I’ve done my makeup the same way since I learned that eyeliner isn’t just smudged down mascara and body glitter doesn’t count as a cosmetic.
I’m basically fine with that. I’ve got a husband bagged and don’t feel a need to impress many people. I’d rather spend my time taking a full shower or eating pizza or alphabetizing my canned goods. Really anything. Spending more than a few minutes to leave the house is boring and I’m impatient.
But that’s the thing: I pretty much look the same whether I’m going to church on Sunday morning or a hot date with the aforementioned bagged husband. I can take some self-deprecating mirror selfies all day long, but if I’m actually trying to look nice in a picture, I get sweaty. I’ve been putting off learning how to properly apply makeup because of that same insecurity. If someone is close enough to my face to teach me, she will see my lazy eye, my top lip that disappears when I smile, 15 years of cystic acne scars, an eyebrow without an arch, and a forehead that stretches for days. Then she’ll go to some cool bar with her #eyesbrowsonfleek and tell her friends about the train wreck of a face she helped some poor frazzled mom fix. I don’t need that.
But deep down in my unclogged, makeup free pores, I wanted to learn. I booked an appointment at the beauty bar at Sephora.
Other people have done my makeup three times: sophomore Prom (my face looked like I sort of just rolled it around on the residue of a clown’s makeup counter then called it good), junior Homecoming (similar esthetic but less heavy on the lipstick). The third was my wedding day when, weary of the failed attempts of makeup artists, I asked my mom to do it. She’s always done hers very naturally and looks lovely. I learned a good rule of thumb that day: if someone is going to do my makeup, I should like the way they do their own.
So walking into Sephora, I looked around nervously at each of the artists and hoped the one assigned to me was none of the dudes (obvi) or the girls with fun neon lipsticks or perfectly smokey eyes. I heard someone behind me ask if I was Allyson. My makeup artist had found me, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I turned around. It was Mystique. From X-Men. Mystique was assigned to do my makeup, slicked back red hair, full blue face, black swirlies on the forehead. It was equally amazing and terrifying.
I told her my situation and she listened really well and helped me find a few products I could use to create a dressed up face rather than just my regular “I woke up like this” face.
I gave her a goal of finding me some sort of lip color that didn’t make my teeth look yellow (I drink a lot of coffee). She showed me a trick of using a thin layer of blue lip gloss that contrasts with my teeth to make them look brighter. I totally bought it. I bought blue lip gloss from Mystique.
She showed me how to stamp on liquid eyeliner rather than try to draw a straight line. She asked how committed I was to “doing my brows” and when I responded “not very”, she put away three or four products, then came back with one, a tinted gel. Her eyeshadow demo was fantastic and I almost bought a palette, but when I realized it didn’t come with a brush, I opted against it because let’s be real, I couldn’t be buying TWO products I may not use. I wanted to start with a few simple ones (like blue gloss) to see how much I actually cared.
Last Sunday I used a Q-tip to apply a bit of eyeshadow I found in my bathroom and smeared on some “cream lip stain” for church. I felt pretty confident in my efforts. I kissed my son on the cheek as I dropped him off in the nursery and smiled at the lip marks I left behind. Mommy is growing up and everyone just needs to deal with it.