[This post appeared in March, 2006 on my regular PeaceBang blog. It was the inspiration for Sister of PeaceBang to begin nagging me to start a Beauty Tips blog. Okay, sis, this is for you! – P.B.]
PeaceBang is ecstatic!
I’ve had several e-mails off line asking for make-up tips for those women who never ever wear the stuff. I clap my hands with glee! I’m still waiting for the hate mail from women who will accuse me of being in league with the patriarchy, or at worst, with the ghost of Estee Lauder. But really, you have to understand that on rainy days when I was little, Mother of PeaceBang put out big shoeboxes of her old make-up (I shudder to think of the bacterial festival contained therein) and set up a little Hollywood-lit make-up table for my sister and me. We carefully made up our wee little faces and the glamour was thrilling! How could we go back to fresh-scrubbedness? (Although Sister of PeaceBang can get by to this day with a tiny brushing of bronzer, a light lick of black eyeliner and her favorite Clinique lipstick in something like Ballerina Pink. She is ageless, and although we argue about over-plucking eyebrows, she hasn’t cut her own bangs since third grade and has looked smashing ever since. Even during the Perm Era). But I digress. You asked about make-up.
1. Start with the cheap stuff, but take your time choosing shades. Shop at a store with a good return policy, like Rite-Aid or CVS.
2. Listen up. These products are wonderful:
> Maybelline Express Make-up 3 In 1. It’s less than $5, and it’s a handy, blendable make-up stick that you can use to blend away ruddy spots and other blotchy skins sections, or use it lightly all over your face. Blend, blend, blend. It’s very lightweight so you won’t feel like you’re wearing make-up at all.
> Covergirl Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara. In black. It washes off but it’s waterproof! How genius is that? Safe for contact wearers. Also under $5. Best with an eyelash curler, which I have been using for 25 years with no mishaps, but I don’t want to push you too far. Let me just say this: they totally open up the eye.
> Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator. This is a light powder that is gorgeous and shimmery. You don’t want to use it all over your face: get a basic pressed powder compact to blot away shine (for heaven’s sake, you at LEAST have a powder compact, don’t you?) and use this on your cheekbones and eyelids to create a dewy look. Good for those who don’t want to graduate into eye shadow just yet. Makes you look rested and radiant, especially if you haven’t exfoliated recently (which you should have, with something gentle. Throw away that nasty apricot scrub by St. Ives immediately, girlfriend, it’s just like using sandpaper!).
Use a light touch with this product. You don’t want to look like Reverend Disco Fever.
> I cannot LIVE without CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor in Blush Pearl. It’s a neutral color that I think would look great on any skin tone no matter how light or dark (but you’ll have to write and tell me). You paint your lips with it, let it dry, and you’re gorgeous for hours and hours and hours. It comes with a moisturizing topcoat that keeps things shiny and comfortable. It doesn’t come off on your coffee cup, it doesn’t come off on your lover, it doesn’t come off through a morning of preaching and meetings although if you’re like me, you have seventeen or eighteen lip glosses on your person and in your car that you layer over anyway. And speaking of which, Rimmel makes a FABULOUS $4 gloss that actually has a bit of lasting power (by which I mean maybe an hour, which is a long time for lip gloss). But the CoverGirl is a lip color that doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing lipstick. If you want to look like you’re wearing lipstick, there are thousands of choices. But keep in mind that anything too purply will age you and bring attention to jowliness, and too waxy is very out of fashion. Sheer is a good bet, and save the bright bright red for either a very tailored suit look, or keep it away from church altogether unless you’re a fairly dramatic type (and even then, you don’t want anything too drippy and vampy).
Men should have a lip balm, too. Chapped kissers don’t look nice on anyone.
3. When it comes to applying make-up, blend, blend, blend. Do invest in a nice powder brush, again available at the drugstore. When you buy blush, don’t imagine that the cheap little brush in the package will be appropriate. And you should buy blush. Consider a creme blush that you dab on with your fingers, and blend, blend, blend. All of which does not mean that you should use so little that we can’t even tell the difference. Play at home! Find your look!
4. You asked about eyebrow pencil. I admit that I spend $25 for a Lancome item called poudre something, which just means that it’s powdery. It lasts for about five months, so at $5 a month or 16 cents a day, I’m willing to pay. The color matches my natural eyebrows perfectly, and to me it’s worth it. The trick to eyebrow pencil is to get a good grip on the pencil, and with a LIGHT TOUCH, fill in your brows with feathery strokes. No drawing big, strong lines unless you want to look like an ancient eccentric drama teacher. You’re just filling in, you’re not trying to look like Nelson Eddy in one of those operettas with Jeanette McDonald.
5. Skin care is for everyone, boys and girls. Use SPF, for God’s sake, or you’ll look like my colleague with the bright pink honker and cheeks whose sunburnt skin comes off in big patches during the summer and makes you want to choke into your gin and tonic. Dandruff care is part of skin care: your scalp is skin. Take care of it.
Exfoliate, gently. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Kiehl’s makes a fabulous undereye gel with SPF. Pat it on gently and it will give you a dewy glow after it dries (but it will smear your eyeliner if you’re wearing it on your lower lid, which I mostly don’t). Don’t be afraid of bronzer, white people, which can warm up your whole face in the dead of winter and spare you from overdoing it with the blush. Bronzer is the new lipstick, and they make it even for the fairest of skin. I had my doubts but I now own a beautiful bronzer by Trish McEvoy and it’s wonderful stuff; you can hardly tell it’s there but I don’t look pasty anymore. Dust lightly over the cheeks, forehead and nose – everywhere the sun hits. And if you’re a chubby and have two chins, I’ll teach you a little shading trick I learned from Pam.
6. And this is very important: Have a Booger Patrol. When I was installed, I gathered my Search Committee around me and said, “Your job is over, but I have a sacred trust to extend to you now. You were the Search Committee that got me here to this church, and from now on, I need you to be my Booger Patrol. If I have sand in my eyes or toilet paper sticking on my shoe or my skirt tucked into my pantyhose or my perfume is too strong or I have something crusty in my nose or spinach on my tooth, you’ve got to tell me.”
They solemnly agreed. Everyone in public leadership needs a Booger Patrol. Mine has told me more than once that my slip is showing or I have a glob of hair product in the back of my head that didn’t get worked in enough. They are the ones who will tell me honestly if I have garlic breath.
Don’t read this and groan, “how much time does she think I HAVE in the morning?” Once you get the hang of it, this is a five minute operation. I, of course, take about 25 minutes to do it all (including hair) on Sundays because it’s a form of meditation and preparation for me. On other days, it’s a quick brush and curl and paint and I’m done.
Embrace the possibilities! Go forth and make-up!
Maybelline Express Make-Up 3-In-1
CoverGirl Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara
CoverGirl Outlast All Day Lipcolor in Blush Pearl
Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator
Decent make-up brushes
Trish McEvoy powder bronzer (available in finer stores and salons)