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THE COSMETICS CONSULTANT
In the early 2000's I spent two fabulous years in the cosmetics field, both as a Counter Manager for Clarins and a Beauty Sales Associate for Clinique. "Back in the day" when you worked for all the various lines which also included Estee Lauder, Lancome, and Borghese, (which was also sold piggyback at the Clarins counter, very pricey, high-end product), just to name a few. Whenever I look back on those days, it's with a smile because I find myself recalling how they would send all of us from time to time to these incredibly informative and FUN classes that were sometimes over an entire weekend, which meant they put us up in extremely posh hotels. After our classes at the end of the day, we would all go back to our shared rooms and have a girl's gabfest over what we had just learned and do makeovers on each other using the free (full size) samples we were gifted with. This period of my life was the creme-de-la-creme of all my experiences working in a retail environment.
My awesome take away from attending those classes was the chance to soak up a wealth of knowledge from all kinds of experts in the industry....not just about "makeup" and its application, but more importantly, skin care which is the focus of this article. I learned that proper skin care has to come FIRST. Because if not, (and trust me on this) virtually any makeup you use will not give you the desired look you want. Thanks be to God that HE blessed me with Scandinavian heritage, most of whom usually have amazingly great skin. Both my maternal grandmother and my mother had excellent skin well into their 80's, with very few wrinkles or blemishes of any kind. But not every woman lucks out the way I did, hitting the gene pool lottery of good skin. So, getting some first-hand knowledge of how to properly care for your particular skin type is essential. Let's start with the tweens and teens. I remember as a tween and a teen, my go-to products for skin care were.....drum roll, please.....Noxzema and Stridex medicated pads. Please understand, not EVERY girlfriend I had in my tweens or teens used these particular products. But at the time, it's what happened to work for me. I rarely had breakouts. If I did, it was usually at "that time of the month".
There have been so many great products that have emerged for tween and teen skin over the years. Proactive, Dermalogica, and Cetaphil just to name a few. Not to mention the countless natural/ organic ones to choose from such as Juice Beauty, Oy, and Earth 1st. There are so many, it can result in your trip to any department store cosmetics counter, drug store or even shopping online experience to become one huge head-spinning, mind-numbing adventure. When it comes to the tween and teen years, it's a really good idea (especially if there is a very severe case of acne going on), to consult the best dermatologist you can find and have a consultation. And don't fret, sometimes these consultations can be free. Doing this first gives you some real answers and a good place to start with what's really going on with your tween or teens skin. This will help take all the guesswork out of it so you can choose the products that are the most effective for their particular skin type. I strongly suggest this because if you go forth blindly trying "different products", trust me....you will end up extremely frustrated, not to mention wasting a whole lot of your time and money. And lastly but most importantly, it's during the tween and teen years that they tend to do the ONE thing that is the WORST thing for their skin....they go bake in the SUN either by the pool or at the beach.
And while they are basking in it, the thought of applying even the smallest dollop of sunscreen is usually not even a thought in their youthful minds. Why? Because they want to achieve that beautiful, golden tan. Forget about the red, inflamed, not to mention painful sunburn they will have later. The biggest culprit for wrinkles later on in our lives (not to mention skin cancer!) is sun exposure. Even the smallest amount of sun on an overcast day (without an application of at least an SPF 30 sunscreen) can do damage at the moment that won't show up for decades. Thankfully, as a teen, I HATED being in the sun. For that reason, I think it has helped me to have pretty darn good skin to this day. I was (and still am) like Gidget's best friend Larue from the old TV series.....I always go/went to either the pool or the beach covered from head to toe, huge sunglasses and large floppy hat included!! And also what I learned was that the application of a good quality sunscreen should actually begin when we are babies, not suddenly when we enter into our tween or teen years. So to all the parents of babies out there, heed my advice and start applying that sunscreen early on. Even if you're only running to the grocery store or Target on an overcast day!
As we age, so does our skin. So with every age and stage of our life, we have to reevaluate what skin care products are going to be the most effective for the type of skin we have at the time. I remember so many middle-aged women coming to my counter asking the same question, "what products do you have that will take away my wrinkles"? Well, I could have simply done what all the other sales associates would usually do, sell them the most expensive "wrinkle cream" that I had behind the counter in an attempt to make my sales quota for the day. But this was NOT the salesperson I ever was or wanted to be. What I did tell them was this: "Unfortunately there is NO cream, serum or lotion that I could sell to you that will completely TAKE AWAY your wrinkles...but what I can do is show you various skin care as well as makeup products that will diminish the look of those fine lines and wrinkles". And before I sold them anything, I would extol on the virtues of a good sunscreen. Nine times out of ten they bought one! Before I knew it, I had more and more people, both women AND men coming to see me at my counter. I ended up not just knowing them by their first names, but I ended up raising my sales quota by 50%!! Looking back on this experience, I truly believe God showed up every single time during those moments of truth with my customers. And in doing so, HE rewarded me, not just with a higher sales quota but more importantly, I had made a truthful, lasting connection with my customers.
Taking good care of our skin throughout our lives is important for our well being and can protect us to a certain extent from the elements (and free radicals) that continually break it down over time. But the truth is, and what we must always remember, is that the beauty of who we are cannot be found at any cosmetics counter. The beauty of everyone lies in the heart, soul, and spirit of who they were created to be. So while we are taking good care of our skin and choosing (or not) to use makeup to enhance it, if we happen to catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror, we must remember at that moment where our true beauty resides...
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