Consumption, Cosmetics

Pondering Presentation : Makeup

I’m making a point to discover my preferences for myself, but I can’t seal myself off from the world and think about what I enjoy in insolation.

I limit my exposure to trends, and I’ve been largely successful in doing so by simply freezing my consumption. Still, this is only a recent financial phenomenon, and I’m surrounded by a lot of the results of past spending.

I bought a lot of makeup from last year, and I’ve been thinking about how makeup and its relationship the idea of female presentation. I’m finally trying to figure out eyeshadow without looking like a four-year old who got in to her mother’s makeup, but I didn’t start there.

To begin : There is no wrong way to be a woman and there are many ways to be a woman. I’m exploring how I conceptualise and represent my idea of what one woman, me, looks like.

Last spring, in some post-winter, pre-finals contemplation, I went makeup-free. I was fed up with the idea that women need to look a certain way to be considered visually acceptable by men and other women.

I stopped wearing mascara, I occasionally wore eyebrow makeup, and I kept a clear lip balm in my bag instead of a lipstick. Two months without makeup were instructive. I learned to really look at, and appreciate my bare face, and I regained the sense that makeup is a tool, not an obligation.

I wound up throwing away spoiled makeup after some prodding by my mildly-horrified aesthetician sister. That left me with a spotty collection and, with a slew of weddings around the corner, I went to Le Bon Marché and bought what I thought I needed:

Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 3C2, which I ended up returning. I opted instead for a 3C1 that my friend literally had to bring me from the United States…

Bobbi Brown Powder Bronzer in Golden Light.

NARS blush in Sex Appeal.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Blush. I would not repurchase this!

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick in La Rafinée (say that 5 times fast!) This colour is very “Alyssa Milano circa Charmed” and was a bit too dark for me to wear comfortably in the summer, but I enjoyed it a lot this fall.

Marc Jacobs Lip Cream in #242, “No Angel.” This was purchased specifically for the wedding after the Chanel was deemed to be too dark, and while I don’t love it, I’m committed to using it up this year!

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturising Lip Balm in Curviest Caramel. What is it with all these names?? This is my favourite lip colour of all time. I am almost out of it, and I am despondent! I will need to research Clinique’s sustainability practices before I can consider repurchasing it, but my god what a colour.

That makeup spending spree got me through 3 weddings, one high tea, several birthday parties, and a couple of dressier evenings out over the course of the summer, but it wasn’t necessary.


Did I need to buy three lip colours in a season? Nope!

Did I need to buy a pressed powder bronzer when I still had some Bare Minerals loose powder bronzer that looks well on me in the summer? Nope!

Did I need two separate tinted face products?? Nope!

When I think back on why I purchased 250 Euro of makeup, I see how I convinced myself. Certain products would last forever! How was I supposed to show my face at a wedding with just my natural skin tone and texture? I had to buy the matching lip colour and the new blush, there was a wedding colour scheme to consider!

But still, I didn’t truly need any of it. I could have asked for samples of makeup to use at the wedding, or purchased a less expensive foundation. I could have avoided entirely the purchase of a tinted moisturiser because I am so, so deeply lazy when it comes to face colour.

I think that I opted for high-end makeup with the idea that the quality will correspond with the price, and I wanted to have a glamorous turn about Le Bon Marché. I didn’t want to feel like a scrubby student for an hour or two. While I am happy with the quality of most of the makeup, I didn’t even stop to consider any ‘drugstore’ brands.

I wasn’t thinking about sustainability in makeup at the time, I just went for what I thought would make me feel like I was a ‘grown-up woman,’ as though I could spend my way to a comfortable knowledge about how to use makeup as a signal.

At this point, I’ve started wearing more makeup to work. I wear mascara and brow gel, and I’ve rediscovered how fun I find it to wear different colour lipsticks.

When it comes to eyeshadow, I am practicing with an Urban Decay Naked 3 palette that I’ve probably had for too long, but refuse to give up, microbiology be damned. I’ve been watching different YouTube videos on one-eyeshadow and two-eyeshadow looks by emilynoel83 and I’ve found them helpful.

I still can’t decide if I enjoy putting on makeup every day, or if I’m just obsessed with using up the makeup that I have. When I put it on before work, especially when it comes to eyeshadow, I feel more confident and prepared to greet the day. I wondering if doing some self-affirmations in the mirror wouldn’t have the same effect, though… I’m hoping to decide once I’ve worked my way through my collection, whenever that day arrives!



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