Glamazon. Or, The Obligatory "Makeup Swag" Post.

I think we’ve established who I am quite clearly on this thing.

I’m a superdork.  I read way too much into pop culture items, to the point that after a viewing of Man of Steel I literally had to sit on my hands to stop myself from spewing a straight up dissertation on superhero rhetoric to the boyfriend.  Additionally, I enjoy getting up very early in the morning and getting my ass kicked by Jillian Michaels.  I also enjoy good healthy food with French fries in there too.

But usually I don’t really get into the parts of my personality that are incredibly girlie.  Or how much I really like the color pink in a thoroughly non-ironic way.  Or how much money I spend on nail polish in a given week.  (I work next door to a Sephora and they’re having a 50% off nail polish sale at the moment.  Get on that shit.)

But today, we’re going to talk about makeup.  Specifically, my history with it and why I believe you can be a staunch, STAUNCH feminist and still really like putting things on your face that make your face look like a slightly different face.

When I was a little girl I was a tomboy who wore her hair very short and liked to play sports.  But secretly I wanted to be Cinderella.  I loved watching Mom put on her makeup in the morning but had no idea how to do it myself.  Once I tried to use pen.  It did not go over well.

For me, wearing makeup is fun.  It’s an experiment to see what I can make my face do on a very simplistic level.  I’m not changing my composition, merely applying different levels of contour or highlight to see what happens to my face.  I don’t change it too much, of course, but I like to think of my face as a laboratory.  Without too many weird chemicals.  I don’t judge anyone for not wanting to wear makeup – do what you will! – but personally, I find makeup to be an expression of self.  Same goes for nail polish and hair color. 

I started using makeup at a very, very early age.  I’m talking like 5 years old.  I was a theater child so when I did my first musical, The Wizard of Oz, I had to learn how to put at least some blush on my face so this adorable punum would be better captured by the stage lights.  A few years later I was cast as a boy in a show and watched helplessly as the other girls in the production got to wear really cute shades of pink and purple on their faces while I was relegated to the parts of the makeup collection with names like sepia or burnt sienna or nude. 

Bear in mind I was learning how to put on stage makeup, not street makeup.  I remember at the age of 12 I had to do my own makeup for a musical for the first time and asked a costar for advice.  Her exact words? “If you don’t look like a hooker, you aren’t done yet.”

In my daily life until I turned 16 my makeup consisted of plucking my eyebrows to razor-thin stripes and rubbing Bath and Body Works Glitter Lotion in Peach Nectar on my temples until I resembled Liberace. Then, I went to a theater school for college and spent a long time perfecting ‘special effect’ makeup in special seminars, including techniques on bruising, blood bags, and aging makeup.  One of my favorite looks was when I played Witch 3 in MacBeth.  It was water-based grey and white paint pots that gave us the appearance of living skulls.  A big plus was the makeup came off with soap and water very easily! Thank God.  I would’ve freaked people the hell out at Store 24.  (NEVER FORGET)

creepy as shit, right?

But then I had to go full-scale fancy pants for another role, Fraulein Kost in Kander and Ebb’s classic musical Cabaret.  The part is of a German prostitute and our costume designer told me my makeup should look like I fell asleep in it.  This was the result.

best wig ever.

The last several shows I’ve done have been period pieces, so my makeup has tended to be very Ava Gardner based.  Over the years, as my proficiency with makeup has grown, I’ve learned to be a bit more careful with my touch when I have to be around people who aren’t theater people.  You know, those of us who don’t think our makeup is done when it pulls your face into Botox-like contortions.  I must admit, sometimes I do end up pancaking it on; I work in an environment that gets super warm and if I don’t apply a lot of makeup and matte powder the entire face will melt away by 3 PM.  But over the past several years I’ve found various makeup items that work for me and they are, without a doubt, the only makeup items I will ever use.  Unless they are discontinued.  Which will be the worst day ever.

So without further ado, I present to you the makeup I wear for work every day.  If I’m going to be in the sun all day, I remove several pieces of this list and stick to makeup as light as possible, such as a bit of bronzer/mascara.  Basically, things that won’t make me feel like I’m wearing a mask made of fire.

1. Benefit “That Gal” Illuminating Primer.  I was first introduced to this stuff back in 2008 when I visited a friend in New York.  On a visit to Sephora, she picked up the larger version and said “This will transform your face.” I don’t think it did THAT much to my face, but the way it illuminates you without any other makeup on your skin was at the time revelatory to me.  I tend to buy the travel size because I’m a cheap bastard, but you can get a bigger one for about 20 bucks.  Sephora makes people poor.

2. Maybelline Fit Me! Shine Free Foundation.  This is the first matte foundation I’ve found that doesn’t make me look like a ghost extra in a James Wan movie.  So…there’s that.  I stroke three times on my cheeks and a swipe across my nose/forehead/chin and blend it in with a triangle applier and it doesn’t feel like I’ve put a blanket on my face, unlike a lot of matte foundations I’ve used. 

3. Concealer Whose Identifying Stickers Have Been Torn Off.  I can’t for the life of me remember which one this is, but the point is, you should use concealer if you’re going to be putting on a full face particularly if you are genetically predisposed to eye circles like I am.  It helps make it look like I get normal human hours of sleep per night.

4. Benefit Sun Beam Bronzer.  This gives a nice glow to the cheekbones, brow bone, and bridge of the nose with it’s brush applicator.  I don’t recommend trying to put this all over your face unless you really like looking like a Kardashian.  If that’s the goal, go away from my blog forever.

5. NARS 3-In-1 Stick in Orgasm/NARS Blush in Orgasm. 
I put both of these things on that lineup (the blush is the square one near the end) because depending on what it’s like outside I interchange them.  This blush is so popular it’s a giant cliche, but let’s face it – it’s worth every single magazine article.  This stuff is the shizzle.  It makes your cheeks the perfect flush pink.  I use it nearly every single day.

6. Benefit Girl Meets Pearl Shimmer Lotion.  It depends on my mood whether or not I use this.  It also depends on the weather.  Sometimes, if I’m super tan and don’t need a lot of makeup in the heat I’ll just swipe some of this on. 

7. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy.  I first discovered this in a friend’s makeup bag when I was 16 and I have used it ever since.  That’s right – I have used the same eye shadow for twelve years.  It’s that awesome.  It’s a pale beige with tons of sparkle.  Tons.  When I wear it my boyfriend calls me Sparkles.

8. Brown Eyeliner.  I don’t remember the brand of this because it’s not right in front of my face.  But I usually just use brown eyeliner because black liner makes me look like I should be hawking My Chemical Romance CDs in front of a Hot Topic.  I tend to smudge it around a lot but really, you can’t mess up eyeliner.  Unless you treat your face like my nephew treats his coloring books.

9. Maybelline GreatLash Mascara.  The often imitated but never duplicated! Like the NARS Orgasm blush, this is consistently ranked high if not #1 on most “Best Makeup Ever” surveys, and it’s there for a reason.  It extends the lash without making you look like a bad drag queen.  This is my #1 for every day mascara.  HOWEVER.  If you want eyelashes that say “I could give Detox a run for her money” I’d go with the one right next to it, the Maybelline Volum Express “The Falsies” Mascara.  It has a giant wand so it really makes you look like you’re wearing a set of faux lashes.  I highlight my eyes about 80 percent of the time, as I have naturally super long lashes.

10. BeneTint Posie Lip/Cheek Stain.  It’s the only stain I’ve ever tried that didn’t make me look like I’d been making out with a rack of strawberries.  It gives a nice pop of color to my mouth and nothing less.

ADDENDUM – if I’m going to be highlighting my lips instead of my eyes, I’ll nix ALL makeup on them except for a bit of eyeliner and mascara, and then I’ll use Revlon ColourStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Top Tomato, but I will tell you this in advance: do not put it on unless you really don’t mind scrubbing the shit out of your face later.

No, I do not have a picture of me in all of the makeup.  I got this idea last night after I had scrubbed all of my makeup off. 

SECOND ADDENDUM: DO NOT FALL ASLEEP IN YOUR MAKEUP.  I use Sephora’s giant bag of makeup cleanser wipes, but in a pinch Noxcema or even Vaseline work great.  I get all of it off my face before I go to bed.  I used to never ever do this and it resulted in a lot of stained pillows and sties.  My mom swears by Vaseline.  I personally feel like I wiped my face with an oil slick when I use it. But to each their own.

My point to this post?

With all the sad news and tragic stuff going on lately, I wanted to write a post on makeup and feeling pretty and how cool I think makeup is.  So sue me.

I think we all could use some fluff in our lives sometimes.


Published by The Curious Ally Cat

I'm a 34 year old adjunct professor and writer in Connecticut. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late.

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