Not long ago, after a particular night out – I’d came to the decision that I just wasn’t happy with the way that I looked — or felt about how I looked, which you could argue is just as important.  Which, is not a fun place to be. I’ll spare you most of the details, (if nothing else , for the space!) but what it boiled down to, was that I would start out an evening/event feeling great – even confident sometimes.  But, by the end of whatever was going on, no matter what I was wearing or did makeup wise, I felt absolutely ridiculous next to everyone else.  Obviously, that’s a problem that’s going to be at least 75% mental… but that doesn’t make it any easier to tackle.

My poor husband had to listen to — and translate sniffly snobs — all of this one night.  I don’t know if it’s because he’s looking from the outside in, or if he’s just smarter than I am ;  but he came up with a semblance of a solution. Or, a starting point at least.

I’d mentioned that it frustrated me that I literally always buy the wrong shades of makeup.  And that aside from the basic, basic coverup and a bit of color, I was makeup clueless. Contouring? What’s that??! Wish I knew though. People do amazing things with JUST base makeup, highlighter, and blush. Forget the fancy theatrical stuff – I want the basics!!

So, here comes the bargain.  If I tossed every piece of makeup I owned — every single one — he’d take me and buy me a whole new set of makeup. Good quality makeup, at a place where they’d teach me how to apply it.

Which, was awesome.  I , of course, said yes. I’ve never bought a huge chunk of makeup together.  Well, no. That’s not true.  Before we got married, I bought Laura Mercier powder and concealer. $60. That’s the most expensive purchase I’ve made to date.   But honestly?  The thought of tossing everything I had absolutely terrified me.  Not that they’re amazing products – because to be honest, they aren’t.  But… I guess it’s that they’re more of backups. Makeup is SO expensive.  It breaks my heart (and wallet?) to throw any of it down.    I  mean, I have some eyeshadows that are years old. And some backup foundation that isn’t the right shade, but if mixed with lotion makes a tinted moisturizer…. and 5 lipsticks that if mixed with the ones in my holiday kit can come close to maybe looking good….

Okay. Nope. On second thought, it can all go. It’s probably not doing me much good.    I did though, keep my black eyeliner, and a red lipstick I bought the week before.  (With the concession that when the black went bad/ran out, I’d buy better quality black eyeliner.  )

So, after I did a ton ( A TON) of Googling, and watched a million makeup tutorial videos on basic looks, I had a somewhat well formed list of what I’d like to get together.  Then, had to promptly revamp the whole list.   Over half of it was from Carmindy’s makeup line, which of course, is now discontinued.  (A new one comes out in February though…)  So, I tried to just keep the general elements in mind, as we went to Sephora. Surely the girl helping me would be able to piece it all together, right?

Well, I was partially right anyway.  A little off on the gender part though….

At Sephora, I met my new best friend.   (Not really… but I could have kissed him when he got done. )

Holy gracious… this boy took me to school.  I felt like I had a Cinderella moment. Totally ridiculous.

We walked in, and were immediately approached by a consultant.  His eyes widened a little bit when I told him that I’d tossed all of my makeup, and needed to start over. With copious amounts of help and hand holding.   He nodded, and ran off.

Enter Larry, stage right.  Which , of course, made me nervous.   I haven’t always encountered people who know what they’re doing at Sephora. On occasion, I can tell I know more about a product just from Googling. And… I know nothing. So that’s always nerve wracking.   But, I figured I really didn’t have anything to lose.  Here’s hoping that this guy knew more about makeup than I did…

Thankfully, I didn’t need to worry.

He walked us over to the makeover studio area. It was really neat. Had a well lit mirror, (Perfect for cringing with a naked face!) comfy chairs, glass looking palettes to put the makeup on… really quite lovely.  He chatted with us for a minute, asked a few questions, gave me the once over, and took off.

In no more than ten minutes, this kid comes back with : foundation, concealer, setting powder, lipstick, blush, bronzer, an eyeshadow triad, eyeliner, and mascara.

Everything except one shade of lipstick (from a holiday kit, he just wanted to test it out) was the perfect shade.

I kid you not.  5 minutes with me, and he’s  seeing/ doing things that I’ve not been able to figure out in 27 years!

Honestly, it was all very basic, everyday wear colors.  But I seriously, felt like a new person.   My complexion was even… the eye colors really made my eyes pop out – and I did NOT look like an Oompa Loompa with the bronzer.  ( I gave up on bronzer about ten years ago…)  I couldn’t believe it. I’ve NEVER been able to do anything like that.  I mean, it was like comparing a stick figure picture, with a portrait.

The crazy thing was… it didn’t seem like he was doing much different than I was . Just little tweaks here and there in the application. (Having the right shades probably helped, too.)  For example, he used a huge fluffy brush to apply liquid foundation. I would have NEVER done that. Ever!

Needless to say , we ended up buying almost everything he put on me. We didn’t get the shimmer setting powder – we opted to get a starter kit that came with the foundation, slightly smaller setting powder and primer. Plus a small fluffy brush.

I’m still not up to Larry’s skill level, but I’m getting there. AND, I’ve started getting better with the filling in of eyebrows.  Though, it’s a little funny. With my now-purple hair, the normal colored powder is way too light. So, I fill them in the best I can, and then after I do my eyeliner – I take the smudgy brush I used on it, and go over my eyebrows.  Eggplant color, turns out, complements purple hair fairly well, without looking cartoon-y. 🙂

At first, I didn’t notice a huge difference. Which , was a touch disheartening.  But, I also was snapping pictures with a horrid camera phone. So, really I shouldn’t be surprised. 🙂   Anyway. I did notice in a picture a friend posted – silly expression aside!  Here, I’ll share.


Before… Not horrible, but very flat. I knew concealer and foundation. Sorta, anyway. 🙂

A picture my friend Rebecca snapped while pumpkin carving. Not the best picture of me ever, but you can definitely tell a bit of difference. Nothing drastic, just looks a little .. well, less flat. I love it.

So, it’s definitely a work in progress. And some days are really frustrating, because I -don’t- have any fun colors.  Silver eye shadow is on my “i-need-this” list. As is a blue. Maybe a green….

But.  Now that I have all this ‘big girl’ makeup, we put some ‘rules’ on makeup purchases.  To make sure that this doesn’t end up happening again. 1) No more cheap makeup.  Which, I tend to forget, and want to buy drugstore makeup.  But, then Matt reminds me of my talent for buying wrong shades. (It’s a super power really, someone call the League!)  And 2) Anything I want to buy, I need to either try on in store, or get a sample to take home. Whichever is more practical.  Which, really, is a good idea anyway.  Especially since it requires that someone show me how to use it.  I very much like that part..

So, we’ll see how it goes.  For now, I’m pretty happy. I don’t feel like I’m playing dress up or putting on a mask when I put makeup on – just feel like I’m accenting features I already have. That’s a definite plus.   And, I’m working on what I eat, and working out… trying to not ‘look pretty’, but to feel happy with myself, and pick up some confidence I lost somewhere.   Only. as I type this, I did NOT work out this morning, and I had Baja Jacks’ nachos last night for dinner. So, we’re talking a work in progress. 🙂

Though, you’d be surprised at how much a shiny purple curly mohawk seems to temporarily help the confidence department. 😉

Making a conscious effort to blog more.  I ‘owe’ my husband a million blogs I said I’d do.  He’s promised me a literal tour of local coffee shops this winter, if I get caught up. Bless you poor souls reading this, you have a LOT ahead of you to read.  Just remember that I love you… -T


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