Is It Like Wearing A Mask?

A commenter (thanks, Yadon!) asked if wearing makeup the way I wear makeup (i.e., not at all natural in the slightest) is like wearing a mask, since this kind of makeup isn’t like anyone’s face. And I’ve been thinking about that. I’m going to have to say no.

I can see how it might feel that way to some people – like it’s putting on a different face. So much of the conventional wisdom surrounding makeup, as it is with clothes, is about emphasizing “assets” and minimizing “flaws” – as though people’s faces aren’t perfectly fine the way they are.

That’s the kind of social pressure that makes loving makeup kind of a mine field for a progressive, feminist, etc., etc. person. Because it isn’t like observers can see my politics flashing above my head – they just see another woman wearing makeup. That’s one reason I talk about it a lot, about how fun makeup can be, as opposed to how (fill in the blank)makeup can help you fit in. I’m not really interested in fitting in.

Instead of a mask, makeup is, for me, a paint box. It’s feathers and sequins. It’s adornment. I can’t change my hair color every day, but I can put something different on my eyelids and lips. It’s got elements of costuming, but it’s still essentially me. I’m not looking to hide what my face truly is so much as I’m looking to put bright and spangly things on it because I like it.

I do like my face, for the most part. I hated my nose when I was a teenager, but I suspect most people hate their noses when they are teenagers and someone points out to them that noses are kind of strange.

This is, of course, not to say that all natural-looking makeup is bad or wrong. I don’t think there is bad or wrong when it comes to a particular style of doing makeup itself. (The impetus and insistence that gets leveraged behind certain styles is another matter.) It’s just not my style.

Closed eye with yellow and orange eyeshadow in warm, matte shades

Closed eye with yellow and orange eyeshadow in warm, matte shades

Today’s makeup is meant to match my new dress from – seriously, y’all, if you’re looking for plus-size, on-trend clothes for decent prices with good quality, I cannot recommend LucieLu highly enough. Love it. Anyway, I have this wren dress with a mustard yellow top and I wanted to do some eyeshadow that played with that color.

Both closed eyes, with eyeshadow in warm, matte shades of yellow and orange

Both closed eyes, with eyeshadow in warm, matte shades of yellow and orange

I really need to figure out how to take better pictures, y’all.

This is MAC in four colors. Burnt Orange, which is a mustard yellow matte, all over the lid; Brown Script, which is a brick brown matte, in the inner corner; Orange, which is a bright freaking orange matte, at the outer corner; and Retro-Speck as a highlight under my eyebrow.

What the pictures don’t show so well is how much dimension you can get when you’re playing around with tones and related shades. I’m pairing this with bright red, matte Ruby Woo lipstick, also by MAC, because I can look really washed out and, indeed, jaundiced when wearing yellow. The pop of color really helps even things out.

In other makeup news, I wore this last week:

Closed eye, with neutral cream eyeshadow and a burst of pink, with black eyeliner

Closed eye, with neutral cream eyeshadow and a burst of pink, with black eyeliner

I think this was Thursday (I’ve been wearing makeup every work day but I’ve not managed photos every day – I’m working on it). It’s one of the MAC Hello Kitty palettes – I am still so glad I bought them both. I used Yogurt allllll over as a creamy neutral shade. It’s got a tiny hint of pink to it, at least to my eye, so it brightens everything without being in your face about it.

See, sometimes I’m subtle. Okay, not really. *laugh* That’s Romping, a (definitely blue-based) hot pink frost, in my crease and blended down onto my lower lid.  I lined with Stately Black, which is a matte black with fine (blue-based) silver glitter.  The glitter doesn’t show up so well in this picture, alas. And then, though you can’t see it in this pic, I lined under my eye with Too Dolly, which is a nice cool aqua frost. It was bright and perky without being color from lashline to browline.

Most days, you know, I do opt for color from lashline to browline. *laugh* I wore shades of purple yesterday – I wish I’d gotten a photo.

Saturday night I went out with my husband and a friend to play pool (and air hockey and ping pong) and I decided to go for something a little more dramatic. This has also taught me to take pictures before I go out for the night, especially if the night involves drinking. Still, let’s just take this as a testament to Urban Decay’s Primer Potion: this makeup is at least 7 hours old.

Closed eye, eyeshadow in shades of black and silver, very smoky

Closed eye, eyeshadow in shades of black and silver, very smoky

Who doesn’t love a good smoky eye? Man, I wore this with Ruby Woo again and it was so awesome. Reminded me of getting ready to go clubbing when I was going clubbing almost every night.

This one took a little more effort, but I was also playing around and thoroughly enjoying myself. I started with Cinderfella, the black/silver mineralized shadow from MAC’s Style Black collection. Seriously, those eyeshadows still make my heart pound with how gorgeous they are. Ahem. So, Cinderfella on the lower lid. I took a dark pewter frost called Pandemonium into the crease, then a lighter silver called Silver Ring above that. Then I used a slightly purple color, a recent aquisition that I seem to be using every chance I get, called Crystal as a highlight under my brow.

That might have been enough but I also went back in with Carbon, the most intense black matte (I love it so much), and generously lined top and bottom. I blended Carbon into the Cinderfella pretty aggressively and then applied more Cinderfella so I didn’t lose the mega sparkle.

Then I cleaned up with MAC wipes because, zomg, fallout like whoa. *laugh* It’s good to keep something on hang to clean up – I use the MAC wipes but I haven’t been using foundation at all lately. When I am, I use a clean brush or a q-tip to pick up/brush away spots of fallen color.

That was one night when I wished my quest for the perfect mascara was already over. I’m trying a Sephora sample right now and it’s fine for daily wear but I need some more drama.

For the record, I use the MAC wipes to take all this stuff off at the end of the night, too. Some people are sensitive to them but I love the mild exfoliation and how easy they are. When I don’t have them on hand, I don’t wear makeup.

Makeup of the Day

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The Long Return

It’s been over a year since any of us have posted here – a long year, let me tell you what. And I’ve worn very little makeup. But I never did forget about this space and the fun we were having and I’d like to jump back into that – much the way I seem to have jumped back into wearing makeup almost every day.
Light blue eyeshadow with a bright yellow burst of color and a neutral highlight

Light blue eyeshadow with a bright yellow burst of color and a neutral highlight

I’ve been asking my husband, every morning, to pick out a color combination; this morning he chose blue and yellow. I keep thinking about makeup challenges and how to keep things interesting.

This is a simple look with four colors from MAC. I used Sky Blue, which is a permanent PRO color being repromoted with Dare to Wear, all over my lower lid. Then I put Bright Sunshine (though I suppose you could use Going Bananas, a C-Shock color that has been brought back for Dare to Wear, if you wanted a softer color) above the creas on the outer half of my eye area. It wasn’t bad just as it was at that point, but I wanted to add a little dimension. So I used Freshwater, a darker blue, in the inner corner and blended it into the Sky Blue. And then I used Ricepaper as a highlighter just under my brow and blended down into the Bright Sunshine.

Lately, the whole idea of contrast has been fascinating to me when it comes to makeup. So I think this isn’t the last time I’ll play with two wildly different colors.

The same blue and yellow eyeshadow as above, with a closed eyelid so the color placement can better be seen.

The same blue and yellow eyeshadow as above, with a closed eyelid so the color placement can better be seen.

Hello again, y’all.

Makeup of the Day

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Fabulosity on a budget- the Sample edition.

So we already covered what you might want to spend the big bucks on next up let’s talk about getting awesome stuff on the cheap.

I know that a lot of us are working looks that don’t require a lot of stuff. That is awesome. I on the other hand (after years of rocking strictly cat eye liner and lip color) have discovered a lust for color.

Not only color but lots of different colors. Somewhere around my 30th birthday I blew up with color.

I also love experimenting.

My philosophy and how I do it are as follows.

I am not afraid to try something cheap. This is paramount. If I see something at the drug store or where ever that looks like it might be pretty and I have five or ten dollars I will try it. And the thing to remember when you’re experimenting is that stuff does not have to look the way it looks on the package.  And sometimes you just have to play with something before you figure it out.

Next- teach yourself to apply loose eye shadow. There are mega butt tons of awesome tutorials on youtube and this rule applies to my next rule.

Get to know your small companies.


My personal love affair with loose shadows started with randomly stumbling on Fyrinnae a long while back. Not only are they super nice people (no really they are awesome folks HI GUYS!) but, they make excellent affordable cosmetics. I’ve long said that hand crafted things make me feel fancy and Fyrinnae was my first dalliance with this kind of fancy. And most importantly they offer samples. Most pigment/loose shadow samples from the companies I shop with are plenty to use for quite awhile. And remember you don’t have to buy the bigger more expensive product, if you’re like me unless you are butt over tea kettle in love with a color you want more.

The next thing to really get me is Mac pigments. Mac Cosmetics are awesome but, pricy. I joined some Mac Cosmetics communities on LJ and have a nice little collection of sample sized (1/4 tablespoon or so) pigments that have lasted me a long time. If you’re not on LJ I also suggest a company called The Body Needs. I have ordered from them several times and always been satisfied. Mac fabulous on a Wet N Wild budget.

I am also butt over tea kettle for Aromaleigh. Also the owner is good people. So many beautiful colors to choose from and there are always extra samples. I really love their products a lot.

And next up, my homegirl’s company Detrivore Cosmetics. I know the owner and lemme just say she is pretty awesome and if you recall I debuted her line right here at The Cheekan. For another peek have a looksy at this look (this is over at flickr.) Her colors are hand crafted as well and just freaking gorgeous. I thought I’d misplaced this color and I don’t have another green quite like that. I adore her stuff.

Now you have some places to shop around let’s talk about other ways to save.

Let’s say I am here in the Pacific Northwest but, I have my eye on some awesome stuff across the pond. Like Barry M (I LOVE their stuff too.) I might find a make up loving friend to split an order with. Matter of fact, no matter where you are, splitting an order with a friend is a damn fine idea.

You can work out shipping etc between the two of you, or more. Say you, your sister, your friend, her girlfriend all want some Mac stuff. Maybe you live near a Mac store. Make up a list, work out sales tax and have everyone paypal the buyer the loot, then the buyer ships everything off and voila. Or you get say a couple of full pigments and split them.

Learn to love the samples people is my point here. I have a metric butt ton of them. And with the fairly long lifespan of loose shadows you can play with color on the cheap for months.

What I do is save up 15-25$ once in awhile and just go nuts. There is nothing quite so lovely as knowing I only spent say 18$ and getting a package with a bunch of sparklies for my face.

So go forth and get some samples my darlings. And I expect a full report when you come back.

Next time, I’m going to talk about looking for awesome make up at cosmetics outlets, Big Lots etc. Stay tuned and fabulous.

Also for a look at all my make up pics to date see here.  I’m also still trying to work out the whole video making thing, for some reason I have no savant and I’m all idiot with it so if I can figure it out my mug in motion will be all yours.


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Fabulosity for broke asses.

Hi my name is Shannon and I am a broke ass chick.

My budget for fabulosity is tight so I have mastered the fine art of being fabulous on a tight ass budget.

My friends, I am going to share with you how it is that I have crap loads of make up and yet don’t really spend a lot of money. Today in the first of a series I’ll talk about the stuff I do spend the big dollars on.

When you’re getting into or are into make up but don’t have a lot of money to spend it’s important (at least in my not expert opinion) to decide what items are super important to you.

For me my main serious business items are foundation, face primers and powders.

In my stash the most expensive items and the things I am most choosy about are those. I had a disasterous heart breaking affair with Mac Cosmetics Studio fix fluid that resulted in my skin going what can be deemed total insane bitchcakes.

The above is why I have no recent full face make up shots for the most part. It’s been about three months and my skin is just recovering.

Anyway, foundation is very important to me. I like buildable coverage that is not easily defeated by my immensly oily skin. I use Bare Minerals foundation in what used to be called Warm Deep. I never (or rarely)pay retail for it and here’s how.

Prior to picking out your foundation of choice head to your local Sephora, department store etc where there are make up counters and ask to be color matched. Ask the make up artists any questions you have, get a sample if you can and make note of your shade. I will also do this for face powders and primers.

Next fire up your mad Ebay skills. When buying make up on Ebay yes, sometimes there are frauds but I personally haven’t bought fraudulant or otherwise bunk products. Look for items that are listed as being sealed.

Other ways to save. Join whatever company’s mailing list and keep track of things like free shipping codes, anniversay sales, birthday discounts etc. I like to time my big purchases so that when these things happen BAM I get my fancy stuff.

Also when you find sellers you like on Ebay get their announcements. I think I may have mentioned this before but it never hurts to start a relationship with a reputable seller. It never hurts to say, hey I see you sell a lot of X product if you get some in X shade I really want some. People want to sell you things so there is the chance you will get what you want.

Next tip, seriously do these things. Join Make up Alley, then join LJ and then join some make up communities. There are lots of people who sell make up and if you has paypal you can has sparkly bits for your face.

Once you join Make up Alley you can earn good feedback and away you go.

My other tip is to save. Completely obvious of course but it works. I like to price out expensive things I want or need and even just saving the change from your coffee or making coffee instead of buying it a few times a week.

That’s it for today Cheekans. My next installment I’m going to talk about sampling, small companies, and the wonders of splitting the cost of items with a homie. Also since my skin has recovered I will take some nekkid skin pics and talk about how I work with my super oily, sensitive, prone to scarring face.

Until then.


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Hrmn, I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s Metro Chic (a fabulous drab from Sephora by OPI) with Liquid Vinyl from Orly.

It’s good to try new things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t – but you won’t ever know unless you, you know, TRY. *grin* Nail polish remover is a beautiful tool.

Body Care
Nail Care

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Zoya Polish Exchange

Zomg, it’s like Zoya saw me procrastinating, saw me sighing with half-relief that the end-date for the original polish exchange had ended! Because they have extended it.

If you didn’t catch it the first time around, Zoya nail polish has an exchange program – for every bottle of old, crusty, unloved polish that you send them they will send you a beautiful new lovely bottle of Zoya polish for free.

Well, they say free – but there is still a processing fee, which is $3 per bottle. Still, for Zoya, that’s a good deal. Which is why my little cache of unfortunate shades is going to wind up being packed off to them good and proper.

Just as soon as I finalize what shades to trade for….

Check out the Zoya Polish Exchange – and tell me what colors you’re swapping for. I could use the ideas. *grin*

Nail Care

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So, I read about this manicure on my friend Phyrra’s blog Decorative Diva. She linked to Nail Juice’s tutorial, which I followed.

This is one of my favorite parts of how blogs work. Spread the love, and the nail polish. At least in this instance.

It didn’t take long. I used China Glaze’s Bermuda Breakaway (that color is getting a lot of screen time in my world right now) for the tips and Sinful Color’s Daddy’s Girl (a sheer but buildable purple microglitter) for the layering of color.

It’s far from perfect, obviously. But that’s okay because this is the first time I’ve tried this. It looks totally passable in person – in fact, this might be one of those things that you just cannot capture adequately in a photograph.

Maybe I need a paler sheer….

Nail Care

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Half-Moon Manicure

So, I’ve been seeing a lot of half-moon manicures all over the nail polish blogs that I love. So I just had to try it for myself. I stopped at the office supply store on my way home for supplies (you’ll see where this comes in) and set to it. If you’re wanting to try this, set aside a couple of hours. Now that I’ve got the routine down, I should be able to do it faster but there’s no cheating drying time – and that’s a crucial element of this manicure.

You’ll need to start with your regular routine. I use a hydrator from SEPHORA by OPI and Seche Clear as a base coat.

And make sure you have some of these:

I applied a single, even coat of China Glaze Bermuda Breakaway, a nice dark blue creme.

And then I let it dry. And let it dry. And let it dry. Make sure your polish is really, really, really dry.

Take a reinforcement and cut it in half. And stick one half of it to your nail, where the half-moon should be. Make sure there are no bubbles. This is why it’s so important for your base color to be dry dry dry – if it isn’t, it’ll pull up with the sticker.

Now, polish it! I’m using Bahamian Escape, a light creme blue – this is opaque in one coat which is kind of important.

Now, patience. I’m bad at patience. So bad. But I’m trying to learn.

Continue to stick half stickers of reinforcements on your nails.

When the half-moon is dry, peel off the sticker. This is what you get:

Add a shiny top coat and you are SET. I used Seche Vite:

Now, you can see that some of my edges are… less than crisp. See my lack of patience, as mentioned above!

I’m having a hard time photographing this stuff but I kind of love it in person.

My right hand is MUCH neater because I waited for the polish to dry. See, patience is super important. Now I need to go clean up my edges!


Comments (5)


Shannon is angry but fabulous.

Okay rant time.

As we have seen with photographic evidence I am a Black woman. I am a milk chocolatey shaded Black woman.

I am really annoyed today. I am annoyed because I have a love of supporting small business and whatnot but you know what, fuck you small mineral make up companies. Fuck you right in the ear.

I am saying that because I have been on the hunt for new things to try and 95% of the sites and shops I come across make products that are only appropriate for people up to a tan person and screw the rest of us.

And it’s always the same excuses. I have spent time (not recently because I don’t feel like it) emailing makers of fine sparkly bits asking why don’t they have foundations, primers, powders etc appropriate for brown people. The usual excuse is well I’m white so… Or the I don’t know anyone to help test.

I call double bullshit and shenanigans.

I would imagine if you are making make up than you probably understand that you could in all likelyhood purchase some foundations etc that are made for brown skin and figure out your own color combos.

Now my ire on this issue is not reserved for the little guys. But the big ones too and for them I’m naming names.

I have been wearing make up for a long time and once I had internet access about ten years ago I started writing letters to companies like Maybelline, Almay, etc. How was it that the cheap brand CoverGirl I’m looking at you, had figured out that women of color wanted access to decent cosmetics but the rest seem to not even think about it.

Not once did I get an answer from any of them. Just put on mailing lists and sent coupons I couldn’t use.

It’s frustrating and it makes me angry because I feel forgotten. I feel left out and there is no reason for it.

There is no reason I should have to search high and low to just find a product that’s darker than tan nevermind finding something quality. There is no reason that every drug store in my immediate neighborhood (there are five of them) carries every shade of products up until you get to the brown ones.

I can understand that huge corporations probably don’t care. They’ve done the market research and they probably just don’t care.

But the little companies stick in my craw because as we all know, once word gets out that so and so makes some awesome products people will flock there. I know that I personally have turned on other women of color to cosmetics that are affordable and beautiful.

It’s 2009 I think at this point in the game more people would be looking at these things and saying, hrm we are leaving out a potetentially huge and profitable market. In terms of that, do you then just say oh well I don’t know brown people/understand brown colors/am not brown myself and let it go?

I’m only going to say this once.

Grow some balls.

Okay now I’m done ranting under the jump I have some new reviews of stuff, things that make me feel fabulous.

Continue Reading »


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Well, THAT was a hiatus, wasn’t it?

Man, the past several months have been a whirlwind. How is it already March? But rather than just making excuses, I come with an offering. A video.

We’ve always wanted to do videos at Makeup Chicken. In fact, I think it’s the primary thing we wanted to do here, back in the early days when JT and I were joking about writing a makeup blog.

This is not a tutorial. It’s more of a trial run. I’m not even wearing makeup! It’s also ridiculous and abundantly clear that I need better lighting! But it’s what I’ve got. I’m sorry we’ve all been gone so long.


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