All That Glitters Is Not Gold (And Probably Sheds Microplastics)

The orange awning and silver letters beckon as I cross the strip mall parking lot. I seldom wear face makeup and feel self-conscious as the automatic doors to Ulta Beauty swoosh open to unleash the blazing fluorescence within. The store’s bright lights and shiny floors illuminate my peeling lips and unpainted fingernails. This is not a makeup counter or a pop-up boutique. This space is at least four times the size of a drugstore cosmetics section. Standing before the legion of backlit displays, I feel crusty. Someone will know I don’t moisturize regularly. I feel out of place, much as I do when I enter a church: the pious will detect my blasphemy. No one here would say it in such biblical terms, but a question I found in a vintage beauty compendium called The Westmore Beauty Book seems to float in the air:

49. Do you accept the fact that homeliness 
is virtually nothing more than a bad habit?