When you’re channeling your inner Mary Tyler Moore, taking adulthood into your own manicured hands and paying for every aspect of your existence, you’d think you would guard that hard-earned cash with your life — or at least with your bank account — and spend whatever you do have left over sparingly.
In an ideal world, that is, without question, how I would manage my money. But, well, Sephora exists…
If reading that — exotic yet, somehow also wholesome-sounding — brand name, just now didn't make your heart dance a little, or worse, if it made you actively roll your eyes, then just stop reading.
The following is unabashedly written from the perspective of a full-blown product junkie and will likely cause permanent cornea damage, should you choose to continue.
Now, I realize that shopping for skincare products and makeup seems frivolous, but I simply can't resist that surge of excitement I get upon seeing those brightly lit, well-designed displays and seemingly endless rows of cheeky (and sometimes even eco-friendly!) packaging that line Sephora’s walls.
Now that I have established my love for this particular store, we can get to the real root of things, which is that, unfortunately, I never leave that magical Wonka Factory of tinted moisturizers and brush-on SPFs without feeling a little bit worse about myself than when I walked in.
Sephora is like that on-again-off-again boyfriend you know has nothing new to offer, but somehow keeps drawing you back. This time, you think optimistically, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
The trouble is, at 25, I’ve already identified my favorite mascara. I already know what line of skincare works for me and what brand of lip balm can reliably make me look like a functioning human being.
So, knowing my debilitating affinity for trying new products, I do make it a point to buy most of these daily staples online because they tend to be cheaper there and it also helps me to avoid temptation.
But, I’m only human…
Entering Sephora with an already well-stocked bathroom cabinet and seemingly levelheaded intentions, then, is basically the product-obsessed population’s equivalent to a married man entering a strip club.
Hear me out: You’ve chosen your person — or under eye cream —, but that doesn't mean you can’t innocently zone out for a bit. No touching — or buying — is the ideal and honorable approach in both scenarios, of course, but frankly, that new Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment color won’t test itself.
Once you’re there — Sephora, that is — it all happens very quickly. Sales associates in crisp black uniforms approach offering guidance, and immediately, you’re entranced by their collective charisma, which confusingly seesaws between creepy Stepford wife and genuinely friendly.
No, I didn’t particularly want to sample and then probably purchase that trio of facemasks, but you know what, you seem really nice, so why not!
By the time you snap out of this perfume-scented haze, it’s often too late. Once helplessly secured in the checkout line, you become vulnerable to the displays of travel-sized products that surround you.
Everything is sleek-looking and pint-sized and written in fonts that you suddenly decide you’re, like, really into.
Your hands move without permission from your rational self, who is probably taking a nap anyway, as she has been no help during this trying time.
What are you doing!? You already own a mini brush — probably multiple, if you count those that are gathering dust in the depths of your unused purses — so why are you picking up this one up? For the love of God, WHY?
Suddenly, reason washes over you. You gather some courage and awkwardly abandon your small mesh bin, along with all of its contents, dramatically snaking through the other sorry souls around you, dragging yourself to the door.
Look, no matter what it’s applied to, restraint is difficult to master. It takes practice and intention, and sometimes, just plain old distance.
So, consider this my breakup manifesto to you, Sephora; my vow to stay away.
See, I’m actually really happy with my current makeup and skincare routine. It treats me well and it's dependable. I don’t need you constantly trying to come between us; trying to make me feel like I can do better.
Plus, now I can use that $7 I was going to spend on a pair of needlessly lavish tweezers across the mall at Auntie Anne’s, instead, where I’ll cope with our separation by consuming cinnamon pretzel sticks and a large lemonade.
So there, Sephora.