I have Rosacea. This means, in the words of my six-year-old nephew, “Your face is really red.” You can be kind and say I have rosy cheeks, or that you didn’t even notice, but I won’t buy into your ridiculous flattery. I’m always pink, but sometimes I’m a redder shade of pink. I will say I have a mild case, and that’s a relief.
— Unless I do something that angers it. Whoa.
I once tried Viv’s moisturizer. Within hours, I looked like I had a severe case of acne with sunburn. My swollen skin was stinging and itching to the point where I thought I might prefer scratching all of my skin off and looking like a burn victim instead.
My students were so considerate, too.
“Miss Packard, have you been cryin?”
“Did your boyfriend break up with you?”
“Miss Packard, did you try to go tanning?”
And of course, endless inquiries of, “What happened to your face?”
That lasted three weeks.
Things that are guaranteed to make my face flare up:
I have spent the better part of my life trying to avoid flare-ups and trying not to scratch my face. Sometimes I enjoy rubbing my face with a washcloth for several minutes before I remember that I’m not a normal person, and I’ve got to stop, but it feels so damn good, so maybe just a few more swipes….
I won’t bore you with a long list of what I can’t put on my face, but let’s just say that if it has any special qualities at all, I can’t use it. There will be no wrinkle creams for me. No soy complexes, no oxies, no acids, no retinol, no fruit extracts, no gentle exfoliation for me. I grow old gracefully.
My moisturizer is made of oatmeal and appeasement. My soap is made of oatmeal, Shea butter, and pacification.
Makeup choices can be terrifying. I am not a makeup person. I have girly-girl friends who are makeup people, and they take pity on me by helping me make informed decisions. Years ago, I had my makeup done by a very girly-girl man at the cosmetic counter. He did such a fabulous job — I looked so pretty, I didn’t even recognize myself. I can’t go for that.
See, what happened was, I ran out of my ever-safe mineral makeup, and my mineral makeup dealer, Beauty Queen, no longer sells it, so I went to the local Sephora.
Sephora is completely wasted on me. I’m not interested in 50,000 products, no matter how shiny their packaging. I’m not looking for application tips and tricks. I don’t think more expensive translates to working better. Despite my skin affliction, I’m not convinced I’m as ugly as cosmetic companies try to make me feel.
The Sephora clerk I had, Marie, was helpful. She helped me choose a color, she showed me how to use all the brushes, and fixed my face for me. I was girly enough to let her fuss over me, but not girly enough to like it, and not trusting enough to let her do everything she intended.
I had not researched several of the products, and therefore could not let her apply them to my skin. This was clearly frustrating for her, as it was for me, but we muddled through it. I left with my bag of goodies and a smile on my face. I hope she made some sort of commission, because if she didn’t, they’re probably not paying her enough to deal with people like me.