Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
It was a case of cleanup on aisle five, except nothing had spilled on the floor. The cleanup in question - not on ground level, but a little over five feet above - had yet to occur.
It happens this time every year. The calendar changes over, I look into the mirror and see one thing: Blah (with a capital B). I long for the glow of springtime - the essence of youth - and I know exactly where to find it: in the jars, tubes, tubs, bottles, pumps and brushes on aisle five.
I stared at the shelves of creams, lotions, gels, serums, cleansers and elixirs that are the guts of aisle five. They sat before me making promises and declarations tempting enough to make any girl's head spin.
Did I want to minimize fine lines, wrinkles or pores? Was my skin as even, smooth and bright as it could be? Were my eyes sagging, dragging or bagging? Did I need to illuminate, exfoliate, rejuvenate, radiate, hydrate or all of the above?
The choices were dizzying. I could opt for luminous clarity, invigorating clarity or refined clarity. One thing was clear: I needed clarity.
One product promised to pulse away puffiness. Another to revitalize. A third claimed to contain the recipe of youth. (There's a cookbook I'd buy in a heartbeat.)
Another described methods for minimizing age spots. (Stay out of the sun.) There were wrinkle fillers, wrinkle eliminators and products that promised to ease away the wrinkles in three easy steps.
One cream was designed specifically to increase surface cell turnover rate (impressive terminology). I'm embarrassed to admit I'd never even pondered the overall speed of my surface cell turnover rate - before aisle five. I wondered how I would measure that?
By this time I'd already spent my fair share of minutes on aisle five. The clock was ticking - in more ways than one. The longer I stayed in the aisle, the bigger risk I took of being seen. Laxative section, feminine hygiene display, anti-aging aisle, bathroom stall - some places you'd rather have to yourself.
So, with my head abuzz with the buzz words of aisle five, I grabbed a box promising to be an age-perfect, potent hydra-nutrition, antisagging, ultra-nourishing, moisturizing, complexion-equalizing, anti-wrinkle, firming, dermo-expertise, scientifically-advanced, proven and professional, non-greasy, fast-absorbing, blocker of DNA damaging rays, complete innovative daily skin care treatment system. Whew!
If the stuff inside the box does half of what it claims, I'll go from blah to ta-da faster than you can say wrinkle-free.
The reality, though, won't be so dramatic. Those of us who have transitioned from anti-acne to anti-aging products realize a box making that many promises probably isn't one to be trusted. Besides, the term "anti-aging" is an oxymoron, don't you think? (With the emphasis on moron, but you didn't hear that from me.) Despite what the skin care industry would have us believe, youth in a jar, tube or box doesn't exist.
At least I'm not buying it. Well, not anymore. Because I guess technically I already did - buy the box full of promises. Right there, on aisle five.
Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication." is collecting fans on Facebook @ Slices of Life. E-mail her at
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