Makeup and Mug Shots

What a Christmas break! I’d say it was about 3 months long… not that I vacationed from work or life (as if!) but I haven’t blogged in ages. It’s like when I was an angst-filled teen and young adult. I’d keep a journal for months or years, but if I skipped a certain amount of time, I’d begin to think that I had too much to catch up on, and the task was too daunting… and it became more daunting the more time went on. And it’s not like I had to fill in all the missing days — nobody was reading it but me. But even here, the longer I was away from writing, the harder it became to get back to it. Which, I guess, is the same for everything in my life, and maybe in everyone’s life. Exercise, healthy eating, enjoyable passtimes: the farther I get from the days when I engaged in those things, the more difficult — and eventually nearly impossible! — it feels to get back to them.

Well, there’s my deep thought for the day. Now, over the last sevearal months when I’ve been sick with sinus stuff and a sudden onset of asthma, which I’ve never had in my life before and which suddenly has me wheezing and gasping for breath nearly every day, I’ve still managed to be fascinated with middle-aged style. Mainly, these days, it has been makeup.

Fortunately for me, my mom had the brilliant idea of giving me (and I never would have thought of asking for this, because I didn’t know it existed) this book, Making Faces (Amazon, $16.95), by a makeup artist to the stars, Kevyn Aucoin. (Lizzie and I don’t know how to pronounce his last name, so anytime we refer to him — which is strangely often — we call him “Kevyn-with-a-Y.) The book shows a variety of makup basics divided by facial feature, and breaks them down into details: how to contour cheeks, how to smudge your eyeliner just right, how to make Cupid’s bow lips and movie star lips and vamp lips. Then, there are pages and pages of art photos of stars for whom he has done makeup (the grammarist in me popped out in that last sentence). Each star is labeled by “look,” as in the Ingenue, the Vamp, the Diva, the Chanteuse, etc., and he explains in detail how he did their makeup, step by step. There are also pages on different styles: glamorous, shimmery, innocent, simple, colorful, etc., again with step-by-step instructions. Models include Barbra Streisand (the Diva, obvy), Winona Ryder, Cher, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, and a bunch of fashion models I’ve never heard of but who are obviously dazzlingly beautiful probably even without Kevyn-with-a-Y’s help.

Also from my mother was a countour palette (Amazon, $94.99) from Kevyn-with-a-Y. It includes countouring powder and cream in two colors, some neutral eye colors, a mirror, and step-by-step instructions for countouring, which I love because I don’t have much countour in my face.

Mom thought it was a strange present to give me and I’m pretty sure she was hoping I didn’t like it so I could send it back to her and she could keep it herself. However, I love it, and so does Lizzie, and I’m spending way too much of my day playing with it. Also, buying more makeup at Sephora. Which is not good. But I obviously must have all the colors and brushes that Kevyn-with-a-Y uses in his book.

Since Christmas, I’ve been playing with the countour palette, experimenting with Kevyn’s suggestions for eye makeup and face countouring.


Makeup using tips from Kevyn Aucoin’s “The Art of Sculpting” palette

Today was the first day I tried to mimic one of the “faces” in the book. I went with “shimmery” because I wanted to experiment with the eye makeup technique that has eye shadow not only on the eyelid and on the corners of the eye, but under the eye, as well. As usual, the lighting here isn’t great, but below are before and after pictures.

Before: no makeup at all.


Before: clean, moisturized face, no makeup

After: “Shimmery”


After: makeup following the steps for “Shimmery” from Kevyn’s book

So, first of all, I like the look of the eyeshadow under the eyes, however I don’t think the magenta color works for me. Kind of makes me look like I have pink eye. Second, and I’m not sure why, I don’t look anything like the model. Could it be because, well… I’m not a model? The lesson to be learned here is don’t take selfies so closeup that you can see your pores, and if you do, try not to make it look like a mug shot. I don’t know why I look so scary. Next time I’ll try to smile. I’m trying to keep a neutral face so you can see the makeup, but, like I said… scary.

Interestingly, the shimmery look used no foundation or tinted moisturizer, just highlighting cream. (I used this “Uplighting Liquid Illuminator” from Clinique — Macy’s, $26.50.) The shimmery look also didn’t include any countouring powder, but Kevyn was the one who taught me how to use it in the first place, so I figured it was okay to add it to the shimmery face. Does it strike you, at all, that I don’t look shimmery in the least? In the photo of the (unfairly beautiful) model, she had a luminous glow. Could be I used the wrong highlighting cream. Could be that her skin is probably 30 years younger than mine and that she is, I’ll mention it again, a model.

My point of this endless blog post is that makeup is a blast and if you feel like spending some money and experimenting, I highly recommend Kevyn-with-a-Y and his book and makeup palette. Let me know your thoughts on your own makeup style or anything you’ve been experimenting with. Can’t wait to hear from you — I’ve missed you all! Hope your holidays were wonderful and that 2016 is off to a good start.

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