Before Monica Barnett was a renowned style guru, she was a clueless college girl who didn’t know where to start in a department store’s beauty section! She recalls the story of her first beauty shopping spree…which led to somewhat catastrophic results! Read on to discover what happened….

“As I mentioned previously, I like to fashion myself a “low maintenance” chiquita thus my hair style is generally zesty and doesn’t require much daily work and I don’t do a ton of makeup either.

Hmmmm Beauty Adventure…..I had to think kinda hard to find something that would be worthy of sharing.

The year was 1990 and I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Go Blue!). I wasn’t a girly-girl at the time, didn’t do anything when it came to makeup, and barely found time/energy to apply moisturizer to my face. I ran track so my life was classes, track, dinner, occasionally work, and socialize. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I had the idea that I needed to look “older” and more like a woman. I was a fresh-faced girl who was just happy to be….well, no more!

I jumped on the bus to head to the local mall and I was determined to up-my-game. I made two stops: the beauty counter and then the skin care section. In hindsight, if I had done it the other way around, I suspect that this story wouldn’t have happened. Anyway, I went to the beauty counter and while secretly I think they always find something you “need”, I listened to everything the woman said. Clue number 1: I should have looked more closely at how crazy she looked. That said, she applied no less than 6 things on my face from foundation to blush to eyeshadow to mascara and showed me my reflection in the mirror. Clue number 2: the lighting in those department stores then was very dim and not true-telling. When I looked in the mirror, it looked very “different” but she assured me that I just needed to get used to it. SO I handed her my credit card and she handed me a bag.

Off to the skin care section. Big at the time was Clinique and I remember thinking of “fresh faced” when I thought of the brand so that’s where I started. The lady behind the counter saw me coming and either thought I had “mark” written all over my face, or was just concerned about the amount of crazy looking makeup all over my face. Without really looking at my skin, she made some immediate recommendations across a few lines that included something to prevent breakouts (which I had never had), remove makeup, that wouldn’t clog more pores since I did a lot of extracurricular activities, and to create a natural glow. She used everything on one side of my face and since it amounted to basically removing everything the other lady had just applied, I thought it looked great…and it was even tingling a bit!

I handed her my credit card and left with a bag the size of a small tote bag.

I got home and dumped the spoils of my trip on the bed, and just marveled at what my new “life” was going to be like. Fast forward to the following day, I used everything she gave me in the bathroom and while I wasn’t sure I did everything in the right order, I did it. My face was tingling. I headed back to my room and applied my new womanhood to my face. My roommates didn’t say anything to me…..but one of my best friends did! She looked at me as walked the hallway and said “What the hell did you do to your face dude?” I asked what she meant even though it was obvious I had all this crap on my face (and it hadn’t stopped tingling). She continued, “Dude, your face is like red and you’ve all this color crap on. You clearly have no idea how to apply makeup!” I told her I wasn’t a professional yet but it made me look more mature. Her response “It makes you look like a drunk clown.”

I ran back to my room, grabbed my shower caddy and headed to the bathroom with my girlfriend in tow. I washed off the makeup and looked at my face. It was splotchy and red. My girlfriend proceeded to berate me a little more and then helped me re-apply my makeup. It took so long.

I came back to the room after the day was over and threw everything out! It took too long to look “older”, my face was still tingling, people had commented throughout the day and none of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it all came off during track practice (and my coach asked me what was going on too).

I was done…until I got my credit card bill. While it was over twenty years ago, I swear it was like $384! I couldn’t imagine what I had purchased and had nothing to show for it! I was annoyed because I didn’t have the money to pay for the credit card.

Moral of the story — you have to be true to yourself. Listening to someone tell you what you are doesn’t work unless it actually resonates with you. I left that store happy because I had spent money (it creates an endorphin release!), but not fully sure it was “me” and after $384, I discovered it wasn’t.”