Thursday, August 11, 2016
Stupid Little Things: My Mom's Makeup
When I was growing up, I dreamed of being half as pretty as a lot of famously beautiful women. Marilyn Monroe quickly became my favorite actress, followed closely by a trail of heroines from my favorite movie musicals--Audrey Hepburn and Rita Moreno spring to mind. But the woman I trusted the most with my makeup was somebody much closer to home: my mom.
Although my mother was never the beauty product enthusiast I am today, she dabbled, mostly because one of the jobs she had for a decade plus required it. She gave me my first real makeup when I was still in elementary school, a green Max Factor eyeshadow I was told to play with only on the weekends. I actually kept that eyeshadow for almost twenty years. I wasn't emotionally ready to throw it away until I was moving on to graduate school.
I began playing with makeup more seriously when I was in middle school, and my actual obsession was cemented when I turned 15 and discovered a Kevyn Aucoin book. Regardless, I had my mom do my makeup for Prom. I can still remember her lining my upper lash line with navy blue pencil to match my dress, then dusting my face with Prescriptives Magic Powder. I loved that the powder felt cold to the touch so much, I got in to the habit of pilfering it when I was going out with friends.
Then my mom got a new job with a much more relaxed dress code. She gave my sister and I some of her makeup and the rest was stashed in a bag under the bed. For years, it went relatively untouched. In fact, I don't think she wore any makeup for at least five years. It was only two or so years ago that she decided she'd like to start wearing it again, provided she felt like it.
As a beauty addict, I'm fascinated by my mother's tiny stash. It's composed primarily of hand-me-downs and deluxe samples from me, and it fits in a plastic organizer about the size of a book cover (with room to spare). There are very few products she seems truly impressed by, but I think a lot of that is her high expectations. ("I don't know if I like that Maybelline concealer...it doesn't erase the bags under my eyes.") She really likes the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude and gladly takes the sample tubes I get, but she'll often sheer it out even more by mixing it with her moisturizer.
Sometimes she'll skip the base and just apply blush; this Shiseido cream blush stick was a kind gift that was too dark for me, and it suits her marvelously. That blush, some undereye concealer, a quick coat of mascara, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow pencil are all she needs to brighten her face. I don't see her wear powder anymore, by the way. I think she just keeps the ELF compact around because powder was such a thing when she was growing up and it feels safer to have one.
And the lipsticks? I have no idea how many she has because she tosses most of them in to the depths of her purse and fishes them out as is necessary--this NARS Rikugien pencil was in the organizer by sheer luck. I do know that she's very fond of Lipstick Queen Jean Queen, especially the fact that you can apply it without a mirror and still look good.
I don't think I can ever have a makeup collection as tiny as my mother's, but it suits her so well. I feel weirdly comforted walking by her bedroom door and seeing that tiny organizer full of messy, much-loved products on the edge of her dresser.
So mom, this is for you. Thanks for all of the magic and the Magic powder over the years.