Tag Archives: makeup

the anti-tree hugger *shakes fist*

22 Jun

Remember a few months back, on my Magical Michigan Mystery Tour, when I was battling my lip gloss for the rights over the good and evil of my upper lip? And remember how I said that it was getting better, but I was bummed because I couldn’t really wear lip gloss anymore?


It didn’t really get better.

It kind of/sort of/almost got better completely, but even at its best there was still a faint redness above my upper lip. At its worst it was red and garish and unsightly, peeling and chapped-looking and simply just bothersome because I’m incredibly vain and LO! HOW I MISS LIPGLOSS, THE PERFECT PIECE DE RESISTANCE TO MY MAKEUP ROUTINE.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell. This whole thing just gets me very worked up.

Over the following months after I wrote that blog post, I visited the dermatologist approximately 17.659 times to try and figure out what the shit was wrong with my upper lip. The rest of my skin? Fine. Nothing to worry about. But above my upper lip? Mayhem.

We tried multiple creams, a course of antibiotics, avoidance of all things lip-cosmetic related, save for Aquaphor, which seems to be the only thing that doesn’t make my upper lip go totally bizonkers. And while I made a fine new friend in one of the nurses through my visits to the dermatologist’s office *hi, Sue!*, the rest of the visits, creams, et al did fucking nothing.

After scratching their heads awhile, the staff in the derm’s office were all, “Ermm…maybe you should see an allergist?”

So I went to see an allergist.

And guess what?

It turns out I’m allergic to EVERYTHING!

If you’ve ever been allergy tested, then none of what I’m about to say will shock or surprise you, but rather might just make you feel a little uncomfortable at the memory. If you’ve never been allergy tested….WELL.

Hope you like being covered in magic marker.

And feeling really itchy and not be able to do anything about it.

As I sat in a very small, thinly walled exam room, I watched as very nice nurse made marks on my forearm with a purple marker. This isn’t so bad, I thought to myself, even while eyeing the cases of blue pricky-looking things sitting next to her. When she went for the blue pricky-looking things and started poking them in my arm, that wasn’t so bad either.

The bitch of it all came in a delayed response. One line of blue pricky things down the length of the arm, and as the nurse started the next row, the first row started heating up and itching like mad.

“Don’t scratch it,” the nurse warned. “Don’t touch it.”

Was that when I started whimpering like a puppy with a small bladder weighing the consequences of getting hit on the nose with a newspaper? Entirely possible. Because of course as soon as she said that I wanted nothing more than to scratch the ever-living shit out of my arm, which was getting worse by the second, now that she’d completed the eleventeen rows of pinpricks with different allergens just underneath my skin.

So not touching that for 20 minutes, and instead flailing and flopping it around in the air because for some reason that seemed to help, while I watched my arm go read and bumpy was AWESOME. Is a good party trick, I’ll have to show you sometime.

When the nurse came back and started measuring the bumps that reacted to the pinpricks, the doctor joined her. They both stared at my arm for a moment before staring at me with confused looks on their faces as if to say, “How the shit are you still standing up, and how has your head/eyes/skin not exploded because you are allergic to just about every goddamned thing we pricked you with except mold. Which is good because have you looked in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator lately? We have. Your landlord called. You’re totally going to lose your deposit if you ever move out because they need to replace the fridge, it’s growing a new breed of Lilliputians.”

And then she wrote me a prescription for Allegra.

And then the real real bitch of it all began.

Because have you ever been patch-tested? No? Oh, well let me tell you how it goes: they make up 80 patches and stick them on your back. And then they use a football field worth of medical tape to cover the patches so they don’t come off, because the patches need to stay on for 48 hours.

And you’re not allowed to get that area wet, re: no showering.

And it’s June.

Have I ever mentioned that I live in a swamp?

“And try not to sweat, either,” the kind nurse told me.

“Um, okay,” I replied. Clearly she did not understand the magnitude of her request. This is me we are talking about, people. I raise my arm to scratch my ear and I break out in a sweat.

And it’s DC. In June. It bears mentioning again.

And so began another two days, until I went back on Wednesday. At which point: Hi!-YOOOOO! Break out the purple magic markers again, everyone! As the patches came off, the nurse drew purple boxes over my pale, freckled back where they had been, complete with corresponding numbers. On Friday, after the elements that had been on the patches had had a full 96 hours to seethe and incubate and fester and possibly cause a reaction to my skin, the doctor would be able to tell me what the fuck caused all this nonsense above my upper lip in the first place.

On Friday, the day of the big reveal, having spent five days sponge-bathing and trying not to sweat my purple boxes onto any of my clothes too badly, the cause of my random reaction on my upper lip was discovered.

Balsam of Peru.


But it’s not definite.

Said the doctor.

But that’s the only patch that my skin slightly reacted with. Kind of.

Everything else was fine.



ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? is what I know you are probably thinking. I know I was. Am.

No, Interwebers, I kid you not.

So essentially, we’re back to the drawing board, though I am now back at said drawing board armed with a thick list of “safe products,” which I will be scouring on my next trip to CVS. I’M NOT GOING DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT YOU….TREE.


Meanwhile, don’t be alarmed if you see a tall, freckle-faced sweaty mess walking the streets of DC with her hand over her mouth, probably tripping over random bits of nothing because walking with her hand over her mouth tends to throw off her sense of sight, which is wonky, at best, to begin with, but whatever because oh my Christ have you seen what’s going on above my upper lip?

I don’t want to talk about it.

I’ll let you know how next month’s follow up with the allergist goes.

lip gloss: evil beauty product or innocent bystander that got caught in the crossfire of me vs. the weather?

19 Oct

I’ve been fighting a random onset of Very Chapped Upper Lip for the past two weeks. I have no idea how this happened. I just woke up one morning and part of my upper lip was chapped. The next day the chapping spread, and the day after that and the day after that it was just chapped and cracked and unpleasant and dry and I was starting to look like I’d been snowboarding in the Antarctica for weeks on end, but trust me, I’ve never done anything as cool as that. It seemed to be aggravated by wearing lip gloss, so after Mare’s wedding a couple weeks ago, I went lip gloss-free for the rest of Baby Watch! 2009! week. Which isn’t very hard to do when your daily activities consist of going to Target, then coming home and taking a nap. Or going to get your nails done, and then coming home to take a nap. Or having lunch with your sister, then coming home and taking a nap. I’m sensing a theme here.

ANYWAY, just as my upper lip was on the brink of starting to return to normal, I went to Michigan. So what I’m about to tell you is ALL THE STATE OF MICHIGAN’S FAULT.

Actually, that’s not true. Michigan had nothing to do with this, except not really helping matters by being pretty cold, yet very lovely and bright and tempting on Saturday morning, so much so that Smell and I laced up our gym shoes and went for a run along the sparkling Bay. Coldness and chapped lips: It Ain’t So Good.

This was, of course, the Saturday morning that followed the Friday night of the rehearsal dinner where I *gasp* made the mistake of wearing lip gloss.


So when I woke up Saturday morning after my lip gloss-wearing Friday Night Frenzy, WOW. Hello. Good morning. OW. Apparently, applying the lip gloss to the upper lip really pissed off the upper lip and it was swollen and red and hurty and the horror, the horror.

As any 30-year-old woman who is sharing a hotel room with three of her college gal pals would do, I whined about my predicament to the one mom among us, mewling at her that it hurt. OW! I mean, it hurts! Mwwreehhh! Help! She simply said to put ice on it and we’d get something topical at the Walgreen’s later and I should take an ibuprofen for now and I should also seriously consider the quitting of whining because no, I was not dying, and no, I was not going to need a lipectomy, and for God’s sake, Molly, it does not look that bad. My friend Smell is in pharm school right now and while she was not the one to suggest taking an ibuprofen to relieve any pain, she was the one who doled out the ibuprofen, so I have to give her some credit for her help in this tragical situation.

Needless to say the only thing that went on my lips as we headed out the door for the wedding was a lip salve and some Benadryl topical cream (in case it wasn’t just severely chapped lips but rather some sort of allergic reaction) that burned like a motherfucker when applied.

I threw out the lip gloss. I was just so angry at it.

Now, a week-ish later, things seem to be finally getting back to normal. I did some reconnaissance on the Interwebs about chapped lips and one site suggested that if the lip was so cracked and bleeding or raw, to put Neosporin on it, and Burt’s Bees balm was also highly suggested. Thankfully, I have both, and have since engaged in controlled and systematic routine of applying one or both at various points of the day. I have high hopes that my upper lip will be completely back to normal within the next few days.

Once it’s completely healed, I might give a new lip gloss a try.


Or maybe it’s time to switch to lipstick.

may create heart palpitations; will not create heaving bosoms

22 Jul


The other day my friend JMac came over for dinner and was all, “I keep forgetting to give this to you, it’s been sitting in my apartment for weeks!” And when she handed over this bottle of lotion I fainted. And then when I came to I punched her for holding out on me.

If you’ve ever tried this lotion you would have punched her too. It’s that perfect blend of thick and creamy without being slick and greasy.  And you know how in Harlequin romance novels the heroine’s skin is always described as “soft and creamy”? Apparently all the heroines in Harlequin have been using this lotion, because that’s exactly what you get as the end result. It will not however, give you Fabio.

Pretty Face

7 Apr

Yesterday morning on the way to work I stood bag-to-bag on the bus with some of my fellow passengers, looming over those who were lucky enough to get on earlier and nab one of the few seats.  As I grasped the overhead bar to stabilize myself at the jerks and juts of the stops and starts, I stared at a woman while she hunched over as she sat, holding her bag into her chest with her elbows as she held a makeup compact in her hand. I was fascinated, and not just by the whorey, red-pink color of lipstick that had no place on anyone’s lips on a Monday morning bus ride, let alone on this woman who was clearly an autumn and would have looked much better in a berry-hued light gloss rather than a blinding matte fuscia that is typically only seen on friends of Rose, Dorothy, or Blanche.

The fact that she could so adeptly apply her makeup while on a bus and not lose any of her body parts was amazing. And it wasn’t just a smooth swipe of lipstick – this woman pulled out a slim black tube, unscrewed the top, and applied a coat of mascara with the steady hand of a surgeon, something I cannot even do while standing with feet firmly planted and my face three inches from a full-length mirror. She stared solemnly into her 2×2 inch mirrored compact and moved the wand across her lashes, and came away with both eyes in tact, no corneas scratched, no smears of thick black mascara goop on the white sides of her eyes, while I grasped the bar above my head, willing my arm muscles to be stronger, to hold me in position, rather than let me flail around, looking like a monkey swinging from a very strange jungle tree.