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.