In my post Keep Your Warped Perfection, I mentioned that I watch a lot of beauty guru videos on YouTube. Though I don’t wear much makeup myself, I still enjoy these videos and have learned a few helpful hints about cosmetics and skin care in general. In addition to tutorials, many gurus post product reviews and “what’s new” updates. This information is also useful though I normally try to avoid partaking in the latest makeup trends. Even when a product is given “the next big thing” status, I can usually resist the urge to add the product to my small makeup collection. On occasion, however, I do give in despite the fact that these “holy grail” products rarely work for me. Yet, much like a living example of the very definition of insanity, I spend money on products only to be disappointed again.
My latest venture into the world of trendy cosmetics was (as you may have guessed) purple lipstick! I tried my best to resist this trend. Somewhere in my brain, the place where logic lives, I already knew it wouldn’t suit me, but logic eventually lost this battle. As I kept watching various YouTubers proudly wearing their purple lipsticks and glosses, I finally caved. Before I knew it, I was at Ulta purchasing NYX’s High Voltage lipstick in “Playdate” hoping, just once, a trend would work for me and add a much-needed pop of brightness to my face. Even as I was waiting to check out, the voice of logic made one last attempt to bring me back to reality: “You’re kidding, right? This will NEVER work on you.” I ignored it and found myself the proud owner of a new, garish purple lippy.
I resisted the temptation to rip open the package in the car like I usually do. Instead, I waited until I could experience this color in all its “high voltage” purple glory in front of a proper mirror. As soon as I got home, I ran to the bathroom and swiped on the lipstick with great excitement, expectation and hope. Unfortunately, again, I was met with a familiar disappointment. Though the purple lipstick worn by the YouTube gurus added a pleasant brightness to their faces, interest to their makeup look and made their teeth appear even whiter, this was definitely not the effect I saw staring back at me. On the contrary, the purple lipstick made my teeth appear the color of banana peel and rather than adding a pop of healthy color it seemed to clash with all the brown and red spots that have taken up residence on my aging face. Sigh…defeated again. Reminded, again, that I am at least 20 years older than most of the gurus I watch so of course I should know better. What works on them, is not going to work on me. I would have been better off putting my six dollars towards a Starbucks treat instead of purchasing yet another useless lip product. A product that will more than likely sit unused in my drawer except, perhaps, for a brief appearance at Halloween should I decide to dress up like a corpse.
This latest purchase was also another reminder of the inherent danger of watching too much YouTube. While the beauty gurus certainly are not responsible for my purchases, YouTube, whether indirectly or directly, has become another source for feeding our consumerist culture. We find ourselves lusting after the products shown in videos. Products that we think will make us feel better about ourselves or our appearance. Products that will make us feel like we’re one of the cool kids, part of the in-crowd, or somehow on par with our favorite big YouTube celebrity. So we spend the money, make the purchases and bring home our goodies. Sometimes, the purchases work. Other times, they’re a huge disappointment and a source of financial regret. We also discover the euphoria that accompanies our purchase eventually disappears, so off we go again searching for the next thing to bring back that sensation.
Along with television and magazines, YouTube has certainly become one of advertising’s BFFs. Just what we need, one more platform that can lead us to, in the words of Tyler Durden: “buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” I am working at resisting the urge to buy products I don’t really need, regardless of how spectacular they look on my favorite beauty gurus. I am attempting to derail my own train of consumer insanity. I am going to use these photos as reminders of the money I’ve wasted on products that have proven to be nothing but epic failures. I am going to do my best to remember that NO, in fact, not all of us need purple lipstick in our lives.