Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making Over My Makeup MakeUnder

I love the way I look in this portrait, but I've also decided to "face" the facts: 
I'm wearing too much makeup.
How much is too much?  It's a personal thing, but for me, too much is 
foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, highlighter, eyeliner, 
eye shadow, false eyelashes (!), brow powder, lipstain & lip gloss)
Photo credit: The Goodness Photography & Design
It’s been just over 2 months since my year without mirrors ended and I must say... I’ve been thinking a lot about makeup lately.  You may remember that my decision to shun mirrors for 365 days was accompanied by a parallel decision to cut back on the number of cosmetics I was using.  This was both necessary (because it’s really difficult to apply concealer when you don’t know what you’re concealing... or eyeliner when you can’t see what you’re lining... or highlighter when you can’t see what you’re highlighting), and also something I very much wanted to do because I felt that my beauty habits were taking too much of my time, and costing too much of my money.  As much as I've long enjoyed applying makeup and all the creativity and self-expression that can come with beauty routines, I’d reached a point of diminishing returns and needed to make a swift retreat.
And so I strategically cut back to only the necessities (at least, according to me): tinted moisturizer w/ SPF, sheer powder blush, a neutral cream eye shadow, and waterproof mascara.  
Ke$ha's popular "makeunder" via Glamour Magazine.
But which one is "her"?  That's what matters to me.
Of course, one woman’s makeunder is another women’s makeover, and I received a lot of flak from some folks who felt that I should have given up makeup entirely during my project.  All I could say then - and all I can say now - is that every woman deserves to develop her own sense of personal style, and makeup can be a meaningful means to that end.   Makeup helps me feel more feminine, polished, and professional than when I go without.  My sister, on the other hand, rarely wears makeup and I love this about her; it's part of her unique look, and her identity... but not mine.  Some bloggers have argued that cosmetics are a symptom and reproducer of patriarchy (and that women who wear them have been duped by the system), but I believe that this is too simplistic an account, ignoring both women's creativity and their agency.
Anyway, with the exception of my wedding day, a commitment to "Makeup Free Mondays," and a sprinkling of mostly-failed eyeliner attempts, I wore the four products mentioned above without variation every single day for an entire year.  I saved time and money, but - most importantly - I discovered that wearing less makeup didn't cramp my style or cause me to be taken less seriously by my friends, colleagues, or husband.  Dare I say that nobody even seemed to notice!?  In other words, my less-makeup-experiment-within-a-no-mirrors-experiment was an utter success!
So then why have I been thinking so much about makeup recently?  Well... I've experienced a bit of a relapse.  In the weeks following my return to mirrors, I went from makeunder back to makeover. I added eyeliner back to my daily look, and tried different colors on different days.  I traipsed to Sephora and bought an expensive new "organic" foundation with an accompanying expensive new "organic" concealer.  I attempted "contouring" on my cheeks, and tried lining the inner-rims of my eyes with liquid liner.  (Okay, admittedly I didn't do all of this at the same time, but you get the gist!) My morning routine went from under 5 minutes to a whopping 25 minutes, which is more time than I'd spent applying makeup before my no-mirrors project!  Speaking of mirrors, I started using a magnifying mirror (a "happy end of your no-mirrors project" gift from my mother-in-law, Sherry) to double check my pores, ahem, work.  
For a few weeks this was fun.  I'd earned it, right?  Didn't I deserve to indulge a bit?  Didn't my formerly-repressed cosmetic creativity need to be set free once more?
But after a while I didn't feel so free, nor particularly creative, for that matter.  A few times I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and thought - geez, that's a lot of makeup!  Then my credit card bill came in with a balance that was a bit higher than desired.  Oh, and I've developed a teeny-yet-painful stye on my left eyelid.  (eew.)  This is likely due to eyeliner overuse (or misuse. I don't really know what I'm doing!).  It finally went away two weeks ago but then showed up again last night.  :(
These things have helped me realize that all of the extra makeup, and all of the "what look am I going for today?!" stuff doesn't actually feel like me anymore.  So, I returned the expensive organic stuff to Sephora, and retired my magnifying mirror indefinitely (it's been repurposed as a cool lamp in our entryway!).  I've actually started to time myself in the morning, to make sure I stay under 7 minutes.  Sure, I'll still happily go a bit more glam on truly special occasions, but, for now, I'm back to the basics and it feels right.  I'll try to post images of my bare faced vs. minimal makeup vs. maximal makeup looks soon.  In the meantime, here's the scoop on my new-ish regime:
Step 1: Contemplate Michelle Williams' fresh-faced glow for minimalist-makeup inspiration!
It makes me happy to see Williams' pale skin, rosy round cheeks,
blonde hair, and brown eyes.  Why?  Oh, because I have pale skin, 
rosy round cheeks, blonde hair and brown eyes.  Duh.
Step 2: Apply Biore Skin Preservation moisturizer w/ SPF30 sunscreen. 
This has been my "Holy Grail" daytime moisturizer for years,
but is now discontinued.  :(  I've hoarded a few bottles, but
will be seeking a replacement soon. Any suggestions?

Step 3: Mix Covergirl TrueBlend Liquid Foundation(s) and apply like face lotion, using hands.
I'm between two shades so I mix them!  Only $7!!!

Step 4: Fluff on some Lorac Blush for Cheeks in "Peach"
Honestly, I have at least a half-dozen pinky/peachy blushes that work just the same.
Note to self: I will NOT buy new blush until I have used up what I already own,
OR until I turn 40; whichever comes first!

An oldie but goodie.  I can't find anything better!

Step 6: Warily consider eyeliner and eye shadow... To be continued... 
My poor little left eye is still a bit tender, so I'm in no rush to glob on product.

I'll close here with a few questions for you:
1) Makeover vs. Makeunder: have you gone through either of these?  Was it your idea or somebody else's? What was your experience?  What did you learn?
2) Any suggestions for a fantastic SPF30+ moisturizer (or tinted moisturizer or "beauty balm") that works well for sensitive skin?
3) What beauty products (if any!) help you feel like "you"?

40 comments:

  1. Aveeno has a tinted moisturizer +SPF! It comes in light, medium, dark. I feel like "me" when I have a a light dusting of pale shimmery pink eye shadow and chap stick!

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    1. Nice! I'll have to look into the Aveeno. Sometimes even the "light" shade is dark on me...

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  2. 1) I think the closest I've come is that I wear a lot less makeup than I used to - i.e. these days I might wear makeup of any maybe once a month, whereas I used to average perhaps once a week. I even forget/can't be bothered to put any sort of makeup on for dressing up events.

    I've learnt that makeup just isn't important to me. I've never gotten into the habit of using makeup in a "natural" way, and usually use it to draw bright colours on my face. I don't own foundation or concealer, and rarely wear mascara, blush or lipstick.

    I think makeup is actually a lot less important than people think it is. There are some cases where there are big reactions to it or lack thereof, but most of the time people just don't really care.

    2) Can't help you here, as I don't use moisturiser and certainly wouldn't use tinted!

    3) Lip balm is the only thing that I'd consider helps me feel like "me" since I get really chapped lips. Otherwise I feel like me in my unadorned body and like I'm in a costume when I'm wearing makeup.

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    1. I am also a bit addicted to lip balm! Even if you don't use moisturizer I hope you use sunscreen!!!

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  3. Cetaphil had a great daily moisturizer that has been my standby for years, even my husband uses it! I use the spf 15, but they also have a 50. I have a few friends with very sensitive skin who also swear by it.

    I have never been big into makeup, minus maybe eighth grade when the orange foundation look was in, but over the past year I've been playing with eye shadow and liner. At least I always thought I was playing. Turns out that I think it helps me look older, look more professional and feel more confident. I caught a glimpse of myself at work last week without eye makeup and actually thought, "this is hite I always looked before but now I look weird." And I applied alittle over lunch. I've clearly been converted and am no longer just a free spirit playing with make up. I really hope it doesn't go further than the eyes!

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    1. Aha! It looks like cetaphil has a new spf 30 moisturizer that helps with oiliness... might be just the thing!

      Yeah, I know what you mean about suddenly realizing that you aren't a "free spirit" with your makeup anymore... I had to force myself out of it!

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  4. Hi Kjersten!

    It was YOU who inspired me to do a make-under-, actually! When you started talking about no-makeup-Mondays, I realized that I had been wearing a seriously CRAZY amount of makeup. Every day was this huge hour-long primping ordeal!

    Now, it looks like this:

    1) Tinted moisturizer with SPF (Aveeno, as PnkFun1 mentioned above) in the winter, untinted and all-natural moisturizer with SPF in the summer (I find that summertime demands a lighter look, so no tinting for me!).

    2) Fill in my brows with a blonde pigment (so important, as my brows are seethrough otherwise).

    3) Mascara (natural, not waterproof. I don't curl them, either... I find that they hit my glasses if I do!).

    4) Lip chap/lip gloss if I'm going out. If not, usually just some coconut oil or vitamin E to condition.

    For an "Evening" look, I do the exact same thing but add a brown liner to my eyes (just smudge it in, nothing fancy). In the winter, I might add a bit of blush because my face looks really one-dimensional with the tinted moisturizer.

    What I love about this is that makeup is FUN again, particularly on the days that demand a more creative look (parties, weddings, performances, etc). AND... I'm saving SO MUCH MONEY. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    1. K - that is the most awesome thing I have read in a long time! I think No-Makeup Mondays are the best!

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  5. As a teen I used to be seriously into ballet. We'd have to do makeovers for performances and our ballet teachers asked us to wear light makeup to class. I had it all....fake eye lashes, lip liner, three shades of shadow, etc. I'd also wear makeup to school, but not as much (foundation, eye shadow, lip and eye liner, and mascara). I loved the smokey eye look and lots of lip gloss.

    When I came to college I completely forgot about makeup...as in one day I wore a lot and then the next day I didn't. I think I was too stressed for time and figured I already had a boyfriend so there was no one left to impress. I think my obsession with makeovers was purely because I had to and not because I had any interest in how it made me look. 10 years later and I rarely ever wear makeup. When I do, I keep it simple...lip gloss, eye liner, and mascara. I do triathlons now and I often hit the pool or run on my lunch. Raccoon eyes aren't sexy and I am way too lazy to shower AND reapply makeup when I'm tired after practice and starving for lunch. I've found that hardly anyone notices if I do wear it or if I don't. People are shocked when I show up to work in jeans rather than gym clothes.

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    1. Ha! I wish I could go to work in gym clothes... maybe someday I'll be a famous author and stay at home in PJs all day!!

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  6. I use Jergens Natural Glow tinted moisturizer follow by a dusting of Merle Norman Mineral Powder.
    Bronzer on the brow, cheeks & jawline to even color
    Bronze or pink eyeshado with mascara
    Nuetral lip gloss

    I am ready in no time! I'll do more for a dress up event but I like simple for the day to day. I don't feel like I have as much stuff caked to my face now. And my skin seems happier. I haven't had as many breakouts in the past year since I started the "simplier look".

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    1. Looks like you've got a great routine going on! Is the Jergens Natural Glow tinted moisturizer a self-tanner? Does it have SPF?

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  7. I'm definitely a makeup under. When I work from home and on days where I'm just running into town to pick something up, it's no makeup. A little make up for me is mascara and I to love the good old maybelline pink and green but very seldom use waterproof as it's hard to get off and really hard on your lashes. I have found I like the Define-A-Lash by Maybelline even better. I never use an eyelash curler. Again too hard on your lashes. Someone told me when I was 12 to use a towel to curl my lashes in an upward motion every time I washed my face and I have done that ever since. People often comment on the fact that my eyelashes curl upward and ask if I use a curler.

    I use a powder blush but never use concealer or foundation. I only use organic products and people do tell me how pretty and my skin looks. The problem with concealer and foundations is that everyone knows you are trying to conceal something and those products, organic or otherwise, usually result in some kind of skin break out or on your clothes.

    On a big makeup day I add eyeliner, eye shadow, a little brow pencil as my brows thin out at the ends and some lipstick. With only blush, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and lipstick I can be done in 5 minutes which my husband loves. Here's a fun way to experiment. Do the entire make up routine on half your face and a simple routine on the other half and then compare. Do not wear colors that you thought were pretty in the package but are not the color for you and please please please do not use your makeup until it is gone or you turn 40. Makeup collects a huge amount of bacteria and oils. It should be replaced about every 6 months. Not keeping your brushes clean and not replacing makeup frequently is another reason for break outs and dull skin. You are applying bacteria to your face.

    For the stye, stop at the health food store and pick up a bottle of colloidal silver. I bought a silver maker and it was money well spent. Colloidal silver will clear up the stye, pink eye and acne. Colloidal silver is used for burns as the biggest worry with serious burns is infection.

    I also own a fright (magnifying) mirror. I call it my fright mirror because sometimes when I see the reality of little wrinkles, clogged pours and all those wonderful little quirks you don't notice in a regular mirror it makes me go EeeeeeeeeeeeK! But it's a great mirror for putting on make up. If your make up can pass the fright mirror test you are good to go and makes applying eyeliner so much easier.

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    1. Calling it the fright mirror is such a true name. I'm going to use it for tweezing my eyebrows, but I figure that if I can only see a makeup mistake in a magnifying mirror, then nobody else can see it anyway so it probably doesn't matter...

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  8. I can count the number of times I've worn makeup in the past 5 years on one hand. In fact, I think people are shocked to see me in makeup and when I do wear it, I'm very sel-conscious.

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    1. This just goes to prove my hypothesis that makeup is just one part of how women build a sense of their own style and (as sociologists would say) "impression management". I bet you ROCK the no-makeup look!

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  9. I used to wear absolutely no makeup. But my sister loves it, so I started wearing a lot kind of influenced by her. I had her do my makeup recently, and the amount of eye makeup she put on me kind of shocked my husband and me! I think he likes it more natural. ... So now I've settled into my daily routine (except special occasions, when I add eyeliner, shadow and mascara) of moisturizer, powder, concealer, bronzer, highlighter, blush and lip gloss. I have dark circles under my eyes (it's genetic -- thanks mom!), so I like to cover them up.

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    1. See... I like the idea of a routine as opposed to staring at myself in front of the mirror and thinking "Hrrmmmm.... what look do I want to do today?" Making different plans for makeup each day has been such a time-suck when I do it. It feels creative, but I'd rather use my creativity for other things!

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    2. It is creative. I almost wish I were more creative with makeup, but I just don't like taking the time for it. I also ditched my straightener (I have naturally wavy but sometimes crazy hair) because I don't want to spend 40 minutes on my hair, either.

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  10. I've worn makeup since I was a teen, and the amount has gotten progressively worse over the years. Also, the lower my body image is the more I'll cake on my face. Over the last few years I've wanted to do a bit of a make-under, but haven't been able to convince myself to forgo the routine I'm so used to in order to feel presentable. Through my boyfriend's encouragement and reading your blog (just finished reading from start to finish in the last few weeks) I've decided to give it a go. I can't speak for my experience or what I've learned just yet, but I can say that I went to work with no make-up for the first time ever last week, and nobody could even tell the difference when I mentioned it, and anyone who could tell the difference didn't say anything or treat me any differently. Turns out not wearing makeup isn't the end of the world after all.

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    1. "Turns out not wearing makeup isn't the end of the world after all" YES YES YES! I love it when other people "test" this assumption and get an answer like yours. :)

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  11. I'd suggest you try Origins for your replacement moisturizer. I don't use their tinted one - but suspect it's lovely. All of their products are like putting heaven on your face! It's all really good for sensitive skin. And they are a responsible company - completely green and NO animal testing of any kind.

    I doubt I will ever be someone who can feel comfortable being ME without wearing any makeup. I envy all of you who can. I feel naked! But, that said, I don't wear much and I think it takes less than 10 mins to apply, but then I don't always feel the need to rush it. I probably spend MORE time with my skincare products than makeup itself.

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    1. Origins sound great. I LOVE the way their lotion smells! If they have a high SPF everyday lotion or tinted moisturizer, I'm excited to give it a try!

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  12. YOU INSPIRE ME!!!!!!!!

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  13. Kjerstin, I highly recommend Garnier's B.B. Cream! I don't even wear mineral powder anymore because this stuff does the trick. It's like a tinted moisturizer with a little more coverage, but not as heavy as a liquid foundation. (And it's only $12 at Target!) I love the fresh-faced look I get with this product. My skin feels moisturized all day, and looks brighter the second I apply it. Hope you find the product you're looking for! :)

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    1. Cecilia I have been eyeballing the Garnier B.B. Cream! I'm scared it won't be light enough for my skin, since they only have 2 shades... I guess I can always give it a try and return it if I look orange!

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  14. i love your blog! i think your such an inspiration. :-)
    i know you said your moisturizer has been discontinued but i found it on amazon! here is the link..
    http://www.amazon.com/Biore-Dual-Fusion-Moisturizer-SPF/dp/B001P60R0Q

    hope this helps!

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  15. I have been using Purpose daily moisturizer with SPF 15 since high school, and I LOVE it. I even take it with me to the beach and merely reapply more frequently, as the stronger sunscreens out there make my skin burn/itchy.

    Purpose is water-based, so it's non-acnegenic and non-comedogenic. It's awesome stuff!

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  16. My makeunder happened when I was a freshman in high school. I started wearing a "full face" (foundation/coverup, eye shadow, blush) because I was a Big Girl Now and wanted to look womanly. I would be very pleased with myself until gym class. As soon as I started to sweat, my carefully applied face would bead up and drip away. (It didn't help that the foundation color was not well matched to my skin.) By the time class ended I looked and felt horrific. So I gave it up completely, except for special occasions (Prom, weddings, etc.). Got a little more in to it in college on "going out" nights, but that's not even the case anymore.

    I rarely wear makeup now, as you know, but some days (for a first date, for example) I "cheat" by curling my eyelashes and brushing them with lip balm. Makes them look thicker, and no worries about smudging. :)

    As for moisturizer, I've used Olay for years and still love it. Light, non-greasy, and protects my fair skin. Not sure if they have tinted ones, though.

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  17. I'm a zero makeup person. I tried and tried and have a bag full of expensive products, but in the end I'm way too fair to be toying with my skin's PH like that. I just end up breaking out like I went on a week long pizza binge.

    So, I'll MAYBE apply moisturizer (oil-free) if I'm feeling particularly dry that day, but usually it's just a tinted lip gloss and I'm gone. I guess I have too much of a battle-ax personality for people to notice that I'm sans warrior paint! :D

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  18. I've learnt that makeup just isn't important to me. I've never gotten into the habit of using makeup in a "natural" way, and usually use it to draw bright colours on my face. I don't own foundation or concealer, and rarely wear mascara, blush or lipstick.

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