Friday, October 01, 2010
Insane Clown Makeup
Today I would like to talk about makeup.
If you're a fairly regular (or were a regular reader) of this blog, you'll know I don't usually feel the need to be all girly and direct conversation toward beauty products, like some girls' blogs do. I don't even wear that much makeup, actually, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. I like playing with it, I like leafing through InStyle Magazine's Best Products issue, I like wandering around Sephora and testing the merchandise. I may not make myself up every day like RuPaul, but I'm not exactly worshiping at the altar of Tilda Swinton either.
Here's what: I just got back from a two-day lunch hour fishing expedition for eyeliner. See, my current eyeliner is nearing the end of its life as an unwieldy nub that keeps getting lost in my makeup box. This is the eyeliner that I paid about $28 for at Henri Bendel's, $26 of which regularly migrates from my lash line and ends up a great smudge along the upper part of my lid. Laura Mercier has some nice products, but her eyeliner can kiss my ass.
Before I spent another monthly 401K contribution on a bunch of high end products that will wind up similarly annoying me, I did a little poking around on the interwebs to find some guidance in solving my predicament. I quickly realized my curse is not so much the vessel but a design flaw: Sally's got squinty eyes, which means my lash line naturally hits the top of my lids, unless I walk around with my eyes at half mast, which is a recipe for disaster for a variety of reasons. Thus, my lid architecture precludes me from using pencil liner.
Understandably, I started looking into liquid liner. Do you know how the higher end beauty companies gouge you on that shit? I couldn't find a solution for under $30, let alone $28. Under my new semi-self imposed austerity kick, I am done with shelling that much sausage for something I'm not convinced is that much of an improvement – I still look like I just rolled out of bed, no matter the time of day. So back to square one.
A little more Googling revealed that L'Oreal has a nice product for around $10, which still seemed like too much for liquid liner, especially when one is subjected to the dingy lighting and apathetic customer service of Duane Reade in place of the aesthetic pleasure of a Sephora or Saks counter. After snorting at my prospects at the L'Oreal kiosk, I detoured to the cosmetic stands to see what they had available. Almay, Neutrogena, Maybelline and Cover Girl were all about the same price point; Rimmel was a little less. I passed by a couple brand names I had never heard of (and very possibly had grammatical errors in the display signage), finally landing in front of Wet-N-Wild, where I found, and promptly purchased their $2.99 liquid eyeliner product.
It got me thinking: When did we girls adopt the philosophy that the more expensive, the better the product?
There's something to be said that Maybelline Great Lash mascara is the #1 seller in the US, even among celebu-styletards. I remember getting by just fine on Wet-N-Wild from junior high to senior year in high school, when I was a little more flush from babysitting money than I had been in the past and the relative caché of Clinique curried favor. It just got worse from there. Once I started working, Clinique took a back seat to Lancôme, which took a back seat to the hipper Stila, which got completely annihilated by every other micro-product rollout.
My most egregious example of trading up is the assload of Laura Mercier I bought right before my wedding, a brand I had convinced myself was the best of the best. Six months later, I realize I was wrong; there's really nothing in the Mercier bundle that I couldn't have purchased at the fucking Walgreens on Royal Street the morning of the wedding. Now I'm stuck with an eye shadow trio I don't like, a foundation primer I don't use, a lip pencil that scratches and an eyeliner that winds up everywhere except where it belongs. Thank God I had the foresight not to buy the eyebrow gel.
After I got back to the office I decided I need to find a new model for my beauty product purchasing habits. I guess it just comes down to what am I not willing to downgrade? Eyeliner, shadow: expendable. Mascara: worth plunking down more money for the funky wand in Chanel's Inimitable brand. Blush: I like the Clinique cream stick. Concealer: Benefit's the only one that really masks that stubborn dark circle under my left eye. Foundation: whatevs. Lipgloss: I can't deviate from the poison ivy kiss of death formula special to the Buxom line.
So there you have it. I'll be experimenting this weekend with my Wet-N-Wild, probably getting inky brown stains all over my hands and clothing. If it's too difficult to apply, or I start foaming from the eye socket because the product's chemical makeup is akin to whatever's floating around the Gowanus, then I'll throw it out. It's only $2.99, after all!
One last thing: I have this fantasy running in my head that Wet-N-Wild, which has been around forever, started losing market share once the Urban Decays of the world started elbowing their way in. The company's response was not to move from the price point they had ruled for ages, but to start a new line at a higher price point. Same makeup, different name…and that name was MAC. Suckas!
If only that were true.