Fashion Trends And Beauty Products Confuse The Hell Out Of Me

by Karen Johnson
Originally Published: 
Dilsad Senol / EyeEm / Getty Images

Oh, great. Another evite to a “Girls Night Out!” Come try our new products! Hair treatments! Nail wraps! Body wraps! Foot wraps! Candles! Oils! Natural chemical free cleaners! Shabby chic Bohemian antique-looking (but not really antique) home decor! AAAAAAH. This is when I just want to crawl under a blanket with a book and hide. Because, honestly, all of this girly stuff overwhelms me.

I’m the girl who walks into these events, at 37 years old, and says, Hi. I’m Karen. I don’t really wear makeup. I’ve never been inside a Sephora. I don’t color my hair. I don’t like shoe shopping. And the other day I had to google “Joanna Gaines” just so I could join conversations at school pick-up. Wanna be friends?

It’s awkward.

How did I get this way? I’m actually pretty girly in lots of ways. I like pink. And sparkle. I just tend to buy pink sparkle on clearance at Old Navy. Maybe I’m just annoyingly practical. And also incredibly lazy.

Anything I buy needs 800 justifications in my mind. Will I actually wear this shirt with at least three pairs of pants? And trying new stuff takes work. When I hear I need to give a “product” 30 days to see results, I’m like, are you serious? That’s like eight infinities. I’ll just stick with my knock-off Target brand Aveeno, thanks.

And the years go by. The crows feet around my eyes branch out. Gray hairs pop up now and then, and I pretend it’s just the lighting. Moms at school talk about Botox and I’m over here like, ummm, I think I put on mascara one day last week.

Soon it will be May and we will finally put the boots away and the flip-flops will re-emerge. Moms will be like ugggghhh I need a pedicure. Well, I get pedicures too. They’re called “painting my own toenails in my bathroom” on Saturday nights. There’s no sweet lady massaging my heels. Just me, myself, and some Wet ‘n Wild hot pink I stole from my daughter’s dresser. I mean, have I had a pedicure? Well, yeah. But only if it’s one of those “girls night out bring your own wine events”—THAT I’m all over.

So when I receive evites like these, I imagine someone’s going to try to peddle some $85 foot product. Hmmm… Sorry, lady. These crusty old heels are just going to have to pass. On the list of what I’ll spend $85 on, your coconut butter eucalyptus massaging foot rub is somewhere around #456.

And then there’s plastic wraps—the kind that go on your body. Plastic. To wrap around yourself. A good friend of mine sells these and she is one of my favorite people, so I thought, Okay. I’ll bite. I’ll support her business and try this out. What do I have to lose? She told me to leave it on for 45 minutes and afterwards, I’d have nice tight tummy skin that would mask the fact that I’ve had three 9 lb. babies. What?! That was going to be some miracle. But hey, let’s do it. What’s 45 minutes?

Well, I lasted 42 before ripping that shit off and tossing it in the trash. It was the longest, itchiest 42 minutes of my life, and it did not remove all traces of the giant babies I’d housed (and no, eating Doritos on the couch the whole time was NOT the reason.)

Fancy accessories absolutely baffle me. Every few years my MIL gets me a fancy new purse from the outlet store that I wear until it falls apart and drop on waaaaay too many public bathroom floors. I had a girlfriend once show me her new purse, and when she told me how much it cost, I had heart palpitations. Literally. In fact, I was nervous to be in the same room as this thing. I was certain I’d somehow trip and spill wine on it from across the room.

I. Don’t. Understand.

And as much as my late-30s plus 3 kids face suffers from my laziness and confusion about beauty products, my house doesn’t fare much better. We moved recently, so I decided now’s the time! I have spent years visiting friends’ houses with trendy barn wood picture frames and hand-blown glass vases, while I still rocked garage sale finds circa 2002. A new house means a new style.

But after finding myself wandering HomeGoods in dismay and mumbling incoherent sentences to myself like an old cat lady, I realized I needed help. I learned all sorts of new words and phrases like “texture” and “pattern” and “pop of color.” And, I have to say, after selling a kidney to pay for home decor designed to look “aged,” exactly one room in my house looks like a real live grownup lives here. Yay. I think?

I suppose it’s a step in the right direction as I finally move toward adulthood. I’ve spent my grownup years being so annoyingly practical. Three babies in five years meant cute wedge sandals were a dumb idea. Flip-flops ruled my feet. Pregnancy boobs + nursing boobs + post-nursing boobs led to sensible shirts that hid my sensible bras. SAHM life = sweats and a top-knot (and not because top-knots are trendy. Just because I have a lot of hair that’s unwashed.)

But now, I’m almost 38. I have no more babies (or even toddlers). Hours will pass during which no one climbs on me, asks me to wipe him or her, or spills juice on the rug. They are growing up. So maybe I will too? Maybe I will finally take the time to learn what the fuck shiplap is and whether I want it in my house? Or expand my makeup repertoire past Revlon eyeliner and mascara I bought with a CVS coupon?

We’ll see. For now, I am going to enjoy a hot coffee and put my feet up on my ottoman (I have an ottoman, guys!) and feel like a grownup. Wearing the slippers my kids gave me for Mothers Day in 2011. One step at a time, folks.

This article was originally published on