Be honest. How do you feel about running a brush through your hair in the morning, maybe gathering it into a ponytail or stuffing in under a toque, then pulling on your clothes, and heading out into the wide world completely barefaced? All you, nothing else but you, un-retouched, except for sunscreen. If that’s your daily normal, then I salute you. Me… I’m way too chicken. Unless I’m going skiing, fishing, canoeing, or walking the trails, I don’t show my face in public without make-up. And I haven’t since I was in high school.
Of course, the way I make up my face has changed a lot over the years. Make-up itself has changed, fashion has changed, and I’ve changed (a whole lot) since I received my first mini-make-up kit from my big sister for Christmas when I was in grade nine. And for the past few years, learning to make-up my old(er) face has required me to learn quite a few new tricks.
|All made-up and no party to attend tonight.
I love make-up, most of the time. I love playing with colour, with eye-shadow, and blush and lipstick. When I was working I used to enjoy my morning routine. My half hour in the bathroom each morning was contemplative time; doing my hair, applying my make-up, sipping my first cup of tea delivered by my thoughtful Hubby, and organizing my day in my mind. As I said in another post on make-up a few years ago, I’d emerge after my thirty minutes of contemplation, made-up, coiffed, caffeinated, and ready to meet my day.
Since I retired I’ve had a very different morning routine, and for the past five years I’ve been slowly altering how I wear make-up, and how much of it I wear. So, in the interest of learning a few new tricks and getting my make-up done for free, when I was contacted about a Christmas promotion event for Laura Mercier, my favourite make-up line, I booked an appointment. I used to be exclusively a Bobbi Brown devotee; the Bobbi Brown girls at Holt Renfrew were my go-to experts for years. But I shifted my allegiance to Laura Mercier when Nordstrom opened because of a lovely cosmetician named Katie, who I’ve written about before on the blog. Katie taught me how to “tight-line,” and how to properly use my highlighter powder, as well as giving me all kinds of skincare pointers. Despite wearing make-up for more than forty years, and even working for a stint on the Lancôme counter at Simpson’s back in the early eighties, I find there are always new techniques I can learn.
When Katia, who now manages the Laura Mercier line at Nordstrom, told me about their pre-Christmas make-over promotion, I was keen. I was interested in trying new eye-shadow colours in a neutral, soft palette which I could apply easily and simply for day, and layer more dramatically for evening. I thought I might move away from tight-lining, especially for travel, maybe get a liner pencil that would pack more easily. I was also looking for a blush that, applied to the apples of my cheeks, would brighten my face without looking too “rouge-y.”
Last Friday afternoon, I enjoyed a lovely couple of hours with these three ladies.That’s Diane on the left. Diane is the Laura Mercier rep for Eastern Canada, and a very talented make-up artist. In the middle is Fadumo, an experienced cosmetician who works these events for Laura Mercier. And that’s Katia on the right. Katia manages the LM counter at Nordstrom.
|Diane, Fadumo, and Katia at the Laura Mercier counter in Nordstrom.
So what did I learn? Fadumo showed me how using eyebrow pencil doesn’t have to make you look like Nora Desmond, all it takes is feathered strokes, and brushing. I thought my brows looked good when she was finished, but I’m more comfortable with my angled brush and my “brow definer” which is a kind of gel/powder in a little pot. I’ve been using it for years now because I cannot make a pencil look natural.
I also loved what Fadumo did with my eye shadow. The new shadow colour (Fresco), which I purchased, goes beautifully with the shadows I already owned. At first, she tried a taupe liner pencil, but we all agreed that using a brush to tightline with my dark blue liner works better with the very neutral eyeshadow colours. I wrote a post about learning how to tight-line ages ago. You can read it here, but honestly this short You Tube video from Laura Mercier shows you much better. The key from what I’ve read, and from my own experience, is to make sure the liner is not too watery, and to apply at the base of the lashes and not in the water line where it will simply run into your eye. I have sensitive eyes and I’ve had no problem using this technique. I much prefer it to my old smudgy pencil.
Diane suggested the blush I’m wearing here and I love it. It looks dark in the compact, but isn’t when it’s applied. It gives me some much needed colour in my cheeks, brightening my face without looking like I’ve too much make-up on. And she showed me how to use the highlighter powder which I already owned to soften the colour if I want. Diane also chose the lipstick pencil I’m wearing. It’s quite dramatic here, maybe a better look for me for evening. But she explained how I can use it as a stain by applying it over my lip balm to give just a hint of added colour.
|My Lucille Ball look-alike lips are maybe a bit too dramatic for me for day.
Here’s a look at the colour palette I’ll be using from now on. For everyday, I’ll use the new Fresco eye shadow on my lid, the Baroque in the crease, and the Sandstone as a highlighter under my brow. I’m quite used to wearing three eye shadow colours. But if you’re not, I think I’d still love just the Fresco on the lid, and the Sandstone under the brow. I’ll probably do that when we’re travelling and I’m in a hurry in the morning. For evening I might add the Cafe Au Lait as a contour colour. I’ll stick with my Marine Bleu liner, but during the day I’ll apply it with a very light touch. I’ll ditch the Barely Pink blush for now in favour of the newly purchased Sangria. I need more colour in the winter. And I’ll soften it, if need be, with my Highlighter powder. The new matte lipstick I’ll use with my lipbalm most days, and on its own for evening, with a bit of gloss on the bottom lip, as Diane suggested.
|My colour palette with new additions purchased last week.Yesterday, I hauled out my new purchases and did a test run. I love the eye shadow. It’s very neutral here, applied with a light hand, and I was pleased. I used my lip balm with just a smudge of the new lip colour and I like it. But I need more practice with the new blush. I applied it, and then practically erased all the colour with way too much highlighter powder. I look quite colourless in these shots. Is it the cream top and vest as opposed to the burgundy turtleneck in the earlier shots? Maybe. I do know a little more pink in my cheeks would be good. I also know that I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
|Selfie-taking can be down-right embarrassing. One should never take it too seriously.
Which is kind of ironic. I’m having cataract surgery tomorrow. I know! And I won’t be able to wear eye make-up for two whole weeks. Which takes me right through all our Christmas party dates. And just as I’m learning some new make-up tricks. Drat. Still… as recompense there will be that ability to see clearly thing. That will be good.
Now have a look at the original trailer for one of our favourite British television shows. Old dogs learning new tricks. Hubby and I loved this show. We were sad when it ended.
Now… what are you doing, my friends, make-up wise to deal with the challenges of aging? Any new tricks you want to share with the rest of us?