Shopping For Make-Up: Plain Jane Vs. The Kabuki Woman

I’m not a fan of make-up.  I think that the stuff is overrated, but I bow to social custom and use a little of it*.

I believe that for me THE NATURAL LOOK IS ALWAYS BEST**.

Combine the foregoing with the fact that when provoked I will say what I’m really thinking— and you get the following conversation between me, Plain Jane, and the sales associate, Kabuki Woman, at the Bobbi Brown counter in Nordstrom***.

~ • ~ 

Plain Jane: (approaching the make-up counter)  Hi!

Kabuki Woman: (looking blankly at me)  Yes.

Plain Jane: (continuing on, ignoring her disinterested tone of voice)  Yes, hello.  I need to get some Bobbi Brown eye shadow.  Would you be able to help me please?

Kabuki Woman: (sighing at the injustice of having to wait on me)  Yes.

Plain Jane: (fully aware that I am staring at this woman’s ghostly white face + overdone eye make-up, but unable to look away)  Ah, yes.  I need Sable & Ivory, please.  I looked them up online before I came in and I think that those would be the most neutral colors for me.  What do you think?  

Kabuki Woman: (glaring at me with loathing while making a dismissive gesture with her hand)  They’ll be fine… on YOU.

Plain Jane: (hearing my mother’s voice in my head say: “young lady, you go upstairs right now and wash that stuff off your face so that we can see how pretty you really are”)  And I need a lip liner pencil.  I wear Clinique Spicy Honey Almost Lipstick and I want the pencil to blend with my lips and be natural.

Kabuki Woman: (fixating on me with a fiery hot hatred, snarling her overly pigmented red lips)  You’re supposed to see the lip liner when you wear it. You can look at these here.  All of them are neutrals.  Just pick one.  They’ll all work.

Plain Jane: (getting steamed, wondering why I hadn’t gone to Sephora where the nice gay man with too much eyeliner had helped me just a week ago)  Well, I think it should be a little bit better than: IT’LL WORK.  Which one do I use?

Kabuki Woman: (starting to look a bit red underneath her ghostly white face)  ANY… OF… THEM…

Plain Jane: (saying what I had been thinking the whole time)  Look, I HATE MAKE-UP AND SHOPPING FOR IT IS WHY.  I just want someone else to figure it out for me.  SO WHICH ONE DO I BUY?  I want to look natural.

Kabuki Woman: (shocked into actually doing something)  Use this one, Bobbi Brown Brownie Pink.

Plain Jane: (making a mental note to join a convent where no one expects women to wear make-up so that I never have to suffer through this again)  Thank you.

Kabuki Woman: (tottering away from me as fast as possible on her slutty high heels without so much as a thank you or a goodbye)  You can pay over there.


~ • ~ 

*Interesting.  “Would We Feel Better Without Makeup? One Woman’s Modesty Experiment”

**Adorable.  Sloth Gets Her Makeup Done Before The ‘Today’ Show (PHOTO)

 ***Useful.  Bobbi Brown Website


25 thoughts on “Shopping For Make-Up: Plain Jane Vs. The Kabuki Woman

  1. I hate makeup too. Takes too much time but I did it regularly for work. Foundation to even tone with a little eye stuff and a swish of lipstick. I too like the nude and natural look (think Jennifer Anniston). My last trip for eye makeup (which I had blogged about) started with a sales person with screaming blue eyeshadow (yep). I ended up with a shiny copper (aging eyelids should never do shiny) eyeshadow that cost $20 and looks absolutely hideous on me (I am way too pasty white for that). So I went to the drugstore and bought a palette of colors put together by one of the inexpensive companies which you pick out by eye color. Priceless!


    • kate, I do the same thing– a tinted sunblock, some mascara, a swish of lipstick & if I’m in the mood, I enhance my pale eye brows. Easy and straightforward.

      I wish that I could say that I never saw blue eyeshadow, but it is popular around here, too. As for shiny copper eyeshadow, I can see how in theory it might be pretty. Sorry that it didn’t work out for you. I’m sure that your drug store palette is a much better choice.

      [Sorry that I didn’t respond to your comment earlier. It just arrived here and came into my spam folder! Nance had trouble commenting this morning, too. Weird. ]


  2. (2nd try on commenting. Sigh. WordPress…)

    Bless your heart. This is one of the reasons why I use Revlon or L’Oreal or Cover Girl (Clump Crusher mascara is a marvel!) and say Be Done With It.


    • nance, there is something to be said for going to the grocery and buying cosmetics. Sadly I’m allergic to so many substances that only a few brands work for me. And these brands are usually somewhere inconvenient. So there’s always that.

      [Sorry to learn that WP is acting up. Not good. Thanks for making the effort necessary to comment.]


  3. Oh, it’s been a long time since I’ve flung myself on the mercies of the make-up counter person. Well, Sephora a couple of times. Mostly, I get the same products I like from I used to be allergic to a lot of cosmetics but they seem to have removed whatever I was allergic to – so sorry that you continue to have problems. I know how frustrating that can be.

    I agree with your natural look stance. Most days, I just go with some tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone, a little color for my cheeks and powder. I can go more fancy if I’m doing something that warrants it – but as I get older, I find fewer and fewer things that warrant much make up.


    • Zazzy, you’ve said it so well: “flung myself on the mercies of the make-up counter person.”

      What I found so odd about this encounter was that I knew the colors that I wanted to try. I’d done all the legwork online, so all she had to do was find them for me– and confirm that they looked good on me. But even that little bit of help was too much for her.

      I like your natural look approach. Glad to find another woman who goes that route.


  4. So sorry you had such a bad encounter. Isn’t it her job to SELL make-up? It sounds like she needs an attitude adjustment!
    I’m very lucky, in that I can wear just about any kind of make-up. I wear a lot of Avon products, or Cover Girl. They are in my price range:) I’ve always been jealous of your ability to look natural beautifully.


    • Beth, well you’d think that selling would be her job, wouldn’t you?! But I tell you this woman was unhappy from the get-go.

      Thanks for the compliment, but you have always been able to wear any brand– which makes me jealous of you. So there! 😉


  5. Worse than shopping for a bathing suit.
    The counter people (can’t call them sales or customer service because they don’t know what either of those words mean) give THAT look. “Oh, she’s over 20 and doesn’t have mom paying the bill for one of everything”
    or “Oh, she’s old nothing will help and she will want me to make her look updated and pretty – like there’s any chance of that – and then will be shocked at the costs – and complain about how the product feels on the skin or the color isn’t right or only wants one foundation that was discontinued years ago and doesn’t understand why you must use 3 products instead of 1 foundation product. She will question everything and believe nothing. UGH!”
    Not going to be able to put it off much longer…..I’m allergic, too.


  6. I would have let the make up person have it(YOU ARE A CUSTOMER!) and then called the manager to complain about the treatment later. I’ve also called stores to compliment certain employees who have gone out of their way to help me find something. But that kind of BAD attitude toward a client is inexcusable! I buy most of my make up at the grocery store but love Clinique Heather Moon lipstick. That plus a bit of blush is all I wear. Here in the PacNW, most women don’t wear much makeup. Women I’ve met from the south seem to wear a lot of foundation and all kinds of other make up; is it a regional phenomenon? I love seeing people who wear make up that just enhances, but doesn’t overwhelm the natural features which sounds like your style. It’s difficult to do, a real art!


    • Margaret, I’ve come to realize that being a customer means nothing. The logic is that if you don’t come back, there’ll be another person soon enough to take your place. It’s the same way with loyalty toward doctors, banks, painters, anyone. Complete indifference.

      And yes, women in the South layer on the make-up. Being this far south in the midwest, some of that attitude is around here, too. The stories I could tell you about girls in my dorms in college who had fishing tackle boxes filled with make-up! It was something to watch them re-create their faces each morning.


      • Wow-that’s awful. I’ve mostly gotten good responses from my activism. 🙂 I’m sorry to say that Nordstrom is one of our local companies. Makes me ashamed.


        • Margaret, I like Nordstrom overall. Our local one just happens to have a few departments where the staff is less than helpful. [Cosmetics and shoes I’m looking at you.] Mostly it’s a good place to shop in– when I force myself to go to the mall.


  7. Hey I’m in the South and I wear little make-up! No offense taken, lol. I find here it’s more of a personal choice how much make-up one wears. It varies from person to person. I can’t say I see a trend based on a particular region. I’m sorry you went through that. I hate shopping for make-up as well and try to do the research beforehand. I don’t have allergies but I prefer products that are paraben free. I find our local Sephora respects my wishes for ingredient choices more than department stores – perhaps because they have a lot of products to offer not just limited one line. Good luck.


    • Joan, you are so right. Not all women in the South wear oodles of make-up. But those who I’ve met who do adore the stuff are really into it.

      I have had some good experiences at Sephora and in the future that is where I’m going to go. I didn’t go there this last time because I was lazy. Nordstrom was closer to get to, but I’ve learned my lesson– going the extra mile is worth it. [pun intended]


  8. Makes me cross when sales staff just clearly don’t care. Nothing you can say or do will make them feel bad about the way they are treating you, because none of it matters. Grrr. I don’t like make up either, it just feels wrong on me and I have to be careful with myself all day, not to smudge anything or rub my eyes or whatever. I haven’t got time for all that checking that has to be done. I did go to the Yves St Laurent counter in Tunbridge Wells a while ago for some Touche Eclat, mainly because I looked in the mirror one morning and saw black shadows and the beginning of bags, and looked at the big photo we have on the wall from three years ago where there was no sign of either of these. What has happened in the last three years? Can’t even blame the little man, he sleeps all night. So I went for advice and the lady was lovely. Couldn’t have been lovelier. She was about my age and very sympathetic. After spending a fortune on TE, I then discovered BB cream from the Body Shop, same job, fraction of the price. Maybe I should just embrace my inner Wrinklie who is clearly just dying to get out!


    • Polly, you said it so well: “Nothing you can say or do will make them feel bad about the way they are treating you, because none of it matters.” Sad, but true. I run into indifference everywhere I go.

      I’ve read about BB cream but have no personal experience with it. Knowing my skin, the only brand that I’d be able to use would cost so much that I’d hyperventilate every time I put it on my face!

      And I LOVE your idea of embracing your inner Wrinklie. We all should.


  9. Your are much more a lady than I. I would have eaten her for lunch! OK, now back to my list of things that I am thankful for. . .LOL


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