A beauty routine: yes, I do have one.
Probably it is the job of every lady columnist to refer, at
some point, to her encounters with cosmetics and smellies,
and after four years of bloggery, Chinn-wag now corrects this
On the face I sometimes use concealer and powder and, on
particularly ghoulish days, will take a slice of beetroot and
dab it on the cheeks for colour.
That last habit may seem like a waste of food, but I have
astutely calculated the production of commercial blusher
wastes far more of Mother Earth's resources than does the
occasional vanity slice of beetroot.
Anyway, I promised to regale you with encounters. All right.
Last Wednesday I was out of concealer. (Concealer, for
readers who do not know, is a substance you can use to mask
spots, discolouration, and other things that make you
imperfect.) I went to the pharmacy to get more.
A trend has emerged in concealers, whereby a liquid form
comes in a plastic stick that looks like a felt-tip pen with
a cap at each end. Under one cap is a tiny brush used to
apply the concealer.
The plastic tube of the pen is opaque, to prevent your
noticing you have paid a significant sum for a meagre few
millilitres of concealer housed in extravagant packaging.
The other cap, it would seem, is not really a cap but a
twisty knob that is connected to some mechanism inside the
pen that is meant to screw the liquid contents upwards and
into the brush at the other end, for the purpose of
application to skin.
Perhaps unwisely, I did not perfect the twisting technique
during my brief fling with the tester in the pharmacy before
buying. At home, I twisted and twisted the knob-cap and
nothing happened at the other end of the pen. The tiny brush
stayed white as a bunny tail. It would dispense no concealer.
Naturally I became enraged. Earlier concealer products worked
just like lipsticks: you had a little stick of flesh-tone
clay that you wound in and out of its tube. Simple. This new
concealer device was evidently one of those products that
doubles as an IQ test, and I had failed.
With no dignity to lose, I put the twisty part between my
back teeth and tugged. I was hoping the mechanism would come
out of the pen, its savage removal at least providing access
to the fluid. Instead, it came partway out, releasing no
fluid, and then would not retract for further attempts at
Trying to force it back in, I shoved that end of the pen hard
against a doorframe. The mechanism retracted abruptly, which
somehow caused the pen's contents to discharge from the brush
end in one maddening gloop. I chucked the thing, went to a
different pharmacy and bought an old-fashioned lippy-style
And now I report an encounter with a smelly. On Saturday a
friend gave me a bath bomb. (A bath bomb, for readers who do
not know, is a cake of salts and powdered chemicals, some
synthetic and some organic, and you put it in a hot bath for
no good reason, and there it dissolves.)
It was made by the Lush company and two of its ingredients
were "fizzy candy" and "golden glitter (polyethylene
terephthalate)", plus "golden lustre sparkle" which is
apparently different from golden glitter, or polyethylene
Yes, I know what you are thinking. Either of the following
two thoughts: why would you put lollies in your bath, and why
would you want to send glitter down the drain?
I asked myself those questions and then threw the bomb into
the nice hot water anyway. I cannot account for this episode,
except possibly I wanted rid of the bath bomb and this was
one sure way to that end.
It soon looked as if a citrus-cleaner factory had vomited
into the tub. Still, I clambered in, determined to luxuriate
with the latest copy of Australasian journalism's insider
magazine The Walkley.
The initial lurid orange foam subsided, leaving me in water
that looked as if I had peed in it. Quite a lot. I could see
the glitter, a shimmering menace beneath the surface. Under
my buttocks, a gritty sediment I did not inspect. I began to
sweat, not with heat but with anxiety. Clammy! Unclean!
How I pined for the ocean: clean, cold, exhilarating. I had
been in the sea only on Friday, during a mellow dusky
pink-grey winter sunset. By hoki that water was cold, and I
had loved it.
In my bomb bath, white polka dots with the consistency of
soggy bread now floated past. I looked around for ducks. I
could not concentrate on The Walkley and what it said about
the joys of social media. I rose, drained the tub and,