Sephora’s mirrors are specifically designed to make you look horrible. If you disagree with me, you fall into one of three categories: a) You have perfect skin; b) You have never been inside of Sephora; or c) You work at Sephora. In either of these cases, I don’t trust you. Regardless of how much time you spent applying your makeup that morning, I guarantee that when you enter Sephora’s carefully curated lighting scheme, you will look crustier than you thought possible. I realize that this is intentional and virtually unavoidable, but I do try my best to avoid.
Each trip I take to Sephora goes something like this: I enter the store very quickly and attempt to paint as much intention on my face as possible to avoid being corralled by one of the workers. If I am corralled, I will absolutely not leave the store without spending at least $100; this is merely the honest truth. I like to give myself a fighting chance, so I walk with purpose. This continues until I find what I’m looking for, which is usually a section of any given brand of liquid lipsticks. Lipsticks are my go-to pick-me-up treat, so I test a few, keeping my eyes open for anyone attempting to corral me. If I see someone coming towards me, I run through a series of steps. First step: NEVER make eye contact. Do so and consider yourself corralled. Second step: Immediately relocate to another part of the store, but do so casually or they’ll think you stole something. In this scenario, I have relocated to the Tarte section because I like their BB Cream, and I have so many imperfections that I go through it rather quickly.
But I’ve made a fatal mistake: I’ve taken too long to scan the display to locate the BB Cream amongst the various moisturizers, tinted moisturizers, foundations, and other creams, and my hesitation has been spotted. I don’t notice in time, and one approaches me. The movement causes me to look up. We make eye contact. It’s all over. Now I’m holding a basket that Sheila handed me and we’re walking over to the Anastasia brow section because she thinks the brow pomade will look more natural on my blonde brows than the pencil I currently use. She’s obviously correct and I add it to my basket.
Now I look in the mirror as we pass by and I whisper my insecurities to Sheila because I realize she knows me better than I know myself. She leads me gently to try the new Nars foundation which will even out my skin tone, as long as I use the Benefit eye corrector for the dark circles that plague my bloodline. Sheila, I say as if we shared a plate of fries at lunch and as if she had spoken at my non-existent wedding, what are we going to do about my dry skin? My blackheads and huge pores? I begin to worry because the mirror has shown me that I do not hide these things as well as I had thought. Sheila soothes me by handing me various charcoal-based products and a moisturizer that makes me skin feel like it has drunken twelve bottles of the purest mountain water. Next we are picking out an eyeliner that won’t budge after I apply it, and then some anti-aging serum because like Sheila says, it doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side.
Sheila drops me off at the register and I go in for a hug, but she’s off making a new best friend whose wedding she will speak at and whose fries she will share. I sigh. I feel cold. A new lady rings me up at the register. I owe $198, and I dutifully hand over my Sephora card and insert my credit card into the chip reader. I take my things, and as I pass by the mirror, I look at my reflection and tell myself that next time I will look different in this mirror.
 Only SOME of the workers. I love some of you, but not the one who said that the Nars Deepthroat blush was my color – it wasn’t.
 If I am in an unfamiliar store this may go on for approximately three minutes.
 I bought foundation two weeks ago, but not this foundation, I tell myself.
 I don’t wear eyeliner.
 I won’t.