“[Working at Sephora] is an intense, high-volume job, and the cast members do it in flat shoes with the grit of battlefield triage nurses. Their black ‘costumes’ are spattered with the gore of prosthetic skin tones, but their hands are steady. They are on the front line, in the trenches where Beauty is fought and won in the unending blitz of toxic urban stresses. They holler at one another in efficient emergency-room snippets, over the heads of college-age women in Ugg boots: ‘Hey, is there a kit that provides more contour product?’ ”

— From the New York Times column Critical Shopper, “All’s Fair in Beauty and War.”