Friday, October 16, 2015

The Siren Song of Sephora

A few days ago my friend Sesame and I went to the mall to get a pedicure.  That was as far as we’d planned, so I figured that I’d be home in a few short hours – even after factoring in lunch at California Pizza Kitchen once the shiny color on our tootsies dried.

I had a neighborhood Oktoberfest to attend later that evening, and I was in charge of decorations, so I knew I had to be home in time to set up. 

I planned to get ready for the evening after I returned home from my pedicure, so before I left the house to head to the mall, I put very little effort into applying makeup or fixing my hair. 

I simply pulled my hair back in a clip and then slapped on a little lip color, eyeliner and some pressed powder to hide the worst of my flaws and took off to meet my friend.

I didn’t even bother with mascara – and that’s something I rarely leave home without. I just figured it would be easier to apply it one time later that evening than to remove it first and then re-apply it. For those unschooled on mascara, it isn’t so much the application that’s the hassle, it’s the removal of it. Especially when the waterproof variety is involved.

At any rate, like most of my ingenious ideas, I was not home anywhere near “a couple hours.”

The pedicure morphed into an all-day shopping extravaganza, which culminated with a makeover at Sephora. 

And, sure, I’d love to blame Sesame for the Sephora stop, but it was all my idea. 

I hadn’t even really intended to go into Sephora.  One could spend the better part of a paycheck there and since I no longer earn a paycheck, I figure it’s best to avoid even eye contact with the perky, perfectly-made-up Sephora girl. You know the one – wearing all that head-to-toe très chic black standing at the entrance of the store ready to hand you that little cloth bucket in which to stash all your new makeup until you get to the cash register. 

Trust me, I know her siren song. 

So whenever I have to walk through the mall, I usually avert my eyes as I approach the store with the black-and-white striped walls. Sometimes I even cross to the other side of the mall just to be safe.

But I guess my defenses were down on Saturday and I told Sesame I needed some new eye shadow. But that was all I needed. 

Ah, what wondrous items does this bag hold?!
Yeah, right.  Anyone who is a fan of Sephora knows you may walk into the store intending to purchase only one thing, but you walk out with a bagful. A small bagful, mind you, which costs you an arm and a leg, but a bagful nonetheless.

You know how there is a rule of not going into a grocery store to buy food when you’ve skipped lunch?  

Well, I think the rule at Sephora should be that before you go, you must take – at a minimum – a full hour to carefully apply your makeup.  Think of it as if you’re getting ready for a photo shoot for the cover of a magazine.  

That way, when you walk into Sephora, you’ll think you already look pretty darn good and don’t need all those shiny pots and potions awaiting you inside. You can dash in, pick up the one item you need, and rush to the sales counter to pay for that one item. 

And those perky sales girls…er, excuse me – “expert makeup consultants” – will pretty much leave you alone seeing as how you clearly have a full case of makeup at home already.

But did I follow my own rule?  Nooooo.

Thus, I walked into Sephora at a great disadvantage.

I told the clerk what I wanted, and she suggested that one of their makeup experts could help me.  She signed me up for a “mini-makeover.”  But because it was Homecoming season and there were all sorts of high school girls with perfect skin and wrinkle-free eyelids getting made up for their big night, we were told there would be a wait. 

So Sesame and I started playing around with makeup on our own.  We were having loads of fun trying new colors on our eyes and cheeks and knowing we could walk out of there without purchasing a single item – when a young woman with gauged ears, lip and eyebrow piercings and green (green?!) face makeup came over and said, “Jane?  You need a makeover?”

By this point, I could easily have lied.  And probably I should have.  How would she have known my name was Jane unless she heard the cash register girl call me by name after she swiped my card?

But, alas, I didn’t.

Oh, and by the way, this is how intimidating it is to walk into Sephora in the first place.  I didn’t even ask her why she was wearing green face makeup.  Could it have been a Halloween thing?  Or was it just her normal look?  Who knows.

Anyway, I told her all about my makeup woes and why I was even looking for new eye shadow – so she listened carefully and then selected a handful of products and steered me toward the makeup table.

There she removed what pathetically little eye makeup I was wearing and proceeded to paint me up. She used Corrector. Lots of Corrector.  She used under-eye concealer. She used eyeliner and eyeshadow base and eyeshadow color. She rolled and swirled and patted and swiped with all manner of brushes and pencils. And then she finished with a swipe of mascara.

She intended to do only one eye and then I was to recreate her masterpiece on the other eye, but I implored her to do both.  It’s not that I don’t love a good challenge, but I wasn’t up to all that swirling and swiping just then.
Fortunately, not the look she gave me!

Fortunately for me, she did.  And she did a great job, too. When she was all finished, my eyes looked brighter, which was the look I was going for.  And I didn't look like an aging drag queen or anything! (Or at least no one said so to my face.)  

But I was even more thrilled that she made both eyes match because when I glanced down at my watch, I was horrified to see it was nearly time to start decorating for the Oktoberfest!

So we paid for the makeup and dashed out.

I was able to get home to pick up the decorations and then head to the end of the cul-de-sac just in time since the decorating crew had already set up the tables and were waiting for me to bring the tablecloths and centerpieces.

So. Whew. 

But next time I go to the mall for a simple pedicure?  I’ll have to force myself to stay far away from those utterly tempting black and white Sephora walls.

Oh, and incidentally, have I been able to recreate the makeup look she gave me? Hahaha. No. No, I haven’t.  

But there are a couple things I'm grateful for.  One is that she didn't make me look like that dreaded aging drag queen.  

And two?  She didn’t paint my face green. 

Even if it was a Halloween thing. 

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