I needed makeup. I had scraped the container until every last remnant was used up. Going though my drawer yielded some really old stuff that I must have used when I was a woman of color. I can’t remember that time, but it clearly had been used. Then there was my old clown makeup and some dried-up pancake bits and pieces from an ancient past. I don’t remember being orange either.
There is a lady that wrote a book and the title is “Don’t Go to the
Cosmetics Counter Without Me.” Where is she now? I looked her up on the Internet and she wrote a book, but it’s 720 pages long. I just don’t have the time for that kind of research. The reason for my panic is that if the past is any indication of the present, a trip to buy makeup generally results in a major deficit in my checking account. I MEAN a major deficit.
Now, I have tried the Walgreen’s brands that you examine through plastic to get the shade that matches your skin. The problem being, when it’s unwrapped, the color is very different. It is suitable for the bride of Frankenstein.
One time, peering in the mirror after choosing my own colors, I realized I had achieved the gothic look that a lot of teenagers sport. All I needed was to dye my hair black and hang a few chains around my already black-makes-you-thinner clothes.
No, I needed help, so off I went with my friend Dena to the M-A-Cosmetics store in Oak Brook. All of the salesgirls are dressed alike and have tool belts on. They look like carpenters in black only there are no hammers on their belts. Their tools are brushes, all shapes and sizes.
I guarantee each brush costs $30 or more and you need each one, really need each one for all the different parts of your face. You see, fingers are simply and unequivocally out. Brushes are in. The girls were all young and beautiful and perfect for selling the fantasy and illusion Dena and I were looking for.
My friend and I fell under the spell of it all immediately and began to play with all the jars and tubes and tints. We were looking for our lost youth. We are both on the downward slope on the mountain of life. We thought we might find a miracle in a jar and avoid the painful surgery that a lot of woman our age choose.
Enter Georgie with her peaches and cream complexion and eyelashes that I could certainly have by purchasing THEIR mascara. Secretly, we both want what she has. She offers to do a free makeover on me and I succumb to the word, “Free.”
After a through cleansing (you have to start with good skin care, she
explains), there is a special moisturizer for my eyes and one for my face. It seems the skin around my eyes knows the difference, even if I don’t. The peanut oil I have been using will clog my pores. A rough washcloth will not do as an exfoliate.
Georgie is writing all this down so I can know what to buy to achieve the dramatic results. The next step is a silicone base to even out my skin tones. She encourages me to feel my face; Dena feels it too. “It feels like plastic,” she says and steps back to survey me critically.
“We are only setting the stage,” the salesgirl says. Next is the foundation, which is applied with a special brush. We all agreed I looked too white, but not plastic anymore. I needed some blush. Applied with a blush brush of course. Next is a special base for my eyelids and again I am layered; you see it is all about layers. Georgie continued to rave about my beautiful eye color and how to enhance it further with two different shades of shadow and liner. (More brushes.)
One hour and a half later, Dena, Georgie and I were standing outside with a mirror admiring the results in the harsh light of day. Dena said jokingly that she almost wanted to kiss me, my lips looked so good. I moved back. Next, I was walking out with a nifty little bag holding $200 worth of hope.
We went to a coffee shop afterward and there was an elderly woman
sitting across the room gazing out the window. I think she was in her 80s and there were lines softly etched in her face that was framed by silver hair. While Dena went to get us coffee I studied the beauty reflected from her serene composure. She was stunning. She wore no makeup and looked so content.
I looked down at my little bag and knew that I would never spend the time it took to apply all that stuff and one by one I would eliminate all those steps to gorgeousness as I am mostly too busy in the act of living.
Whatever that woman had, she never got it from a jar or a brush or a
moisturizer and I want what she has.
I recognize true beauty.