Northpark Mall in Dallas is where I spent much of my youth. I don't like to think of myself as a former mall rat so much as a fledgling consumer. I'd roll up with piecemeal monetary gifts from extended family members and saunter from Rampage to Neiman’s in my Skechers platform sneakers, ill-fitting Charlotte Russe top, and even iller-fitting cotton spandex shelf training bra. I was forever on the search for the next mass-produced symbol of my womanhood—be it in the 3-for-$5 barrette display at Gap or something from the bottom of a random bin at the Victoria’s Secret’s Semi-Annual Sale. Eleven was a weird year for me.
The twin pillars of the Mall Beauty Experience at the time were Bath & Body Works and The Body Shop. The former spoke to my youth with scented lotions, body sprays, and things that bubbled in the bath. Remember the Art Stuff line?—blueberry foam body wash, swirly strawberry hand lotion, frosty purple lip balm compacts, and cupcake-scented body splash with the tiny beads suspended throughout a mini Windex spray bottle.
But my interests weren’t all dessert-themed and pastel. No, I had layers. The Body Shop represented the woman I wanted to grow up to be, with its more mature, apothecary experience. There was mood lighting and things stored in jars. They had bath beads: scented, oil-filled gelatin balls which you’d choose one-by-one, dropping into a cellophane bag. Fancy.
I straddled both brands as I ventured into the path of womanhood. A complete transition to The Body Shop would be a major stepping stone, but Bath & Body Works had me hooked on one product in particular, for which its rival had no substitute. I needed my body glitter, and B&BW answered the call with a convenient, watermelon-scented, roll-on vial.
I wish I knew what happened to that little guy. I can remember it still going strong with about a third of the glitter goo left during Summer 2003. Whatever piece of furniture it fell behind effectively ended my body glitter habit for the next decade. Sure, I’ve dabbled in various shimmer lotion incarnations throughout the years, but found that they always lacked a certain sparkle that larger, shinier flecks supply.
You can imagine my delight this past week when I came across The Sparkler, a lightly scented body powder dispensed via atomizer, complete with teeny but magnificent flecks of real, honest-to-goodness glitter. And it’s from The Body Shop, which I hadn't visited since they discontinued bath beads. The finish is subtle, leaving a pretty constellation on your skin, and hair, and dress (and floor… and friends…) that catch the light at certain angles without smelling like a 6th grader's interpretation of watermelon. Because women don't sparkle with childish abandon; they sparkle with purpose.
Photographed by Tom Newton.