One month to go. Life does feel different now: when you’re sixteen or even six months out you might obsess over wedding things just for the fun of it, but when it’s only a month to your wedding you do actually have to think about it all the time, because all kinds of sh*t needs to be dealt with. Somebody has to decide on the ceremony readings and hymns, tell the caterer to avoid broad beans and kiwi fruit, sort out accommodation for late-RSVPing family members. (RSVPing via Facebook status is apparently a thing now. Can we get rid of this? I do not think it is a good thing.)
Because I knew at some point I’d end up worrying about something relatively important—how to divide ten double beds between twelve relatives and close friends, for example, or whether quorn is a decent thing to feed to my vegetarian celiac guest—I’ve been striving to avoid worry about unimportant things. Like makeup.
Now, I am not a makeup person and its absence in my life has never caused me any problems before, but I knew this halcyon state was bound to end with the wedding coming up. My mother has been after me to use the stuff ever since I turned old enough to vote. I have decided to figure out makeup basically as an act of self-defence. I figure if I spend about half an hour on the day of the wedding stabbing myself industriously in the eye, my mom can’t say I didn’t try my best, and I will be in control of how much I have on.
My approach has been rigorously simple, and much assisted by the comments on the No Makeup Makeup Look post. The first thing to do was to obtain makeup, and the comments helped give me an idea of what to get.
Having made a list of products, I googled each one and found a number of product comparisons in articles and blog posts. I looked through these, made a note of the cheapest models available in my jurisdiction, and bought these on my lunch break. Then I sat down one evening and put them on my face.
This is what I used:
- BB cream. This is a kind of amped up tinted moisturiser, and tinted moisturisers (for those as deep in brutish ignorance as I was before I began this project) are moisturisers coloured brown so they colour your face the same colour it was before. The purpose of this is to make your face all one colour. You may have thought your face was all one colour before, but now you know it isn’t—bits of it are slightly red and bits of it are slightly darker than other bits. When you put stuff on your face to cover the redder and darker bits then you look slightly as if you are made of plastic. (At this juncture you may enjoy briefly pretending that you are a cyborg. I did!)
- Mascara. I bought a mascara in black brown because this is what the No-Makeup Makeup Look post suggested. You will point out that black brown is not really a colour, but the world of makeup speaks in its own tongue, as much as does the world of fly-fishing or corporate law. (It means dark brown.) Mascara is frightening for makeup n00bs; an instinct for aiming pointy things at one’s own eye region is probably not a trait favoured by natural selection. Despite paying close attention to several YouTube guides to applying mascara—the advice boils down to “stick it on your eyelashes and wiggle a bit”—my method was to poke myself in the eyes several times and give up when my eyelashes looked different. (They end up looking eyelashier. I can’t think of a better word than that. If you’re the eyelash-batting kind, mascara-laden eyelashes are better for batting with.)
- Coloured lip balm. The only type available in the nearest Boots was the romantically named “Blistex”. It makes my lips look huge. I always think my lips look huge, though. Their being shiny makes them look weird to me, as if it’s not my mouth anymore, but an alien mouth that’s just visiting my face. The nice thing about lip colours is that you can always lick them off if they make your lips feel too gunky.
- Blush. I would’ve skipped this step, but my mother gave me some blush years ago so it seems just as well to use it. I rub it on the bits of my cheeks that stick out when I smile, but I’m often pink anyway so it’s hard to tell whether the blush has made my cheeks pinker or whether that’s just how my face is.
- Eyeliner. I put this last because it is the most daring bit. I am planning a cat’s eye—I like how the wings make your eyes look as if they are going to take off at any moment. It’s surprisingly easy to produce—I use a gel eyeliner, which comes in a pot like poster colours, with a brush so you can paint it on. I haven’t painted since I was a kid, and it’s fun—I have wondered before whether makeup is such a big thing because it’s a way for people who are not otherwise artists to experiment with colour and shape and form. (Makeup-wearing Editor’s note: Exactly.)
The result? I look pretty much the same, but a bit more orange because of the BB cream. Also my eyelashes stick out more.
I remain unconvinced about makeup in general: I can see how it could both be fun and become a distraction from things that matter more. I never usually spend so much time staring at my face in close-up, and when you do that you notice all kinds of minor irregularities you didn’t before—this project has brought home to me the true number of spots I have. I’m not sure that’s the sort of thing I want to waste mental space on.
So is my experiment worth the effort? Well, if I spend sufficient time on my face on the day, that’ll prevent anyone else from getting their oar in. As tactics go, it’s probably more effective than outright defiance. Wedding planning has made me wily.
Photo by: Lauren McGlynn (APW Sponsor)