I had a lovely comment (on this very website) the other day from a very sweet crumpet, saying that as she applied her makeup, she was considering what I (Zoe) would think if I saw her makeup that day.
Now, obviously I would say something complimenty and kind, because we simply don’t give enough compliments to each other, and there is always room for more kindness in the world. (Cue sparkles and unicorns.)
(But seriously, if you do see a woman with a terrific smile or hair or makeup or shoes or frock, say something! There is a very good chance she put in some extra effort, which is precisely why you noticed whatever it was you noticed, so give her a verbal high five, why don’t you? You’ll feel good, she’ll feel wonderful and somewhere out there pixie will finally be granted her golden wings.)
In a (admittedly egocentric) way, the comment above made me think of all those times we do our hair and makeup with a particular person or (potential) response in mind. Dinner with a lovely gent for example. The first day of a new job. A night out with your girlfriends. Meeting the in-laws (or the outlaws as I like to call them! Ha ha ha ha!!!) for the first time. Yourself because you are feeling wonderful, or feeling unwonderful and needing a boost.
I know, for example, when I was single, and being all cute and coy and sleazy at bars, I would wear more eye makeup than was required or even legal in some states. This was done for the specific ‘enjoyment’ of the male population at said bars, although I have since discovered after actually, you know talking to men (instead of spilling vodka pineapple on their jeans as I aggressively shimmy-barged them out of my Designated Dance Zone™), that smoky eyes in low lighting kind of makes a lot of us look, well, the same.
Of course, being an overbearing know-all, upon learning this I wrote a passionate post about Being The Girl Not Wearing Smoky Eye Makeup When Out At Night, and instead being the one wearing just pretty winged liner, or a bright lip, which not only means you will still look fresh at 2am, but you look different and exciting compared to everyone else doing smoked up eyes. Most who read the article ignored me. Khloe Kardashian definitely did.
These days, my makeup and hair styling is a bit more low-key than when I was a full-time beauty editor, except for when I am doing book publicity, or am hosting an event or beauty workshop. Then I pay (some might say unnecessary and ludicrous) amounts of attention to hair and the nail, lipstick and eye shadow colour I wear, because if I am going to inculcate innocent dames to wear mint coloured nail polish or mango coloured lip gloss, then I sure as sausage need to back up these wild demands by doing them myself. It’s far from a problem or hassle, obviously. It is an utter delight. One of my most cherished aspects of being a beauty bossyboots is “having” to look “the part.”
But it’s not always cupcakes and Jesus juice for us makeup-wearers and hairstyle-do-ers and nail-polish-lovers. A friend of mine, let’s call her… Bessica, has an older sister who is The Queen of All Scrutiny. Amazingly, she is quite an influence on dear Bessie, despite the fact she is almost definitely a witch, and I thought Bessie would be able to see that, even in a dark room, with a small kitten laying peacefully over her eyes, as a kind of cute face hammock.
Within moments of seeing Bessica, a lass who is so charming I am surprised Pandora has not yet made an actual charm in her likeness, big sis will be commenting on her skin, or her roots, or her chipped nails. Bessica always handles these bitchy barbs with enormous grace, which BAFFLES THE SHIP OUT OF ME, because not only should she be telling her sister to shut it, but – and hold onto your Havianas for this bit – Bessica actively polishes herself up before she sees her sister. Her own sister! It’s an outrage. I ought to call the coppers on her.
Another dame I know and adore has a boyfriend who is yet to see her sans eye makeup – she sleeps in her liner and shadow (I’ll just pause while you gasp at the horrible things this is doing to her skin and eyes), and who thinks her extremely fetching and fluttery lashes are real, and not, in fact, a lovely set of silkies from Love Those Lashes. This has been going on for over 18 months and the façade doesn’t look like being dropped anytime soon.
I think it’s preposterous. But then, I did pop a layer of mascara onto my bare, sleepy face before boot camp this morning, because I figure if I am going to have sweaty gross hair, and a cherry tomato red face, and smell like wet carpet, then I am allowed to have pretty lashes.
Is there anyone you “do” your beauty for? (Aside of yourself obviously, which is the finest person to do it for.) Does it please you to do this? Or make you a bit twitchy and resentful?
I would certainly advocate you do it for positive reasons, but realise this can’t and won’t always be the way; sometimes you’re just gonna have to suck it up.
Mia, for example, refuses to let me into the Mamamia building unless my curls are just so and my blush is perfectly contoured and my cuticles are impeccable, but I love her so I just get on with it.
Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. She was beauty director of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR and PRIMPED and then collated all the best tips and tricks from her time in these roles for the beauty bible, Amazing Face. She is currently the dating columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine, although her best advice in this arena can probably be found in the dating and relationship guide, Textbook Romance , which she co-wrote with Hamish Blake. Zoe has published three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man, and she rates them among the best novels ever written in the history of the written word. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.
Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask – and answer!
Who do you do your make-up for?