I recently found myself befuddled in the middle of the drugstore beauty aisle. I wish I loved Sephora but walking in the store leaves me both overwhelmed and a bit ashamed. The truth is I don’t have a clue where to start. The options are paralyzing.
Makeup, skincare, and hair have never been my strong point. Growing up with brothers, I didn’t “play” with hair or makeup, and even when I wore more makeup in high school, I never felt particularly adept at applying it. My first run-in with makeup was in 8th grade, when my dad let me buy baby blue eye shadow on a grocery trip. I eagerly wore it too school the next day. My teachers must have had so many laughs at the awkward things middle schoolers do. Anyways as soon as my mom saw my face, she took me for a special date to the Clinique counter. I have such fond memories of this particular mothering she gave me. I got made up, and then my mom bought a skincare set and the natural-looking makeup the lady recommended. It was all pinks with a bit of shimmer, and perfect for my coloring and age. This lasted me through high school and probably most of college.
In college, I started really breaking out, so I saw a dermatologist and used medication plus an acne skincare set (isn’t the word “acne” just the worst?). My next big makeup extravaganza happened when my dear childhood friend, Kate, and I planned a girls’ day to the MAC store. We scheduled to have our makeup done, and I bought an eyeshadow palette and blush. The rest of my makeup mostly came from the drugstore, from then on.
So, other than those two trips I haven’t bought much makeup or changed my skincare. That’s roughly 10 years! Yikes. My skin is a lot different than it was as a 20 year old, and I’d love to learn how to take care of my skin and face this year.
When it comes to goals, I’ve learned: I have to do the work, because no one else will.
I started by collecting A LOT of research online. My favorite source is real women, not magazines or roundup lists. The beauty uniforms on A Cup of Jo were a great place to start. I read a bunch of them, and bookmarked Alpha Smoot’s uniform, with minimal, laid-back, tomboy style. She said, “My philosophy can be summed up as “fewer, better things.” (I think Cuyana stole this from me, ha!) My philosophy toward products and care in general is, if it’s good quality and will last me a while, I’m willing to spend a lot. If it’s something that needs to be done or replaced a lot, then I won’t spend much. A lot of people enjoy having choices, but I’ve found that if I have too much, I won’t use it. I would rather have just a few things that work.” I totally agree.
I would rather have just a few things that work.
I bookmarked Jenny Gordy’s uniform, whose routine is simple, and her skin looks flawless. Her beauty philosophy is less is more, and that is hard to find once you tiptoe into the beauty world.
Then I started watching Lisa Eldridge videos, which drummed up all my makeup doubts BUT was simultaneously very, very helpful. She’s like a big sister who can teach you all the makeup secrets.
What I’ve Learned So Far:
- I don’t want to know all the secrets. I’d like to find a few things that work, and stop there. Less is more.
- An expert is valuable. My best experiences have been going to a makeup counter, so the drugstore aisle might not be the best place for me. I need someone to show me HOW to apply everything. Most makeup lasts awhile, so I’ll spend more for quality.
- I want to focus on my skin first. The French girl focuses on good skin, so she has less to cover up. I learned that the acne skincare of my teens is too drying for my skin now. I’d like to have a skin care routine that works for my 30s and protects my skin for the future. I want my skin to look good for the everyday, not just date nights.
- I want to look natural. Cake-y foundation, cat eyes, and trendy makeup are not my jam. I’d like to look put-together with smooth, glowy skin and rosy cheeks, but not made up. Ideally this would be a quick routine I can memorize.
So, I’m going to start experimenting, but it is expensive! Eventually, I’d love to feel confident enough in my own beauty uniform and answer those same questions. It feels like such a feminine accomplishment to know some beauty secrets.
Do you have any advice for budgeting or how to get started with your makeup drawer and not break the bank? I want to have the solution quickly and painlessly, but I’m afraid this might take more trial and error. Where should I go shopping? Sephora? Do you have a favorite makeup counter? Who wants to go with me? I’d really love to hear!