Wednesday, January 11, 2006

An Examination of Quality

This is what has become of an eye shadow compact that I have owned for a relatively short period of time, not even long enough to use up its contents:
Despite its appearance, I DID NOT bring it on a wilderness survival expedition, where it jostled, uncushioned, in a nylon backpack, rubbing against a device that would allow me to purify water from my own urine, as I ran from a hungry lion.

What DID I do with it, you ask? I opened it each morning, applied the eyeshadow, closed it, and slipped it into a silky little makeup pouch, where it lounged in comfort and luxury for the rest of the day while I busted my ass working, cooking, and doing laundry. (For the record, I DO NOT walk around with sparkly purple eyelids; I apply a very thin layer of the purple color underneath an earthy shade of brown just to add richness and dimension. Awwww, yeah. I read Allure.)

I know what you're thinking. "Well, that's what you get for buying drugstore makeup, Arabella. $3.59 a pop does not make for lasting quality."

I used to think the same thing. So much so, in fact, that I tried department store makeup. I tried paying $30 for a little box of pressed talc mixed with rust (yes, ladies: "iron oxide" is rust). You know what happened? The exact same thing.

Something like this happens to ALL my makeup. Look at this drugstore blush--the compact lid has broken right off:

Something similar has happened to the lid of a tea kettle that Ty and I have owned for less than three years. Above is how it DOES look; to the right is how it SHOULD look. This tea kettle was on our wedding registry. It cost either $25 or $50; I forget exactly, but I'll go with $50 here because it makes a better story. We do not run an English teahouse; we boil water for tea once a day--all right, sometimes multiple times a day. In my opinion, a tea kettle that costs what my ancestors probably paid for acres and acres of Sicilian olive groves in 1900 should last at least five years.

In contrast, below is a photograph of organic brown eggs. They are not made of petrochemicals. They have not spent their days leisurely lounging in a silky pouch, or heating small quantities of filtered water for moments at a time. Their shells are mere micrometers thick. They are unfortified by antibiotics or chemically-engineered chicken feed. They were extruded from their mothers' bodies through a tiny orifice, harvested, handled, and packaged in one of those states with grass and trees, and then boxed and shipped to the good people at FreshDirect, who unloaded the package of eggs at their facility, boxed it up again, hoisted it onto a truck, pulled the box down from the truck, and delivered it to my apartment, where I sliced the box open with a pair of scissors, removed its contents in my usual maniacal way, and tossed the eggs into the refrigerator. I paid something like $2.59 for twelve of them.


Blogger Tink said...

All my make-up looks like that. And it doesn't even leave my bathroom... Ever. Maybe they're having parties in my make-up bag when I leave. Or someone is stealing into my house while I'm gone and shaking it up. Or maybe things are just too cheaply made nowadays. I'm going with the latter. We should start using roots and shit instead. Shit not being a literal term. Bleh. LOL

10:49 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Tell it sister! I swear the makeup manufacturers are in cahoots with the makeup bag people and they it on purpose so that you have to buy more makeup and a new makeup bag since your old one is covered in smeary colored powder a month later.
I'm cheap, so I've devised a sytem by which I crush it up once it breaks and put it into a little screw top container to be used as loose makeup.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

I only buy department store make-up. Not because I'm "like that" but because I love it when the clown ladies apply it to my face and tell me I look beautiful. Because my eyes are closed, I have no idea what they've just put on me.
So, I have 6 compacts full of colors that I'm not sure about where they go and how to put them on. Do you want them?

(one exception: I love MAC lipstick!)

11:56 AM  
Blogger Swedish Girl said...


My make-up also looks like it's been attacked by a monster.

Someone, somewhere has to deal with this.

After all, we're worth it.

Aren't we?

2:15 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Not all my makeup is like this, but for some of those very soft eyeshadows, there are definitely times when it starts crumbling early on in its life, and then all bets are off.

It's so annoying when even buying the expensive stuff doesn't prevent this problem.

I like the idea of the purple under the brown. I may steal that look. :)

4:17 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Hey, I buy MAC eyeshadow and it looks the exact same way! I particularly love it when I throw it in my makeup bag and everything is then covreed in a brown frosty sheen. LOVELY.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Um...that should have read COVERED. (Hate it when that happens.)

5:31 PM  
Blogger Shrinking Violet said...

I'm glad to know that it would look the same whether or not I continually drop it on the counter OR manage to get it in its shiny pouch!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

I have only had my makeup look like that once, after baby shook it and threw it on the floor. I buy department store stuff, I am the type of person who needs to be told what to wear and how to put it on.

My iPod on the other hand..I left it in my purse for a couple of days and it looked like it had gotten stuck between 2 cats that were fighting....still works great though.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Whaddaya say we get together and design a decent line of cosmetics that don't fall apart from ordinary usage and storage? There certainly seems to be a market!

Tink--I have debated simply staining my lips with berries. It sure would make life easier.

TB--Good idea! Do you mix the colors, or keep them separate? Where do you get the little containers?

Mignon--You are brave! Those ladies scare me a little sometimes. I'd help you unload your extra cosmetics, but I'm already drowning in a sea of broken compacts and powders, since it seems a waste to throw them away when there's still product left...

Swedish Girl--We are SO worth it!

Mrs. Harridan--Steal away!

Brooke--I'll bet frosty brown looks nice on you, if not on the makeup bag.

SV--Yeah, I used to think it was from me dropping the makeup, but then it kept happening even after I was super-careful. In my experience, dropping is largely irrelevant.

Ditsy--How do you keep it intact??? You are undoubtedly the envy of all of us.

10:03 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

All of my makeup looks like that. Now I know why. It's rusty.

10:10 PM  

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