PhotoConfession: I've had a love-hate relationship with cosmetics ever since that long-ago day my mother deemed me old enough to wear makeup. And, although it's embarrassing to admit now, I remember thinking how lucky I was to be a girl rather than a boy — after all, if a boy looks hideous, poor thing, it's not socially acceptable for him to camouflage his hideousness beneath layers of colored powders and goop.

It took me a few years to suspect maybe I should reverse that thought process: why is it socially acceptable for a boy to go out in bareface, but not a girl? What kind of stupid sexist double standard is that?

The kind I still fall for, apparently, because if you look at my byline photo it's spectacularly obvious I dolled up for it: no, my lips aren't really that dark, my eyelids aren't that shimmery and I don't naturally have that brown/black barrier line delineating my eyeballs from the rest of my face (which isn't really that smooth and shine-free).

Beauty 911

All this flashed through my mind in a millisecond as I checked out this press release produced by my colleagues at Consumer Reports: “Money-saving fixes to make makeup last longer.”

Five things on the list. Five perfectly cromulent pieces of advice: for example, if you suffer a “BEAUTY 911: Broken lipstick” (bold-print lettering lifted from the original), it tells you how to weld the broken pieces back into a single solid lipstick, which is undeniably less expensive than throwing the lipstick away and buying a new replacement.

As for tip number five — using hot water and your thumbnail to remove dried-hairspray clogs from a hairspray nozzle — not to brag or anything, but I figured that out before I was even old enough to drive. There's also advice on how to repair a cracked eyeshadow palette, rejuvenate a bottle of congealing nail polish and, for false-eyelash wearers, how to make single-use lashes last for multiple wearings.

Excellent money-saving tips, all of them. But you know what would save even more money? Not bothering with such cosmetics at all! At least not for everyday use — I still keep a stash of emergency coverup on hand, for those days when the God of Pimples bestows His unwanted blessings upon my face, and on special occasions I still like to doll up in fancy clothes and accessories (including cosmetics) -- but when we will dispense with the idea that (for example) my bare, ordinary eyelids are just not acceptable for public view unless they're coated with shimmery powders that cost more per ounce than pure silver bullion?

I don't know. Until then, however, I'm still going to wear makeup before allowing myself to be photographed in a professional context. And I'm still kind of annoyed with myself for this.

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