“This new mascara routine will change your life,” the salesgirl assures me as she slips a couple of shiny tubes into pink tissue paper and into a tiny glossy shopping bag.
I had just spent the past 45 minutes with her, applying, removing, and then reapplying lipstick until we found the shade and texture that made it look and feel like I had no lipstick on at all. After all that she also sells me a tube of mascara and this magic mascara foundation that will not only separate and lengthen my lashes, but apparently also change my life.
I am a latecomer to makeup. My mother never wore makeup — not even face lotion. I don’t think she ever used any product on her skin, yet even now, in her 60s, her face is plump and smooth and rosy like a peach. When I was a young girl she once received a round case of eyeliners from France. She had no use for them so she gave them to me, but of course I had no idea what to do with them. But I remember the black, transparent case and the silver pencils bunched together with tiny dots at their ends showing blues and greens and grays. They smelled like crayons dipped in perfume.