August 22, 2006

Where Instinct Came to Die

I don't know squat about makeup. The only purchases I make with any kind of authority are ivory face powder and brown/black mascara. Everything else in my makeup kit got their by chance or thievery. I found my favorite lipstick (an now only lipstick) in a bathroom of my college dorm 7 years ago. My eyeshadows were found in the bathroom drawer over 10 years ago of a sister who had left for college. My concealer was stolen from my mom long back and a small blush compact was a stocking stuffer from Santa (or more likely his sympathetic wife, bless her soul). As a result I have a bizarre color palate available for my makeup routine and often leave the house on Sundays looking like a hussy in training.

It's not that I'm too cheap to buy my own - I read any helpful tidbits about "my colors" or shades that are "in" this season. But it doesn't stick and when I arrive at the Target makeup section I freeze. The other women carefully compare and select products from the walls of colors and consistencies like they've been programed for glamour. But there are too many shades, too many products, and too many chances to end up looking like a Jon Benet so I just grab my trusty old Maybelline brown/black mascara and run.

It's the same with perfumes. They say that every scent smells different on people and that everyone perceives odor differently. So even though I may think I smell like heavenly rosewater, the poor guy sitting next to me on a long metro-ride could very easily smell guano. As a result I'm afraid to wear any scent at all. My deodorant has to be non-scented and I keep my shampoos as neutral as possible. I don't want to be the person who is making everyone else gag into their morning newspapers.

What is the secret? I see women wearing very lovely shades of makeup daily and I know that people will pay top dollar for a "good" scent. I can't help but feel like they all got some lesson I missed back in the day. I've read lots of makeup books and try and keep myself fresh stylish, but when it comes to putting on a face for a night out my S.O.P. is to just layer the powder a little heavier, put on an extra coat of mascara and smudge whatever lipstick color my baby hasn't eaten on my checks and mouth. I do have somewhat of a collection of sparkly eyeshadows but I've heard that sparkles are out of fashion this year so they are useless to me.

What's everyone's secret? How do you pick a "good" scent or choose the perfect lipcolor? I try all the tricks like putting lipstick on your wrist to see what it would look like on your skin but I always end up looking like I've just attempted suicide and leave empty handed with red gashes of color up and down my wrists. One day I went shopping for perfume and decided I wouldn't come home without my perfect scent. I spent about two hours inhaling perfumes at a fancy department store and my poor nose hasn't been the same since. I was unable to find a scent and unable to get the stink of essential oils out of my nose for days. I've even had a makeover before a dance once but the beautician decided to make it her personal Everest to conceal my thousands of teenage blemishes. My face felt like it had been cemented and I spent most of the dance in the bathroom trying to scrape the stuff off and find myself underneath.

We give instinct too much credit. There is no little voice inside of me telling me how to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex, no strong urge to clean and manage my household and reproduction is just plain scary. My instincts when I arrive at a make-up counter are just to run. I see the beautifully coifed and painted women standing idly behind them sizing up my clumpy mascara with bored expressions and I rush nervously by before they can realize that I'm a make-up failure.

So tell me, is this something I need to be continually pursing or can I just get by on my "I'm-a-stay-at-hom-mom-so-deal-with-it" mentality?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

...maybe your instincts are good, and they are telling you not to slather your skin with a lot of goop just because it's there...eh?

Kristine said...

Funny to see this in writing. My makeup routine is so simple, sometimes I laugh that I even take the 5 minutes to put anything on my face at all. And those counters at the department store? They hold no appeal at all. Glad to know I'm not alone!

Torchness said...

Probably the best thing to do is schedule a makeover appointment with one of the lower maintenence counters (Clinque might be good, lancome is too), tell them what you want, they'll show you how to put it on, and just buy everything they tell you. Then, you can just order refills online forever after and never have to go there again!

a commenter said...

My husband says that women think that men like a made-up face but they really prefer natural. What does Adam say? Would he tell you if you did stink?

Sarah said...

Adam claims he can't tell when I'm wearing makeup and when I'm not (which infuriates me of course because I put so much worry into it). Which means of course that I should just forget about the whole thing but I'm awfully tempted to take Torchness's advice and just have Clinique take over.

But yes, Adam would definitly (and has in the past) let me know when I look like a clown. As far as the stink, I'm pretty good at staying neutral scented so he's not had to "go there." Gotta love the guy.

adamflake said...

i beg to differ. sweetie, you know i love you, but your feet . . .

as for the makeup thing: it's not that i don't like you in make up. it's just that i like you just as well without, so why bother? unless it's not me you are trying to impress. wait a second...

Silly Marie said...

My makeup (if I wear any at all) entails mascara on my top eyelashes and chapstick. On a "dressy" occasion, I might venture some neutral eye shadows and a tiny bit of color coming from lip liner and chapstick.

I stopped wearing a lot of make up when I started dating my husband. He hates lipstick and eyeliner. And I hate the feel of anything more than facial lotion covering my face. Plus it's sooo much cheaper when you're not having to buy make up and lip glosses and stuff all the time.

I generally think that most women err when they use too much make up rather than too little. Same with perfume. If I want a "smell" I'll use scented hand lotion rather than a perfume. I don't know if I've ever smelled a perfume perfume that wasn't offensive. Body spray is ok. I guess that's my 2 cents on the subject.

Rachel said...

I can't resist giving make-up tips... well any kind of tips really. Scents: Decide what kinds of smells you like. Flowery? Earthy? Fruity? That will narrow it down some. Just get scents that you are attracted to. Make-up: Just get a tinted face lotion and powder it lightly for everydays. That will look the most natural. Plus if you get on with sunblock, that will help protect your skin. Stick to eyeshadow sets in soft and light colors. DON'T mix the color sets or buy individual colors if you feel unsure of your color skills. Only use what came in the little case together. When one or two of the colors runs out, throw it away and get a new one. Look for sets with a light, medium and medium dark shade. I am assuming you have fair skin (ivory foundation) Try a set that has browns, purples, pinks, and ivorys. Don't get blush that looks brownish; it will make your skin look dirty. Get a rosy pink color, the lightest pink you can find. Get rid of lipstick all together. Old ladies where lipstick... and girls going to fancy parties. Stick to a tinted gloss if you want color on your lips. Lastly, I usually stick to one brand. The colors are made for eachother and then I don't have to be overwhelmed by the rows and rows of options. My pick is Cover Girl colors.

Angela m. said...

I have never thought, "Wow, Sarah should really think about making up that face." Lucky you with your natural beauty!

I tend to go neutral. I use make up that is as close to skin tone as possible--only eyeshadow and mascara. Sometimes lipstick & pressed powder--no blush or foundation. I might not even wear mascara if my eyelashes weren't blonde.

But, occasionaly, I feel like I need to look like the career girl I am supposed to be and go for a "smart" look (it cracks me up when fashion is described as smart). Since I use Clinique skin care, I pretty much only have make-up that was part of a "gift with purchase". That way I get the really trendy stuff :) Oh, and I have some fancy lip gloss that I got when I was a part of the Dr. Phil studio audience (my mom was in town and has a special relationship with the man).

amanda said...

Sarah, you are one of those lucky people who CAN get away with not wearing much makeup.

I am with "torchness" on the clinique/ lancomme suggestion. I always go to the Lancomme counter when they have their good gift offers. I can tell a huge difference in the quality (look and feel) of Lancomme over the grocery store makeup section stuff, and it is nice because you can get everything in the same color and it all matches really well (I like their "plum" line). Now I at least have good makeup for Sundays and special occasions. And I won my mom over to Lancomme when she saw that my makeup still looked "fresh" after a long labor and delivery with my last baby.

Anonymous said...

I recommend the Dior counter at Neiman Marcus. Your husband is a lawyer and you need to look the part if you want him to make partner.

Torchness said...

I feel like my blogger name makes me sound like a stripper. It's actually Lauren :)

I don't wear any makeup on my face; I've been blessed with a good complexion. But you'll find that for everyday, 5 minutes to slap on some coordinated eyeshadow and mascara (drugstore for mascara, Loreal Full 'n' Soft in Black/Brown is my standby-- makes the lashes not clumpy) and you look ever so much better (also my eyelashes are red so I need lots of help). It's just for nights that I enjoy more professional advice.

Maybe you could go get your makeup done before the wedding you are going to? It's always fun to get it done for an event, and you could schedule appointments with sisters or friends as a bonding thing that really is pretty cheap-- most places only want you to buy one or two things.

Then again, Northpark on a Saturday... aish.

c jane said...

I say run!

Sarah said...

Man - you guys are just plain HELPFUL! Rachel - thank you so much for your specific color suggestions. I'll definitly go that route. And Lauren (if that is your real name), I think I'm going to hit a makeup counter for a consultation the day before the wedding so I can wow my family with my "new-do" for the big event. As far as getting Adam made into a lawyer, I totally feel the pressure to look as urban as their perfect little blondie skinny wives. Everytime we go to a firm event I feel the like a 6th grader compared to all those gorgeous women.

Adam, there is no other guy. It's worse - I'm trying to impress ME!!

Molly said...

I'm totally with you on the make-up cluelessness.

Once I dated this boy who would occasionally tell me I had body odor (am I REALLY posting this on a blog??) Anyway, I would SWEAR that I JUST took a shower and that I was wearing deodorant and clean clothes and what was his problem? It turns out that he couldn't stand the smell of my deodorant itself (powderfresh secret). He thought the deodorant smelled like body odor. Anyway... I switched. And sometimes, I still stink.

tooshy said...

go to the lancome counter for one eye and clinique for the other, then say "im going to the arcade to ask my lover which he likes better" and go home and look at yourself. and by the way, i agree that you are naturally goregous, just like your daughter.

rachelb said...

Sarah, I sympathize with you! I highly recommend "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me" by Paula Begoun. Check it out at cosmeticscop.com. In the book she evaluates almost every product, from Wet'n'wild to Versace. I only started wearing more makeup after reading the book last year. An easy foundation is Airflash by Dior. You spray it on in 3 seconds.

mamie said...

holy comments, batman. I have no advice whatsoever. However, I would love to join you for a pre-wedding makeover at the counter of your choosing. I need to find some magic makeup that will hide the 10 pounds I put on over the summer. Somehow it seems to have all gone to my face.

Kaff said...

Sarah,
I missed the make-up class long ago too. A few years ago my aunt finally got me to get something from Lancome (hello, free gift!) and I have been with that ever since. But I have to go when the counter is empty and no one is looking. I am sure they wonder who let the little girl ditch school.

Anyway, most of my tips since then have been from the gay guys I work with. Do they have some secret school that we need to go to? They always give the BEST advice.

Good luck at the make-over! We want pictures :)