Age Before Beauty


Prell Shampoo

Breck Coconut Cream Rinse (square glass bottle)

Chapstick (metal tube)


That was once the entire list of my beauty arsenal that I carried to school, swim team practice, and anywhere else I had to look more human than Yeti. Can I just say that by today’s standards, I may as well have been washing my hair with radioactive waste but it got the layers of chlorine out, which was the point. A few months after a summer of sun and the constant acid hair bath, I had a pretty awesome and free ombre hair style. Back in the day, Prell was the gold standard for freshy-fresh hair cleaning. It never seemed weird that its vivid green color was suspiciously similar to the Ooze that changed four regular turtles into sewer dwelling ninjas.

The conditioner: some of you remember the commercial with the beautiful island girl with perfect hair down to her rear end. She would take her comb and start to run it through her hair and because of the Breck Coconut Cream Rinse’s superior ingredients, the comb would magically float, all by itself, down the length of her deep brown, Hula Girl hair. I wanted that hair. My only island blood is Sicilian so, yeah, that didn’t happen. But I could dream, couldn’t I?

My little beauty kit was a small bag I’d gotten from somewhere and the hairdryers were attached to the wall; big white metal things with a black metal vent you could turn down for short girls, up for us who were taller. We would stand there and rub and brush and in spite of the odds, we would step away with a pretty presentable fall of smooth and glossy hair. I think it had to do with the fact that you could use both hands to fix your hair with a wall blower. I would put one of those things in my house in a New York minute. They rock.

So today, while I was putting on some makeup so I could go to the grocery store and not “scare people”, I did a visual inventory of my dressing table. The drawers, baskets and boxes hold a zillion and one products that now sort-of do what my four item list once did.

These days, I purchase my makeup organizers at Home Depot and there are products in here called “primer” and “base coat” though they didn’t come from Sherwin Williams. I have things that look like trowels and some of it might be spackle stuff but I don’t want to know.

Pluckers and scrapers and scissors litter the space but I need them when I find that errant hair that shows 1/16” on my upper lip, yet when I pull it out the true length of it makes me scream in horror. Where does that hair live? Did I lose the little algebra I had retained to make room for the Rapunzle factory that must be hard at work inside my skull? And if it’s so busy pushing that hair to my lip area, why in hell can’t it push more to the top of my head? What is going on here and who is in charge of this deconstruction anyway? We need to talk…