Friday, March 28, 2014

Learning to look like an adult

I think it is no secret by now to any of my friends and family that I don't wear makeup. Not on any sort of regular basis anyway; sometime last year I started going out to Internations events actually dressed up (read; sometimes eyeliner, eyeshadow, or even lipstick once I bought a great stick of red from MAC during Rhinda's bachelorette festivities), but other than that, zip.

I usually reference laziness as to why I wear none, as it's true that even when I do wear makeup I tend to forget to check up on it and reapply periodically. And also the historical reference of wanting and starting to wear makeup regularly in uni only to realize that if you wear makeup you can't easily take naps between classes. It was stopped immediately once that realization hit home. 

But really this stems from the fact that I simply don't know how to put it on. Or even what to buy. The red lipstick I recently acquired was pointed out to me by the gay salesman and he had to show me how to put it on correctly. It was only then I realized the potential (it was not a color I would have picked myself, though it looks I wear it practically every time I go out and want to wear makeup).

I still have no real interest in wearing makeup on a regular basis, but more so lately I've realized the benefits of doing so, even if it's small tweaks. I've also seen enough girlfriends with and without their makeup to realize that it can do wonders. Not saying people aren't beautiful inside and therefore outside but man, sometimes the differences are night and day. 

It was with this thought in mind that I bought a makeup class through Groupon. £40 for a three hour session on how to put on the basics, master the smokey eye, and hopefully have a lot more knowledge on what to buy for your skin to look good. Yes and yes. Rhinda especially encouraged me after her mom said to her, not unkindly, that your looks and youth will not last forever - men like to see something pretty for the long run.

I showed up at the venue, Makeup London Academy, 45 minutes early. Don't take this as a sign of extreme eagerness (though it is), more that I was terrified of getting lost or waylaid on my journey to a place I'd never been. This is up in Camden town, in case any of you were interested.

The place was super cute:

Granted I'd never been inside a makeup academy before but this somehow was what I pictured. I get the impression that they do other things other than classes here. Like it's an actual makeup salon or something. No idea though; I only knew it in this context.

The class started and I sat front row, taking copious handwritten notes to store all the knowledge that was being spread to me (Two had warned me after going to her Groupon class that she'd not taken enough notes to put any of the techniques into use...I was going to guarantee for myself that this wouldn't be the case).

The instructor (a sassy black lady who does professional makeup for London's fashion week) was really good about explaining the different products in the MAC line (I'd noticed that makeup academies align themselves with certain manufacturers and only carry their brands...makes sense) and how they're used, demonstrating all the while on a girl from the class. I was really glad I hadn't volunteered to be the dummy girl; I wouldn't have been able to take notes!

We went over basic skin/foundation techniques then moved onto the smokey eye and some daytime looks. This was 90 minutes of instruction.

I'd have to say overall the entire makeup applying process is way harder than I'd thought. I'm okay with blending colors and doing that sort of stuff (design background, after all), but jeebus. Whoever thought of applying makeup for the effects we see on celebrities and in movies...that person was pure artist through and through. 

No wonder I hadn't figured out how to master it on my own by winging it. This has perfected technique written all over it. Not to mention the need for quality makeup and an extreme amount of makeup brushes.

The last 90 minutes of class were for practicing on a partner (this is so you can get the shapes right and whatnot by not using yourself as the dummy, since you already know your own face) and then on ourselves. I was paired with a young Asian girl in the class (surprise surprise) and we practiced on each other. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time for us to practice on ourselves so I will have to do it on my own in the privacy of my own house.

We left the class after being given a free lipstick and MAC eyeliner and called it a day.

My main takeaways from this experience:
  • Getting makeup to look good is hard work. Lots of blending and retouching is necessary to get the flawless look everyone's looking for.
  • Blending with the appropriate brushes is the key to awesome eyeshadow looks. My god the skin above my eye felt like it was being sanded off there was so much swirling and blending happening there. This tells me to invest in good brushes, otherwise scratchiness and lost brush hairs will be a constant problem.
  • You really do need several colors to make any dramatic eye look work. There are base colors (matte, opaque colors, nothing with shimmer) and then there are the colors you want to stand out (still another two, at least). We're talking a 5-10 color shadow box for starters.
  • You need a set of several different-shaped brushes to make it work. Any part of your face requires several brushes (lips, eyes, skin).
So my next plan of action is to stock up on cheaper-than-the-UK makeup while I'm in San Diego and then practice for Rhinda's rehearsal dinner and other times during the wedding festivities. This is a good excuse to try things out and know if I need more.

I'm starting there. Like I said before, doubtful that any normal routines will change on a day-to-day basis, but at least I want to master a night and day look for when it may become relevant. You never know when you'll need to put your best face forward.

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