Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vanity: Sarah

Vanity: Lipsticking Vicariously Through Others

Sarah, Chemistry Ph.D Student

Makeup ended up becoming a way that I could feel good about myself when I was struggling with classes and exams in an environment that is made to make you realize that you are not as smart as you thought you were.  I found painting my face with all sorts of colors and textures to be relaxing and something in my life that I had control over.  In highschool, I was the stereotypical art student, but I gave it up in the pursuit of chemistry.  While I may no longer be covered in clay and paint on a daily bases, makeup allows me to create something every day.

    I love the transformation of both applying makeup as well as removing it.  When I come home from a long day in the lab, there is no better feeling than removing my makeup and washing my face.  (Tangent: I believe that everyone should remove their makeup every night, and just washing your face doesn’t cut it.)  I have a very minimal routine that works for my non-finicky skin.  I've been using the Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes for a few years now and they get the job done. Then I wash my face with Cetaphil Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin. Last, I moisturize with Olay Sensitive Skin Beauty Fluid, which I've been using since I was in middle school. It's really the only product I've repurchased over and over.

 I've never used up a makeup product...I guess I should be ashamed of that, but I'm not. I've only really been using makeup for the past 3 years and don’t use the same products everyday.  I do feel guilty about some of my purchases, like the Guerlain Rouge G lipstick I've returned twice.  It’s a great lipstick, but I guess I just don’t think I can justify any $50 lipsticks.  We all have our limits, and it would seem that's mine. But I have spent over $50 on an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette with out a second thought, as it just seems a better value.

Most of my stash is made up of mid-end products with an equal smattering of high-end, indie, and drugstore goods.  I have to admit, I love packaging, and most drugstore packaging just isn’t as nice as high-end. But if a cheap product really is just as good as a high-end product (ie, Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadows), all the better! 

I love eyeshadow, and I love to depot my eyeshadows (with sufficiently not-pretty packaging)--it's like craft time for adults with fire! I feel the compulsion to have all of the eyeshadow colors and textures that exist. While others may be content with only one shade of a color, I want them all...and I'll use every single one of them. Iironically, most of my wardrobe is black. One of my favorite brands for bright eyeshadow colors is Sugarpill.  They make super bright and saturated eyeshadows that are such a pleasure to work with. I've also hit pan on another favorite, NYX Highlight. It’s the perfect matte yellow browbone highlight for me.  I also use it as an “eraser” if my crease color has gotten out of hand or if I've gone too far past the edge of my eye with a color.

Duochromes are some of my staples, eyeshadows like MAC Club, Urban Decay Fishnet, and my favorite, Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions. I've also discovered an amazing color shifting gloss, LORAC Vivid; it’s my favorite gloss in my stash.  It a smooth gloss that doesn’t get sticky or funny after you've worn it for a while.

I really dislike repeating myself.  I hate to do the same look every day; to me, that’s just boring.  There is nothing that I won't try at least once. I feel like people tend to forget that it’s only makeup and can be easily washed off.  Colored brows, mega-winged liner, strange shades of blush...why not? I love to search the internet for images of dramatic editorial and “un-wearable” looks and find ways to incorporate them into the everyday. I'm the type of person who likes to play, and playing takes time. If I had an hour to do my makeup every morning, I would somehow find a way to fill that entire hour.

Realistically, I tend to have about 20 minutes where I spread all of my colors and palettes out on my living room floor (where I do my makeup daily, as it has natural light) and try and put something together. Most days, I do try to paint my face in a manner that won't get me “spoken to” by my adviser. This doesn't mean "just taupe eyeshadow," more not coming into work with those purple eyebrows.


I also love to sew and to knit.  I've sewn everything from apparel to costumes, corsets to quilts. I like knowing that no one else has the exact same item I've made.  There's a lot of pride that goes into sewing and knitting items that are higher quality than what you can purchase in a store.  One of my favorite sewing quotes is: “pressing can be the difference between home-made and hand-made.” 

Also, I collect stuffed purple hippos. :D

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.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post!!! I feel the same way about makeup :) You have a nice collection