A few weeks ago my pal AL did a blog about makeup, which coincided coincidentally with a trip we took to Sephora one morning for their preferred client 20% off sale. I wasn’t going to blog the same thing, for fear of being accused of copying her or of having no originality but I happened to confess to a couple of people that I spent over $200 during that trip, which follows two earlier trips this fall in which I spent, collectively, $200 worth of gift cards on makeup.
Yes, make up. But it’s worse than that.
In May, when we were in Vegas, my boss gave me $20 to bet for her and I told her I would but whatever she won, she was splitting with me. I dropped it in a slot machine and ten minutes later her $20 was $280 and I was $140 richer. I took that fist full of cash into the Sephora on the strip and in twenty minutes or so, had spent it all.
$140 in May, a $40 trip in the summer to buy some High Beam (which I am absolutely addicted to, thanks to Dawn), the $200 in gift cards and most recently, the $240 at the preferred client sale (20% off sale! 20%!) and at first I wasn’t going to do the math because I was scared but guess what? That works out $620 in makeup so far this year.
Yep, I spent more money on makeup this year then I did on clothes. And I spent more on makeup then I did on my trip to Halifax last month. Yep, I have a problem. My problem’s name is Sephora but can I tell you? It’s a BEAUTIFUL problem, it really is.
I do love make up. I love what it can do to a person, how it can transform someone, how easily it can change the way a person sees or feels about themselves. I love how with a bit of makeup, you can hide the crappy sleep that you had the night before, or the fact that you’ve been crying, or that you’re not feeling well and are much too pale. It will hide that you are hungover or that you ate too much chocolate. I love how it can be an extension of your wardrobe, or an accessory to what jewellery you’re wearing. I love how it can be there without even looking like it is.
It’s the simple beauty of it.
I started wearing makeup in junior high school and was probably the first of my friends to have a makeup bag filled with little cases of shadows and blushes and tubes of lipsticks. I would go on sleepovers at my girl friends houses and they all told me to bring my makeup and we’d sit on their bedroom floor and I would show them how to apply all the different cosmetics that I had brought with me. A lot of what I learned I was taught by my older sister, or my mother, and some of it was learned by the Mary Kay saleswoman that would come to see my mother with all her samples in her little case, in her Mary Kay car and would take us for drives up and down the street.
Always, I have had the following in my makeup bag – a foundation and powder, eyeshadow and eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and lipliner. These items have all been a part of my makeup routine in varying intensities – in my teens and early twenties I wore less eye makeup and really dark lipsticks but in the past year, I’ve done a reversal and now wear really dark eye makeup and nothing on my lips but lip gloss. Since becoming obsessed with Sephora, I’ve discovered the many faceted layers of makeup, and my eye routine involves no less than 5 steps (primer for your shadow, then shadow, then liner, then primer for your mascara, followed by mascara).
My makeup bag consists of more than just the basics now – there’s the above mentioned primers (plus a pre-foundation one that I got earlier this fall), concealer and cheek stains and bronzers and complexion enhancers (the above mentioned High Beam). Two types of foundations, one for summer (a tinted moisturizer) and one for fall and winter but that still has SPF. Regular eyeliner pencils (in brown) but metallic liquid liners in brown, black, blue and green. Pots of dark shadow, mostly browns, with Urban Decay being my favorite, especially SMOG which I wear daily. My makeup bag is crammed and it’s mostly stuff that I will wear every day. It sounds like a lot, but I’ve got my routine down pat – my makeup goes on in less than ten minutes, five if I’m in a hurry.
I’m a made-up gal, I admit it. I love makeup just as much as when I was twelve years old, perhaps even more so now because I know how to use it.
Three weeks ago, as I shopped with AL, I led her through the store and showed her all my favorite things as I tossed them into my basket. I bought more High Beam, and Smog shadow, and Shadow Insurance – all things that I didn’t need yet but knew I would run out of soon. I explained why I wear certain products and how to use them and showed her the cheek stain I use which she ended up deciding to buy. I thought about the friends of mine that have complimented me on how I wear my makeup, who have asked for tips, who have asked me to go with them to Sephora so I can show them what to buy.
It struck me after that trip to Sephora that the idea of makeup is a universal concept in the world of women, a timeless concept that has the same lure and appeal twenty years later, when we are no longer pre-teens sitting on a girl’s bedroom floor playing with the products spread before us. Instead, we are grown women, wandering the aisles at the makeup superstore, standing before the well-lit makeup mirrors with testers, showing each other what a product can do.
It was the idea of this that made me send an email to all my girlfriends and invite them to come to my place one evening in December, with their makeup bags, and we will sit with one another and show each other how to use all the tubes and creams and shadows that we carry with us. Like twelve year old girls, we will experiment on each other and we will laugh and giggle and talk about boys. We might even pop some popcorn.
But unlike twelve year old girls, we will drink martinis.
And unlike twelve year old girls, we will know that we are beautiful without our makeup, because we’ve been told this time and time again. We will know that we look just as beautiful when we get back from a run and our faces are bare, or that clean fresh look that comes from being in the shower, or the flushed, natural sexy look that comes from crawling out from beneath the sheets. Unlike twelve year old girls, we will know that we are beautiful not because of our makeup, we will know that we are lovely without it. It might have taken us years to realize this, but we DO know this.
And yet, why do we wear it?
Because, like twelve year girls, we will see how we transform – how our eyes will shimmer and our cheeks will shine and our skin will get that dewy look that comes in a little jar with High Beam written on the side.