During the 2000s, we told ourselves we were grown up. We’d moved passed our '90s selves, revelled in the majesty of being in our 20s (or late teens, or just 20 in general), and watched "Laguna Beach" religiously, telling ourselves we were way chicer than Kristen.
But we were wrong. Wrong and naive and innocent and trying our best. We’d given up tanning, but slathered ourselves in tanning lotion. We’d graduated from Bonne Bell, but drowned ourselves in various celebrity perfumes (or whatever you could score at Abercrombie). We popped our collars. (I know that has nothing to do with anything, but it’s important to remember that we were all actual disasters.)
And now, I am going to force us to reflect on it all. Here is who we once were, and who we will always be. (Because I’m sorry, you can’t escape the past.)
1. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer
I understand this product exists, and to those who still use it I say bless. But some of us had to stop. Some of us had no idea how to use a tanning lotion responsibly and usually followed up application with the putting-on a white polo top that was quickly ruined, or by sitting on one’s white duvet. Some of us also managed to look tanned only where we could physically reach, or tanned up to our faces, or worse: like we had very, very orange palms (since we didn’t know how to use bronzer responsibly). Some of us are also so naturally pale we’re translucent, so any/all comments about a faux tan were limited to, "You look ... tanned?"
To be honest, I wasn’t sure either.
2. Bonne Bell Powder Bronze
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my time, but probably one of the biggest was the extensive application of bronzer in hopes it would transform me into a sun kissed-looking Mischa Barton. (Spoiler alert: It did not.) Instead, without a proper makeup brush and no idea how to function in the world (like, in general), I morphed into a 21-year-old with really uneven-looking contouring, concentrated mainly on my nose and cheekbones.
Fortunately, nobody said anything because my friends were all doing the same thing, contrasting our fake, powdered tans with near-white concealer, officially creating one of the only beauty looks guaranteed never, ever to come back. [Praying Emoji hands]
3. Banana Boat Deep Tanning Oils
I blame "Laguna Beach." Knee deep into the love triangle of Kristen, Lauren, and Stephen Colletti (I still love you, BTW), some of us (me) tried to mimic the "California glow" of these teenagers who lived on the beach and wore flip-flops daily. Unfortunately, some of us (also me) did not understand that if you sunburn after 15 minutes in the car, you will never, ever be tanned (ever), and if you are, it is because you have sustained a sunburn from which you will never truly psychologically recover.
Enter: Banana Boat Deep Tanning Oils, and the reason many of us (hi again) are desperately trying to offset skin damage by over-moisturizing and draping ourselves in large duvets before going outside. The 2000s: a decade of idiocy.
4. Abercrombie & Fitch, "Fierce"
I know this was a men’s cologne, but so many of us went into these god-forsaken stores, spritzed ourselves/anything we bought with "hot guy smell" (help) and spent the rest of the day telling ourselves it wasn’t weird that everything at A&F fit so small. If the scent of the 2000s could be bottled, this would be it. Cologne-induced migraines be damned.
5. Paris Hilton, "Paris Hilton"
But now allow me to stand up and declare the most obvious thing in the world: this perfume was amazing. It was better than Britney Spears’, better than Ralph, and did a really good job of making anyone who wore it feel like a million dollars (and/or however much the Hilton family is worth).
I hate the versions of us who threw it away, thinking we were over Paris, celebrity-endorsed perfumes, or vowed we had a new "signature scent." We didn’t deserve it. We don’t deserve it. How dare we?
6. Victoria’s Secret Strawberries & Champagne Body Mist
Hands up if you also felt very grown up walking into Victoria’s Secret, confidently greeting the staff, and picking up your very own bottle of This Product That You Felt Made You Smell Like A Grown-Up.
"It’s Victoria’s Secret," you would say, flipping your hair self-assuredly, despite no one asking us what scent we were wearing. "It’s like, a mist."
Then you would point out that it made you a little bit shimmery, while telling yourself you were not allergic to the corresponding show gel despite it being very strong and you breaking out as part of a reaction. Because grown-ups are not allergic to anything, you were sure of it, Anne.
7. Lancome Juicy Tubes
It’s as simple as this: obviously we weren’t about to leave our affinity for lipgloss in the past and/or the '90s, but we wanted to graduate to something next level.
Enter: Lancome Juicy Tubes, that provided a necessary amount of scent/colour/gloss, while also providing a brand name. Like, a fancy brand name. But also not so fancy that when we lost them — which we inevitably did, almost weekly — we’d need to have a cry. The best of both worlds, thy name is 2000-2009.
8. Manic Panic
Because some of us weren’t allowed to use Manic Panic (particularly during Good Charlotte’s heyday when it really counted for something), we applied it for our friends, telling ourselves that living vicariously through another person was just as good as having your own blue hair.
It wasn’t, but that’s where 2015 stepped in: over one decade later, we found ourselves getting serious about weird hair colour with an advent of pastels that have only recently begun to chill out a bit. Although, admittedly, they didn’t come close to the glamour of painting someone else’s hair in their parents’ basement while repeatedly asking, "Are you sure you’re allowed?" (Not usually, no.)
9. Jessica Simpson’s Dessert Beauty Line
Admittedly, I did not own this, nor do I know anybody who did. But I remember it being everywhere. I remember seeing it on television, in magazines, in stores and on signs in stores. Then, when Cake Beauty launched a few years later, I confused the two, making a massive mistake. And I am sharing this with you because I know I’m not alone. And also because I would probably buy this now if given the chance. Thank you.
10. Bath & Body Works Peach Moisturizer
Look. Let’s keep it simple. If you don’t include a peach-scented something on a list of 2000s-era round-ups, you are doing a disservice to your past and to your present. So here we go: Bath & Body Works’ discontinued peach moisturizer. A step up from Calgon’s '90s (and also discontinued) peach equivalent, but not enough to stand on its own two feet in this, The Year Of Our Lord 2016. But we tried, oh how we tried. [Removes hand from bottle: "I’ll never let go, Jack, I promise."] And scene.