the fashion chronicles: makeup

i don’t think i’ve ever worn makeup on a regular basis.  the closest thing might have been when i was student teaching and felt like makeup made me look just a wee bit older so the students might see me as an adult instead of a peer.  i’m pretty sure that’s the same makeup i still have in my makeup bag.  it’s a bit ancient.  but another thing i noticed in all of those fashion blogs is that everyone wears makeup. i have no interest in becoming a makeup junkie where i’m embarrassed to leave the house unless i have on mascara and lipstick, but i realized it would be nice to own some cosmetic products that i can use when i want to look just a bit more… polished.

but how in the world does one go about choosing makeup from the many options out there?  my first instinct was to go spend an hour or so at target, poring over the makeup labels, maybe scrounging through the sunday paper coupons from the library before i went to see if i could get some deals.  then i realized that maybe, since i apparently only buy makeup every 20 years or so, maybe i could justify buying quality makeup.  from a real makeup store. or at least a makeup counter.  where they could demo the stuff for me and i could see if i actually liked it before plunking down money for it.

i did some research online and narrowed the field to two choices.  i decided i’d give each of them a chance and pick my favorite.  i first went to an aveda salon that a friend used to work at.  it felt slightly more familiar and “safe” than any of the other options, plus, aveda seems to have good products and practices.  i explained to the makeup person there that i don’t usually wear makeup and i needed something i could put on fast (i am already always late every morning, this is not going to help!).  she used exactly 5 products on me:  tinted moisturizer, eye shadow, blush, lipstick and mascara.i realize it’s not obvious from this poorly-lit picture, but i felt very conspicuous in this makeup.  i felt like i was wearing m.a.k.e.u.p. and every time i glanced in the mirror, i felt like a clown.  or at least like an imposter.  like if anyone who usually sees me saw me they would think, “oh look, she’s wearing makeup today!”  this was not the effect i was hoping for.  i think the worst of it for me was the blush (pink! so very, very pink!) and the black mascara on the bottom lashes (i felt like i had spider legs emerging from my bottom eyelids).  i mentioned the whole makeup adventure to one or two friends that day and they assured me that it looked nice, but i was not thrilled.  was this the way i was always going to feel in makeup?  like a little girl who got into her mom’s makeup bag?

on the same night that i found the raspberry-colored born sandals, i got snagged by the estee lauder makeup counter lady who sat me down to tell me about some product they have that i swear is called “invisible fluid.”  she found the right color match for me and gave me a 10-day sample, and when i tried it the next day, it certainly did seem invisible!  the only thing i could see that it did was dim my freckles.  not an effect i want.  i like my freckles!

and so, without very high expectations, i booked an appointment with the other makeup line i’d chosen to compare to aveda–bare escentuals (terrible name, btw.  why the goofy spelling? they don’t have a perfume line. do i have to pronounce it like written, or can i just say, “essentials”?).  once again, i explained to the makeup consultant that i didn’t currently wear makeup and that i was looking for something to make me look a bit more polished.  this consultant spent over an hour making my face up, talking me through the process, answering my questions and asking for my preferences (did i want lipstick or lip gloss?  which of these eye shadow colors appealed?) and when i mentioned that the mascara and blush had made me feel clownish, she left the mascara off of my bottom lashes (soooo much better!) and also didn’t put any eyeliner on the bottom lid (something i’d never tried skipping before.  why not?).  she didn’t put pink blush on me, but did try something called “radiance” which is supposed to give me a “dewy glow” but which, as far as i can tell, mostly just sparkles a tiny bit when hit by sunshine.  but definitely not pink.  she had me go look in a natural lighted mirror a few times throughout the process and before she added the eyeshadow and lip gloss i could barely tell that she’d done anything.  i wondered if this was like the emperor’s new clothes.  but once she added the eyes and lips, i was amazed.  and i could see that all of the products she’d used on my face really did add just the exact amount of “polish” i was looking for without looking all made up.

i went ahead and bought the eyeshadow because i knew i loved that (and i wanted to see if i got the same “kapow!” effect using only the eyes).  as i was checking out, she signed me up for their “friends and benefits” program and hinted that if i decided to come back to buy any of the other products, i might want to go in and set my “personal sale date” before coming in (you get to pick one date out of the year when you get 15% off your entire purchase).  for the rest of the day, i kept sneaking peeks at myself in the mirror and smiling.  this was exactly what i’d been hoping for and i couldn’t quite believe i’d actually found it.  i tried the eye makeup alone the next few days and while it does do some of the “kapow” i decided i still wanted to be able to put on the whole face at least sometimes.  when i’m not already running super late.

today was my personal sale date.  i am embarrassingly happy about that.

let’s try this wardrobe breakdown thing:  shirt (picked up at a women’s retreat clothing swap a few years ago.  can’t remember the brand and don’t want to wake up mr. happy stuff to dig in the laundry pile.) :: skirt, h&m (thrifted) :: necklace (thrifted, found it today!  love the ombre effect!) :: shoes, dansko via e-bay

p.s. the fashion shots today were definitely better although i’m noticing that my legs are apparently about the same color as our fence…..  thanks for some great shooting, mr. happy stuff!

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