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Analyze This, Part 5: Mirror, Mirror


[For anyone who may have unwittingly stumbled onto this blog and is wondering what this vanity-run-amok is about, I'm responding to a book called The Numerati, by Stephen Baker, who claims that market researchers have found a way to comb through every blog there is in a matter of seconds, to cull out any references to products and determine consumer preferences. Like Dr. Emmett Brown putting on his bullet-proof vest, I figured, what the hell. In the last few posts, I've gotten out of bed, made breakfast, picked out my clothes and showered. Onward...]
OK, I'm reasonably clean, so time to get out of the tub. My hairdryer is a ConAir 1875 watt, with a retractable cord and a fold-up handle. It replaced a Revlon dryer that exploded on me in January and left a scar. That one was ionic, and I miss how fast it worked. However, this new one is acceptable. As I finish drying, I apply some Garnier Fructis Style “Sleek & shine Blow Dry Perfector Straightening Balm with argan oil," which claims to provide three days of “frizz resistance.” Maybe sí, maybe no, but I feel almost compelled to put something in my hair for styling. I ran out of mousse and gel; one of these days I'll splurge and get some more, but this will do for now. I also have a new can of Vidal Sassoon hairspray. Extra firm hold, level 4.

There's no order to my morning routine. Sometimes I reach for the hairdryer right away; other days it's the last thing I take care of. More often than not, though, my first after-shower product is deodorant. I'm currently using something called Crystal Essence roll-on, containing none of that pesky aluminum. It's a light lavender scent; it will do. I also have a years-old container of Lady Speed Stick, which I use during the summer, if I should wear sandals over bare feet. I never do that at work. I'm a little too much in need of a pedicure.

I use scent occasionally. There's a spray bottle of Chantilly, and a smaller bottle of 4711 cologne. Both are fragrances that people either love or loathe. Nowadays, a lot of people have allergy issues, so I'm very conservative with perfumes. Typically, spray goes into the air and I walk through it, or I'll dab it behind the knees, since scent rises. This way I don't have to worry about perspiring or anything. For special occasions I have a leftover bottle of body lotion from Yves Rocher, in a now-defunct scent called Neonatura. It blended chocolate, vanilla and patchouli and I really liked it.

My fingernails are nothing to brag about, either. I'm a veteran biter of nails and cuticles and have never, ever, been able to stop. All it takes is 15 absent-minded seconds between my teeth (usually while reading), and it's bye-bye salon look, hello Godzilla. I have a big bottle of Salon Formula 100% Acetone nail polish remover from Family Dollar; it's easy on & off with Rite Aid Renewal Cotton Balls (regular size).

And as for the polish itself? I sometimes start with base coat. The beauty blogs recommend it, but I'm still skeptical. Either way, I use Revlon Quick-Dry Base Coat. Among the colors I've amassed are Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure (Sally Hansen is the leader in nail polish for good reason: it goes on smoother and lasts longer than any other brand) in a color called So Much Fawn, which is really a dusty rose. My other bottle of Sally is in the Diamond Strength line, and the shade is Diamonds & Rubies, a very bright red. Nearly everything else I have is in kind of a raspberry family of colors: L'Oreal Steel Colour in a shade called Heavy Duty Creme and two by Cover Girl Outlast: Timeless Rubies (very glittery) and Crushed Berries. The only time I buy two bottles of nail polish at once is when it's on sale, and I remember getting those at Walgreen's a few months ago. The last, and my all-time favorite, is Revlon, Copperglaze Platinum. It's a very frosty pink that goes with nearly everything, and the best thing about it is that if I missed a spot, the light hits it and flatters whatever good things my nails may have been doing. It's wonderful for those occasions when I have to do something with my nails but doubt that anything will help. I've bought this shade before and hope RiteAid keeps tossing it into the bargain bin. A couple of other nail helps are Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream with apricot oil, and Neat Touch nail conditioner stick by Revlon – purchased, I kid you not, sometime in the very early 1990s at a wonderful store called Phar-Mor that went out of business not long thereafter. Another similar store was called Drug Emporium. They were a nightmare for impulse buying but it certainly was fun to shop there. Lordy-mama.
So now that we're clean, dry, odor-free, and not too ashamed of our fingers, next comes makeup. These days it's generally foundation, eyebrow pencil, sometimes eye shadow and rarely lip color. I'm down to the bottom of a jar of moisturizer, a Ponds knock-off from Food Lion, purchased at 70% when our local site was shutting down. I'm not a moisturizer fanatic like some people, but probably should be. As a kid, I copied my mother and used Noxzema. You could use it as a water-soluble cleanser and then smear it on your face to complete your “beauty regimen.” Noxzema was unpopular with many people I knew because of its strong eucalyptus scent. But my grandmother, who lived to age 99, also used it faithfully for much of her life and her skin was incredibly soft. Her nickname was Dove, which confused the hell out of me – “But Mom! She doesn't use Dove. She uses Noxzema! I don't get it!” I guess this is why my mother liked to drink. She never should have allowed a marketing major into her home.

Currently, I'm using Rimmel Lasting Finish 25-hour foundation in Nude and Classic Beige. I purchased two 1-ounce tubes from Ulta via Ebates a couple of months ago when they ran a special. It's satisfactory stuff. But if I had unlimited funds? Merle Norman, baby. They have the most fantastic makeup. I may splurge one day; there's a studio quite close to where I live. And you only live once.

The eyebrow pencil (Cover Girl, comes in a 2 pack and needs to be sharpened), for me, is even more important than the foundation. Without it, I feel ghostly. I inherited my dad's bushy Ukrainian brows, but over time they succumbed to the ravages of fashion and got tweezed nearly out of existence. The powdered shadow is a cheap collection (Michael Giordano International of Miami – Made in China) that I picked up on sale at Walgreen's; it's lasted something like three years now and is still going strong. It's got blue, green and brown variations. No purple. I still apply eyeshadow based on the instructions from a package of Cover Girl (or was it Maybelline? I forget): the lighter shade goes directly onto your eyelid, and the darker shade goes over it in the crease. That's the daytime technique. You reverse it for those sultry evenings every Cover Girl anticipates.


All of my lip color is so old, it's barely worth mentioning. So I won't mention it right now. This post is long overdue and has rambled on over 2 pages in MS Word, so I'll leave y'all in suspense for a few days more, while I fish around in the bottom of my purse and figure out which brands I've been puckering up for.

Analyze This, Inquiring Minds want to know - part 1
Analyze This, Its in the Bag - part 6a


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