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Car-care products don’t speak to me

“Ladiesssssss, are you tired of buying eyeliner, lipstick and so-called miracle creams that don’t live up to their promises? Have you had it with harsh abrasives that leave marks and discoloration?”

Me, too, which is why I’ve dreamed up a line of cosmetics that’s “strong enough for a muscle car, but made for a woman’s wheels.”

Good grief, alright, so I haven’t actually tacked my name onto a successful line of car-care products that talks directly to women in a language we can all understand, just yet … but I could. If I’m any example, there’s definitely a market for it.

I came to this conclusion when instead of investing in a box of hair color, I spent the cash on some car polish that promised to “breathe life into my old finish.” How could I resist? So I tried it on one of the guy’s cars in the parking lot here at work. (Shhhh, don’t tell). Well, believe it or not, the stuff removed so much of chalky-looking topcoat that the red primer underneath was showing through in spots. It was like a dye job gone horribly wrong. At least it was glistening.

It didn’t “restore the luster” like the label promised it would; unless the shine I was looking for was supposed to be that of bare metal.

When I related the story to one of the car-guy columnists back at the office, (not the car’s owner, shhhhhh), he said that’s what the product is supposed to do: remove the dull, old, oxidized paint to reveal the shine under the grime.

In girly-girl terms, it exfoliated the car.

So why didn’t the label just say that? (And why would I want to exfoliate my car in the first place?)

But just think of the gold mine in marketing car-care products in a female-friendly way.

Women of the non-car-chick variety want to baby their cars as much as the next girl, right? Well, maybe not, but they might with the right spin on the merchandise.

After all, cosmetics is a multibillion dollar industry, so why isn’t someone cashing in on this and offering polishes, waxes and glazes specifically geared to women, like me, who won’t bat a perfectly curled eyelash at dropping $20 every other week for the new must-have shade of lip gloss or eye shadow?

Most women drop wads of money on things that make us look better. I guarantee we — OK, I – would invest a considerable chunk of change on things that would make our cars look just as good.

I’m not talking about reinventing the wheel – these products are already on the automotive department shelves — just package ’em so that we know what they’re going to do for us … er, um, I mean our cars.

Here’s my idea for a shopping list:

Autobody Wash: A fragrant soap that’s gentle on cars, leaving dramatic color and shine … and is easy on manicured hands.

Exfoliators: A strong, but safe product that removes dirt buildup that otherwise makes your car look tired, old and washed-out.

Autobody Lotion: A soothing, protective after-wash coating that prevents chipping, peeling and prohibits the formation of age spots. (Rust, which is not a good shade on anyone.)

The first three items on the list should be offered like any other cosmetic: in trial-size bottles packaged in, ahem, “useful,” decorative bags. Maybe manufacturers could even throw in a bonus like …

Autobody Glitter: A high-shine polish that really restores a car’s “glow.”

Gloss: A head-turning chrome polish that makes reflective surfaces sparkle like they’re 10 years younger.

Eyeliner: Touch up the black trim on your car to make it fuller (and tear resistant).

Cover Up: Touch-up tubes for those nasty bumps and scratches you don’t want anyone to see.

Perfume: Never mind the tacky cardboard air fresheners that hang from your rearview mirror that smell like plastic pine trees or new leather. How about designer fragrances by Ralph Lauren, Elizabeth Arden and Alfred Sung?

That’s just for starters. Are you buying it? Would you buy it? Is there anything else you would like to see? And does anyone want to go into business with me?

Who knows, maybe I’ll soon be starring in my own cable TV infomerical saying, “Watch for my new line of car cosmetics available at an automotive department near you.”

Rhonda Wheeler is a journalist with Wheelbase Media, a worldwide supplier of automotive news, features and reviews. You can email her by logging on to www.wheelbasemedia.com and clicking the contact link.

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