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There Are No Universal Salves

My kids and I were visiting the highlights of New York City, so naturally we started our trip at the Glossier flagship store in SoHo.

This is not a store. Store So much for a national monument built to honor the brave few who fought to bring the Futurave Oil Serum Hybrid and Cloud Paint to the pale-cheeked and dehydrated masses. Since 2014, dewy and shiny devotees have sought out a holy place to pay homage to Universal Salve and Boy Brow Grooming Pomade. These and about 20 other small objects are bathed in soft pink light in a minimal white space of about 3,200 square feet, embodying the lofty purpose at the heart of the Glossier mission:

At Glossier, we create products inspired by real life. We believe beauty is about having fun, celebrating freedom and being present, because no matter where you are on your beauty journey — you look good.

The mirror in the Glossier flagship store will love a word.

Although my kids brought me here to celebrate independence, my personal beauty journey seems to have stalled in a back alley where unsightly red spots and dry lips have replaced plant-based, buttery moisture. has taken I weave my way through a crowd of young people to test the Ultralap. Cope, described as “blood orange red”. The Glossier website claims that wearing this lipstick feels like “pulling on buttery soft, well-loved cashmere sweatpants.” But applying it with a Q-Tip in these late-pandemic situations feels like eating from a buffet table set up in a biological weapons laboratory.

I expect to miraculously transform into a fresh-faced young man, but in the mirror I see an old crone with neon orange lips that are inexplicable.

“Oh Christ,” I mutter. I have one very long eyebrow – we’re talking. Ernest Borgnine Long now I’m laughing maniacally. The dewy babies swarm around me, eager for their turn in the mirror.

Forget that the entire Glossier product line can easily fit into a small tote bag. Forget that most of these kids have already bought these items online many times. The point is that See products in their native habitatBathed in soft pink light, women in pale pink jumpsuits patrol with bullets in hand, each ready to help us. Have more fun And Being more present.

I pick up a tube of on my birthday. It has a small sticker on one side with the words OUT OF STOCK written on it. I pick up another tube. out of stock.

Many of the 20 or so products available are out of stock.

The effect of this reduction is to endow the remaining few. In stock Items with an air of value and need. My older daughter chooses a tube of Lavender, the only fragrance available at the moment. We wonder how much Lavender It stinks. Its lavenderness begins to feel almost miraculous, like stumbling across an old canister of Glade carpet and room deodorizer spray from 1987 and blowing it into your lungs until you’re hammered on fumes.

I fish for my phone and pull up the Glossier store online. Everything is in stock. Later that day at Sephora down the block, the entire Glossier line is available. This supply chain crisis seems to be confined to 3,200 square feet of prime Soho real estate dedicated to celebrating these products and their remarkable contribution to human endeavour.

We have stumbled unwittingly into the center of a shrinking void, A serum desert. Products that were just a click away a few minutes ago are now inaccessible. The feeling spreads from one young face to another: there Are not Universal Sales! Life is short and brutish and stark, the glittering veils of eye-colour are few and far between

Now what once glowed with the rosy flush of youthful hope has assumed the pale pink of a faded heart that is unable to move on, knowing that the undetectable, elastic coverage will be replaced at a moment’s notice. I can be pulled out of one’s grasp.

Perhaps the national glittering monument was cleverly designed for this very purpose – to evoke feelings of awe and loss in all who enter. Guided by this shining lodestar of freedom, visitors are soon forced to think of an ancient world where dry skin and cracked elbows were everyday realities. With each growing out-of-stock sticker, young hearts must deal with a harsh truth: beauty was no About entertainment during the Middle Ages. During the Crusades, keeping dew often meant digging up weeds from a neighbor’s muddy field. Being killed by his bloodthirsty hunters. Surviving during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845 was a major challenge. For centuries before industrialization, most of your beauty journey consisted of soaking your gouty feet in a cold stream, dragging a rough stone over your elbows, or turning lard prematurely white. Temples and if you somehow succeeded in it. Looking goodOnly married you 20 years your senior to the rich old butcher who lived in a nearby village and spent his free time throwing an ax at a wall. Life was neither energizing. Neither Cruelty free!

In stark contrast to this overheated age of never-ending glamour, human existence has long been marked by sacrifice and drought, hardship and suffering, unwanted body hair and uncontrollable hives.

“Let’s go to the Lego flagship store now,” my younger daughter says as we walk out of Glossier. “There might be a line outside though.”

Heather Haverleski writes Polly’s advice column on Substack and is the author of four books, most recently the memoir “Foreland.”



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