Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Can someone please explain to me how people -- and by people, I mostly mean women, but also Zack Efron and Marilyn Manson -- seem to know all about makeup and styling hair and whatnot?

This is a serious question.

Why do some women know how to apply makeup and, before that, even what to use? Is this something mothers are supposed to teach their daughters? Is it genetic? Does one have to receive special training? Are all Texas girls taught this when they get their first bras and set their sights on beauty pageant crowns?

Because I am here to tell you that I JUST DON'T GET IT.

For example, all that flesh-toned stuff one is supposed to layer on one's skin, presumably not with a trowel? What's the deal with all that? And the black smudgy stuff around the eyes that makes one look like a raccoon? And the rainbow of colors on one's eyelids? Anyone? Anyone?

And then there are the lips. I'm purely a lip balm kind of female. I have some lipstick if I need it, but I'm never motivated enough to actually wear it. But there are some women (lots, judging by what I see on TV) who wear lipstick AND also outline their lips with some sort of crayon that never ever looks good. Why? Oh, and what's the deal with lip gloss? Why would someone want their lips to shine like Prince Charles' bald spot?

Hair color is another mystery to me. Highlights, lowlights, backlights, and frontlights. Apparently one doesn't just add color. There are multiple steps and processes. It seems so complicated and mysterious. Do all stylists have Ph.Ds in Chemistry?

I've been lucky enough to coast by on my reasonably good (but very pale) skin for all these years. But the little bit of color I have had is fading and I'm going to be ghostly before too long. I'm trying to decide if I care enough to figure all this out or if I'll just keep on as I have all along. I know I could go to a department store and have someone teach me all this stuff, but I have to confess that I'm not all that interested. I wear minimal amounts of makeup and that's about all I have the time and interest for.


Yes, it's true. I confess. Not only am I clueless, I also could not care less about make up and all related topics. If I could get by without wearing any at all, I would in a heart beat.

(At this point, Traci's poor little Texas heart just went into cardiac arrest. Sorry dear.)

Beyond figuring out what it is I should/could be doing, there is the matter of my daughters. You know, those two women-in-training. They're going to need to know all this at some point. I'm thinking I can't just hand them a Teen Cosmo and tell them to figure it out. Elegant is after all the child who's been painting her fingers and toes with SHARPIES for years in order to get the color she so desperately desires. Heaven help us all when she gets her hands on some Clinique or Bobbi Brown. Although now that I think about it, she'll probably figure it all out and then teach me.

So that's today discussion people: Tell me how you figured out the hair/makeup stuff. Feel free to offer advice.


Lacey Bean said...

I feel like I am slightly hapless with make up too! All my friends have these fancy tools and applicator things, and I'm so confused! I can't even figure out how to work my curling iron properly!!!

Did they go to some class that we missed?

smalltownmom said...

Oh Jen, I'm clueless too. A little mascara and eyeliner if I go out. I have a lipstick that's 20 years old. I used to have "perfect" skin but not any more.

Anonymous said...

As a product junkie, I'd recommend starting with a tinted moisturizer. Moisturizer is a necessity, so buying 1 with the slightest hint of color could help prevent the onset of "ghostly" skin (I am uber pale, and it is my BFF). Also, a little dark brown mascera is a great way to make the eyes look bright without a racoon effect. And my last recomendation...Burt's Bees makes tinted lip balm that ROCKS. It tastes yummy and adds the smallest hint of color.

Lela said...

Elegant will be duct taping your ass to a chair and making you her Mona Lisa, lol!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Anonymouse: I actually do use tinted moisturizer, mascara (black), and Burt's Bees tinted lip balm (very rarely, but maybe I could do better). The first two items are bare minimum steps for me.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Oh, and apparently I can't spell "Anonymous." Damn.

Melissa said...

Color me clueless--the daughter of a hippie mother who also wears little to no "paint on her barn." I have friends who look flawless and I know they're using wonderful products, but I try and I look just silly and fake. So I wear tinted moisturizer and lip balm and mascara and smile big. Oh, and my hair color? Au natural.

If you figure out the glamour girl secrets, post them, will ya?

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Lela, we actually have some issues with tape in our house. In fact, I've had to ban the girls from using Scotch tape because they would use so much AND then wouldn't put the rolls back. So they've moved on to masking tape, which we are now out of. Can you imagine if I clued them in to the miracles of duct tape or, heaven help me, my secret stash of double-sided tape?

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Melissa: Until Elegant is old enough to start her own beauty blog, I'll direct your attention to Traci Anne's (a.k.a. Hello Darling) beauty blog: amillionlittleglosses.blogspot.com. I'll warn you though, she's a pro compared to the rest of us. Then again, she is from Texas.

daysgoby said...

Now I KNOW I fit right in here!

I have cute hair. This is all courtesy of the woman who does my hair, because I hop in the chair and say things like "I don't care how long it is" and "I like sticky-out bits" and she snips away. Thank GOD she knows what she's doing!

I always figured the ones who knew what they were doing with make-up were the girls who had Seventeen subscriptions.

And I will GUARANTEE if you go to one of those counters and have someone 'help' you, you'll go home and hate it. Because too often that kind of help involves every kind of product they have, and you feel like a clown.

The Guider said...

Yeah, I can't help you. Because I wear NO make-up every day, I put on lippy only when I go out of an evening - and when does THAT happen? I do wear moisturiser.

And as for colouring my hair, my hairdresser wants to, but I am afraid to start because right now I get my hair cut about every 6 months - start colouring it and I won't get away with that.

Flutterby said...

LOL.. I rarely wear any. When I do, it's the minerals powders because they don't require tools like trowels. And they cover up well without *looking* like you covered something up. A little brown powder liner as well, a bit of lip gloss, sometimes pink, sometimes clear, and that's it for me. I don't remember that I *learned* it anywhere. Just experimented as a young teen with my friends. Yeah I guess it's genetic in most Texas girls, lol. I just never liked the gloppy crap that much.

erin said...

Re: the makeup counter - Has anyone here seen the movie "The Other Sister" with Juliette Lewis? Everytime I think of makeup counters, I think of her leaving the mall with only half her face done.

I'm a minimalist when it comes to makeup - I rarely wear it, partly b/c I have super-sensitive skin and partly b/c I always think it looks (and feels) weird on me. But, I recently started using a new facewash and moisturizer (Alba Botanicals) that I love and that doesn't irritate my skin, so my next step is moving onto the makeup. I just ordered some of that BareMinerals stuff, so we'll see how it works. I'm definitely going to check out Hello Darling for tips!

Lisa @ Take90West said...

A tinted moisturizer and some mascara is my day to day look. Whenever I apply eyeshadow/liner for going out it just slides right off in few hours. I would love a lesson. I need a lesson. I have no idea what to teach my girls when they are ready to wear makeup.
I'm clueless too, Jen!

Traci Anne said...

Awww, thanks for the love, y'all! More pressure to update more frequently... I LOVE it. If you want, I can actually sketch up a beauty regimen for you that will be super flattering and basic without making you look all nake-y.

As for how we beauty junkies learn?

1. Mamas. I was in my mama's makeup by the time I learned how to walk and grip a lipstick. She gave me her old stuff to play with when I was little. I always hung out in the bathroom while she got ready (when I'm at home, I still do!) and picked it up there.

2. Being from Texas. Home court advantage.

3. Practice! Lord knows I've had my fair share of beauty blunders (my getting-ready routine in high school rivaled any stereotypical Jersey girl's), and I'll post eventually about My Life in Hair Color.

4. Obsession. I buy magazines solely for the beauty section, and I've been that way since I was younger and discovered YM and Seventeen.

You don't have to glop on makeup to look gorgeous, even if you're not a supermodel! (ESPECIALLY if you're not a supermodel) I'm a huge fan of all sorts of lines, but my all-time favorite is Bobbi Brown when I'm going for a more natural look, Mary Kay when I'm dressing up a little more for work, and MAC when I want to go all-out with the shimmer!

Josie said...

Sorry, I can't be of any help. Moisturizer, powder, eyeliner and mascara. That's it for me.
As for hair - I keep it short for a reason :)

Maybe you can send Elegant up here for a cpl lessons??

Vanessa said...

I'm 31 and I'm not sure you could say I figured it out. You could say I 'practice' on a daily basis. I don't wear much makeup (a fact which I love), however I look kinda out of place here in Dallas where apparently to go to the grocery you are supposed to look like you are on the way to a photo shoot. Go figure!

The MomBabe said...

My Mother schooled me in all this. Then I went to beauty school and learned to do it on other people too.

But I have to agree, it's a lot of trial and error and figuring out what works for you. Because you're not supposed to look like you have globs of make-up on your face.

oh, and I ♥ tinted moisturizer w/SPF.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

I think I was born wearing make up. If you are planning on taking up make up - go for the minerals. That gives the most natural finish. You don't want to look like those women at the makeup counters in department stores - creepy.