Wednesday, September 22, 2004

In the eye of the beholder

Recently, I accompanied my friend, B, to buy a perfume. Now, B is a determined-but-leisurely shopper. Neither snappish salespeople no closing hours can coax her to rush with her shopping. So I didn't immediately brush off the salesgirl who came up to me and asked, 'Madam, are you interested in a free Revlon makeover?'

After confirming that it was indeed free, and seeing that B was not even halfway through the dozen perfumes, I agreed.

The 'free makeover' zone was the teensy space between the counters of two cosmetic brands. The Beauty Advisor (or the politically corrected 'salesgirl') steered me onto the stool and appraised my face. I was sure it resembled a wrung-out towel, since we'd just left office. Her face was impeccably made up of course, to the point of being a little excessive. Violet eye shadow and a matching shade of lipstick tend to stick out a bit.

'We'll start with a Revlon cleanser and a Revlon toner',
she bubbled. A cotton swab with cleanser went over my face, followed by another swab of a melon-scented toner. I could feel my pores tingling.

'Now I'll outline your eyes with the Revlon eyeliner,'
she said. Smart girl, I thought. I used to work on a rival cosmetic brand a few years ago, and we'd always recommended makeovers. Now I was getting to test its efficacy.

'You have nice high cheekbones. Blush-on suits you very well,'
she remarked. The colour on my cheeks was not entirely from the blush.

A lip pencil came next and outlined the contours of my mouth. Meanwhile, B had taken a break from the fragrances and come over to watch me. Her appreciative expression changed when the Beauty Advisor applied a pale lip gloss. I glanced at the mirror quickly. It looked like I'd swallowed a saucer of mercury. No lip gloss, I shook my head. She looked at me thoughtfully and nodded, 'Let's go for a liquid lip colour. Revlon has recently come out with a new product...'

She applied the lip colour and I looked to B for approval. A knot of curious shoppers had gathered and were watching intently.

'Doesn't make up really suit her?' the savvy Advisor asked B.

Another advisor chimed in, 'Your skin is ideal for make up. See how it highlights your eyes.'

One of the shoppers asked, 'Show me the lipstick you've used on her.'

'Not lipstick, this is a liquid lip colour,'
corrected the Advisor.

'Psst.. madam, would you like anything from Maybelline', the advisor who'd chimed in, called out surreptitiously.

I smiled indulgently, seeing right through this whole marketing shtick.

But then I remembered that my eyeliner was almost over. Also, this eye pencil was much better than the one I had at home. And coming to think of it, this bronze liquid eye shadow might come in handy for a dressy evening...

B and I laughed heartily as we exited the store a few minutes later. She was empty handed; I was 700 bucks lighter.

Nothing like a free makeover to perk up an evening.

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