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Department Store Makeovers: Housefrau to Streetwalker?

Ten steps, 20+ products. And yet I balk at cooking from scratch?

I think most of us harbor a concern that we don’t want to become That Woman that continues wearing blue eyeshadow and setting her hair with Dippity Do long after the world has moved to styling with blow dryers. To avoid becoming a has-been in makeup, I occasionally schedule a department store makeover,  preferably when there is a gift thrown in, as was recently the case.

The session began with a question about my skin, is it dry, oily or combination? But the better question would be, “How much time do you allow for getting ready in the morning?” Or, “How much space to you have to devote to bottles, tubes, powders and brushes?” Because apparently makeup artists do not recognize the constraints of a regular life.

The artist was prepped like a surgeon, with a dozen brushes lined up before her on a perfectly creased tissue. Turns out all those brushes weren’t enough to do the job because we also needed cotton swabs and sponges and the old fashioned back of the hand for blending. I routinely use a moisturizer with an SPF, but it was brought to my attention that I might consider adding a balm, a primer, a corrector AND a separate concealer (because concealer and corrector are not the same thing).

Once the foundation was applied to completely neutralize all natural color, it was time to start adding back color (huh?) in the form of bronzer and blush. “Your skin looks good so we only need to do a little,” she says. This is a little? I was six products in already. Surely a drag queen could not require as much preparation and product.

Step 6, whew! Halfway to a face. Full, polished lips require lipstick, liner and gloss. I silently wondered if my makeup artist has considered that I would have to dig around in my purse for three separate products to replicate this look on the go, which is my constant state of being. My leaden purse is a hot mess as it is. Could my spine handle yet more weight with additional cosmetics?

Next we did brows, an all over lid color, a highlighter and something for depth with a slightly different brush for each.This is why makeup artists wear tool belt aprons like an electrician. Then it was eyeliner (do you prefer a pencil, powder or gel?)  and on to mascara. This was sort of depressing. Could I really take this much work?

Glancing at my instruction form, I see there were 10 steps altogether and we used over 20 products. Step One, Skincare: Cleanse, Tone, Prep, Hydrate, Overnight, Special Care (presumably optional, although I was prescribed both eye repair and lip balm). For the price of all these items, I could just as well have plastic surgery and recover at a beach resort. When do they just give up and refer you to Groetting?

Doubt sets in as I pass myself in a mirror. Am I simply not used to seeing myself properly made up? Or have I been pushed into clown territory? Will my family recognize me? And shouldn’t I at least have somewhere nice to go while I’m made up like this?

A few of products will simply have to do the trick. I didn’t adjust to eating a breakfast bar and coffee in the morning just to spend the saved time face painting.