May I present to you,
I had my first experience as a personal shopper today. My friend needed a fashion intervention to prepare for his new life as a doctoral candidate in NYC, and after learning of my shopaholic tendencies, decided I was the one to help him out. When we walked into Menlo Park Mall, though, the first thing I did was make him promise not to let me buy anything. He could see it was killing me, though, so he eventually relented slightly and let me purchase one accessory: a beautiful pair of purple earrings. Then, as we were about to leave the mall, he pointed to Sephora and asked if I had ever been there. My negative response induced a “WHAT?” from him, and he said, “Come on, let me show you something.”
Within seconds of having walked in, two black women working in the front of the store complimented me first on my flower [hair accessory] (as did a cashier at Old Navy 😀 ) then on my hair itself and asked if I needed help finding anything. When I said it was my first time here, they both actually legitimately GASPED and one said “Girl. I’ma just let you walk around then.” The other asked my friend if he’d been there before, and when he said yes, she seemed delighted that he could help me. He wanted to show me a product he uses, and as we walked back there to look at it, an attractive black man with like, impeccable facial hair approached us to ask if we were looking for anything specific. When I said it was my first time here, and that I was feeling a little overwhelmed, he said [paraphrasing here], “Stop. There’s no need to be overwhelmed. This is what we’re going to do. *throws head back* *takes a very deep breath* Front of the store is the beauty studio where you can have your look done for a wedding or a formal, or just to try out day or night styles. To the right is women’s fragrances. To the left is men’s fragrances. In the center of the store is the makeup section, where you’ll find everything from liquid eyeliner to foundation to concealer to lip gloss to eye shadow. Then back this way we start to care about your skin itself, and we have products for dry skin, itchy skin, acne, oily skin, eczema, sun-damaged skin, [etc. etc.]. On the far side of the room is products for hair, frizzy hair, dry hair, color-treated hair *pauses to look at me* and voluminous hair. And in every section there will be someone to answer any questions you possibly have about any of our products. When you’re here a lot, it really doesn’t seem like much. But it’s your first time…”
So you may have gathered from yesterday’s post and/or from knowing me in real life, if you do, that I try to take very good care of my hair. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I baby it–I don’t wear protective styles or obsess about length retention–but I do sleep on a satin pillow and I do co-wash every day and I am conscious about the ingredients in the products I use. After years of abusing it, I try to spoil my hair and treat it to the finer things in life from time to time. So the first thing I did was run to the hair section. They carried a lot of Carol’s Daughters products, but even though I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Lisa Price (Carol’s daughter herself), I’m just not the BIGGEST fan of that company. Their products work, but don’t work wonders, and I’m always unsure whether they are actually worth the price. Nothing screamed out to me there. But I continued to peruse the hair care section and discovered they had an entire section of shelving dedicated to Ouidad. I’ve heard some really great things about this line, but never had an opportunity to try it. And then the most amazing thing happened:
They had TESTER BOTTLES. And one of them was for the leave-in conditioner.
I turned to my friend with a questioning look on my face, and he said I could go ahead and try it. The back of the bottle said it could be applied to wet or dry hair, so I figured what the heck, and squeezed a handful into my palm. It smelled heavenly. I glanced around somewhat self-consciously while I rubbed it between my palms, then I began to apply it to my hair, scrunching it into sections as quickly and hopefully-inconspicuously as I could. I asked my friend whether it had all gone in or if you could see any white stuff in my hair (a problem that has caused unfortunate instances with other products) and he said it was all gone and my hair looked shiny. So I waited a few minutes before putting my hands back in my hair to see how it felt, and MY CURLS HAVE NEVER BEEN SO MOISTURIZED. Granted, the product wasn’t fully dry yet, but I could tell right away that my hair loved this. AND the ingredients list didn’t contain anything scary! And did I mention the smell??? Everything about this product was loveLoveLOVE, so despite the kind of steep price ($22), I knew I had to have it.
I then thought about making my way into the makeup section, but decided I actually really and truly didn’t need fancy designer eye shadow before I fell in love with any color, and took my leave-in to the register. The cashier asked if I had their membership rewards card, and when I told her that I’d never been there before, she stopped, gave me a puzzled look, and said, “…That’s scary.” [Evidently I am the embodiment of the kind of woman they try to reach or something, Idk. But every clerk in the store seemed SHOCKED that I wasn’t a regular.] Well I know I’ll be coming back, so I got the rewards card, and I just walked out of the store with my hair looking shiny and smelling fabulous. I’m still a little overwhelmed, and feel like I could do some serious damage to my bank account there if I were unsupervised, but just…Sephora is a magical wonderful place.