Friday, August 21, 2009

Skin-Deep Beauty

I am going to die a brown, lined, raccoon-eyed and wrinkled husk of a woman. At least, that's what beauty and fitness magazines are telling me will happen if I fail to buy into their solutions.

And, boy, are the solutions eye-popping.

First of all, you don't have to apply sunscreen if you wash with it. Yes, apparently there are cleansers that leave behind a layer of SPF 15 sunscreen. The magazine suggested we use it for our faces, but I imagine we could use it anywhere on which the sun shines. There was no brand of price for this item, but the sticker shock I received for the rest of the "sun-friendly" suggestions was sufficient to make me wary.

Frankly, I hate sunscreen and wear appropriately covering garb or stay in the shade (or under my very large hat) to avoid the sun, so I don't think I will be shopping for this item. Additionally, I spend about an hour exposed to the sun every morning when I run, and doctors now are telling patients to spend about 20 sunscreen-free minutes in the sun. My fair friends are horrified after experiencing skin cancer and spending years slathering sunscreen on themselves and their children, and I imagine they're rather skeptical. However, I think this development is only sensible: moderate sun exposure is not the same as dousing a bikini-clad body in baby oil and laying by the pool for hours, as so many of us did in our teen years.

The second helpful suggestion for beauty under the sun was a new mascara that will not melt or rub off in any amount of sun. This mascara bonds to the eyelash and will last three days, thanks to its carbon-black pigments and special polymers. Three days? That's a hefty mascara. (There's no mention of how it is removed, but I would imagine hand-tools are involved.) The price tag alone caused me a double-take: $18.50. Maybe I'm just cheap, but that's about three times what I pay for mascara on my extravagant days.

Then I was invited to "wear [my] vitamins" — and who wouldn't be intrigued by such a suggestion? My vitamins are solid and lumpy, totally unattractive and quite similar in appearance to wasp bites. Apparently someone has developed a gloss full of antioxidants that will plump lips while protecting them from the dangerous rays of the sun (and the resulting unattractive lines that appear when one doesn't use it). It's full of such goodness I wish to eat it, with nuts, berries and other deliciousness (though experience suggests that it won't be as tasty as its ingredients). The price for this skin-protecting treat? Only $45.

Frankly, I can live with my fun and functional hat. I like my colorful shirts. Rumor has it that there are sunscreens out there that don't smell awful, and I might see if that proves to be true. In the long run, I might be the ancient-looking tanned middle-aged chick — but I'll be the one with the big smile, cash in my pocket and a healthy amount of vitamin D coursing through my system.

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