Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Excuse Me, Your Bacteria Brush is Touching My Face.

Dear  Diary, 

Today I faced, and conquered,  and attempted to conquer one of my fears.
I went to a make-up counter....... in a department store, and fearfully agreed to let them put make-up on my face.  You know, the SAMPLE MAKE-UP. The kind that EVERYBODY TOUCHES.  With their dirty hands and their biological materials! 

I know that we're not talking about manicures at random nail salons here, but still, have you ever thought about the sample make-up? Think about it.... I know, I KNOW when the salespeople are not looking, I KNOW that somebody is sneaking a little "freshen up" with the tube of expensive lipstick. 
And don't you even come near me ......you know, with the Q-tips and the lip gloss. Because....because...just don't.

Today I went into Macy's because I've been walking around wearing someone else's golden tan foundation, although there is nothing golden, nor tan about me. I finally caved to the fact, that if I want my face to even remotely match the rest of my body, I would actually have to BUY my make up. The small bottle of golden tan foundation, came in a free "gift bag", and being that it was part of a gift bag, I didn't need to approach the make-up counter and risk the danger of them "color matching" me with their bacteria brushes!

Today though, I had to face my fears. Sure I could have ordered some foundation online, (I actually tried to last night) but you can never tell true colors over your monitor. I could also try not wearing any make up, but that would be taking the easy way out. Exposure! Desensitization! Face your fears!

So I made my way over to the Clinique counter, and cowered near the SAMPLE MAKE-UP. At first nobody was around, so I grabbed a large, laminated color-swatch card, and tried to color match myself. The only problem was, the permanently affixed mirror that stood above the SAMPLE MAKE-UP, was just too high for me to see myself. WHY do they put those mirrors up so high!? Short people need mirrors too! Part of me wanted to make a temporary run-for-it with the laminated card, down to the nearest NORMAL mirror. But I thought that could be unlawful, so I stayed planted.

Morals. Always the morals with me I tell ya.

Eventually, the nicest saleswoman spotted me, and came running over. I explained to her that I was there to buy some foundation, and that's when it I became awkward.

See,  when I'm feeling particularly anxious about something, it's like....it's like, the right words don't always flow out. I bumble a bit, I talk incessantly, and most strange....sometimes I even start speaking in a Minnesotan accent! I've never even been to Minnesota!

Wait, Yes! But that was just a lay-over. Doesn't count. You can't get an accent that quickly, unless you're Madonna.

Anyway, so I tell her which foundation I would like to try, and she directs me over to her MAKE-UP CHAIR. Which of course, PANIC!  All I remember is saying some personalized "Our Fathers" in my head on the way over....... "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, please include, only foundation, in this demonstration, and spare me the mascara and most importantly the lipstick. Thank you Father, Amen".  Which is not only sac-religious, but also bizarre being as I am not Catholic. 

And she starts. The big, fluffy cosmetic brush. That is oddly WET. And the millions and trillions of bacteria, viruses and BIOLOGICAL PEOPLE PARTS that I can only guess are on there. But I humor her, and I laugh in the face of my neuroticism! Ha Ha you irrational fear. Ha Ha self-preservation. Who needs you!

But then, she starts "buffing", buffing all over my face, and I begin to bumble in my Minnesotan accent: "Oh hey, oh thanks, that's just great. Yah, I see now, yep! Looks good. I'll take it. Good color match. No more convincing needed".  But she keeps brushing my face, like a canvass, her master piece.
My Minnesotan getting faster, my mind racing, not wanting to be RUDE, but just ready to stop. "Oh great, but it's ok, you don't have to do my whole face. I'm kind of weird about make-up, yah".  And she, being ever-so kind, says: "No worries! I just want to make sure it goes on evenly".  And now I'm REALLY getting concerned because.........

Ok, I'm just going to tell you this. It's so embarrassing, but I have to tell you so it all makes sense.
I had a .... a...blemish. You know, I go my whole teenage years without many blemishes and now!? It's just not fair. Gosh, thanks a lot face skin!

So now all I can think about is: "Are blemishes categorized as "BROKEN SKIN"!? Omg....OMG! Broken skin....possibly broken skin!  BACTERIA BRUSH! VIRUS VEHICLE! BIOLOGICAL BUFFING!!!!
The self-preservation mode switched on, and in all my Minnesotan glory, I just blurted out!

"Well, actually, I'M A BIT OF A GERM-A-PHOB YOU KNOW, AND MAYBE YOU SHOULD AVOID MY BROKEN SKIN"!!! Frantically gesturing at the blemish. 


Hahahahaha. Even I can laugh about this scene.

"Ooooooooh", she says, and stops. "Well, being a germ-a-phob is a good thing" she says to be nice.

You know what guys? Being neurotic does have it's pluses. It really does.
I have a neurotic cat.

So, anyway, she removes the bacteria brush from my face, and graciously directs us over to the cash register.  While she was "buffing" my face, and I was speaking Minnesotan, one thing that I was going on and on about, was how this was my very first non-paraben cosmetic purchase in years. I've been avoiding parabens like the plague I tell ya. She sympathetically nodded, but I knew she must have thought I was some kind of earth-mother nut ball. Which I might be.

At the register, she took out a brand new box of foundation and eyed the ingredients on the back. "No, no, I don't see any parabens here." she said, and then asked me if they would just be listed as "paraben".  "Well, sort of", I said.  Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.....
 I was embarrassed to be wrong about this particular product and I backtracked, told her the whole story, which maybe in retrospect, was not exactly necessary. If she only knew the number of conventional cosmetic ingredients that I have "investigated" on the Skin Deep Database over the years. The parabens that scared me, the active ingredients in sunscreens.... I explained that I received a sample of my new foundation in a gift pack, that contained several gift -sized cosmetics and an insert listing each item's ingredients. That I had seen parabens on that list...somewhere....and that, GREAT! It must have been one of the other items!  But then of course, I have to keep going, and explain how, for the past five years, I've only been ok with using mineral sunblock. You know, the kind that's all thick and turns you chalky white. This new foundation, it has sunscreen in it, and is NOT of the mineral kind.

I'm sure my face reflected the confusing mix of fear, happiness, relief and guilt. Fearful of the ingredients, happy that I was throwing caution to the wind! - and buying it anyway. Relief the buffing was over, and guilt that I was dropping the ball on my organic-y intentions.

And so I drove away, feeling exhausted, yet triumphant. Other people's bio-materials on my face, and bottle of flesh-colored chemicals in my hand.

I think the moral of the story is, even if it's scary, you might just want to push through the fear and just do it! I'm guessing that 4 times out of 10, it will turn out ok anyway.



Laura said...

Yes, push through the fear!!

Lauren said...

Ha! Thanks Laura, I'm pushing on through! :)

Loulou said...

Hilarious!! I haven't touched a public door knob in I can't tell you how many years. I wish that wearing gloves even in summer came back in style because I would so be there. I have learned to surf while riding the subway train or streetcar, because there's no way in hell I'm going to hold onto that bar! That is all to say that I can relate. Oh yes I can. Was at a party with a glorious array of finger food last night, but couldn't eat it after I was forced to shake someone's hand, as they had stuck it out at me when we were introduced. I considered doing the fist bump, but no. Then I couldn't stop thinking of the germs I might have on my hand. Finally, although I didn't have to go, I waited in the snaking party washroom line-up, just to wash my hands.

lisajay99 said...

Try Vapour Organic Beauty - they can match your foundation from a photo, and have amazing foundation!

I found your blog through the silver sisters - I love what you are doing!

Lauren said...

Loulou..... Argh! Door knobs! Lol. I'm glad that I'm noyt the only germ-a-phob out there. Everyday I go to my son's school, and I can just imagine the number of germs on those door knobs.

Poor you...the hand shake and the finger food! Lol, that is like the perfect storm!

I have to say, when we moved to SF, we instantly came down with colds, which I attribute to riding public trans...the train and street cars. Touching those poles, I know!

Thank Loulou, you're great!

Lauren said...

Hi Lisajay99!

Thank you!!! It's so nice to meet you!

You know what....? This is very ironic, but, you are the SECOND person in 24 hours to tell me about Vapour. I had never heard of them before. I went to their site, and now.....I'm IN LOVE! Oh the Vapour products I am not pinning for......

Thank you so much for the tip. I'll post of I do end up buying some. Which, I hope I do!

Thank you for reading!!!! :)

Lindsay Collins said...

I love the story... I totally know what you mean about driving away exhausted after the experience. It's like... flexing in areas that aren't necessarily comfortable can be SO EXHAUSTING!