Beauty Talk: I used to be a beauty snob
When you live outside the glossy bubble, or teeter on the edge of it, as I do, surveying and comparing the cost of items on the shelves and spotting gift-with-purchase deals becomes a competitive sport. And all of a sudden, cover-mounted mascaras and cheek colours and lipsticks – more particularly by the more prestige brands advertised within the magazines' pages – become a prized commodity. GOLD. I used to look upon such things with snobbery: now, not so much. How the mighty fall.
It was with some amusement that I read newsagent Mark Fletcher's comments about a female customer chasing a makeup cover-mount freebie over the phone.
"They were chasing a free pack of makeup and wanted a certain colour. When I advised that we had sold out they said that I was the twentieth newsagent they had spoken to. Weird. Twenty phone calls and all that time chasing some free make-up. I imagine that my caller was not the only one interested in the gift. Maybe her call was an example of much bigger word of mouth."
My guess is said customer was chasing the Designer Brands makeup palette available with Take 5 that week. While it's not super-expensive to buy, I had to keep myself from purchasing all the copies off the shelf. Not because it was any old free makeup, but because the set of shadows were MY colour – the perfect mix of grey, black and blue – and the lip stains were, too. The glossies had blessed me. So, too, was I smitten to find Becca's Beach Tint in Watermelon attached to the March issue of madison in the same week. My new makeup needs had been met – nearly a full face for the price of two magazines – without setting foot in a department store. That's value. And a positive cover-mount experience.
Thankfully, during my relatively short-lived stint as a beauty editor, I didn't acquire too many pricey habits: too much lingering Catholic guilt for that. But I do have preferences. And standards. Which means I compromise in certain areas (regular soap in lieu of body wash; Ego or Olay cleansers in lieu of Lancome) but save up to have my hair done at a fancy salon.
While I rarely stray from my "day face" – black eyeliner, grey shadow, cheek tint – I will look at a girl on the street sporting a fierce red lip or Lea Michele at the Grammys with fuchsia smackers and think, "I really need a new lipstick", if only I could pull one out of the well-stocked beauty cupboard. Same goes for when I meet a lady who puts more effort into her visage than I do ("I should wear foundation").
But when you can't afford industry-standard Giorgio Armani foundation, you think more about how you can get good skin through your food and sleep (cheap, cheap, cheap!). Thankfully, there's something challenging and fun about being low-maintenance on limited means – and, ironically, in the case of DB/Take 5 and Becca/madison, it can help to shift more magazines.
Girl With a Satchel