Friday, November 14, 2008


One rainy Friday afternoon, a constant stream of curious shoppers buzzed in and out of a bustling boutique inside Carousel Mall in Syracuse, New York.

“A wig shop?” on passerby, a middle-aged soccer mom with a graying pixie cut, asked her portly husband. “You don’t usually see a store like that in here.”

She stopped to admire the collection of the wigs in the front display case. Wigs featuring braids, day-glo Mohawks, sparkly hats, and mullets sat on a row of mannequin heads. “What do you think they’re made with?” her husband asked. “Probably gerbil or hamster hair I bet.”

Undeterred, the woman stepped inside the store. She passed by a rainbow Flock of Seagulls wig, and a Katie Holmes bob. Her husband parked himself on the bench outside. The saleswoman rushed to the soccer mom’s side. “Hi hon, how are you today? What are you in for? Would you like to try something new?”

“I’d love to try really long hair,” laughed the woman, eying a long strawberry-blonde wig. “How about something red?”

“You can try something long, but I think brown is more your color. Try it on, you’ll love it,” the saleswoman cooed as she led the woman to the makeshift salon in the back of the store.

The song “Bossy” by Kelis blasted over the sound system. In the back room a hodge-podge of beauty products, bandannas, and rhinestone clips lay scattered among the racks of mannequin heads, wigs, and sequined trucker hats. Kanekalon-braid hair lined the walls. Glass shelves strained under neutralizers, relaxers, and setting jam. Clear plastic tubs held brushes, combs, and curlers like candy. “I Heart Jesus” scarves hung near the door.

The saleswoman produced the brunette wig with a flourish as the woman perched high in the salon chair. She pulled a nylon skullcap on the woman’s head, and eased the wig on top. In a flurry of bobby pins, the saleswoman poked and prodded before wheeling the chair around to face the mirror.

The woman smiled, moved forward in the chair, and then reached up and gathered her into a ponytail. Five minutes and $30 later, the woman left the store and joined her husband giggling and flipping her hair. The saleswoman greeted the next customer, standing in the doorway.

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REVIEW: Dior or Die

Every makeup junkie knows the first rule of mascara: thou shalt not clump. I may have memorized the Ten Commandments of Makeup years ago, but unfortunately the beauty gods forgot to grace me with long luscious lashes. For years I tried everything from heated eye lash curlers and falsies, to tiny wands and “lengthening” mascara. Nothing worked. Frustrated and desperately seeking a way to play up my natural assets, I scoured the shelves of drugstores, beauty counters, and makeup mega shops. I researched, read reviews, and tried countless samples. I did my homework. My reward: I found the perfect mascara that meets my every need (and lifts my every lash) — Diorshow.

To say that this mascara attracts a cult-like following is an understatement. More than 1,800 fanatics posted their reviews of the product on Christian Dior’s Diorshow serves as the company’s original mascara ($24 and available in black, chestnut, plum, and azure blue). The formula lengthens even the shortest lashes by adding volume at the root. While some people complain that the mascara is too dry and flaky, I think that Diorshow’s twin mascara, Blackout (also $24), gives an extra ounce of drama. Use Diorshow the original during the day to keep things airy and light, and swipe on an extra coat of Blackout before heading out to knock ‘em dead.