Thursday, 26 April 2007

#14 Arden Admirer?

OK. I might as well get it all out in the open. I don't like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Now, this is neither meant as a provocative outburst, nor as a privately-proud I want to be a black sheep kind of statement. The truth is, I'm flummoxed by its success. Utterly bamboozled. Year after year, there it is: in the Award Halls of Fame and on the tips of the expert tongues, packed in the bags of Beauty Directors and teetering atop the bestseller lists... it's the ultimate, omnipresent product and its popularity never wanes.

I, on the other hand, have a few rational reasons for not being sold on the subject. It has been a poetic eight years since I first tried the eight hour cream. I remember thinking that it was really gloopy - a good thing, because as far as balms are concerned, gloopiness is often in direct proportion to durability, but the problem was, I never went more than an hour without reapplying. It wasn't that it rubbed off, it was more a case of my lips chapping at an alarming rate when they weren't millimetrically wrapped up in the stuff - as though my skin was getting hooked and couldn't get by without regular top ups. The more I used, the more I seemed to need... and yet, my lips always seemed slightly sore and continually cracked. I put it down to a bad winter (it was spring) and dehydration (I was downing two litres a day). I was so determined not to malign the magnificent or to reach a conclusion that bordered on profane (if beauty mythology is anything to go by), that I just kept on using it. Day after day, week after week.

By the end of the affair my lips were a right old mess. I accepted the obvious. It just did not work for me. A make-up artist mate suggested I use the remainder as a gloss on my eyelids instead. 'Do you use it on the models?' I asked. Yes, he did, but conceded that it could sting if it accidentally migrated into the eyes. No surprise there, I thought, given that the product smells like my primary school sick-room - a powerful, medicinal pong.

Then, about a week later and during a sleepy, mid-afternoon smooch, Mr Malcontent pulled - nay, whiplashed - away from me and shot me a look of pure, eye-popping horror. 'What the hell is that on your lips?' he gasped. Not only had it failed to hit the sensorial spot, but apparently, it also tasted like lighter fluid (and 'Withnail, ahem, Mr Malcontent would know', I teased). Laughter aside, I knew he was right. So that was it. The final nail in this particular cosmetic coffin.

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