Making It All Up

13 Mar
Title: Audience of women applying makeup at le...

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I love make-up. Love love love it. Kevyn Aucoin is my hero (well, one of them anyway). I love to give people make-up makeovers, or simply  unsolicited advice on what would look better on them. I also own tons of make-up, which makes sense given my previous statements.

The ironic thing is, I hardly wear any.

On an average day I’m wearing blush and lipstick, and that’s only because it’s in the glove compartment in my car, so I can hastily pat it on while the light is red. I could blame it on time, but that wouldn’t be honest. What would be honest is to admit that I have a major complex about makeup.

My mother always told me that make-up is there to enhance beauty, not create it. I agree. But part of me feels like makeup is fake, and misleading. Maybe sometimes I try creating instead of enhancing. While I’m not a show stopping beauty, or even a conventional pretty, I would say that I’m decent looking. I don’t have any objectionable features, but they’re not anything to write home about. Putting on make-up makes me feel that I’m trying too hard, I’m making myself be something I’m not. And that putting on makeup announces to the world just how self-conscious I really am about my mediocrity.

I always swore I’d never be one of those women who can’t leave home without eye-liner. In the same breath I scorn women who go au natural and look like a limp dishrag. Of course there’s a large expanse in the two extremes, but I just can’t seem to reconcile them,I seem to, in the way I use my make up, but mentally I’m all over the place.

(Speaking of people who don’t wear any make-up and therefore look like they’ve been prepped and puttied by the mortician and just waiting for the beautician, you’re not being fair to people around you. You don’t have to look at yourself, so you don’t feel the wave of tiredness that washes over instantly, or the pain in a person’s gut when seeing you wondering how everything is doing at home. [note: this is not everyone who doesn’t wear make-up, some people are blessed with beautiful rosy complexion.])

Also, sometimes I feel like when I put on make-up, that this is the best I can look, and it’ll be just any old day. So when it comes to something special, like a wedding, a party, or even Shabbos, I want to look better, but I already look my best every day, there’s no upping the ante.  I figure then, if I scale back and minimize my application during the week, and then I can look better when it counts. 

Adding to my complex are two gorgeous friends of mine. I wasn’t second fiddle, I was third, and maybe to feel better about myself, I just didn’t compete. Interestingly enough, both of them wore ample make-up, but I felt that they have the beauty foundation, they weren’t trying to make it, they were it. No one would accuse them of looking good only because they’re wearing make-up.

Then there’s also a sense of pride when someone says, wow, you look great, you know they’re complimenting YOU, and not your make-up. You get to respond smarmily “Oh, I’m not even wearing any make-up”, just as you say “I never even took a lesson” when someone comments on your sketch, or voice. It’s you they like, not an accessorized, glamorized, new and improved, version of you. 

It sounds like I’m all against make-up and am only in it for the vanity, but it’s really a case of “The lady doth protest too much”. I love make-up! Make-up is an art, it’s transformative, physically and mentally. Its rainbows and expression, and talent. There’s so much technical skill, the results so pleasing you can’t refuse.

Both sides, back and forth, and my rationale telling me I’m an idiot because who cares…but when to wear make-up, how, how much… it’s too much for a girl to decide by herself.


Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Musings


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3 responses to “Making It All Up

  1. Princess Lea

    March 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    For a while I bought makeup, loving the colors, but rarely wore it. Then I told myself that I can’t buy a bunch of stuff at Sephora and never use it, so I started putting it on every day. (I got Kevin’s book, but I didn’t find enough technical tips in there. I was introduced to – she’s great).

    Besides for the perk that no one tells me how tired I look (I have hereditary dark circles) there is also the added benefit of respect. When you apply face paint, suddenly the masses behave themselves, even my siblings.

    With me, I don’t like to put on makeup and not look as though I’m wearing any. I want to wear MAKEUP. When someone compliments you, it’s really due to the help makeup gives. How many people compliment you without it on?

    I went to a simcha the other night, and one of the girls there is gorgeous even au naturale – but she would be off-the-charts stunning with some tinted moisturizer, gray eyeshadow, generous coats of mascara, and a little matte pink lipstick. How I itched to do her face.

  2. Premonitions of an Afterthought

    March 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    When I was single I wore very little makeup during the week- a little bronzer, some eyeliner and mascara. That was it. A special occasion during the week called for some neutral shadow. I never liked to look too overdone- and I was a tad nervous to take risks as a single girl (who’s the strange girlie in the teal shadow and purple mascara!?) Then I got married- and discovered that wigs without makeup makes one look washed out. My husband laughs at me when I apply my makeup and then march around in a snood. It does look kind of silly wearing all that shadow and lipstick without hair- but when the wig goes on I don’t look overdone at all! I love experimenting too- blending different shades etc. I got myself a Stila palette and I’m in love…..I guess the solution is to get comfortable with what you have. ‘Makeup wont change the basic features you’be been given- but well applied makeup is an art form that I’m sure you’re excellent at an people appreciate. It doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard-it looks like you care about your presentation and appearance! Maybe some concealer and bronzer during the week, a little liner and mascara- and then save the dramatic eyes and lips for special occasions?

  3. Boxed Whine

    March 19, 2011 at 2:52 am

    I loved Kevyn, do you remember his makeup line of a few years back? Crazy expensive….But there was this heavy looking cream foundation in a jar about the size of a MAC pigment jar. It looked very thick in the jar, but it went on so smooth and you needed so little. I have never found anything like it since….and no, you can’t say the same for MAC StudioTech.


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