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  Life   More Features  19 Apr 2017  Shady business

Shady business

Published : Apr 19, 2017, 12:11 am IST
Updated : Apr 19, 2017, 12:11 am IST

Blushes and mascaras take it a notch up, with shade differences so precise they make NASA calculations seem puerile.

Still from Confessions of a Shopaholic.
 Still from Confessions of a Shopaholic.

There are few things in the modern world that can make me sweat and panic more than being in the cosmetic section of a store, alone, trying to pick up something for the high priestess. It is a mix of feeling lost and helpless, of despair and despondency, and that lingering feeling that if you get this wrong, you would be told off for (a) not paying attention and (b) not knowing her at all.

I have been in China where communication was utterly down to basic human sign language and even then I managed to communicate and comprehend more than while trying to navigate the isles of the Boots at Piccadilly Circus in London, trying to find the right brushes, or BB cream, or something as chemically composed, all of them claiming to not harming animals in any manner. The only species that stands to be harmed is us, the human male, should we falter with the shades on the eyeshadow palette.

Being the nerd that I am, I have tried to decipher the code that governs cosmetic products; the only conclusion I have come to draw is this: they purposely complicate things so as to make girls buy more and to keep the men ever-confuddled.

For e.g. why are their ten shades of pink? And if we do need all ten shades, why must they not be simply marked on a scale or hue intensity, choosing instead names like Bubblegum, Antique Rose, Parfait, Pink Pigeon, (these are all real names I kid you not) — how is one to tell which one is appropriate for a wine soirée and which for a club. To further complicate things, the names change across brands leading to further confusion and more jargon clutter. Consequently, you buy both, or all five. The multinational brand makes an easy buck, or fifty, while you return home with more lipstick than in a trick turner's cabinet, still not sure if you chose rightly.

Nail polish follows a similar trajectory. Blushes and mascaras take it a notch up, with shade differences so precise they make NASA calculations seem puerile. Knowing that scientifically we men are less adept at telling colours and smells as compared to females, to entrust us with the burden of choosing the right shade is akin to entrapment.

So, here is a plea on behalf of all men: don’t make us buy cosmetics. If you want a cream, give very lucid instructions which include the shade name and number as also possible alternatives from other brands should the first choice not be available. Also, tell us how much to spend, for us chaps, think a face wash is an extravagance. And please don’t tell us that this ridiculously expensive makeup worth hundreds of dollars which we’ve just purchased will give you a natural look, as if you’re wearing no makeup at all! What’s the point in that!? Also, while we’re here, ‘Nude’ will never be a colour.

The writer is a lover of wine, song and everything fine

Tags: cosmetic, communication, makeup