Did you know makeup has an expiration date? I did not. Or rather I figured it did but never bothered to check until yesterday. I don’t even know what made me curious. I was looking for something in the bathroom and I stumbled across my CoverGirl foundation and I noticed a date stamped on it. It was expired. It wasn’t VERY expired, but still. I wondered how long ago I had bought it and shook my head from the intense workout I was giving my brain and I threw it in the trash. It’s no secret, if you’ve ever met me IRL, that I’m not a big makeup user. I go through phases. In my twenties I wore makeup pretty regularly, then after Jackson was born I gave up on that shit. Being a stay-at-home-mom will do that to ya. Then in my thirties I was back at it, then I stopped. Now I wear it sparingly, but as of late I have so many appointments and meetings and, because I’m a Band Booster Mom, I’ve had to talk in front of large groups of people, so I’m starting to think I might get back on the makeup bandwagon. But I need to ease in. So I went to Target last night for some foundation and that’s when my life fell apart.
Listen, it’s possible what I’m about to tell you is not surprising, but to me it was, how should I put this? Fucking nuts. I can’t begin to tell you the last time I was in a makeup store, or stopped at a makeup counter, or even meandered down the makeup aisle in a place like Target, but I did last night and what the hell?! Someone could have warned me! Although I suppose I should have known, considering there are entire YouTube channels devoted to learning how to apply foundation. What are those little sponge things? What’s a contour? Why wasn’t I taught this in Seventeen Magazine in 1996? Or was I and I just skipped right over it to take the “Which Seinfeld Character Are You?” quiz?
The aisle was not what I was accustomed to. I’ll admit that over the last few months I had noticed that Target was moving things, putting in brighter lights, gussying up that section, but I paid little mind since I rarely went in there. But on a Sunday night at 8:00 pm the lights from the makeup section were so bright! Who needs shit that bright? The answer is me. My old-ass eyes had a hard time trying to navigate through the foundation tints, for one. The last time I routinely bought foundation was probably 15 years ago and shit was not like this. Now I’ve bought foundation in the last fifteen years, but it’s usually when I’m on vacation and realize I don’t have any and my face is red and I run into Walgreens and grab some “Light” foundation and Tylenol PM for good measure. This shit. This shit. I dunno, it was different.
First of all, where is the CoverGirl? And I’m gonna stop right here and say that I use CoverGirl solely because I’ve always used CoverGirl. There’s no other explanation. My mom used it and when I bought my first foundation at the Leavenworth Wal-mart that’s what she told me to buy. Plus, they have this foundation with Olay in it and they are cruelty-free. Probably most of the makeup companies are nowadays, but back then that was way important to me and they were proudly touting it and 16-year-old Missy was all, “Hell yeah, cruelty-free!” Plus, there just weren’t a lot of make-up options for a girl like me in the late 90s in small-town Kansas. Everyone wore CoverGirl makeup and did their nails with Wet ‘n’ Wild. End of story.
That is not the case now.
Now as a grown-ass adult I have been inside Ulta and Sephora. I have lingered at the makeup counter at Macy’s and Nordstrom’s. I once even walked, on accident, into a high-end makeup store in New York City mistaking it for a candy store. I blamed it on Jackson once we got inside. I was all, “Oh, I’m sorry, my son thought this was a candy store (fake laugh, fake laugh).” And he side-eyed me fully knowing that I was the one who yelled, “I think that’s a candy store!” when we were walking past. The point is, I know that other brands exist. I know that they are probably magical and can treat your skin way better than CoverGirl, but creature, meet habit.
So, there I am last night, confused, looking all over like I’ve found myself at a rave and someone has just offered me a pill and I’m wondering if it’s worth it, when it occurs to me that they probably have cameras all over this bitch because of shoplifting and there is possibly some woman sitting in a backroom somewhere laughing at me trying to match skin tones with some brand called “Wiki Pixie Velour.” I was a mess. I was going back and forth between two sections for a good ten minutes trying to figure out why I couldn’t find my “match” when I realized those two brands weren’t even made for me, they were made specifically for woman who have way more melanin than I do. (Hand to head)
I was just so confused. So overwhelmed. Not only were there so many brands, but in each brand were so many different kinds of foundations. Then I started to panic. Do I need this primer? What’s a primer? I used a primer when I painted the wall in the guest room. Does my face need a primer?! So I put a primer in the cart, one that supposedly helps control red, which I suffer from. Then there was the actual foundation and all I kept thinking was, “WHERE IS THE COVERGIRL AGELESS WITH OLAY?” And then I had a thought: What if they don’t sell it anymore?! So I panicked even harder.
It was about this time that another desperate woman walked into the aisle. She was scanning, scanning, scanning. I could see it in her eyes. She was in scrubs. A nurse or a doctor from Emory. She has a mask on so I could only see her eyes, but I knew she felt the same. She was looking for a foundation and she didn’t know if they had it. I nervously reached for a lipgloss and turned the box over and over in my hands, while I watched her from the corner of my eye. She kept picking up bottles of foundation and putting them down. I wanted to scream, “STOP! You won’t find it! You’ll never find what you’re looking for and we are both going to die here in the makeup section at the Northlake Target! It’s over!” But she did find it. She found what she was looking for and she sped off and I looked down at the lipgloss in my hand and for the first time I read the box. It said, “For lips and cheeks” and I threw the devil lipgloss/blush back onto the shelf.
Was I in the twilight zone?
I walked then, into aisle after aisle. I’d been in all of them before. I’d lost track of time. I worried about Jackson and Jerimiah. I told them I was running to Target for foundation and almond milk. What had become of them? There were just so many options.
Arches and Halos
The Lip Bar
Olive and June
This is not an exhaustive list of makeup sold at Target, but holy hell! Then, in the aisle that’s so far away it looked like it belonged with Epsom salts and adult diapers, I saw it: Drugstore Makeup! And there on the shelf was all of my familiar CoverGirl Ageless Foundation! And all the familiar suspects. Whew. Crisis averted.
Okay, sure, I was probably overreacting. But that’s what I do. And truth be told, I still walked out of Target with about $100 in makeup because I gave into the contouring blush and the eyebrow pencil and that damn primer, which was actually more money than a gallon of Sherwin-Williams primer, but I digress. The point is sometimes when we are forced to look change directly in the eyes, we wonder if we would look good with lash extensions or not. Then we overcome the Target makeup aisle.
Here’s to overcoming. I hope you overcome whatever your makeup aisle looks like today.