Having lived out of a suitcase for the last four years, I have saved all my money for practical things like rent and plane tickets back to Paris. But I must admit that my soap, water, and red lipstick regime has served me well through these minimal post-graduate years. But now that I am a madame (no, not THAT kind), having officially unpacked my bags in Paris for good, I have finally indulged in the grownup luxury of skincare. Much like mastering that blown-out bedhead or the masterful undone/done approach to dress à la française, my eyes and pores have opened up to the transformative lure of French beauty.
Over the summer, mon mari and I were invited to the bar mitzvah of 2012, a splashy, baby blue, four-day event in Monaco. It was also my official unveiling to my new extended family. How did a shiksa girl from Chicago even keep up ? My mother in-law quickly equipped me with makeup removers, eyecreams, moisturizers, and her own personal makeup bag to prep me for the event. Although I resembled an opera singer more than myself at the bar mitzvah, my favorite drugstore red lipstick could not suffice on its own. There was so much more to this ritual of getting ready. « Geez, what’s wrong with me ? » was followed by « maybe I should try this for myself ? » Nevertheless, I was once again confirmed that I will never be as glamorous as my 70-something French mother-in-law.
But recently, on a mundane trip to the parapharmacie to pick up my favorite French oat milk soap, I was quickly asked if i needed help by an unusually friendly parapharmacist. Since the bar mitzvah, I have made a mental note to invest in a beauty regime. But in the matter of moments, this parapharmacist was the French bff I have been in the market for years. She was everything a best friend should be. She spoke the truth. She shockingly revealed that I have combination skin. (The horror!) She was empathetic. A fellow chronic smiler, she had a handful of answers and a basket full of cremes for my condition. She was inquisitive. « What kind of night creme do you use?», she inquired during our getting-to-know-you diagnostic. «Oh, you know. It’s blue and it has got some kind of pharmaceutically aquatic name?» I lied, hoping she did not see the Nivea hand creme on my cheeks. Frightening me with the threat of water on the skin, she had me filling up a frequent flier card in no time.
Although my pocketbook can not maintain this fair-weather friendship, I am forever thankful for this parapharmacist and its resulting “a-ha!” moment. My life pre-beauty regime and now is like night and day creme. Coffee is no longer the first thing on my mind in the morning. It is most certainly my luxurious routine. I ceremoniously layer each one on, one after the other. With my fully-lubed mug, I am now one of the sticky-faced women I exchange the bises with at vernissages. It must be the goji berries.
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