writes about clothes, shoes, hair, make-up, accessories, fashion - anything that's appearance-related, and a good deal else, because appearances are just the beginning.
Monday, January 30, 2012
I had two revelations in Buenos Aires last year. One concerned knickers, the other make-up.
Despite my mature years I am, as I've remarked before, a cosmetics novice.
In my teens, once I could escape my mother's oversight, I plastered on foundation, white lipstick, and all manner of eye make-up, including blue shadow, thick black liner and false lashes. Yes, I'm sure I looked awful. But it didn't matter much because in my early 20s I dispensed with the whole make-yourself-pretty-for-the-boys routine when I discovered feminism. Or it discovered me.
For the next couple of decades I wore no make-up at all. Not a skerrick. Until a doomed love affair made me reach in desperation for Shiseido tinted lip gloss and Dove SP15 tinted moisturiser. I felt glam with a subtle shine on my lips, and liked the way the moisturiser took the shine off my nose without caking me in gunk, while also protecting me from the worst of the sun.
A few years more and I had graduated - or been lured, if you like - into real lipstick. Just once - when I had to do an onstage gig under strong lights - I bought and applied some Revlon foundation. Otherwise I stuck to the Dove, which I still buy in the supermarket.
Then in the last two years tango has enticed me once more into eye make-up, though thankfully to nothing like the extent that I slapped it on in my youth - mascara and, from time to time for special occasions, subtle liner and real grown-up foundation. If I suffered the odd zit I would dob on a spot of extra foundation and hope for the best.
Until S demonstrated, as we getting ready to go out to a milonga one evening, the wondrous powers of concealer.
So the other day I bought some in the Kirk's sale - Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lift and Firm Concealer, reduced from around $45 to $29. (The EA website claims it was "Voted Best Undereye Concealer in Parents Magazine's first-ever 'Mom Knows Best Beauty Awards'!". I'm glad I didn't know that before it reached my bathroom shelf or it probably wouldn't have got that far.)
I'm almost sure that the sweet-faced young woman who used my own face as the stuff's selling point had perfect dewy skin. Sadly she'd smothered it under layers of pancake. Why do young women so often do this? Because, like me when I was that age, they don't feel good enough as they are. It's sad. And it's also a horrible commercial conspiracy, and not for a second do I regret the years I did without it, and faced the world naked.
Anyway, she sat me on the stool, made a few dabs under my eyes, worked at them conscientiously with a nifty little soft-bristled brush and handed me a mirror.
My wow alarmed her - for a moment she thought I didn't like what I saw. I was so smooth, so blemish-free. I handed over my EFTPOS card.
I will never apply the stuff as liberally as she did. Admirable though the effect was, it was an effect only, it wasn't me. They might not be de rigeur but I like my age-related freckles. And I don't want to get to the stage where I can't go out of the house without concealing them. I can't say I've been aware of the product's vaunted "ultra lift" properties, but I'll keep an eye out.
I wanted to conclude this blog with a close-up of skin bearing too great a load of make-up. There are plenty of images on the internet of people we're meant to have heard of caught wearing no make-up, but I failed to find even one example of what I was looking for. Significant? I think so.
You wanted me to wrap up with the knicker revelation, though, didn't you. Sorry. Another time.
I'm a writer. Sometimes I write fiction and sometimes I'd rather do something else, like earn money, travel or dance tango. Whatever I do, I never stop looking. So this blog is about looking to write, writing to see, and seeing to think. I was once the kind of feminist who believed it was wrong to delight in such things. Now I'm the kind of feminist who doesn't believe that at all. I will never, as Linda Grant puts it, go beige into that good night.