Sunday, April 6, 2008

ON OBSOLESCENCE









"The Cheshire Cat vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.”

***Lewis Carroll

"You can't always get what you want..."







*** Mick Jagger

HANK:
I read somewhere--I think it was The Economist or, okay, maybe Vogue-- that if your lipstick color is discontinued, vanishes from the shelves, you should consider yourself lucky, because the cosmetics industry is blasting you out of your rut. Because, it went on, no one should wear the same lipstick color for so long that it actually becomes obsolete. That it says more about you than it does about the lipstick.

Well, say what you will, cosmetics people. Say I'm stuck in my ways. Mired.

I say: Got RIO? My dear lipstick color, a wonderful brick red, not too bright, not orangey or bluey, not gunky or transparent, just solid and competent red with a dash of glamour. Why, why, why, Trish McEvoy, did you give it the heave-ho? When it happened, I called the Trish HQ, and ordered all the rest of the tubes that existed. And now I have a refrigerator full of RIO. (I got, um, a few more than I had actually expected, but I did need a lifetime supply. I figure my life can now go to about 2060.)

Anyway, then I heard Elizabeth Arden has discontinued Visible Difference. I haven't used that in years, but I still have a jar of it, and sometimes just take a whiff of the fragrance. And it brings back so many nice memories. We all swore by it in the 70's. And now, EA says, fuggedaboutit.
Some really great fabric softener came out a year or so ago, scented lavender and vanilla. I loved it. And I bought about five bottles of it on one trip to the grocery. My husband stopped in his tracks. Why on earth, he asked, do we need five bottles of fabric softener? Because, I said, I love this, and that means they are going to discontinue it soon.
Are we too set in our ways? Have any of your faves disappeared?
RO:
Some years ago I used to LOVE a Body Shop shampoo - I think it was Cocoanut Oil and they paired it with a Brazil Nut conditioner. Smelled heavenly and it made my hair look and feel fantastic. Went to buy it one day - boom, discontinued. I had them call every Body Shop on the east coast and I bought all of the giant sized bottles that I could get my hands on. I had it for about two years after they discontinued it. Every once in a while I go into a Body Shop to see if they've brought it back. It was the best.

I had a little hissy fit at the Gap last year...wanted another pair of the same style jeans I had bought not 60 days before and I was told they didn't make them anymore - as if I had tried to buy...I don't know..a freaking Edsel.

You were absolutely right to buy the fabric softener. I just bought 3 tubes of Touche Eclat concealer...YSL better not stop making that!Umm, do you think I can get that shampoo online..?

HALLIE:
My all time favorite scent came from a container of Arpege by Lanvin talcum powder. It was tangy and spicy and sexy and I loved it and the last speck of it is long gone. My husband, sweetheart that he is, a bottle of the perfume for me in a vintage perfume store--yes, they do exist. It's close, but it ain't the same.

I've, um, had the same tube of lipstick for years and years and years. On a whim (or maybe it was the two for one sale at Walgreen's) I shopped for a new tube a month or two ago. Remember the olden days, when you could try a lipstick at the Woolworth's counter? And remember how many tries it took to get just the right shade? Now you just have to imagine what will work, and forget trying to return a used tube. So I bought a skinny little tube, a kind of reddish terra cotta. It's okay, and occasionally I use it. But what is this with the tingling when you put it on? Is this supposed to make me feel like I got botoxed?? Or plumped? Minty-fresh lips is not what I crave. Am I imagining this??

ROBERTA:
As you may have noticed, I'm no expert on lipstick. Now if the Burt's Bees company ceases to manufacture lip balm, I will be in serious trouble. I'm an addict and I admit it. I have a tube in the bathroom, kitchen, office, car, purse, many of pants pockets. If I could find a lipstick that didn't make my lips feel like sandpaper, I'd love to look like Hank. (Only shorter and less stylish--well, you know what I mean!)

My other problem has to do with hair products. For 21 years I drove an hour and paid big bucks for a certain hair salon. Finally, I couldn't take it and made the switch to someone nearby with a sink in her basement. But my shampoo, conditioner, and styling goop all come from the previous place. I'm starting to panic as I move to my last bottles. I suppose I'm going to have to make the trip and slink back in disguise to buy up whatever's on their shelves...
HANK:
Hallie, sounds like you got the special so-called lip-plumper stuff? Yeah, I think some lipsticks have flavors, which I don't really understand. Others just have a weird scent, don't they? And tell us what you need, Roberta. The least I can do is go in undercover and get it for you! So how about you, dear JR readers--anything you're hoarding? Or worried about being discontinued? Or have you had your favorite stuff whisked out from under you?

7 comments:

Rosemary Harris said...

Hallie,
Do you mean you've never gone wild in a Sephora? You can try EVERYTHING. OK, when's your birthday? I'm taking you...

Susannah C said...

I am death to products -- whether foodstuffs or cosmetics/toiletries. If I like 'em, they will be around long enough for me to love them -- then, whisk -- they will be gone. The list is legion.

The recent roster includes Fresh's Fleurs de Chocolat cologne and Burt's Bees Marshmallow Vanishing Cream (a wonderful moisturizer) and Lavender Complexion Mist (a hydrant).

Not to mention my favorite Ariat slip-on dress mules, with a formal shape echoing English riding boots. I loved them, had them in four colors, wore them to shreds, then bang -- Ariat redid the line to make it a stubbier, cloggier, more juvenile look no longer workable with trouser suits.

You do not wish to recommend your favorite products to me, because if I try them and like them, they're toast.

Sheila Connolly said...

Don't laugh, but I'm hooked on Bonne Bell's Bubble Gum LipSmacker. I have tubes stashed in purses, in my desk, in my car. And, yes, when my local pharmacy was out, I went on-line and ordered a batch. Thing is, the stuff actually works (and it tastes like DoubleBubble).

I'm a third-generation Arpege person in my family, but the only place I've seen the real stuff in a while is in duty-free shops in Europe.

On the other hand, Elizabeth Arden still makes Eight-Hour Creme, which is my go-to salve for anything and everything. My grandmother remembered when it first came out, and I have a jar that was hers (the stuff doesn't change at all with time, which does make you wonder about it).

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Ro, great idea taking Hallie to Sephora. I remember my first time in that store--in Paris. Each of the clerks wore one black glove, and they would hold out the product on the glove for you to inspect it, like a jewel, before you tried it. It was all I could do to remain blase.

Susannah, you are one of the most uniquely elegant and stylish people I know--
maybe you should tell us your favoirte things so we can get on the bandwagon. Before they get discontinued, of course...

And Sheila, I LOVE Eight-hour Creme. I agree, it's weird that it's shelf life must be counted in millenia, but hey. It really works. And it has that one of a kind fragrance.

Becky Levine said...

Back to Basics Smoothing Elixir--for hair.

If you've ever seen a picture of me, you'll know that my hair is, well...very curly. (Actually, it's the straightest hair in my family, but that's not saying a lot). If I don't want, as one beauty-supply guy said, Roseanne-Roseanna-Danna hair, I need the perfect product. This was it. A couple of years ago...DISCONTINUED!

I bought up all the old bottles I could find online and, now, am struggling to find a decent replacement.

No, I don't like change. New is not always better.

My two-cent rant! Fun topic. :)

Rosemary Harris said...

Back in the day I went to Cannes twice a year for the video markets - not as glam as it sounds, they all smoke and the ceilings are very low - anyway, the company I worked for would rent an apartment for me. I loved it. I'd go to the market, buy flowers, etc. The first time I stayed there I made the mistake of putting my makeup bag on a counter in the bathroom. Next morning, I saw that all of my makeup had melted (didn't realize it was a heater.) I didn't even have a lipstick.
That day I had my first trip to Sephora (Rue D'Antibes?)
So Hank are you on a first name basis with all of the shopgirls in Paris??

AliasMo said...

I'm mourning my old blush - L'Oreal's "plume." The closest shade I've been able to find, by L'Oreal again, turns orange on my face.

There was a wondeful story a few years ago about a boy who had some condition that also made him severely allergic to most foods. There was one kind of protein blend he could tolerate, and when the company discontinued it, the factory workers volunteered to work an extra day every year to produce a year's supply of it for him. (This also involved meticulously cleaning all the machinery beforehand to remove traces of other products.) They did this for years until he died.

OK, now I feel like a whiney brat....

Mo