One day, when I was in high school, I was in the bathroom, getting ready to head to the movies with my friends. My little brother watched me put on my makeup, carefully doing my eye shadow and mascara (I hadn’t yet gotten into liner or brows.)
He looked at me and said: “Why do you put that stuff on your face? It makes you look fake.”
My response was to push him out of the bathroom and close the door.
Honestly, at the time I didn’t have much of a response outside of “I’m supposed to, right?”
My relationship with all things cosmetic started at 16, formally. Even when many young girls start to experiment with makeup, digging into their mother’s stash, I was hooked on Lip Smackers. Specifically, the Dr. Pepper kind because it left a slight red on my lips that I liked. Other than that, I couldn’t be bothered.
My mother would let me have all of the neutral colored lip gloss I wanted. I stuck with browns, mostly. I couldn’t do foundation or anything till I was older, so I was a tomboy with great manicures and lip gloss. Interesting combo, right?
When I was able to do full faced looks, I did foundation and eye shadow. Blue, mostly, because it’s my favorite color. Now, most girls my age were doing a single line of white on their lids, lining their lips with black eye pencil, and wearing clear gloss. I thought that was odd, so I did my lid with blue (lid only, no highlight under the brow) with no eye liner. I did like mascara, though. And I stuck with brown lip glosses.
I can’t say, looking back on it, I had the most savvy makeup sense. But I was supposed to wear it, right? I’m a girl!
By the time I left for college, I was still struggling to keep my skin clear, so I would do full makeup only a few times a week, sticking with a little powder and gloss the majority of the time. I kept it simple, figuring less was more.
And then? I started working, and makeup became my livelihood. And my makeup routine? Took a left!
So, I went from next to nothing to full face and loud eye shadow colors. I discovered Urban Decay and bought as much product as my small paycheck would allow me. Lips still neutral, rarely did a lip liner unless I had a bright color on (never.)
And now? I am a manager, and I do makeup consultations all the time. I tell my clients that I am the laziest makeup artist I know, because my face routine is so low key. These days, foundation, powder (if I remember), liquid liner, brows, and mascara. Lip balm if I have it on me, bright lipstick if I find it in my bag. I do the extravagant eyes when I am headed to see my bosses or training.
With all this history, I still find it hard to answer why I put this stuff on my face.
The honest answer? I love the idea of what makeup can do. It can build someone’s confidence, change an outlook, or give another means of self expression. I tell people that anyone can learn how to do makeup; while many of my coworkers have been formally trained, I have no training outside of getting to work and realizing my look is NOT the best. Makeup isn’t an exact science, and it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be an obligation either. It should be fun, a means to express yourself in yet another way, to add to one’s uniqueness. And that’s pretty awesome.
Also? I love showing off some of the looks I come up with now, too. For fun: me in an awesome dark lipstick (Cargo Cosmetics Bordeaux), wearing my dearly departed specs:
This is how you’ll see me at work, most of the time.
But off the clock? Naked face and lip balm. Old habits, you understand. 🙂