Cosmetically challengedTuesday, July 17, 2012
My mom never wore makeup when I was growing up. And I don't mean, "nothing except for a bit of powder and lipstick". I mean none. Zip, zero, zilch. The closest thing we had to makeup in the house was ChapStick. I always imagined other girls got makeup tutorials from their moms, while I was floundering in Shopper's Drug Mart with my allowance in my pocket, unsure of where to begin.
The first time I tried eye shadow was at my friend's house. She had an entire drawer of makeup we were playing with. I loaded up the applicator with a nice violet hue and gave my eyes a huge swipe...underneath. I looked in the mirror. It didn't seem quite right. "What are you doing?" my friend screeched at me. "You look like you got punched." I just laughed like it was intentional, wiped it off, and vowed to figure out how to wear eyeshadow like a champion.
I read YM and Seventeen every month for tips. I pored over articles detailing how to apply eye makeup based on your eye shape: almond-shaped, close-set, wide-set, hooded. Then I looked in the mirror. I couldn't (and still can't) identify my eye shape. I just see my eyes, not one of the illustrations from the article.
I winged it. I covered up things that needed to be covered with concealer (the wrong shade). Mascara was pretty much a no-brainer. I steered clear of anything that required precision to apply and learned quickly that I'm not a dark lipstick kind of girl. In the early 2000s, I discovered bronzer, which, unfortunately, does not come with instructions. And so I paraded around, winter, summer, spring and fall, with my whole face the same uniform shade of brown, except for my eyelids, which were usually a shockingly pale and frosty pastel shade. Why why why why why? I amassed a huge makeup collection, every garish colour and hideous texture you could imagine. There was glitter, there was shimmer, there were metallics, and the bronzer, ALWAYS THE EFFING BRONZER.
A few years ago I threw out 90% of my makeup. No more coloured mascaras and teal eyeliner and muddy lipsticks and glittery glosses. My new, pared down collection looks really skimpy by comparison, but at least it's comprised of products that don't make me look like a demented clown.
I'm still more or less clueless when it comes to makeup. I still don't know what shape my eyes are. I can't do a smoky eye, or apply eyeliner without looking like I was drunk driving at the time. I haven't mastered the knack of wearing red lipstick. I don't know how to contour properly or apply foundation with a brush. False lashes? Forget about it. I don't love makeup. I think of it as a necessity. I don't enjoy putting it on - it's like wearing deodorant or brushing my teeth. I don't "play" with makeup. I've never been in a MAC store, and Sephora is scary and overwhelming for me. That said, there have been times when a certain product has made me feel just a smidge more confident or polished. I don't usually wear any lipstick, but when I do, I feel "done".
Am I embarrassed when an 11-year-old girl looks more put together than me? Maybe a little. Would I rather be spending more time than absolutely necessary in front of the mirror to look presentable? Absolutely not. I just shoot for somewhere in the middle of "troll" and "Barbie". It seems like a happy medium.