How the dudes feel about the makeup.

Guys have a funny relationship with makeup.

And before I go further, I should state that I absolutely hate blog posts that make gross over-generalizations about the opposite sex.  I mean it.  It’s like, my very least favorite.  Because no, nice guys don’t always finish last, and yes, there are actually some women out there who don’t obsess over chocolate and babies.  And ladies, believe it or not, sometimes you are the dense one.  And so, just let me say this: I write the following based only on my experiences with guys and their understanding of makeup.  These conclusions are based solely on what I’ve learned during my short time in my own teensy slice of the universe, and if I were to meet someone who defied the following conclusions, I would fail to be surprised.  So anyhow …

I’ve been a careful observer of how guys respond to makeup for years, and not necessarily for the sake of seeing what attracts the most positive attention.  Some makeup features seem to go completely unnoticed, like bronzer.  Other things, however, can garner every kind of strong opinion (as one guy I know feels like red lipstick makes you look like “a clown”, and another I know feels it makes a girl look all kinds of 1940s awesome).  There’s one thing through this that I’ve found to be certain, though: it is difficult to find a makeup item that’s universally praised and appreciated by guys.  In fact, it’s difficult to determine if makeup is universally praised or appreciated at all by the dudes.  Shiny, healthy-looking hair is universally appreciated by malefolk.  Skin that appears well cared for is, too.  Makeup, however, seems to be different.  It somehow doesn’t attract the same amount of attention from guys as something like glowing skin or pretty hair, and yet ironically, I’ve found that it attracts criticism much faster than the topics of skincare or hair.  The opinions, overall, are fewer, but the ones that exist are quite deep-seated.

leg

I’ve known too many guys who’ve felt that the application of makeup is equivocated with a desperate desire to change yourself.  Coloring your hair is coloring your hair, but creating a different look for your face means you are having a crisis of insecurity and identity.  It means you want to cover yourself up.  It means you hate your features.  And now, I’m beginning to feel that I’m exaggerating.  Again, this hasn’t been the case for all guys I’ve known, but it’s honestly been the case for a great many.  I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I want a girl who doesn’t wear makeup”, or “I want a girl who doesn’t think she needs to cover herself up”, or “I want a girl who doesn’t spend so much time on herself”.  Let me ask you this, gents: Do you even know when a girl is wearing makeup half the time?  I mean, I have a feeling you may have something more like this in mind when you think of the word ‘makeup’.  But tell me, when you think of the subject, do you ever think of this?  Or this?  Or this?  No?  All of the three aforementioned looks involve a great deal of makeup and an even greater deal of time and effort in order to make the look a natural one.  It’s quite ironic, you see- most wouldn’t be able to keep their jaws from hitting the floor if they realized the amount of product application, blending, and highlighting it takes to produce a truly high-quality “natural” makeup look.  Next time you suspect a girl of wearing no makeup simply because she looks “natural”, leave room for the possibility that she may, in fact, have put in a little bit of effort to look that “effortless”.  There’s a science to it.  Trust me.  And the millions of other girls that are “natural” makeup scientists like me.

Now, I suppose we can all agree that there can come a point where one reaches “TOO MUCH MAKEUP!!!!!”.  Where exactly that line is, however, is tough to pinpoint.  If you knew just how much makeup Natalie Portman was wearing at, say, the 2012 Academy Awards, you would certainly scream TOO MUCH MAKEUP!!!  However, because it doesn’t necessarily look like “too much makeup” from our point of view, we don’t slam her for it.  My guess as to where the line between “too much” and “acceptable” is lies somewhere within the judgment of whether or not the makeup begins to obstruct or alter one’s natural features.  But it’s even hard for everyone to agree when exactly ones comes to this point.  It unfortunately seems to be a subjective case of “I know it when I see it”.

There are those gentlemen, however, that don’t abide makeup in any quantity at all.  Long ago, I knew a guy that, upon accidentally coming into possession of my makeup, literally refused to give me my makeup back.  There was no negotiating; it was his now and he did not want me to have it any longer.  It was the strangest, most alarming thing- he just hated it when I wore makeup, almost as a rule.  I realize that such an attitude is probably fairly uncommon among guys, but I have to say that my husband’s first comment on the subject of makeup put to ease any fears of male makeup hatred- “Hey, you know, if the barn looks good red, then why not paint it red?”  Now there’s a cheerful spirit!

I guess that’s the one thing I’d want to pass on to any malefolk that are feeling extra suspicious of makeup- to perhaps see it not as a means of changing oneself, but rather a means of enhancing.  We like the canvas, and now we just want to have fun with it.  I like lining the inner rims of my eyes because of how it makes my eyes look.  I like filling in my eyebrows a little bit because of how it frames my face.  No, I don’t want to change my face or cover my face; I want to enhance and make the best use of my face.  Of course there are always exceptions to this, but I’d say that for the most part, makeup really is just a means of having fun with another artistic media.  Trust us, it’s safe in our hands.

However, it is not always safe in the hands of a dude when he’s curious about trying his own hand at a set of brushes.

matt

And furthermore, it’s even less safe when you allow him to attempt his version of a “smokey eye” on you as his first go-round with said brushes.

joker

He expressed a desire to line my lower lids with shadow, but I think his precision was a bit off.  Maybe just a little bit?  Oh well.  If you can’t achieve a Keira Knightley-level smokey eye, at least you know you’ll end up with a female version of Heath Ledger’s Joker.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever looked better.  Matt, you’ve made me proud.

And I must say you don’t look too shabby, either.

drag

I’m pretty sure he’s wearing MAC’s Ruby Woo, if you’re interested.  xo, MR

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Weekday update! And how I have no sales resistance.

So, an update.

I’ve been using the same very cheap under-eye concealer for a couple years. I’m pretty sure the shade is wrong (a cool tone, which is not even a characteristic of my own skin), but for some reason I continue to use it. I thought I’d perhaps purchase the same concealer but in a neutral shade instead. So I stopped by Ulta (so that I also might purchase some new cologne for the husband … Givenchy Play smells like swag, but the nice, helpful, courteous, I-may-not-be-loaded-but-I-still-have-good-taste kind of swag) and found myself experiencing an acute lack of confidence as I checked for a better shade of my beloved L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable concealer. It’s not often that I feel the confidence drain out of me as I shop for makeup. I’m usually the one bossing someone else around in that situation. You need THIS blush! You’ll make your eyes pop more with this eyeshadow, dummy! Stop it- that shade makes you look like Snooki on an even worse day! So what did I do? I did the last thing … literally, THEE LAST THING … that I ever like to do in the beauty department: I asked for help from a sales associate.

It’s a strange combination of anxiety and exhilaration that I experience when I ask a beauty sales associate for help. On the one hand, I almost have this sort of avoidant disorder that makes me want to throw up when a sales associate approaches me and asks if I want to try anything or if I need any help. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m asked for money by a solicitor outside of Target. I’ll put my phone to my ear and pretend I’m talking to someone just to avoid contact with the person, or I’ll run past them as fast I can. I just hate having to say no. However, if I decide that I do want to try something on my own terms, I throw all caution to the wind and I want them to go absolutely crazy on me. The only problem is that, well, it’s really awkward if a sales associate tests a couple things on you and you don’t purchase something. In fact, if an associate ever does apply a full face of makeup on you at your own request, it is expected that you purchase at least two items. I’ve taken this policy to the extreme in that I feel obligated to purchase something shown to me by any associate if I’m helped at all.

So anyhow, I sort of on-purpose ran into a woman working at Ulta and explained my dilemma. She perked up, went and grabbed her favorite undereye concealer, and proceeded to perch me on a chair and blend the product neatly under my eyes. And it looked alright. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I experience this feeling of not liking something so much because I didn’t find it myself, even if it does exactly what I need it to do. But like a moron, I thanked the woman and walked away with the concealer- which was priced at thirty bucks. Ugh. Seriously? Not even $24.99? I don’t know, sometimes I can be pretty spineless when it comes to sales resistance. This stuff wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t even Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche’ Eclat (the legendary luxury undereye brightener and concealer that I own but am continuously underwhelmed by). The drugstore kind I’d been using never tops ten dollars, and I just felt like a sucker. And yet I did not want to say no and hurt the nice lady’s feelings! Her whole career in makeup might hinge on that thoughtful, enthusiastic sales pitch of hers!

So what did I do? I picked up one of the L’Oreal concealers in a better-matched shade, held on to the thirty dollar one too, stood in line, flashed the thirty dollar one unmistakably and reassuringly when my friendly helper walked by as she assisted another customer, made it to the register … and proceeded to sigh and whisper, “You know, I’m not going to take this today”, and handed in the thirty dollar concealer to be put back on the shelf, discreetly out of view from my helper. And then I bolted.

There’s something extra difficult about resisting a sale in the beauty department. Beauty sales feel more personal to me because usually the associate has taken the time to assess your personal features and desires, and has then used their technical skills by applying the makeup to your face. You feel as if they’ve pampered you a little bit, and you also may feel that they’ve played “artist” a little bit, and turning down a sale would be insulting to their artistic abilities. It’s something I really need to get over, though.

I don’t exactly have any pictures of my escape from Ulta, but here’s a picture of the current state of my medicine cabinet!

medicabinet

There isn’t a whole lot that’s new here. I found that Caudalie Vinexpert Radiance Fluid for about a third of it’s original price (which always makes me worry that it’s old) and so I snagged it just to try. It leaves you looking very glowy, which I love, but it’ll never be worth the full price. I ran out of eye makeup remover (and I’d been using Caudalie’s) and so I picked up some of the famed Lancome Bi-Facil. It works really well, but I’m not used to the feeling of oil left on my eyes (as I’m pretty sure it’s not oil-free). I love having a pretty, sparkly, blue fluid in my cabinet though! Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream is a cult favorite for dry lips and skin, but it feels and smells as if it’s almost one hundred-percent petroleum or mineral oil, which freaks me out and makes me want to use the smallest amount possible. I got it for Christmas and luckily I know it wasn’t very expensive, but it definitely isn’t what I thought it would be. I’m about two-thirds through my Boscia B.B. cream, and half-way through my Acure night cream.  And nowhere through that Bio-Oil.  Anyone want that stuff?

And for a last little bit of excitement, I busted out my most saturated shade of pink yesterday in celebration of the spring-worthy weather we were experiencing.

CoverGirl

I’m wearing CoverGirl’s Lip Perfection lipstick in Spellbound, the most kick-butt shade of fuschia EVER.  It’s very much pink, but it’s got enough purply-plum in it to give it some edge and keep it from being too baby. The purple makes it more flattering for darker skin tones too.   I first applied a couple coats of it around ten in the morning and I think I reapplied a total of three times (one coat each time) during the whole day (and I think I finally scrubbed it off around nine at night).  I probably didn’t need to reapply any at all because the stain it leaves is very even, but over time the purple fades out of it and you’re left with the hot pink base.  I just like keeping it looking fresh.  Oh, and this photo is unfiltered!  No joke!

Let me know how your medicine cabinet’s looking these days, what spring makeup you’re trying, or your awkward stories from the makeup counter!  Believe me- I didn’t even get into my worst tale.  That’s yet to come.  xo, MR