Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Case for Experimentation

 I woke this morning thinking about some of my first makeup experiences-- like the day I got to dress up for an outing at a bar with my oldest sister, using my mother's makeup, my instincts, and what I'd learned from watching her and Mom and Gailz put on their faces (but mostly Linda, since she'd let me watch anytime, and never ever left the house without full makeup back then, not even to buy milk).

 And I felt a little pull, a little poignant catch that had not so much to do with having lost Linda to cancer, although that too, or having lost my perfect young skin-- much. As I thought about it, I realized that what I was missing about those days, was the unknown that I faced, the pure spirit of experimentation I let myself enjoy, for hours if I wanted, back then. It was indulging that spirit that allowed me to become a makeup authority in a short period of time, just about a year and a half, with girls following me into the lav at school to ask me to fix them up, teach them things, help them get nicer skin.

 I never lost that spirit at all, and I've learned scads since-- but like many of us past forty, my routines tend to take over when life gets busy, and I more often plan to play around with new colors and looks, than I actually take time to do.

Me, in the '80's, rocking a fave clubbing design, and an angry look, just for show-- the cameraman wanted rebellion.
                                                                  Photo courtesy of Joe Porebski

 And here's the thing: now that I have older, less impossibly pure, less forgiving skin, a whole different canvas in fact, I'm facing just as great a swath of the unknown as in my teens. Especially if I want to hold on to the idea that mature beauty doesn't have to be boring, neutral, the merest bland enhancement. And I do think that, I want to keep that as my mantra, live it, spread it!

 All it takes it a little extra time once in a while.  After all, the moment to try a shadow you're not sure about is not while you're rushing to go to work, or a bridal shower with all your nieces and cousins, or a night on the town you've been planning for weeks. That's when you want to have solid knowledge of how to dazzle, with techniques you have grown comfortable using through repetition.

 To that end, I think all of us that want to keep our look fresh should take some spare time to assess what we look like NOW, and then to play with all those goodies in our kit. Try a liner look you've admired, wash it off, try it again. If you're not walking out the door, who cares if you mess it up?

 For me, I'm getting back into making up others, which widens your perception of your own face, as well. I'm even taking a course to refresh my rusty spots. And I'm giving my less used goodies some attention. Otherwise, they're no more than wasted money, space, and dreams.

  When was the last time you took an hour or more to just play with different makeup ideas?

 Have a lovely Sunday--



  1. Great post. I am only 26 but I sometimes fall back into routines too. I experiment a lot with colors, but never really with styles. Make-up is all about having fun, though, and about playing with it. And like you said, why not try something new? Worst case you can just wash it off again. Best case you'll discover a whole new you :-)

    1. Exactly! And as I recall, when I went back to school, at 26, I was reluctant to use my spare time for myself at all--

      Here's to using our time for ourselves as well as others.

  2. I never take time to experiment with makeup anymore. Especially since I started working, I find myself doing 'easier' makeup and a lot of 'routine' looks. I love the look on the photo above. So gorgeous!

  3. Thanks-- I had a great time hanging out at your blog.

  4. Love the 80's pic!! I find that I wear less makeup now in my late 30's. Used to experiment more when I was younger.

  5. Thanks, Monica! My thirties were a very pared down time for me, too-- wore much less except on special occasions. But now I find it's not the amount that I want to change so much as where I shift it to...

    Twenties meant lots of eye makeup-- and I'm getting back into a fuller eye, but careful to use less product now, as older skin is more easily weighed down.

    I'm always glad to hear what differences others make to their routines.