Makeup possesses magical powers. I’ve used it to transform myself and others into creatures both beautiful and bizarre. As a professional makeup artist, I’ve taken waif like models and made them mock warriors, brides and fairies for magazines, television and music videos. I’ve worked with celebrities, politicians and Fortune 500 executives.
From nearly a decade’s worth of experiences with color, brushes and people, I’ve learned a few things about what makeup does, what it doesn’t do and how to use it responsibly.
1. Makeup won’t change your life, but it can lift your mood.
Consider the allure of a perfectly done red lip; the mystery of a smoky eye. Nothing can transform a woman from a scrub muffin to a video vixen as quickly as the right makeup applied well. And nothing lifts your mood like seeing that gorgeous creature you’ve become staring back from the other side of the mirror.
If you’re ever feeling frumpy and unattractive, grab your favorite night time lip color and an unexpected eye shadow shade and let loose your inner vixen.
2. Lasting self esteem is not found in a bottle, tube or jar.
I know this one sounds a bit cliché, especially coming from a makeup artist. But the truth is that spending money on beauty products won’t resolve things if your head’s a mess. A little mood lift from a beauty product (see point #1) is totally fine. But like alcohol consumption, beauty consumption can take over your life.
If you can’t answer the door for UPS without a full face of makeup (and false lashes), put the blush brush down and ask yourself what the real issues are.
3. Beauty products will rarely make you look like the girl in the ad.
I hope with the recent criticism aimed at the fashion and beauty industries, you’re well aware that most of what you see in magazines and on TV commercials is a blatant lie. Those lush, full lashes in that mascara ad? Fake. The model’s perfectly smooth skin in the glossy foundation ad? Photoshop.
I’m not one of those haters protesting against the young, thin models. And I love admiring beautifully presented ads. But I am careful to view all of this as art – not reality. The sooner we, as women, understand this, the better.
4. Paying exorbitant prices for makeup does not guarantee a better product.
In my heyday as a celebrity makeup artist, I received products from almost every brand on the market. Some were wonderful and others were…not. But price wasn’t always the determining factor in my assessment.
I’ve found beauty gems on Etsy.com for $5-$8 while I’ve bought $90 eye cream from Neiman Marcus that flopped terribly.
5. People will judge you based on how you wear your makeup.
Over the years I’ve heard women talk about the impact clothes and hair make on their career image. But these same women will walk into their office with makeup applied like a video tart.
Wear whatever you like and do your job well, but understand that image, including makeup application, plays into the overall view others have of you – even if it’s subconscious. It’s still there.
6. Makeup will not “makeup” for crappy eating and late night martini binges.
We all like to party now and again. No harm in that. But if you’re prone to trashing your body with booze and high fructose corn syrup-laden snacks, understand it will show up in your skin at some point. You may find a wonder concealer for your under eye circles, but the overall health of your skin will not be good.
Getting proper sleep, drinking (and eating) in moderation along with washing your makeup off at night will all work in your favor for a more beautiful you. Then makeup becomes an enhancer, not camouflage.
7. Makeup, unlike tattoos, washes off.
We all know a woman who’s been wearing the same eye shadow or lipstick for the past 17 years. I have personally staged interventions for clients who would not let go of their trusty nude lipstick or taupe eye shadow.
Yes, taupe was all the rage in 1991 when Bobbi Brown introduced her palette of “neutrals,” but let’s move on now. Even Bobbi has added some flare to her line. Live a little. Buy that red lip stain. If you hate it, it’ll wash right off. I promise.
8. Permanent Makeup is Creepy.
Permanent makeup should be classified as a beauty “don’t”. First of all, the concept, like Jell-O (sugared animal collagen, anyone?), is just wrong. Makeup isn’t supposed to be permanent. It’s supposed to be frivolous and fun; changing with our outfits and our moods.
There’s something disturbing about a woman who has perfect red lips alongside bad breath and bed head at 7 AM. And I didn’t want to point this out, but I suspect I should. Permanent makeup, especially on eye brows, turns that weird green color we see in old tattoos. Not a cute look.
9. The Internet is booming with wonderful, niche beauty brands.
The Internet has opened up a whole new world of beauty possibilities – at great prices. Chic, women-created beauty brands that offer a wide range of colors and textures are available at the touch of a keyboard. And many of them cater to special concerns and preferences like gluten-free and vegan options. Two of my faves? Gluten-free Beauty and Ecco Bella.
10. Makeup isn’t just about beauty. It’s about health.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the growing demand for healthier makeup choices. That’s because there’s some scary stuff lurking in your beauty bag – from chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body to known skin irritants. When buying products, it’s important to read the ingredients.
If you aren’t sure what those 25-letter words on your shampoo mean, go to the Skin Deep Database and type in your chemical of choice. You’ll get a safety rating along with possible side effects instantly.Be beautiful and informed.