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Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Decade of Self-Discovery: My Make-Up Hits and Misses (a whole bunch of misses)

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in 7th grade and getting ready to go to a birthday sleepover for one of my friends. Having  begged my mother all day to allow me to wear eye-shadow to the party, she finally caved and said that I could wear a tiny bit but just on my eyelids. Eyelids adorned in a frosty sea-foam green was the perfect compliment to my dangling palm tree earrings. And so it began. I fell fast. I fell hard. My love for cosmetics ran deep. So deep, in fact, that it often missed the area of my brain where good taste and sensibility is formed. I invite you to take a look back as I revisit some of the products that helped lay the foundation for my love affair with cosmetics. The good, the bad, and the down-right humiliating. Sadly (but not really) I have no photos handy of  the certain instances I am referring to. I didn't say that the photos didn't exist, just that they do not reside in the same home or even state that I am in. Damn! That really sucks. I guess we will just have to move forward minus the potential to shatter my credibility and reputation as an aspiring beauty journalist. I have to mention that all of my hits and misses were obviously from various drugstores. I didn't even know makeup existed outside of the drugstore until I saw a friend of mines mother using Clinique. I thought she must be super rich to use Clinique. I hung on to this generalization for a long time to come.
The next vivid memory of my make-up past and the products that lived to tell the story took place during my Sophomore year of high school. From this point on, I know my make-up biography backwards and forwards. With a lot more "backwards" than "forwards". And there is actual proof in the form of pictures to go along with these memories (but not anywhere near this blog post). Does anyone remember the line of make-up called "Naturistics"? I have combed the ends of the earth to find a photo to prove the existence of the eyeshadow that I went through by the barrel. Having been way ahead of its time, it was an eyeshadow duo that came with an eyeshadow primer! The first of its kind, at least in my world. I remember using the creamy white primer on my eyelids before applying the taupey-brown shadow it was paired with on my eyelids. I think I always stopped short of the eyelids because I didn't know how to go any further into unknown upper eye lid territory.I Purchased over and over at the local Fisher's Big Wheel near my hometown. Its no longer there anymore nor is Naturistics make-up sold anymore. I think it is still sold on places like Ebay but knowing how long ago I have seen this brand in stores, I'm not sure I would purchase it with the intent of actually using it. Nostalgic purchase? Possibly. Moving on! If I described each individual make-up detail for a 10 year period of my life, we would have less blog and more mind numbing novel. Time to kick this thing into overdrive. 

I bring you up to speed to a crucial year in MissMakeUp's "makeup life". The year was 1994: I had a strong love for The Cure and tan suede clogs. Well the clog thing had actually faded out the year prior but I'm pretty sure you get the idea that I was mega-cool. This was the year where my style changed and my concern with appearance reared its ugly little head. My jeans became tighter and my lipstick became brighter. Enter my Junior year of high school. I have two words for you: Revlon Colorstay. A lipstick junkie's dream come true. A lip product that is so matte and drying that it literally stays put all day. Even after slobbering all over your boyfriend between classes. No matter how industrial strength that product was, I always felt the need to touch up after every single class and on bathroom breaks during class. Bathroom break signified lipstick touch up and rarely ever involved an actual restroom stall. The shade was "Sienna". The actual shade looked similar to how it sounded with more of a red/berry tone to it if I can recall and quite possibly the most matte lipstick that has ever crossed these lips. I'm pretty sure by the 5th school day touch up that cracks would start to form on my lips. And it didn't stop there. Do you think I would have actually been able to maximize my lip potential without the use of #999 (or was it #666?) Wet N' Wild lip liner in the shade Brandywine? Amazingly enough, it is now 17 years after this lip lining love affair began with the aforementioned lip perfecter and it is still sold to this day. Turns out its a cult-classic and harbors the dedication of many members of my generation and new followers as well. I am absolutely amazed that this liner sold for 99 cents back in 1994 and still sells for 99 cents in 2011. Oh, Wet N' Wild, I give you a lot of credit for sticking with me through those turbulent teen years. 

My lip combination didn't change until around 2000. Although I often put the Sienna down to opt for an even darker lip from Revlon Colorstay which was achieved by the use of Sienna's older and more mysterious counterpart: Burgundy. And burgundy it was. This one happened to be my high-school BFF's signature color and I vividly remember it in her senior photos. Another lipstick that made it into my locker on occasion if my precious Sienna was sold out was another Wet N' Wild gem, Bordeaux. I remember it being a stiff and hard to work with lipstick that boasted that cheap lipstick smell. Yet another signature lip product in my collection. What was with the 90's and dark lipsticks?! Once a boy who I went to school with practically begged me to just come to school one day without lipstick on. Even if it was just for an hour. I was then free to apply it anytime after that. I was mortified by the very idea of this highly inappropriate request. I may have been more comfortable with the idea of coming to school with a naked ass before I'd show up with naked lips. 

I am convinced that I blacked out from 1997-1999 but I've seen the proof that I was in fact present during this time with the help of pictures and it wasn't pretty. I mentioned in a previous paragraph that I had a great love of The Cure. Apparently during these two years, I also thought I WAS The Cure. Or at least Robert Smith's baby sister. Who wanted to have sex with him. I remember that the actual cosmetics I used to achieve the death personified look were quite tame. However, when used in large quantities and with brute force, one can take any seemingly neutral product and transform it into something that Cover Girl would not have been proud to have its name associated with at the time. Cover Girl's Raisin eye shadow  was introduced into my collection around 1999 until it finally met its maker sometime in 2003. The latter years were much more toned down and appropriate for the maturity level I was finally reaching when it came to my face. I took that sucker from pretty to putrid and then back to pretty again before they discontinued it. I would use it today (in the right way this time) if they did. Believe me, I've hunted high and low for it. A shade like this has no business being anywhere but in the brand's permanent line. This was your typical shade of, well, raisin. It was a purple-taupe shade with just the right amount of frost to its sheen and I used it with passion and zeal. From the lids to the brows, this was my signature shade.
The next milestone I hit in this "journey to awareness" was inching me closer to an acknowledgment of other facial features besides my eyes and lips. It was a product made by L'Oreal  called "Brow Colorist". It was an eyebrow pencil that was dual-ended. On one end you had your typical eyebrow shading pencil while the other end housed a product that I would come to fall in make-up love with: the brow highlighting powder. I remember you dipped the end with the smudge brush into the cap and to unleash a lovely sheen under your brow bone. This was a brand-new concept for me and one that would play a part in my everyday routine until this day. Just not with the same product and in the same fashion.

Also riding shotgun with me on this wild ride of hits and misses was the Maybelline Shine Free Pressed Powder in "Medium Dark". To this day I am disappointed by the fact that its no longer being made. For someone with very sensitive skin who finds it hard to find a product they can use that doesn't contain the ingredients that will leave those frustrating white bumps in its wake. It's like a death in the family when you lose a product that fulfilled this qualification for a large portion of your cosmetic wearing life. It had a great matte finish and actually did what the package claimed it did which was to leave your face free of shine. And for around $3.99 at the time, this was a small price to pay for those kind of results. At first I started noticing the drugstores phasing out my particular shade. Next, they started taking out the medium beige which I used for my back-up when medium dark was sold out. I jumped off the Shine-Free train when all they had left was the Ivory shade. I had put the paleness past behind me and was entering a whole new world of tanning beds and hair bleach. I didn't have the time or willingness to take a single step backwards. I was on a roll.

If you haven't noticed, most of the products I'm putting in the spotlight are good products. The way in which I applied them wasn't always good, however. While having outlined for you some of my favorite products of the 90's through the current decade, I will now list for you some of the ways in which I flat out missed the mark and fell on my face with some of the hideous application methods and clear disregard for looking presentable. 

Make-Up Misses:
Pale blue frosty eyeshadow from the lids to the brows with no apparent method to this madness.

Glitter! Glitter! And More Glitter! on the chest as well as face in large death defying quantities. Not to be confused with shimmer, we are talking about actual large chunks of foil like particles floating around in sticky gel. 

Overdone mascara. I used to take my eyelash curler after applying about 20 coats of L'oreal Le Grand (discontinued) mascara and curl them after they were severely coated and crispy. I remember pulling the curler away from my lash area and feeling them stick to the rubber piece of the tool as well as ocassionally being pulled ou and then stuck onto the black residue left on the curler. Overuse of this method ended up canceling the original purpose of the eyelash curler which is to curl. Instead, my lashes almost stood up to form a straight line.

White Pressed Powder. So the shade wasn't called "white", but it sure did look like I crushed a few pieces of Crayola chalk to form my own version of a pressed powder. And I remember really caking it in certain areas where I wanted more coverage. What I was left with was a white face with certain small areas that were even whiter. Rather than have that dreaded foundation line where your face is too dark for your neck, I had the opposite problem.

Brown lipstick. L'Oreal Brazil Nut. Its still made today. I don't know what possessed me to think this was a good shade for me but I was in 9th grade at the time and this was my first "grown up" lipstick product. Clearly I was not ready to put down the lip smackers just yet. To make matters worse I didn't even pronounce it right. I don't know why it failed to register that you would pronounce "Brazil" exactly the same way as the country, "Brazil". And left in its place was "Bray-zil Nut" which the emphasis on the first syllable. So this lipstick was a problem for me even before I applied it for the very first time. I looked awful wearing it and I sounded awful saying it.
Now that the dust has settled on that rollercoaster ride where girl meets makeup for the first time, I am proud to say that I have it all finally figured out. An obsession with makeup may be unhealthy, but that passion fueled my desperate attempts to "get it right". And I bring you, with relief and enthusiasm, the products I use to create my daily signature look. My look is comprised of several different brands and products that are in rotation, with the realistic acknowledgement that at any given moment one could be dropped like drugstore make-up upon discovering the good stuff. A make-up junkie knows that each product in her collection is disposable. Or at least replaceable. Loyalty only exists to a certain degree. I will do this in a list formation without any need for reviews. I will be reviewing certain ones in the future and I don't know if I can sleep tonight having subjected my eight precious followers, who I want to hold on to with every bit of strength in my grip, to any additional needless length.   

Current Skin/Face Routine:

Lancome Genefique Youth Activating Cream Serum 
Neutrogena Dry-Touch SPF 45 Sunscreen
Hope in a Jar or Origins Vita-Zing moisturizer
Laura Mercier concealer in shade #1
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer
Korres Mineral Powder Foundation (Med. Beige)
Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation (to provide a nice sheen)

Eyeshadow Rotation:
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Bare Escentuals Bare Skin
Wet N' Wild Color Icon Trios

Eyeliner Rotation:
Mac Blacktrack Fluidline
Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Whiskey/Zero
Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Stash

Mascara (minus the rotation)
Dior Lash Plumping Primer
Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash 
Shiseido eyelash curler

Blush/Bronzer/Highlight Rotation (Favorite category):
Mac Mineralize Skin Finish Stereo Rose
Rock and Republic blush Call Me
Mac Mineralize Skin Finish Pink Power
Dior blush/bronzer/powder trio
Bare Escentuals blush Flower
YSL Touche Eclat highlighter #8

Lip Product Rotation:

Chanel Natural lipliner
Mac lipliner Subculture
Mac Marquise D' lustre lipstick
Mac lipstick Gaga2
Mac lipglass Emancipation
NYX Mega Shine lipgloss Beige

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