Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vanity: Stella J

Vanity: Lipsticking Vicariously Through Others

Stella J, Carer

I've always been attracted to the transformative and creative aspects of makeup. When I was a child, I found a magazine of my mother's, and it showed how to recreate classic Hollywood looks. I got a bit obsessed with that magazine! I put it in a folder, tried all the looks over and over, and went to school for pretty much a whole year made up like Louise Brooks. I liked the way I could use makeup to take any feeling or mood I was experiencing and put it on the outside for others to see.

 I can spend a long time on makeup, but that's because I find it relaxing and want to enjoy doing it. It balances out, though, because I'm a complete fool when it comes to hair and clothes, and keep those really quick and simple!

Great makeup starts with healthy skin, so most of my holy grail products are skincare. In particular, I love Nufountain Vitamin C Lightening Serum, which worked wonders on taming my roasacea and breakouts; I also use Mandom Barrier Repair Serum for easing dryness and being soothing. I also use SPF50 daily.  I really enjoy my skincare. The second I get through the door, I head to the bathroom to take my makeup off. I oil cleanse with baby oil to remove my makeup, follow with Avene cleanser, put on the vitamin c serum and moisturizer, make a cup of tea, have a nap. Naps are an essential part of a beauty routine, in my opinion!

Makeup-wise, I'm a huge fan of Shiseido eyeshadow--the texture is just completely unique and the colour combinations are playful yet stylish. I'm totally addicted to eyeshadow! Basically, I want every colour I might ever need to create any look I can imagine.  Makeup really is art to me, and colour is the basic unit of creativity. I'm constantly on the hunt for the perfect deep, dark, vampy blood red, too. My favourite foundation is MAC Face and Body. It looks like perfect skin, not perfect foundation, and I can't be without it. (I've made it through an entire bottle!) In my teen years, I went though a couple of tubes of Boots No. 7 Plum Beautiful lipstick, and I've bought, used, and replaced many tubes of Max Factor Masterpiece Max mascara. I've never finished a blush, and frankly, I don't believe anyone else ever has either, despite what they claim...

As I try more products, I'm harder to please. Honestly, most of my favourite things are high end, but I have drugstore favourites, too. Catrice eyeshadows are some of my most-used products because they have such great colours and textures. I don't feel guilty about spending on high end, though. Why should I? I deserve occasional treats!

My personal philosophy is pretty simple: face first, always. Makeup needs to work for the individual face it's on--one size does NOT fit all--and the face should be what you notice first, not the makeup. I don't like flashy for the sake of flashy. Something can be both dramatic or interesting AND flattering. I love colour and unusual combinations, but I try to make them wearable. I love history and am fascinated by historical makeup. I have a particular love for the 20s and 30s, for the moody, dark glamour of that age, and I collect jewellery from that era, too. The natural world is a constant inspiration, too; I've done makeup looks based on everything from fruit and flowers to gemstones and storm clouds. Nature never gets the colour combinations wrong, so I try to take my lead from her.

I could read till my eyes fall out, and I've usually got dozens of books on the go at a time (I'm convinced my Kindle will bankrupt me). And I have a not-so-secret love of ugly and weird animals. Cute animals are well-represented, so I collect pics of the stupid and odd-looking ones. They need love, too!

This project is greatly indebted to the Top Shelf section of, which was my inspiration, and to every beautiful person who participates. This article has been slightly modified for clarity and length.