Chaos to Order: A Beauty Intervention

Posted November 27, 2012 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand

I recently started traveling again for my day job – as in air travel and hotel stays. My career took me on the road for the better part of twenty years, so one might conclude I mastered the art of ‘streamlining’ my packing. And, in some ways, I have. I created a standard work ‘uniform’ years ago that relies on shades of black (pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, etc.), great shoes, and great accessories.

BUT, when it comes to my beauty routine – I am the proverbial train-wreck, to the point my lotions and potion force me to “bag check” in all its glory and all that it means. (Extra wait time at both ends of the trip, extra charges for the checking offense, etc.)

To make matters worse, I force my pathetic packing skills on my colleagues. We typically try to arrive to our destination at the same time, so we save on transit costs. None of them are bag checkers, and often times most of them are men. They feign politeness, but I hear them internally roll their eyes when I announce I need to ‘pop by’ baggage claim.

Let me put it this way: I need to check a bag for a two-day trip this week. How humiliating is that?

Therefore, I am on a mission from God to streamline my beauty routine WITHOUT compromising my persnickety standards. Admittedly, I attempted this in the past, but my “consumer research” (i.e., product-junky status) prevented me from accomplishing my mission.

So, this week kicks-off my “beauty intervention” series: four weeks of gritty sacrifices, painful compromises, and gut-wrenching decisions to lighten my load (so to speak) with the end goal of obtaining ONE QUART SIZE ZIPLOC that passes the airport security test.

Today, I feel it’s best to start the series by admitting to what I actually travel with right now. (You know what they say – admitting you have a problem is the first step.) So, here goes –

  •  Gallon Ziploc bag #1: Hair care. Total product count4 (travel size). Included here are the usual suspects: shampoo, conditioner, thickening cream,and hair spray, not including brush and comb. For the record, I possess straight, flat, color-treated hair, which gets all the more flatter when I travel. Therefore, I favor Living Proof’s Full products, plus I just discovered their new Amp2 Instant Texture Volumizer, which hasn’t even made it into my luggage yet!

Right about now, some of you might wonder, “Why don’t you use the hair products the hotel provides?” To which I respond, “Are you out of your friggin’ mind? I spent years curating my collection, so I’m not about to use the God-knows-what generic strawberry-scented shampoo from the bathroom of some hotel chain!”  You see my dilemma and glimpse some of the gritty sacrifices that lay ahead for me.

  •  Gallon Ziploc #2: Skincare. Total product count – 11 ish (mostly travel size). This carefully crafted routine includes your typical cleanser, toner, and moisturizer (AM and PM, natch) PLUS a daily sunscreen, anti-aging serum, and a retinol product. Lest we forget, I must carry my eye cream, lip balm, hand cream, body cream, and exfoliator, sometimes even a hydrating mask.

Clearly, things start falling apart here. I hold certain skincare edicts as sacred; among those decrees exist the need to use one brand-specific skincare program. I’m a purist and believe (for the most part) brands create their products to work best with their other products.

Not to mention, when you start mixing and matching different skincare products/ brands, each with a variety of ingredients, you actually risk creating a chemical reaction on your skin, which further irritates its already irritated condition. Who needs that, I ask you?

  •  Finally, we come to Gallon Ziploc #3: Make-up. Total product count – 20 + (obviously, travel friendly). I know, insanity. My stash houses everything from an eye shadow base to three types of lash products (a primer, mascara #1, and mascara #2) and three forms of blush (cream, powder, stain). Don’t even ask about my shades and formulas of lip colors — of ALL MY HABITS, this one stands out as the very worst.

However, I feel the most confident about streamlining this debacle. I forced myself to simplify it before, so I know this effort falls into the realm of achievable.

Perhaps you noticed I overlooked the basics, like toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens solution, and the like. Believe it or not, these products comprise my final Ziploc container, which brings me to a grand total of 4 Ziplocs with more than 40 products. What’s truly frightening? I don’t consider myself a high-maintenance kind’a gal. I haven’ t even begun to regale you with my quirky eating habits, which prompt me to pack my own food, supplements, and vitamins; or the fact I run outdoors, hence the need for my running gear (oftentimes the cold weather kind), replete with shoes.

Frankly, I knew an intervention loomed on the horizon, but ‘fessing up to my current situation really drove the point home (no pun intended!). So, join me in my gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands as I strive to streamline my beauty routine by the end of this calendar year! My angst turns into your weekly comic relief.

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.