Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Than a Makeover at Darla's Glamour Place

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Than a Makeover at Darla's Glamour Place

Article excerpt

IN a suburban strip shopping center is a cosmetic studio where women come to buy a tube of lipstick and stay longer than they meant to.

On some days and nights, the place has the air of a neighborhood saloon, clients perched on stools, bellied up to the counter, as Darla mixes potions and powders, and plies her chief skill as a storyteller.

Darla's Place is how I think of it, though the store doesn't bear her name. I first came in by accident, thinking I was entering the barber shop next door. (That I frequent a barber shop for hair trims gives you some indication of my haphazard approach to a personal beauty regime). Seeing the jars of makeup in rainbow hues reflected in mirrors on every surface, I backtracked. "Wrong door," I mumbled. But Darla is a businesswoman who has an intuitive grasp of what people need, even if they don't know they need it. "Sit down here, honey. I'm not busy." She patted a stool. "You look tired." Too true, all 50 of my mirror images concurred. I plopped down. I 've always been a sucker for women who call me honey. As Darla assembled sponges and brushes, and lined up tiny samples of creams and lotions, she asked about a "daily facial cleansing program." "Soap," I had to admit. But sensing profound disappointment in the wordless shake of her head, I amended, "followed with moisturizer." Somehow it was decided that Darla would give me the benefit of her expertise in skin care. A makeover: The word held such promise. I made one weak protest: "I can't. I have to be someplace in an hour." "You'll be there, honey - and lookin' good," Darla promised. As she patted and wiped, I relaxed and let myself feel pampered, watching the window washer outside making rhythmic swipes up and down. "You've got nice eyes," Darla said. I sensed a "but" waiting in the wings, and sure enough, it came: "But you should highlight them more. …

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