Read the Label

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April 12, 2018 by lucieromarin

Despite deciding recently that it would be better just to embrace my ugliness than to waste my entire life trying to change it, a text message which included the sign 40% lured me into Priceline today.

I have not shopped there for some time, and I browsed with intent. I’m not joking; a cosmetics empire is a psychedelic field-trip for the left-brain. There’s so much to analyse!

I happened upon a row of squeezable tubes in a range named ‘Australis Colour Clique.’ Each tube was coloured differently, because each product offered a different result. One neutralised redness. One neutralised sallowness. One eliminated yellow undertones. One concealed dark spots and spots. One ‘helped to add radiance’ and another ‘helped to create a bronzing glow.’ The last in the range would help to add brightness and warmth to the skin,

Which correction of my defects did I want the most? Prompted in part by my guardian angel, as well as by my insatiable appetite for the exposure of tricks, deception, corruption, and lies, I took two different tubes and compared their ingredient-lists. They were identical.

I wandered about, and spotted a product named ‘Infallible,’ which degree of not-bothering-to-check-what-a-word-means is amazing. One product boasted of ‘micro-pigment capsules’ and another of ‘hydrospheres.’ I took this to mean tiny dots of colour in the first and drops of water in the second. I also found something called ‘Miss Manga,’ which promised the wearer, ‘Manga eyes.’ I couldn’t imagine a cosmetic effect more horrible, even if it were possible.

Everything – including the product which was supposed to be infused with ‘Tamanu and Neem Leaf’ – contained something called ‘Cyclopentasiloxane.’ Cyclop-etc was, on the relevant tube, listed eight ingredients before ‘Neem Leaf,’ so I’m guessing there was a lot more of the first thing in the unguent than leaf. I bought it anyway. It cost $1.50.

Making your own is lots more fun. There’s something about a mortar and pestle that puts the creatrix (sound better than ‘witch’!) at the centre of the universe and in harmony with it all. While you measure and pound, you forget the sorrows of the past and wonder at colour and texture and scent instead. Or is that just me? Like pounding dried herbs for tea, it’s a soothing treat for the right brain. It’s tasty, too, if you make your facial scrub out of honey, brown sugar, and coconut oil. What woman doesn’t love a potion? Why do women love potions? I do not know. Men love to boil potions that explode things (or that just explode). Women love to pound or brew things that, when applied or ingested, strike men down with the wearer’s radiance and lack of dark spots, redness and sallowness.

I have heard women encouraged from the pulpit to give up their favourite $40 lipsticks for Lent. I’ve never heard a man encouraged to give up a $30 pack of cigarettes, even though his is a weekly or twice-weekly expense while her lipstick is not. Well, I suppose that, for as long as the legacy of Adam endures, each sex will notice the quirks or the defects of the other before they notice their own, cigarette and lipstick alike. The only difference between us is that the smoker has the pulpit and the people’s alms.

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