Monday, May 12, 2008

Hold still while I carve you a new face...

Every couple of years, I find a new obsession in the realm of personal care products. No, not that kind of personal care prodcuts. This is a strictly G-rated post! Well, after that little allusion to non-g-rated material, this is probably a PG-rated post. Anywhoo.

A couple of years ago, I became entranced with the idea of pedicures. My feet have forever been ugly, thanks to genetically defective toenails and enormous callusses from taking too many barefoot modern dance classes. We will not even discuss the length and color of my toe hair, as no self-respecting female would ever admit to growing such hideousness. Alas, the days of covering my shame with socks and closed-toe shoes seem long gone, as flip-flops have become the new snow shoes, and even pantyhose are taboo in many social situations. To date, I've had exactly one spa pedicure, a Christmas gift, and it was a truly wonderful experience that left me with enameled nails and (relatively) soft feet. I keep plotting to repeat the experience but once I research spa locations, offerings, and price lists, I chicken out.

I have attempted to re-create the pedicure thing at home. I am the proud owner of one of those bubbling foot "spas" that they sell at Walgreens, and a basket full of bath salts, sugar scrubs, and shea butter lotions. I also have an assortment of callus-removing tools that would look equally at home in my kitchen tools drawer. The foot-spa device, by the way, is kind of a pain to fill, and the cord is too short. Sitting on the bathroom sink works much better.

Before the foot thing, there was teeth whitening. That worked ok, but I drink too many colas and coffee drinks. A couple of years ago, I finally threw out a collection of solidified fingernail polishes and the remnants of a set of do-it-yourself fake nails that I attempted for a formal in college. Remember my genetically defective toenails? My fingernails suffer the same fate, and attempting to color or extend them does not help (maybe if those kits came with all thumb-nail sized pieces...most of the "medium" sized ones were way huge for my pinky nails.

One might suppose that I would learn when to stop the silly ideas about trying out "beauty" products that I don't need, and that I know cannot possibly correct my "flaws". One might suppose incorrectly.

This week's experiment: sunless tanning lotions. Why? Because despite all of the bad press about the dangers of tanning, on top of my naturally translucent skin tone that burns lobster-red the moment I even approach a sunny window, I have some deep-seated desire to look tan. I don't know why. It's absurd. It's unhelathy. It separates me from the walking dead and the deep-sea creatures.

Once, nearly 20 years ago, I tried a small test-patch of a self-tanner. My older sister was a devotee of them (also of tanning beds, which I have also tried exactly twice in my life), and her face looked correspondingly orange as a result (sorry, J! It is true!). My test location of choice was a patch on my tummy, next to my belly button. It was a spot that had never seen the light of day, and if your abs aren't trim enough for bikinis at 15, they probably never will be, right? My splotch turned a vibrant hue of pumpkin, and has failed to completely fade in all of these years. It's not horriby noticable, but I can still tell. I think the original patch has grown a bit larger than it started...

I've heard, lately, that the new lotions are much much better than they used to be, and they actually carry them in different shades for different skin tones. I bought the "ghostly pale" version, along with a face tanner last week. I am happy to report that after 3 applications of the body tanner, and 2 of the face tanner, that no one has yet threatened to carve me into a jack-o-lantern. Nor has anyone asked if I went on vacation recently. The face stuff I bought is stronger than the body version, so I'm going to go very very slowly with that one. The body stuff claims that I would reach my darkest tan after 7 daily applications.

Maybe by this weekend, I will once again be visible to the naked eye.

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