moons. You get the idea no? She uses make up and very well, I might add. At 51, she’s still a lovely woman. And she buys all her stuff in moderation.
So I often wonder where this insane addiction comes from. I ruled out genetics some time ago. I even ruled out insidious, sneaky adertising brainwashing of the perfect face everywhere we turn. I was only left with something that I keep coming back to time and again — that however different we may think we are, essentially most of us are wired in similar ways at core of it all. Wait, before I say this, let me wear my flak jacket (in scarlet, if you really want to know) — Women are wired to like makeup. Makeup products, makeup tricks, makeup lessons, even make up lives.
That does not mean that that is all they can like or talk about or be knowledgeable about. But fact of the matter is you don’t see men queueing up at the beauty section in Lifestyle or whathaveyou, being chatty with the heavily made up, really pushy girl behind the counter and offering her his wrist so he can see if green makes his eyes look browner or if a peach blush works better on his stubble than pink. Women, then, are wired alike in their femininity. (This reminds of another issue I want to write about. Soon, that.)
Our individual dreams and desires might differ but our drives are the same, our pain and joys are the same. So whether you like it or not, women don’t wear make up because they are expected to. And wearing no make up doesn’t make you more woman or less. Same as wearing make up doesn’t make you more woman. Women wear make up because centuries and centuries of women trying to attract their mates have resulted in women being wired to look their best, even if they believe it is for themselves, as I do. (I like seeing a pretty face in the mirror before I go out, so sue me. I don’t do it for anyone else.)
Tomorrow, I’ll post pictures of my lipstick, my flower pins and my nice pots of eye shadow and slightly dodgy pot of Olay night creme. I tried to post them now but that means taking pictures in the light and both my babies are asleep. Unless you wish me sleepless nights, you should just read this post and go to bed and then come back tomorrow for the pictures.
*AHA: Google it. Some pretend-naturally-occuring chemical that will give you skin like Kate Hudson. Or something.