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Playing “beauty shop” is one of my favorite games.

Beauty shop, of course, is code for “I am too lazy to move so I am just going to pass out here while you rub lotion on my face and rake a comb through my hair. And yes, the combing hurts because you are little and don’t know what you are doing, but it is still better than the alternative, and by that I mean Monopoly.”

My eldest is 14 now. We still play “beauty shop.” But the game has changed.

“Do you see this?” barked my teen.

I was sitting on the lid of the toilet, my face covered in goop. I opened one eye to peeky position, just enough to see a sliver of vision.

“Do I see what?” I asked, spying a blurred puff. “My makeup brush?”

“Yup,” she said.

And without another word, she pitched the brush into the trash with a clang that I know the little snot found satisfying.

“What are you doing? I’ve had that makeup brush for 25 years,” I said, realizing as I said it this probably wasn’t something to brag about.

She ground exfoliating cream into my forehead, keeping any protests about jettisoned makeup brushes at bay. The cream contained a mixture of tiny pebbles, barbed wire and broken glass and was used to strip off my top layer like old wood furniture.

All I had done was ask the girl if I could borrow something for dry skin. A little lotion perhaps?

“Oh, I got you,” she said, springing up as if she had been waiting a long time for this request.

Her mama had a Come-To-Ulta moment and the child was not about to let it pass.

A minute later, I was getting the gravel treatment in a “this hurts me more than it hurts you, mom, but not really, I kind of love this” sort of way.

After the exfoliating, there was a facial cleanser, as if there was anything left to be cleansed. Then a cotton ball of something else was applied. Then the lotion I had originally asked for.

And when the kid was done … my face felt like butter, which I realize doesn’t sound great to have a face feel like butter, but trust me, it was really great.

We went to Ulta in the mall the next day. True, I sat on one of the hip, clear plastic chairs for most of our visit because my feet, legs and body were tired from living, but that didn’t stop me from feeling like a big deal hanging out in a giant makeup store like one of the cool kids.

As my daughter got lost among the aisles of masks and mascara, I sat holding my tiny bag. It contained a tube of lipstick and a single makeup brush.

I smiled to myself as I thought about how long I could make that brush last.

The game has changed, but it is still fun.

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Martha Petteys writes a weekly column for The Post-Star. Write to her at or visit her on Facebook.


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