In my early 20s I decided to head to a fancy cosmetics brand counter to score some new foundation. When you’re living exclusively on canned tuna, sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself, you know?
As the extremely helpful beauty attendant patted on one of the products she thought would be best for my skin, she made an innocent enough suggestion: “Maybe we should try a more dewy option next — that’s a bit better for older skin.”
Hold up a moment, lady. Did she just say older skin? Maybe she said ageing skin… No, no, she definitely said older. I was 22 years young, barely out of my teens and without many visible lines on my face. When I got home that day I analysed my supposedly prematurely haggard face in the mirror, wondering what the woman saw in order to hurl such an insult my way (regardless of how unintended it was).
I’ve never forgotten that comment. And I’m not alone. Here, 13 other women share the well-meaning beauty comments that were, well, downright offensive.
1. “It’s hard not to take offence when I get my makeup done and the makeup artist comments on how pale I am and reassures me that it can be ‘fixed up’. Last time it happened at one of those pop-up stalls where they bully you into getting your face did.”
2. “I was asked if I wanted Botox or lip injection while getting my legs lasered. I felt offended — it was like my lips were not good enough and needed to be retouched. But then I looked at the 22-year-old doing my legs and her lips looked really fake, so I said, ‘Not today, maybe next time’.”
Watch: Take a look at our mascara faces at their best. (Post continues after video.)
3. “Last time I had a bikini wax the lady commented that I was seizing up a lot, so I told her I hadn’t had a wax for a while. Her reply: ‘Yes, I can see that.’”
4. “I had a guy at a department store beauty counter say, ‘So, huge night out huh, babe?’ ‘No I went to bed at 9pm yesterday, actually.’ ‘Oh, well. Have I got some products for you then!’”