Itching, like beauty, is skin deep


After staring at a blinking cursor for over an hour last night, writing occasionally, deleting frequently, I did the only thing I could. I turned off the computer and turned on the TV.

Maybe it’s the way I’ve been trained. Since as long as I can remember, my teachers have stressed the importance of the opening paragraph. The hook. Readers are supposed to be drawn in, not able to resist reading the remainder of the essay.

So when I can’t come up with a great lead-in to a thought, I have to let my work sit. While I have known some people who like to start with the main idea and work back to the introduction, that’s just not for me. I like to start at the very beginning because, well, it really is a very good place to start.

Over a month ago, I decided to host a Mary Kay party. I had used a few of the company’s products in the past, but had stopped because of the expense. In order to get several items at the same time, I wanted the discount that comes with party hosting.

I invited a few friends, and we had a great time. I got my products ordered. I started using the products, and about 10 days later, instead of being beautiful, my skin was unbearably itchy with red marks that looked and felt like little burns.

My new line of soaps and palette of beautiful colors sucker-punched me with an allergic reaction. And since mid-March I haven’t been able to use much more than water on my face.

While annoying, and sometimes painful, it’s been an enlightening experience. Not only have I returned all my Mary Kay (a great benefit of the company), I’ve also realized that my struggle with head-to-toe itchies is due to reactions to all the products I use day to day.

That realization has been freeing for me. For so long, I’ve blamed myself for my skin problems—it must just be my overly-dry skin and scalp. Now I’m able to release that burden and place the guilt where it belongs—with the product.

It also made me rethink my use of make-up. I’ve had to go barefaced for more than a month now, and it’s made me own up to the reasons I hold for using make-up.

The goal of my Mary Kay party was to let all the women find a quick and easy make-up solution to look natural. That seems a tad ironic, right? If I want to look natural, I can do that with soap and water and little effort.

As I was trying to determine whether make-up was a good thing or not, I turned to Facebook and posed this question: “Do you wear make-up? Why or why not?”

Twenty-five people responded with various takes on the issue. Two males responded with a “No. Because I’m a guy.” (Ha. But think about it. Would it be so funny if a female said, “No. Because I’m a girl?”)

There’s a level of expectation to make-up. And I admit, I don’t think I have a very healthy standard for its usage. In general, I wear it because I want to hide imperfections. Namely, the very dark circles under my eyes.

A few other women also said their reason for wearing make-up was to avoid startling the general public.

But the majority of women said they wear make-up because they like it. It makes them feel pulled together. Awake. Professional. Happy.

One commenter said: “Sure do. Kinda like I decorate my house with the things I love and buy shirts in my favorite color. It all makes me smile.”

I like that. It’s all in perspective. This last make-up free month has changed mine. As the weeks go by, I don’t feel as desperate to make excuses for my bare face. I’m not as frustrated by the wrinkles appearing under my eyes. And although I could do without the dark circles, the public can now tell just how bad my nights really are.

And perhaps, one of these days, when I’m not scared of being burned, I’ll dabble in make-up again just for the fun of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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