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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
193 pages
Aug 2003

Mirror, Mirror

by Kara Powell & Kendall Payne

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Blush I can handle. Eye shadow I dig. Eye liner is easy. Mascara is simple.

But lipstick. Lipstick is a different story.

I’ve never liked it. In high school, friends would subtly hint, “Hey Kara, wanna try my lipstick?” Or they’d be not-so-subtle, “Kara, you really need to wear some lipstick. You’d look way better.”

So I’d try. I’d lean toward the mirror and make that really stiff smile you’re supposed to make when you put on lipstick, and give it my best shot. But invariably, it’d end up smeared. Or it would look so bright that I’d blot it off.

I’m the kind of girl who wants lipstick that looks like you’re not wearing any. In my opinion, they should make that a whole brand. It could be called lipstick-that-looks-like-natural-but-you’re-still-wearing-something lipstick.

I can’t even buy lipstick by myself. I have to bring a friend. I have a friend who is like in love with lipstick.

Lipstick is her thing. She wears it all the time, and it always looks great on her. I asked her for some advice once.

She dug in her purse through her seventeen lipstick tubes and handed me one. “Bronze Beauty” it was called.

On me, it looked like Majestic Mud.

So last night I went to Macy’s with my husband to buy some lipstick. While he’s not savvy enough to tell the difference between Natural Nude and Rosy Nude, I knew that he wouldn’t let me buy anything too horrendous.

There were two women behind the counter. One was wearing about a half-inch of foundation. When she smiled, I thought her face would crack. Seriously.

The other woman looked more normal. More like me. I went to her.

She sat me down and gave me one of those so-that’s-what-I-really-look-like mirrors. First we started with lip liner. I leaned in close to the mirror and really concentrated on what I was doing, and it actually turned out OK.

Then we went for the lipstick. Barely Blush was a bit too light. Natural Wonder was better. Wanting to risk a bit, I scanned the lipstick towers myself. Usually I only try on lipsticks that have the word “Barely” or “Natural” or “Nude” in them, but I figured I’d go wild and crazy and try Pink Pleasure. Yikes. Way too pinky. Even my husband kinda grimaced.

After a few more bronzy, orangey, and maroony samples, I decided that the second one I tried, Natural Wonder, was the best. I bought it and the lip liner and went on my merry way to the food court.

What’s interesting is that I walked out of Macy’s feeling better about myself than when I walked in. I’m 31 years old. I spend all sorts of time helping girls see that they don’t need make-up to feel better about themselves. And yet my $21 purchase gave me a lift. I could take on the world knowing my lips would be up to the job.

Is that bad, OK, or even good? What does it say about me that two items that weigh about 2 ounces make me feel so much prettier?

These are tough questions to answer. But in this chapter, we’re going to try. As you read the articles, we invite you to think about your own make-up issues. Do you feel like you need it? Do you feel naked without it? Do you feel worse about yourself without it? Why wear it in the first place?

And you’ll probably think of even better questions. So read on.