Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"You're Mentally Unstable."

So sayeth my lovely sister a mere twenty-four hours before my wedding. She was serious, and she was terrified. (Poor thing wasn't married yet, she had no idea the level of psychosis that impending nuptials can bring to a detail-oriented bitch like me-- and like her.) My married friends knew better: they just stood by, closely inspecting their shoes. I think my poor little cousin had a stroke. What could possibly have caused such a meltdown?

Well, how long do you have?

Let's back it up a tic. Almost five years ago, I married a wonderful man in a beautiful ceremony, surrounded by 400 of our nearest and dearest, and lived it up at a kick-ass reception. A great time was had by all. Prior to that day, my wedding planning strategy hinged upon everything going according to plan, including and especially my plan to look ass-slappingly fabulous. You can probably guess by this point that not all went according to plan, cosmetically or otherwise. Read on...

I am pale. Pasty. Fair (my preferred term). A white girl. I refused to walk down the aisle in June with skin the exact same color as my dress. I wanted color on the big day that would last through the first few days of the honeymoon that wouldn't look artificial. I also refused to make time in my life for smudges or self-tanning mishaps. I decided on an airbrush tan-- the salon type in which someone sprays you with the powered airbrush-gun-thing. The challenge? All the decent places to get this sort of thing done were in Nashville, and the wedding was in my hometown, an hour away. I didn't have time to run up and down I-24 in the name of a tan in the days leading up to the wedding (though, in retrospect, that's exactly what I should have done, time management be damned), and decided I would just get it done at home.

The plot thickens.

So I went in two days before the wedding to give the color time to set and for me to fully assess the results. I went to the one place at home that even offrered this sort of thing and was tanned by a fetus. (I swear to God, she couldn't have been older than eighteen.) She gave me a nickel-sized blob of barrier cream to put on my palms and assured me that it would be enough. Um, it wasn't. I mentioned in my column that my hands and feet were brown the next morning. Ladies, when I say "brown," I don't mean "brown-as-a-biscuit tan." I mean "the color of oak hardwood floors" BROWN. I also mentioned that the tanning solution reacted with my underarm and bikini wax from that morning and turned those areas gray. Again, I don't mean "in-need-of-oxygen gray-ish." I mean the color of your mothereffing television screen when it's in the "off" position. Pair that with my light blonde hair, and I was a frigging rainbow of a gal. That's not even the worst/ funniest part.

The worst part?

I fainted.

During my airbrush tan.

Naked as a jaybird.

In front of the Tanning Fetus.

While she was tanning me (fetus-style, I assume).


I fell against the wall on my way down...

... and I'm pretty sure I showed the Tanning Fetus everything that God gave me in the process, as when I came to, I was in the fetal position, with my ass out for all to see.

Did I mention I was completely naked? (What? Like I was going to have tan lines on my honeymoon.)

Oh, and did I forget to tell you that I smudged the tan I was so particular about in the process of dropping like a rock, leaving a brown streak of tanning solution on the wall? And that the fetus had to retouch the areas of my tan that I left on said wall?

(Wait for it...)

When I finally came back around, the fetus was so freaked out that she went and got me the leftovers from that day's lunch (bless her heart), and insisted that I eat the crumby dust from the bottom of her bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. She had a point-- I don't think I'd eaten that day, but hadn't set out to go on a pre-wedding hunger strike. I just had shit to do. (P.S.? Dorito dust tastes pretty damn awesome when eaten naked while sitting on a tiny stool in front of a high-powered fan, waiting to regain your senses and for your airbrush tan to dry.) Additionally, I'd brought my little cousin with me (before her drama-induced neurological episode) so she could also get an airbrush tan, and the fetus fetched her from the lobby. Poor thing was about sixteen, and she was not nearly equipped to handle this sitch. I wasn't sure what she was expecting, but your older bride-to-be cousin eating Dorito dust while her entire birthday suit is being fanned dry sounds pretty damn scary to me. What did we do next? Well, the only logical thing: I hung out, drying and regaining consciousness, while she got her airbrush on, and we drove home.

Of course, by this point my mother was ready to issue an APB to the State Trooper's office, since we were beyond late getting home for the ladies' spa party she was sweet enough to host at the house that night. I informed her of The Faint, with details, but nothing could have prepared her (or me, or my cousin) for our arrival back at home sweet home.

Uh, the tanning solution dried. And got darker as it did.

We're talking dark, ladies.

To sum up? I looked like an Aborigine chimneysweep.

(I was a big hit with the ladies in her prayer group who came to the spa party, trust me.)

I didn't dare go upstairs to shower myself off, for fear that my still-developing tan would wash down the drain. So I grinned and bore it, the Rainbow Bride in all her glory. The next morning, when I actually did shower, I started to notice the fact that my hands and feet didn't get any lighter once the bronzer washed away. I also noticed the gray parts. Once I came to the realization that this shit wasn't washing off, I had the most expletive-laden shower I've ever had in my life. It was one for the record books, ladies-- I invented an entirely new set of cuss words that morning. Loudly. Don't ask me what all I said, to this day I have no idea.

So there's that.

There's also the fact (though not necessarily beauty-related, but I'm in full-confession mode) that one of my astute bridesmaids pulled me aside during the rehearsal to let me know that, when I moved in a particular way, my panties showed through my pretty sundress. (I guess all my A-game paties were already packed for the honeymoon, and I had clearly called the B-team up to the big leagues.) The only clear alternative? Shuck 'em. The downside? This meant spending the rest of the evening completely terrified that I would trip and fall ass-over-teakettle down a flight of stairs, offering our wedding party the same view that the Tanning Fetus no doubt got the day before. Well, you know what the say about desperate times. The bad thing about it was that I didn't have my purse with me in the restroom when we did a "no-panty check," so they went into the trash (hey, they were B-team, afterall). Did I mention that this occured at our church? I'm sorry, there was just something inherently wrong about changing up the underwear landscape in the Lord's house. Am I wrong here?

When my sis declared to all within earshot that I'd come unhinged, we were still at the rehearsal, post panty-shuck and still rocking brown appendages and gray pits, and the bridal party was preparing to walk down the aisle. I heard a song start to play. It didn't sound like the song that was supposed to play during the processional. I expressed this fact... inaccurately. The tanning solution had obviously gone to my brain at that point, and my sister had had more than enough. After reading this, I hope that you won't blame me. Additionally, if any of this goes past this blog, I will deny ever writing it, citing a ghost writer who clearly wants to expose a very embarrassing set of stories that, uh, never happened. Yeah, that's it...

Slacky McLazyass

Oh, my dear readers, I've failed you. It's hard for me to believe that it has been over a MONTH since my last post. Ridiculous, I say. So, to sum up, I suck. Moving along...

I still owe you bitches an expanded post about my bridezilla tales, and I stand firm on my promise that I will make that happen. Until then, here's what I wrote for this month's issue of VIP Williamson, about recessionista beauty. Read and learn, broads, read and learn.

"Recessionista Beauty Tips"

“Economic crisis.” “Stock market.” “Trillions of dollars.” Let’s not beat a dead horse—times are tough, but we still have to look and feel fabulous. What’s a beauty junkie to do? She gets creative, of course! Troll your local drugstores and “big-box” stores (Target and Wal-Mart) for these steals and deals, and laugh all the way to the bank.

First things first: by now, you’ve probably figured out that good skincare is #1 in my book. I’ve tried plenty of skincare lines, of varying price ranges and with mixed results. Gone are the days when only a day spa or department store could deliver worthy skincare products. Inexpensive brands are really stepping up their game, and not a moment too soon. Cruise the Health & Beauty aisles at Target, and rejoice: Boots Expert, Burt’s Bees, and Soap and Glory are just a few examples. I love the Boots line—they have anti-aging products under the name Boots No. 7, and the Expert line is for sensitive and/ or blemish-prone skin. I snagged the Boots Expert Sensitive cleanser, eye makeup remover pads, serum, eye serum, shower gel, and body lotion, and didn’t pay more than eight bucks for any one product. SWEET! It didn’t even think about irritating my dry, sensitive skin. Olay has been the recipient of much hype lately for its anti-aging products ($30 and under). Check out the Regenerist line, and be amazed!

Burt’s Bees has long been known for its awesome lip balm, but has recently expanded its offering with all-natural body care, skincare, and an anti-aging line. Their Naturally Ageless line offers an eye crème, serum, day lotion, and night crème, each for less than $25. Give them a try, and appease your inner hippie in the process. (Also pick up the Thoroughly Therapeutic body lotion—the honey scent is utterly realistic.) Soap and Glory, developed by the super-smart woman who’s behind the higher-end lines Bliss and Remede, offers a full complement of bodycare, lip gloss, and an undereye concealer. You won’t pay more than $30 for anything (and for that, you get a tote with full-size shower gel and body butter). Just about everything ranges from ten to fifteen dollars per-product, and the portions are generous. Like Bliss, the product names are delightfully witty. The plumping lip gloss is actually called Sexy Motherpucker! All right, so it’s a little PG-13, but what’s wrong with getting a little humor with your beauty?

My favorite recessionista beauty product has to be Lash Blast by Cover Girl. I discovered this mascara last summer and I love it, love it, love it. It’s easy to find, the brush is huge, it does a great job of beefing up my wispy fringe—and all this for seven bucks. Black, brown, waterproof, whatever you need, Lash Blast has it. There’s even a newfangled version called Lash Blast Luxe that sparkles. Fat, sparkly lashes AND money left in the checking account? Ooh-wee!

Let’s keep talking about makeup. I recently tried Almay’s new Pure Blends line, and I like it (I’m typically a bit of a makeup snob, outside of Lash Blast, so this is a first). It’s hypoallergenic, natural, and the packaging is eco-friendly. Their eye shadows, blushes, and bronzer shouldn’t cost your more than $6, and their new foundation is around $10. The fact that this foundation hasn’t broken me out yet is truly extraordinary—I’ve typically had to stick to mineral foundation to avoid face funkiness. Additionally, their eyeshadows bear a striking resemblance to my beloved Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash shadows, at less than half the price. Go get some, and get pretty.

Still needing to slash your beauty budget? Good news—much of what you already have on hand can do double-duty. Mix sugar and honey for a fab facial scrub. Add some salt to a dollop of your thickest hand cream, and buff those hands and feet to perfection. Instead of spending money on fancy toner, pick up a big ol’ bottle of Witch Hazel. Out of blush? Dab a tiny bit of your favorite lipstick on the apples of your cheeks and blend, blend (this works best for those with dry skin). Apply plain white toothpaste to a pimple overnight to dry it out. Rinse with hydrogen peroxide at night for whiter teeth. And of course, remember that confidence and a pretty smile—both still free, the last time a checked—are always your best assets. Happy penny-pinching, pretties!

So, there's April. I really do stand behind every product I talked about... with one exception. After a couple of weeks of using the Almay foundation (and after I'd sent my column to the VIP editor), I did notice a little irritation around my hairline. I have sinced caved like a little bitch and picked up some of Bobbi Brown's tinted moisturizer. It was SO not ten dollars. Whatever. My skin is like a delicate flower, one easily upset by drugstore foundation. Like the Revlon gloss I condescended to try last year, I gave it my best friggin' shot.

All right, I'm going to start on my Bridezilla post, and will put it up tonight if I don't slip away into sweet, sweet slumber. We got some new furniture a few weeks ago, and I'm ensconced in one of our microsuede La-Z-Boy chairs. Laptop, wine, cushy chair (with legs extended and resting nicely on also-cushy footrest). I give myself a half-hour, tops, before I'm nodding off like a mammaw.