A (Busted) Deer In The Headlights: Transfixed in the Drugstore

Pretty much everyone, even Naomi Klein, has their own sweet-spot for personal grooming advertising. Some of us are suckers for harnessing the power of pomegranate and the natural exfoliating ability of ground-up almonds, others prefer weapons-grade clinical powers of the newly-stabilized xanthenian molecule (me), and plenty of us are just fine with Cate Blanchett uses this shit, and have you SEEN Cate Blanchett? Do you have four hundred dollars? No? Enjoy your store-brand Cetaphil knock-off, peasant. Not to mention the siren song of Pert Plus, gamely reminding us that all the shampoos have the exact same ingredients anyway, but you can buy a gallon of Pert Plus for zero dollars.

Or, whichever genius invented the System, by which you theoretically pay less money for tiny amounts of the only four facial products you’ll ever need, even though the cleanser runs out in two days, the moisturizer in four, the daytime moisturizer in a week, and the cream you’re supposed to apply in little dots around your retina remains half-full until the end of time.

Let’s not forget the computer-generated, totally fictitious image of a super-busted looking strand of hair, successfully transformed into a slender, lissome strand of hair by THE POWER OF KERATINOSIS. Even though you’re pretty sure you’ve seen the same image sequence used in reverse to advertise how roach powder can turn slender, lissome roach legs into super-busted roach legs. Ditto the photo-aging images. Ditto the lip-plumping before and afters.

Or, you could be a person of color, and have a super-fun time with the weird, vaguely racist names they give your foundation shades, should they actually provide any shades that match your skin tone.

And then, maybe you come home and see your grandmother, who swears that she’s never done anything other than RUB EXCESS COOKING OIL ON HER FACE IN LIEU OF WASHING HER HANDS, and shampoos once every week with Sunlight dish detergent, and looks like Julianne Moore, so, to hell with it, it’s all a horrible scam anyway.

Except for that Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. That stuff is the shit.