It’s Nice Not to Wear Makeup Sometimes

Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve me standing in the hallway outside the bathroom doorway, looking up at my mom as she did her makeup every day. It was the 80s, so the colors she used were bright; I distinctly remember fuschia and royal blue. I associate a lot about appearances with my mom. She has a very low self-esteem (I recently told her I liked her hair as it was growing longer, and she responded by saying she felt like a cow), was worried about how we made her look as kids, and threatened (probably not 100% seriously) to not let me walk in her wedding when I had a big zit when I was 11. I remember how deeply humiliating it was for her and her friend to spend so long fussing over it trying to pop it and make it go away. I didn’t think it should matter, I mean was it REALLY that big a deal? I’m your own family, Mom! But whether consciously or because she was just unknowingly perpetuating the pressures she felt growing up herself, one of the lessons she worked hard to teach me was that looks were Very Important.

School didn’t help either. I wore hand-me-downs and got made fun of constantly. I didn’t agree with their judgments  honestly, I think I was probably mentally healthier as a kid than I am now, but I was sick and tired of it enough that before 7th grade rolled around I was trying very hard to choose clothes that they couldn’t tease me for, and the All Black Era was ushered in. Then the teenage angst kicked in, and I specifically recall that unlike being an adult and sighing wistfully at a magazine ad thinking how nice it would be to look like that model, you wouldn’t just like to look that way, you think you NEED to look that way. These women are *everything* and you are *nothing.* Everything is a bigger deal when you’re younger.

But what happens when you grow up? You don’t take it quite as seriously – you at least become aware on a logical level that perfection isn’t even a thing, if not on an emotional one. But old habits die hard, especially when we’re surrounded by the same pressures we always were. And it’s that divide between logical and emotional that often needs to be addressed. I believe in taking pride in yourself and not being just gratuitously gross, but what’s all that gross about a natural face on an ordinary day? This sort of cultural assumption that it is is a big problem.

So I think it would be fantastic if every so often we could take a break from makeup to just plain get over ourselves. On days I’ve worn little enough that people at least thought I wasn’t wearing any, nobody died, or even insulted me. One day I even got a very nice and deliberate compliment from a coworker. Of course, I was not literally without makeup, I’m not there yet. But part of the reason for that is that I don’t like my skin, and one way to get better skin is to stop putting so much shit all over it. So stepping out of my comfort zone could have multiple benefits.

I think makeup is one really great method of artistic expression and some women really enjoy it. Sometimes I’m one of them. But when it becomes more of a chore than a joy, a feeling of obligation more than enhancement, then we need to take a step back a bit and put makeup in its place. We own it, it doesn’t own us. And the more we’re willing to let go the easier it will be for us to realize it.

And if anyone has any advice on helping my mom with her self-esteem, that would be great too.

Organizing Your Makeup – For the Average Person

I’m not a pro, and while I love to experiment once in a while, I really wouldn’t consider myself a makeup geek or fanatic in any way. I’m terrible at application and I’ve had the same basic routine for about 2 years with just a few tweeks here and there depending on my changing moods. So I really don’t have a lot of makeup, but being femme I still have enough to get REALLY messy really fast. I’m thinking most of you fit into this same category.
So when I got a little too frustrated by the little hurricane covering my dresser, I started looking up videos on how to organize it all. I should have expected that virtually all of these videos were geared towards makeup artists and fanatics, people with multiple huge eyeshadow palettes (DVD stackers are perfect for that!) and tackle boxes full of lipsticks.


Clearly, I have no need for this stuff. I won’t be running off to Walmart to buy a 3 foot high plastic set of drawers.
But it did give me some ideas, which I would like to pass on to you. Since my makeup collection is a whole lot smaller, I just made the storage smaller. I got some glasses out of the kitchen (hey, no spending!) of the size I felt was appropriate. They should be clear so you can see what’s inside them. In one of them I put all the tall skinny things, like mascara, lip gloss, and eyeliner. I may actually need to get a bit of a bigger glass for those. In another I put the flat things like eye shadows and small blushes. In a third I put bobby pins and little hair clips. You can also use a glass or pencil holder for your brushes if you don’t already use one. The bigger things, like foundation and powder stayed separate and on its own. There’s not much of it at all so it doesn’t matter.
Of all the things I organized in this way, they were all things that I use not necessarily every day, but on at least a weekly or so basis. All the rest was put in a little velvet bag and stuffed into the back of a drawer. You can use a makeup case like you probably already do because, duh. Don’t forget to go through this every once in a while for things that may be overdue for the trash, or ready to be included in your routine. Sometimes the best thing to do before makeup shopping in a store is shop in your own collection. It’s easy to forget all the stuff you have. The only things I haven’t included by now are the items I carry around with me which stay in my bag, which is stick foundation, eyeliner, and a lipstick.

It was kind of amazing how quick and easy it was. I’m almost feeling stupid now, but hey, what are you gonna do? I’m also thinking that it would be really cool if you could get your hands on some pretty little apothecary jars for this, and you could even put interesting if irrelevant labels on them, just because. And if they have lids, all the better if you need to travel.
So that should pretty much do you. If you have more things, use bigger containers, up to and including the aforementioned 3 foot high drawers. If you have less, your dresser is probably a lot cleaner than the rest of ours. I admire that.

Teacher’s pet 😛

Kat Von D Autograph Eyeliner and Benefit Play Sticks

You get what you pay for. And for the past little while I’ve been having a real bitch of a time covering up an irritated trouble spot on my face, a result of resting my hand there in my sleep. So this is why I decided it was time to step up my game and take a trip down to Sephora for some of the good stuff.
Sephora is like a little piece of heaven for makeup addicts. A very, very expensive little piece of heaven. The average item I looked at cost about 40$ as opposed to the usual drug store price of 13$.

The first thing I looked at of course was concealer. The sales girl first recommended Boi-ing by Benefit. My only real issue was that it came in a pot, and I prefer the cleanest possible application, something that requires minimal use of your fingers. So I started poking around a bit and eventually landed on Play Sticks, a cream to powder stick foundation. I’ve used this style of foundation before in a drug store brand, and I loved it. I also figured that since this was a high end brand, even a foundation would hide things better than my still-pretty-good drug store concealer. It would do the job of 3 things – foundation, concealer, and powder – so it would be a better deal and leave me with less junk on my face.
I was right. This makeup feels non-existent, and covers almost flawlessly with no effort at all. My skin hasn’t looked this good since I was 12. And contrary to what some others have found, on me this lasted ALL day. The only real drawback here is that there are a surprisingly limited number of shades, and I was worried that like many other foundations this one would end up looking weird and orange-y on me. When I first swiped it on it almost did. But while it’s still not a perfect match, it does blend quite well. As long as I remember to put it all over so I don’t have any weird white-ish patches, it looks quite seamless. If you’re considering buying this and the shades are holding you back, I urge you to test it out before making a decision.

After thoroughly boring Mike to within an inch of his life, I also walked out with Kat Von D’s Autograph eyeliner. This was more of an impulse buy, even though the Revlon liner I was using really had been bugging me. It smeared, smudged, faded, and wouldn’t go on evenly. It looked like crap from the get go. Its only real good point was that it had a felt tip, making application virtually idiot-proof. I had seen video reviews for the Kat Von D liner before, but let me tell you, they did not do justice to just how dramatic and precise this looks in person. The color payoff is amazing – this is the blackest black that was ever black. And while it doesn’t stay perfect all day, it comes pretty damn close when you leave it alone. Fading in particular is nil. Speaking of which, the negative? It’s incredibly UNwaterproof. It takes some time to dry – about a minute – and even then smudging is a bit of a risk if you rub your eyes or they start to water. And definitely don’t forget your umbrella if it rains.
So consider me sold. When I can afford it, I’m buying the good stuff, one or two products at a time.

Lisa Freemont Street

I know I’ve directed you to Lisa Freemont Street’s Youtube channel before, but I think she deserves some special attention here. As I start learning more about hair, Mike keeps suggesting that I make video tutorials to show people, but the thing is, almost everything I’ve learned I’ve learned from her, so they would just be mediocre copies of her amazing work. That, and I’m way too shy to be putting myself on video. Carefully selected stills only!

Lisa Freemont Street isn’t a trained stylist. She learned all this stuff on her own. It means she’s approaching this stuff the way we do and not as an expert, so she’s great at making things simple enough for even the most inept of us to understand. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve by watching these. You could even make yourself look like a vintage cartoon character! Oh, and she also has a tutorial for what I know you’ve all been dying to know… how to make pin curls! I love this woman!

Hair isn’t the only thing she’s good at. She also has all kinds of makeup tutorials, product reviews, and mini guides to all things vintage. I’ve been watching her videos for days now, and I intend to watch them all. I may have some good information for you here, but trust me, it’s nothing compared to this. Go to the source and check her out.