In my experience, on a sample size of 1, what every woman wants is to feel absolutely fantastic. What most fashion writing does is make every woman feel positively ick. Again, sample size 1. I read Harper’s Bazaar recently, something which is highly unusual, because I usually read surfing magazines, and I realised that I wasn’t beautiful enough, not thin enough, not gorgeous enough and not rich enough. I find that about the fashion pages of the Sunday Independent Life Magazine as well.
The bad part about this is, I actually buy quite a lot of beauty products. Not because I expect them to change me into someone beautiful enough, thin enough, gorgeous enough and rich enough. Seriously – I am not that deluded – they don’t. They never have. I buy expensive perfume because I already feel great. I don’t buy J’Adore by Christian Dior because it will make me feel great. I buy it because I already feel great. It may not be a great as defined by the staff of Vogue Magazine but I don’t buy it so that’s not a problem.
If I don’t feel great, I buy a fountain pen. It lasts much longer than a bottle of perfume and does make you feel great, although guilty for about 5 minutes. A Lamy Safari which comes in all sorts of funky colours costs around 20E as well. This makes it cheaper than a lot of what is sold in Brown Thomas.
So. I wanted to review a few of these beauty products which I have spent a significant amount of money on over the years without starting from the premise that I am anywhere less than perfect. You have been warned. Mostly, those reviews will be based on stuff I paid for; occasionally, it will be based on stuff I got a free sample of, having paid for something else, and which I then subsequently went and bought some of. Also, some of it may have happened at a beauty counter somewhere.
Sometimes I consider the possibility of building other websites, for example, a website based off the premise of “here’s a free sample of X beauty product I got, here’s a review of it”. Then I looked at how many samples I have and realise this may not be practical. Particularly as there tends to be a skewed distribution in the data – most of what I get tends to be perfume.
However, samples work on me must better than muttered implications of I’d look so much better if…
I walked into a branch of Sephora (and until Sephora arrive in Ireland we are a poor country) once and one of the sales assistants came up to me – he was selling Christian Dior stuff – and said “This colour is going to look AMAZING on you”.
Take ten seconds to consider how that is different from “You’d look amazing wearing THIS colour”.
Just to spell it out: in the first one, there is no insinuation that I don’t look anything other than amazing, in the second one there is. Score one Sephora.
I have spent a lot of time at beauty counters in Dublin and have had the whole skincare routine and cosmetics routine. I don’t necessarily like it. I especially don’t like it if applying make up takes 30 minutes. I do not have 30 minutes to spare in the morning. I prefer to spend that time making a decent breakfast. I have a similar thing with my hair. It needs to dry by itself, quickly. I have it short for that reason, and that reason only.
I realise part of this is me – after all, there is all that n=1 business. I hate the thought that you are only acceptable if you put on a tonne of stuff in your face. The no make up selfie thing made me said because for so many women, the idea of being seen without make up is almost anathema.
But it’s not me. And here’s the irony. I buy the stuff. I buy the foundations, the undercoating, the overcoating, the expensive brushes and I buy perfume and skin care. Believe me, I buy the stuff. Usually when I am feeling great. I’d say something else there but it’s probably a trademark so I’ll skip.
Cosmetic companies, and for the most part, cosmetic reviewers do not sell to me. So I’m about to write the sort of reviews I want to read.
Possibly I’m alone there. But – you know what – it doesn’t matter.