Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Product Review - Seikisho Mask White

In the spirit of this blog's complete lack of a coherent theme, I would like to share my experience with
Seikisho Mask White. When you order stuff from Neiman Marcus online they make up for the tons of free stuff the people at their makeup counters normally throw into your bag by letting you choose three sample sized freebies from a relatively short list upon check out. I usually get whatever shampoo samples they have to take to the gym and then whatever isn't perfume. This time the whatever isn't perfume was Seikisho Mask White. If you follow the above link to the product you will see a picture of a white woman in the mask. Which is probably a good thing because I had no idea that this substance labeled "Mask White" would in fact be black. First, it is merely disconcerting to squish what looks like recently unearthed petroleum onto your fingers. Second, upon applying said mask I had a flashback to a very special episode of Gimme A Break in which Nell explains to Joey that wearing blackface while performing his tapdance routine to "Me and My Shadow" is horribly offensive. My next thought was, "Please don't let the house catch on fire for the next twenty minutes while this goo dries because I'm fairly sure that my merely exiting the house in this mask would violate someone's civil rights." What would possess a company to make such a mask? The company that makes Seikisho Mask White is Kose, which according to its website is a leading cosmetic company in Japan.
When I was a kid my mom had a tube of peel-off mask which smelled like lemon dish soap and probably was some misformulated batch of lemon dish soap repackaged and sold as a beauty product . . . like 3M developed the repositionable adhesive on the back of post-its from a failed foray into finding a more adhesive adhesive. Anywhoodles, Mom's lemon peel-off mask was clear, so you couldn't tell exactly where you'd already applied it to your face, nor how thickly you'd applied it. When it came to the fun part, peeling it off like a creature from the black, or in this case clear, lagoon, it was hard to see what patches you had failed to remove. This was particularly true around the hairline. So later that day, after your fantastic beauty routine made you feel 100% more pretty, oh so pretty, you'd be doing something you would otherwise not feel fit to attempt, like, say, talking to a cute boy. And at a particularly flirty moment you would attempt to flip your hair and your finger would get caught on what you might easily mistake for straw, but was in fact the dried, clear mask in your hair. There is no cool way to pull dried mask out of your hair. Think monkeys grooming one another. Then turn the monkey into a mortified preteen girl.
Flashforward to today: make the mask a color so you can see where you've applied it, see how thickly you've applied it, and see where it's still left on you . . . including your hair. But as Harry Chapin taught us, there are so many colors in the rainbow. Why black? Why not blue or purple or green?
Maybe someone thought, "Let's sell a product to rich white women (i.e. the consumer base of Neiman Marcus), which forces them to confront race." Ingenius. Or maybe it was just a placeholder color until someone tested it and enjoyed the moments when they looked like a racoon, a Guy Fawkes mask, Lenin, Groucho Marx. I know I certainly did.
Does my face look better? I dunno. Feels about the same. Maybe my pores are a bit more svelt. But that's not really the point, is it?

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