Monday, February 05, 2007


Today I gave myself a little present (in anticipation of my tax refund). I got a make-up lesson. It's something I've meant to do for some time. I never really learned how to put on make-up, especially eye make-up. The only person in our house who knew how to do it was Wendy and she was gone before I was old enough to really wear make-up. I did have a friend named Alina who was an artist. She had a huge eyeshadow collection and when I was in Junior High I would go to her house and she would play on my face. I remember once she did me all in gold tones. It was very striking. But it was all very dramatic and completely impractical. I wore the stuff every day in high school but it was just a little. I was mostly concerned with foundation. That I did get better at. Once I got to college I was sucked into tech theatre and anything extra went away. The nails got short and unpolished and the eye make-up disappeared entirely. Since then I have only worn make-up occasionally when I was going out. I stand there in front of the mirror, doing my best to follow vague instructions gleaned from books and magazines. The results are never satisfying. And I often think, "I should get someone to teach me how to do this". So today I did just that.

I went to the Dorit Baxter Day Spa. It is not a high end spa. This is immediately apparent when you enter. There are pitchers of lemon water but the furniture is a bit scruffy and there is a lack of embellishment. But the staff was friendly and I was not made to wait. The make-up artist was a good advertisement for spa services, her skin looked good and her hair was well styled. The effect was spoiled a bit by her leather pants but I could not hold it against her. She was also friendly and enthusiastic. She began by talking about eyebrow shape. She asked if I wanted her to go ahead and shape them. It was not included in the lesson and would be extra. I said sure, go ahead. You are now staring in disbelief at the screen. It's true, I have always strongly opposed such a procedure. Not on any moral grounds or out of doubt of its efficacy (I know it can have dramatic results) but because I know that once you start it is hard to stop. But I figured if I was going to do this I should go all the way. They will grow back and I may just let them go. We'll see.
She then moved on to cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Knowing that she would want to sell some product I told her I had some that I liked very much. I did not tell her that I make them myself. I suspect she would have disapproved.
We moved on to concealer and foundation. She then applied some blush. This is where the first surprise came. She picked a bronzer for the purpose. I would not have chosen it but it looked good. Then she proceeded to line and shade my eye. Her mantra is "fill in only what is missing". Therefore, if you have eyes that slope down you fill in at the top edge and sweep up. On the other hand, if you have a lot of crease don't fill that in. And that dear friends, is where I had been going wrong. Make-up books can only take you so far. They deal in generalities and cannot address your particular issue. They deal mostly with eye shape and not droop of lid or the problems of down-turned corners. So they advise medium base on the bottom part, dark color in the crease, and highlighter on top, then blend. This is does not work for me and is the reason I was never satisfied with my attempts. Now I know. Some mascara and my eye was all set. She then put on some lipstick. This was the next surprise. It was a browny color, again one I would not have chosen but it looked good. I was now ready for day.
In order to get upgrade me for the evening she added some shadow under the eye to give it a smokey look and increased the bronzer a bit. This is when I got the biggest surprise. She put on this bright red lipstick and a coat of clear gloss. And it looked great! It would never have occurred to me. I have pale skin and small lips and so I tend to go for lighter colors. But in combination with the heavier eye make-up and the bronzer made it possible. I couldn't go out in the day with those bright red lips but for an evening out they'd be fabulous. Who knew?
I managed to leave without buying anything though she did give me a list of what she had used.

I don't think that I'm going to start wearing make-up every day but it is nice to know that I can do it well when I want to. I tried to take a picture of myself when I got home but it didn't come out well. You'll just have to wait until our next night out to see the results of my lesson.


Epiphany Alone said...

That's neat! I can't wait to see.

I wear make up still, even though some days my only outings are to drop Lauren off at school and meet her at the bus stop. True, these days I don't bother with foundation. I apply a tinted moisturizer, some mascara, a little blush, and lip gloss (my current favorite is Sally Hansen, the teeth whitening touted in Allure it's vanilla with a hint of peppermint and provides great shine).

I totally agree with you regarding the magazine advice. I'd been reading for years that blondes MUST wear black mascara. Carmody on "What Not To Wear" advised that blue eyes are best offset with earthy shades. Brown mascara produces a much softer look.

Kicking N. Screaming said...

What a lovely thing to do for yourself. Lately I find myself thinking "oh, screw it." But there's a little nagging thought in the back of my head (the one with the bad haircut) telling me I should really put in some effort. I'm just so lazy.

karen said...

I can apply make-up to one half of my face very well. Regardless of which side I start on, the second half is never the same. I run out of patience, time, or talent; usually a combination of all three. The one thing I can reliably do pretty well is fill in my eyebrows when they fall out. This took a LONG time to figure out, because my eyebrows are not a standard color. The mystery of just what color my eyebrows are was solved by a very kind man at the Estee Lauder counter in Bloomingdale's, who declared my eyebrows green. Green? I was skeptical, but he was dead on...olive green eye pencils exactly match my brow color.