The Beauty Vortex

I have an ability to move through the beauty section of Department Stores unhindered, beautified women don’t leap into my path spraying fragrance. I’m not sure if it’s my lack of make-up or scruffy demeanor. I’m usually short of time anyway, so maybe they recognise a woman on the brink of ‘should be somewhere else’. Yesterday, I carved an hour out of the day and went and hung around in the beauty section. It took me a couple of attempts but eventually they seemed to recognize my standing still and starring quizzically equated to a need for customer service. I repeated this process in two separate department stores; there is something about me.

My life needs glam. I’m going to a wedding in a field. I heard someone on the Chris Evan’s show (should I admit that?) say a survey found that women spend more time shopping to an outfit to wear to a wedding that they for a first date. I could have been that survey. I have spent hours on-line shopping for the perfect outfit. Two outfits arrived, two outfits got sent back. Finally, despite the wonderful suggestions I received on twitter, I have opted for a khaki green maxi dress, mostly because I think the length will kept me warm (I fear the cold like other people fear the bogey man). Khaki I can accessorize with my eyes, it was cheap and therefore suitable for whatever the field might throw at it.

A lot of the guests are camping and I very much expect ‘jeans’ to be a big trend at this event. But I still need something extra. Someone suggested a new lipstick. What a good idea. I love beauty products, however, it’s a sort of dichotomy. I avoid the beauty product vortex, because I get sucked in. Then it sits in a drawer, unused. This is not an effective use of resources, the planets or mine. So there I am hanging about in the beauty section. Since the lipstick seed was planted it’s grown to enoromous Jack in the Beanstalk proportions in my mind. This lipstick is going to transform my life my face. Having read glossy mags in the hairdressers. I have a vague idea that yellow nail varnish is hip this season, but that’s not much of a starting point. There are a bewildering number of types before we even get to shade, that’s just lipstick, can’t even focus on other stuff.

Having abandoned one counter for being ignored, I find another with less choice, some hanging about and eventually I waste a woman’s time for a bit, allowing her to carefully paint on colours, ‘using my natural lip colour as a starting point’, which I don’t feel the need to purchase as I have it, naturally. I try elsewhere. By now I’m clock watching, it’s the brink of ‘should be somewhere else’ situation. A girl with enormous false eye lashes, finds me two colours. I ask if they go with my skin tone but apparently skin tone doesn’t matter. Bewildered face. Indecision. I buy two lipsticks, which look different but when I get home seemingly the same on.
But isn’t the packaging great?


I am confident I am transformed and one will match the maxi. In the meantime, any suggestions for finding the perfect colour gratefully received, maybe I need more blusher? I’m currently in the vortex.

As for work. That rumbles on. Am taking my newly glamorous lips on holiday next week, I will report back after that.


  1. Mummy and the Beastie

    Oh I love the packaging, I am a sucker for pretty boxes. Usually I just continue to marvel at it rather than use what’s in it!

    A maxi dress would bey choice too, dressy but not too much (especially with a field). You could even don wellies underneath!

    I also feel really awkward at beauty counters. When I genuinely just want to browse I never get left alone and when I want to buy I never get help! Or I just get someone annoying and end up gawping at the amount of slap on their face x

  2. Mummy and the Beastie

    Here I go again, I do not trust my phone now!

    I am a sucker for pretty packaging and am often more likely to marvel at the box rather than use what is in it!

    A maxi dress is a good choice and you could even put wellies underneath, stylish and practical! as for beauty counters, I am not a fan either. I always feel very un glamourous when I walk around them. When I just want to browse the girls usually pounce and then when I do want something I always end up standing around like you said! then when they serve me I just stand there gawping at the amount of slap they have put on. I always worry they are going to look at my makeup and think ‘what has she done with her face?’ lol x

    1. helloitsgemma

      ha ha! exactly the same goes through my head. My fear is they will do my make-up like that. Why doesn’t anyone glow like in the magazines? that’s the look I want. The packaging is makes it all feel special – got to love it!

  3. Mum in Meltdown

    I avoid those counters like the plague as in my head they are sneering at me as if to say ‘My God it’s not make up you need love but plastic surgery’!!!! So I sneek my stuff while i’m out shopping away from the counters if I can.

    Also maxi dress a definite and agree wedges if dry and wellies if not…..sounds a cracker of a wedding, love something different 🙂

  4. Alexander Residence

    Oooh! Sounds like fun. This made me giggle. The women in dept store make up counters terrify me. Have had a few makeovers at Bobbi Brown though – great stuff. Nottingham has a whole mac shop, I am too intimidated to go in. Dare me?!
    Sounds like you are going to look fabulous! And you can wear it for cybermummy/your birthday too!

  5. spudballoo

    Wow how great is the packaging?! Though I am a sucker for Chanel lipstick…god I’ve got a pang for some now. Going to London tomorrow ON MY OWN and am now totally going lipstick shopping.

    I also fear the cold. I can’t be happy unless I’m warm enough. Though maxi dresses look ridiculous me. I look like I’m 5 and am dressing up in my mum’s clothes.

    Finding right shade of lipstick? dunno. It’s a life’s work. Actually I had THE BEST SHADE of Helena Rubenstein lipstick, I found it when I was 19. They stopped making it a few years back and I was devastated.

    I always try them on the inside fleshy bit of my thumb, apparenlty that’s the nearest ‘shade’ to your lips/skin.


  6. Jacq

    I also have the ability to remain invisible to beauty counter staff, I don’t think they want *that* much of a challenge. I pretty much never wear make up but I like the box!

  7. waterbirthplease

    I LOVE the beauty counters! And it’s even more fun cause I’m a scruffy sod and I too look out of place. However, I just saunter on over, confident in the knowledge that even make-up-less I look better than the umpa lumpas with dead spider eye lashes and over sprayed hair serving me. I get made over, and saunter off again. Personally, I LOVE Benefit and their staff are usually great. If you go bright lips, minimal eye make-up. If you go nude/glossy lips, then vamp up the eyes or blusher. (Also, big ol’ gypsy earring I think, look fab with a maxi!) you go girl! XXX

  8. Pingback: Sali and me - Helloitsgemma | Helloitsgemma

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