Yes, this is indeed a far cry from my 3 year stint working in the fashion industry. There I felt a bit scrutinized for being too "cerebral"! (Cue Miranda Priestly complaining about hiring the "smart, fat girl.")
Going back to grad school was a welcome change in terms of my body image and sense of style. It's been a lot more fun to be on the cooler-side of geek than on the geekier-side of cool!
In light of this, as much as I hope this this project helps me be less vain I'm not interested in completely losing the "cool" in my "cooler-side of geek" persona. I still love fashion, even if I can't afford to buy it new anymore. And I still want to wear enough makeup to feel like... myself.
Before this project started, I wore makeup almost every day. I even wore makeup on days when I worked from home! Somehow it just makes me feel more fully put together. So here's the confessional on all the stuff I used to put on my face every morning, in order of application:
1) SPF 30 sunscreen (rubbed on with my fingers)
2) Liquid foundation (applied with a "foundation brush")
3) Concealer (applied with a "concealer brush")
4) Powder blush (applied with a "blush brush")
5) 2 Neutral eyeshadows (applied with an "eyeshadow brush")
6) Eyeliner (applied with an "eyeliner brush")
7) Waterproof mascara (after curling my lashes).
8) Lip gloss (dabbed on with my finger)
All this, to look "natural," right?
In the process of making that list, it became clear that I had room to downsize in the makeup department. Never mind that I could do all-of-the-above in 5 minutes or less... the precise applications and multiple fancy brushes Simply. Had. To. Go.
Most of this I was able to figure out on my own. I have a massive make-up collection, and it turns out that several of my mirror-necessary products could be replaced by mirror-optional products that I already owned. For example, powder eyeshadow was replaced with a neutral cream shadow that I could smudge on with my fingers. Hooray! Similarly, my lipgloss was replaced with a sheerer... lipgloss. Less color = less room for looking like I'd been making out with a clown.
My eyeliner, on the other hand, simply went away. It didn't matter how many thousands of times I'd applied eyeliner since 6th grade. With fears vacillated between the unlikely (loss of an eye), and the very likely (leaving the house looking like a 5-year-old's art project), I didn't trust myself to apply eyeliner without a mirror.
Not so for my mascara. As many natural blondes with invisible eyelashes may understand... mascara felt necessary. I am convinced that my eyes actually disappear when I'm not wearing any. So, with a little practice (i.e., going cross-eyed while watching the wand slowly approach my face) I mastered mascara sans-mirror! Turns out that my trusty $4 Waterproof Maybelline Great Lash is mirror-optional.
**FYI - don't even THINK of trying this with one of those volumizing/thickening mascaras. You'll look like this lady:
|Tamara Faye LaValley Bakker Messner, RIP|
Finally, I replaced my sunscreen, foundation + concealer with ONE product: tinted moisturizer with SPF. The great thing about tinted moisturizer is that I can just put a blob in my hands and smear it all over my face like I'm applying lotion. The not-so-great thing about tinted moisturizer is that Sephora had 45 different options available, and I had to try on about 20 of them before I found an acceptable combo of sheer coverage + spf + my perfect shade of pallor. When I informed the 3rd sales associate at Sephora that I would be applying this "luxury" product with my hands instead of the recommended $58 brush, she looked at me as though I was planning to smear feces on my face. Whatever. A few months ago I probably would have bought the brush, but my new body image motto is "good enough is good enough!"
Speaking of good enough I kept my regular powder blush + brush, since it's sheer enough to be mirror-optional.
So here is the new, improved, mirror-optional list:
1) Tinted Moisturizer w/ SPF (smeared on with fingers)
2) Powder blush (applied with brush)
3) Cream Eyeshadow (smeared on with fingers)
4) Mascara (applied verrrry slowly, after curling eyelashes verrrry slowly)
5) Lip gloss (smeared on with fingers).
I've been practicing applying for about 10 days, and I'm pleased. Dare I say that I look almost as put-together as before, but more "natural"? Good enough? Indeed!
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