November 23, 2015 by Heather
I remember when I was in the seventh grade and first discovered lip gloss. I begged my mom to take me to Maurice’s to buy some, the same kind I’d seen a girl using at school. Oh how I wish I still had what was left of that tube my mom finally let me buy. Or, rather, finally bought for me. It was the goopiest, glitteriest, purple-est stuff that had ever been mixed together in the history of the world. No exaggeration there, I assure you. This glitter, it wasn’t just little shimmery particles to give off a subtle glow — it was the consistency of craft glitter — square chunks of shaved glass that made it really hard to rub my lips together so as to fully experience the glory of the gloss. I didn’t care. I looked and felt awesome. I can, literally, to this day, still smell that first tube of lip gloss.
Sometime after that, I decided to take my beauty routine to the next level. I had my purple lip gloss, now I needed purple blush and purple eyeshadow. I’m not sure why purple was the one-size-fits-all shade I’d decided on for my face, but try telling a 13 year-old that she can’t wear purple blush. My poor parents. I had this one English teacher back then, I think her name was Ms. Wright. She was a voluptuous woman who did not skimp on makeup. I remember thinking she was so glamorous, with the way her rouge convinced everyone she had chiseled cheek bones, the way her thick brown eyeliner went out a bit from her lid. Her lip liner was a completely different color than her lipstick. She was a pioneer in contouring, of this I am convinced.
I remember the first time I wore mascara. I’m pretty sure I stole my mom’s Great Lash and snuck it to my room. It’s a wonder I am able to use my eyeballs at all after that first attempt. I have two memories of it: blinking slowly and dramatically at myself in the mirror after I put it on and thinking I look so different, and then walking into the kitchen and both my parents being like “What is on your face?” My eyelids felt thick and heavy and I just remember really liking it. Every now and then, when the occasion calls for it, I will put on a few individual false eyelashes and I get that heavy-lidded feeling. It takes me back.
I had this awesome friend in junior high and high school, Laura Johnson (hi Laura!). I have some fun memories of her that mostly involve working in our school’s newsroom and barely being able to film anything — ever — due to the fact that we could not stop laughing. I’m sure our teacher also thought we were hilarious. Anyway. This one time, Laura came to class with a shiny red tube of very fancy tinted moisturizer by Benefit, called You Rebel. I remember her pulling it out of her purse and telling me about how her parents let her get it. I just nodded along when she talked about how it was lighter than actual foundation, like I knew exactly what she meant. I’m so glad your skin will finally be able to breathe, girl.
What’s the Covergirl foundation that comes (or used to come) in the triangular-shaped glass bottle? Classic Clean or something like that. Man, I used to smear that stuff all over my face in reckless abandon. I bet I had one heck of a makeup line, I have zero doubt in my mind about that.
I was a cheerleader in high school, and never was there a more important time for makeup than on game day. I would have Mom wake me up early, then use my hot rollers and spend many, many extra minutes on my makeup, particularly the eyeshadow portion. I pretty much always did something with blue, since our colors were red and blue (GO RAMS), and it never occurred to me that I maybe shouldn’t try to match my eye makeup to my uniform. I had this cream eyeshadow palette by Revlon that had three shades of blue and one random yellow color that I always thought was so weird to include. Some game days were hit-or-miss with the eye shadow, but sometimes — sometimes — I got it just right, you know what I’m saying? Like the dark blue was in precisely the right spot and I had really taken my time to blend it all together. It’s no wonder I was voted Most Spirited my senior year. It had everything to do with my meticulously applied blue eyeshadow, and nothing to do with the fact that I was the only senior cheerleader.
When I was in college, my family took a really wonderful trip over Christmas break to NYC and Washington, DC. I will always remember it, for a variety of reasons. One reason is because I first realized that filling in my eyebrows might be a good idea due to a makeup set purchased at the Sephora in Time’s Square. It was a holiday gift set by Smashbox that had, like, 4 things in it I really wanted and 1 thing I did not, that one thing being the eyebrow shadow. Four out of five ain’t bad, and I figured I could use the eyebrow stuff for something else. Back at the hotel I tried a little bit of it on my brows before I took a shower (more room for error that way), and it was like my face became a real face in that moment. Dramatic much? Perhaps. But to this day I maintain that the best way to define your whole face — to frame it, if you will — is to fill in your eyebrows in even the smallest way. Use a pencil, a gel, brow mascara, some dog poop, I don’t care. Just try darkening your brows a little. Does wonders.
For a little while in college I had a private room, so I was able to take all the time I wanted getting ready without the fear of someone else’s scrutiny. It’s embarrassing when someone knows it takes you a full 27 minutes to do your makeup, but when you’re the only one who knows, then it’s ok. You woke up like this. To this day I really enjoy the getting ready process, particularly when I have time to pay attention to what I’m doing and not rush, which, let’s face it, happens about once a year.
Andrew’s permanent position in my life was really solidified by two things — our wedding, and the one time when he bought me the Sephora Blockbuster Makeup Palette for Christmas. I believe we were engaged at the time. Anyway, this makeup palette had it all — something like 64 eyeshadows, 20 blushes, and 18 lipglosses. Because he gifted me this at one of those times when I didn’t have a roommate, I would spend no small amount of time getting ready, because it took a while to decide which of the five thousand eye shadows I wanted to wear. I loved that thing so much. It was massive.
I’ve always loved makeup, ever since that first gloopy tube of Maurice’s lip gloss. My mom is and always has been a natural beauty, not one to spend a long time glamming herself up or using much makeup. It’s not like I would sit on the bathroom sink and watch her put her face on. I’ve often wondered why I like it so much, if I’m a vain or shallow person. Makeup can be very deceptive and something people rely on, can’t leave the house without. I think I just enjoy the process of it, to be honest. Yes, the result of a little concealer and blush is a fabulous thing, but something about taking a few minutes, doing something to make yourself feel pretty and girlish, treating yourself gingerly… it’s luxurious, is it not?
My routine now is incredibly parred down from where it used to be. I don’t have time to linger over my collection and wonder Do I want to spend five years making a cat-eye today or just do some gold shadow? Oh no. These days, makeup is about making me look as less-dead as possible in the least amount of time. And, thankfully, I’m to the point in my life where I know what works and what doesn’t, so that saves a lot of time: tinted moisturizer to even it all out & provide SPF, concealer on blemishes and around the nose, bronzer under my cheekbones/sides of my face, a little bit of eyebrow pencil followed by brow mascara, and a couple coats of good mascara, because last year I made the awful mistake of buying a $26 tube of Dior mascara and can never go back. If I have the time, I really like doing some winged-out eyeliner. It takes a bit though, and lately I am enjoying the less-is-more approach. More times than not these days, I do the above routine and wear a bold lip, because it’s quick and statement-making and makes me feel womanly. I always thought I had a funny shaped mouth because my lips are crooked, but now I like defining it. Funny how these things work out.