When I was a preteen, my mother bought me a Covergirl Cheeker blush because I was so pale that people often asked if I was sick. When I was 19, my best friend helped me choose a few makeup products from the college bookstore, none of which I wore because I felt dumb for not knowing how. When I was 23, I won a Mary Kay lipstick in a random drawing at David’s Bridal when I bought my dress. Two weeks later on my wedding day, I wore that lipstick, and a little eyeshadow and mascara that my friend put on me at the last second.
When I was 27, my best friend casually asked to use some makeup remover while she was at my apartment. I had no idea what that might be. I thought people just used water to wash makeup off. She looked at me like she thought I might be joking, and then I could tell she immediately felt badly when she realized I was serious.
When I was 28 and starting a new job, I decided it was time to learn. I discovered the intense world of beauty tutorials and reviews online, and I watched a few videos early every morning before going to work. Slowly but surely, I accumulated products from the drugstore down the street and figured out how to use them. Apologies to anyone who met me during that time. You witnessed a lot of trial and error looks. Once, halfway through a day in that office, I caught my reflection and realized I had filled in my eyebrows that morning to be straight up villainous. Of course this comes to my attention post two meetings with higher ups. Good times.
I used to worry that wearing makeup would make me more insecure about myself, and that I would feel like I had to keep up with it. Truly, after almost 4 years of playing around with makeup, I don’t. While it can boost my self esteem a little, it doesn’t make or break me. Some days, I think it’s the most fun ever. Other days, I don’t even think about putting it on. When it’s fun, it’s satisfying and relaxing to swatch a pretty eyeshadow color or achieve non-villainous eyebrows. When it’s not fun, I’m okay with that.
Don’t get me wrong…even though it’s been a few years of experimenting, I’m no expert. Sometimes I feel like I know nothing. I rarely go near lipstick because I don’t know how not to check 100 times an hour to see if it’s smudged or on my teeth. Symmetrical winged eyeliner? Clearly that’s witchcraft. Color-matching and skin undertones? My undertone is agoraphobe. Excuse me, Sephora Person Who Looks Impossibly Good? Does this face stuff come in a color lighter than Porcelain? Could you direct me to the white-out section?
I have a friend who recently became a makeup artist, and she’s AMAZING. This girl is patient, kind, and so good at details. Like mega good at details. Also I could easily fall asleep while she does my face, because that’s how at ease she makes you feel! I’m leaving the heavy lifting skills to artists like her, and I’m happy with shooting for the reachable bar of non-villainous on my own.