Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Sephora

On some subconscious level, it seems I've been waiting 40 years for the experience I had today. No, it wasn't life changing (unless it was). It didn't take longer than an hour. It certainly wasn't outrageous.

Today is the day I went to Sephora to buy lots of high-end product. Serious-ass "wrinkle outwitting" product. With little consideration for cost because it's my 40th birthday on Saturday and doesn't a girl have the right to buy herself a fancy gift in honour of that occasion? (Note: Of course I considered the cost; I'm a woman with a kid and a mortgage. I just set a reasonably high threshold!)

As a young child, reading my mother's Vogue, subliminally absorbing its sophisticated advertising, I stared longingly at the potions marketed to women 10 times my age. These ads glamorously advised that it was a woman's express responsibility - nay, privilege - to preserve her beauty into old age.

I grew up affluent. Many of my mother's friends, my own friend's mothers, were "groomed" within an inch of their lives. And by groomed I mean users of outrageously exclusive product (La Prairie etc.). Or clients of an excellent dermatologist. Or cosmetic surgeon.

Now, I'm getting on in years. In my day, that was the vanguard of "self-preservation". Of course, people in California have always been 20 years ahead of the curve, but everywhere else tucks and lifts and serums (sera?) were the tricks of the trade for the wealthy lady of a certain age.

We didn't have retinol or Botox or Restylane or back-scooping. Sure, we had La Mer - and secretly I tried that when I was 28, unable to restrain myself. But you need to be crepey-plus to benefit from that amount of moisture. Besides, once Lauder took over, I understand they devalued the formula with mineral oil. (Note to reader: That's gossip.)

Here I am now, about to step over the threshold into old-school "middle age", and I am officially entitled to the wrinkle-busters in their fancy glass bottles with droppers and pumps and ridiculous claims.

On entering the temple of unguents, I hooked up with a very good sales associate. She had a definite bias towards "natural" product, which usually I share, though today I was leaning towards the stuff with hard-core, medicinal ingredients. She'd suggest Fresh, I'd counter with Dr. Brant. She'd say organic, I'd suggest active ingredients with power to reduce signs of fine lines.

Eventually, she delicately inferred that she wasn't recommending those products to me because I don't need them. Of course I don't need them! I've been wearing potions for 25 years!

Those young 'uns. They are so naive.

(Please stay tuned for a write up on the products we could both agree on...)


  1. Its funny when people say, " you dont need it" ok it sounds like a compliment but really how do they thing you have come to looking so great...same goes for food, when I decline something way too fattening they say "just eat, you can afford it, you look great" it makes me want to scream, how do you think I got to look like this, it certenly wasnt by accepting everything, but by declining some along the way.. lol

  2. I went "camping" with my 10 year old this past holiday weekend, at a summer camp with bunkhouses. On the last day, she glanced at me, then looked again and said, "Um Mom, maybe you should get some wrinkle cream." At 51, after 3 days of "camping" in the heat and smiling too much, I thought I looked great! I did tell her that all that totally annoying sunblock I put on our faces each day was the best wrinkle cream ever. And that hats came in a close second....
    Your lovely complexion is proof that prevention is about 90% of the battle!
    Happy early birthday!

  3. First off, 10 points for an awesome post title.

    Second, 25 years? Really? REALLY?

  4. Clever title! and a great post as well.

    I'm rather partial to Dr. Brandt, and La Mer too, but I have had extremely dry skin since my early 20's. Which reminds me, that I'm more than 10 years older and have only been wearing potions for 25 or 26 years. And the secrete of success is in early prevention.

    Happy early birthday!

  5. Love the La Mer gossip! My neighbor's granddaughter used to do PR for La Mer and I was the beneficiary of a gigantic (gigantic!) bottle of body cream. I don't use this brand any more (didn't need it b/c as you say, I didn't need all the moisture) but remember it fondly.

  6. Fantastic post! I love that you knew what you wanted and stuck to your instincts, but still compromised with your sales associate. Can't wait to read your review!

  7. Looking forward to seeing your reviews. I had the sobering experience of being told by my 9-year-old, as I leaned over to kiss her goodnight, that I have wrinkles around my eyes. She said this in tones of disappointment, as though I'd let her down somehow ...

  8. hmmmm. i look forward to reading your product recommendations. i turn 40 very soon. and i am not trying to be a big braggart, but i really don't have a wrinkly face. at least i don't think i do! and i guess i'd like to keep it that way, so i better start slathering on the good products! i have zero interest in surgery, so i have to do what i can to maintain and postpone a wrinkled face!

  9. Back scooping? WTF? That girl is nutty. Anyway, you don't look a day over 25, so whatever you are doing, keep doing it! I've never tried La Mer. I'm pathetic, I just use Oil of Olay. Sometimes Clinique (turn around cream, which is nice).

    Happy early birthday doll!!

  10. This is too funny!! You forgot to write about how many times you clogged the bathroom sink making "potions" using anything and everything you could get your hands on! That still makes me giggle!

  11. Nina: So true!!

    Margaret: Ah, children :-) Thank you for your lovely compliment.

    Sal: I was really proud of it :-) And yes, 25 years - though I used to make my own potions.

    Mardel: I totally agree. Get out the sunscreen and slather on the lotions and it's all good!

    Miss C: Hilarious! I wish I could see that bottle of La Mer...

    OIB: I'm slow getting it done, but I promise I'll talk about the loot. Ain't life all about compromise? :-)

    tiffany: Let's wait till she's 40 and then we'll talk :-)

    J: I hear you about having no interest in surgery. I think that potions can go a long way, for what it's worth.

    Stacy: Well you are obviously using the right product for you because you look terrific! See, it's all about finding what works. If it doesn't cost a fortune, all the better. Though I am a sucker for the high-end packaging...

    Allison: I have NO memory of that. Hilarious. Hmmmm.