My first stop was at the Origins counter, which offered a palette of all-natural, botanical, chemical and paba-free, ophthalmology correct substances made from so many plant and oil seeds, just reading the bottles made me hungry.

"Looking for something?" asked a tall, tanned, perfectly coiffed man at the counter. I confess, I have a bit of a problem talking to men about things like hair and makeup. Nevermind that most of the famous makeup artists and hair stylists are men; I still talk in euphemisms to my gynecologist about my private parts. However, he was wearing a lab coat, so it made him look like a doctor. I figured I'd manage.

"I need something for my dark circles," I said, feeling like a junkie asking for a fix.

"Yes, I see. They are very bad," said Dr. Origins rubbing his perfectly manicured hands together. "You don’t have nearly enough coverage.”

I felt myself getting defensive. I wondered if Dr. Origins hair had a life of its own. It seemed very tall and demanding. I could imagine he'd upset short people if he sat in front of them at the movies with that hair. It's not like you could remove it, like you could a hat.

"For your skin tone, I don’t have anything that’s heavy enough. Has anyone ever told you, you have a lot of red in your skin?"

"I do?" I asked, incredulous. I hadn’t seen the sun in weeks.

"You need something with alphahydroxy acids to flake away some of that dead skin. It’s like a chemical peel in a bottle." He showed me a small vial that looked suspiciously like a glucose solution one would inject as life-saving precaution. “It’s a steal. Only $57.50 and believe me, you need it."

"I do?"

"Yes," he said grimly. "It’ll make all the difference. Just don't get any near your eyes."

"Or what?"

"Just don't do it. Unless vision isn't important to you."

"It is," I said. "I won't do it."


"You're sure I need this stuff?" I asked.

See for yourself, he said, drawing me toward the mirror on the counter like the male version of Queen Maleficent, with a doctor's coat, and big hair.

After staring at my flaky, red skin in a mirror that probably was rigged like one of those funhouse deals, I was convinced Dr. Origins was right. How could I have walked out of the house with scaling skin? A veritable reptile. No wonder my kids didn't want to be seen with me at the mall. I was Lizard Momma and nobody even told me! I handed him my American Express card.

As my new elixir was being packaged, I was informed that if I returned next week, I would receive a free full size lipstick in one of three new fabulous fall colors.

"I’ll be here," I assured Dr. Origins, as I sauntered off to the next counter seeking concealer of the right consistency.

Continued --->