I’m kind of a beauty junkie. I get excited about things like nail polish, perfume, lipstick and liquid eyeliner. There seems to be this idea out there that women who get excited about those things are somehow vapid or lacking any depth or intellect though, which is absolutely untrue. My grandmother played a huge role in my upbringing and even had custody of me for a time when I was little, so I was taught things like writing proper letters, thank you notes, housekeeping, cooking, baking, etc. The biggest thing she taught me from her generation of the 1940s and 1950s was that a lady should always make an effort to be put together no matter how bad she feels inside. I never saw her go outside without lipstick and mascara. Even now, she has dementia and she’ll be 82 in February, but she’s still adamant that she will not go out or receive guests in her home without looking properly put together. Being brought up by that example left a mark on me and even though I am a ponytail and No Pants Friday kind of lady at home (pants are repugnant so I prefer skirts or nothing at all), I much prefer to be put together when I’m around other people. That’s my grandmother’s influence on me. If nothing else, a bit of mascara and lipstick sets a lady apart. A necklace or earrings can even show a bit of ladylike effort. It doesn’t take much.
So I decided to follow the trend I see with other makeup nerds out there in which they give a tour through their makeup cases. I see this kind of thing a lot on YouTube but I didn’t film a video because I haven’t yet figured out how to hold my iPhone and talk at the same time. Two hands are really useful for that kind of thing. I can, however, put on a full face of makeup without hands. I do that by finding a large book like an encyclopedia or one of my heavy Civil War books and I stick brush handles in them to anchor them. I watch in the mirror as I move my head accordingly instead of moving my hand to draw on the eyeliner or whatever is being used at the time. For liquid makeup, I squirt a little on a makeup sponge and rub it on my face from there. The one thing I struggle with is liquid liner but I have been trying out different products with longer handles. Most of the time, my difficulties come from oddly shaped packaging that may look cool but are really a hindrance to people with dexterity issues like me.
My makeup case is actually a crafting storage bin purchased with my mother’s handy Michaels employee discount. That’s my first tip. You don’t need to spend silly piles of money on makeup specific storage bins when there are cheaper things out there, such as crafting bins or even fishing tackle boxes. My makeup case has four internal boxes that pull out like drawers and there is also a large built-in spot at the top for bigger odds and ends. We’re only going to look at one pull-out box today because these are the things I use most often (brushes and tools are kept in other pull-out boxes, as are other products not used much, and there is a nail polish box too).
I keep this box filled with stuff I use the most and I just pull it out and toss it in my suitcase when I travel. No muss. No fuss. The three things used in conjunction with this but not pictured are a folding mirror, a roll-up brush collection, and an 88 eyeshadow palette from Sedona Lace. Here is a picture of the Sedona Lace palette from their website (I forgot to get it from the bathroom last night for the iPhone photoshoot). I use it more in the summer because the colors are bright and cheerful. In the winter, I use colors that I’ll talk about in a little bit. Sedona Lace is good stuff for me. The packaging is easy to access without hands and it traveled a lot without any of the eyeshadow pans popping out, although Carnival cruise line slammed my luggage and shattered the mirror. Even then, none of the colors broke or shattered.
I suppose we’ll go in order of how I put on everything. These are my liquid foundation, pressed powder foundation and concealer stick. The liquid and powder are made by Sephora and I think the concealer stick was made by e.l.f. I try a lot of different foundations because I have oily skin and I prefer to cover everything pretty well. Sephora’s stuff is oil free. Another big reason why I went with these is because they’re easy to open and use without hands. Some liquid bottles require twisting motions and don’t have pumps, so if I knock it over, I waste a bunch of money in a spill. This packaging is pop on, pop off and the pump means I can knock it over all I want and I won’t lose anything. The compact is heavier than other brands and that’s important for me so it stays anchored when I’m rubbing the sponge on it. There may be better quality foundation items out there but these are good for accessibility and they get the job done. I do not, however, like the e.l.f. concealer stick because I almost have to break a tooth to pop it open on my own. I have to get someone to pop it open before I use it. It rolls out just like lipstick in there. Also, the colors are showing up lighter on camera than they are in reality. I’m not that pasty!
So then comes work on the eyes and cheeks. I change that up every time I do it, although I’m moving into a simpler retro phase. You know, neutral colors, liquid liner, accentuated by bold red lips. The eyes have a fleshy base and browns and berries for definition, as you can see in the various products below. The long compact is made by mark., which is the young, hip version of Avon. I used to sell both Avon and mark., so this compact was a freebie from those days. Mainly I use it for the blush (it’s long-lasting and a good color for different occasions) but I’m starting to use those eyeshadows as well. I mix them up with the MAC colors below that and Avon’s version of bareMinerals (Avon’s version was cheaper). I also added another blush that I use for nighttime but I use it rather sparingly because it’s really pigmented. Loose powder can be tricky for me since it goes everywhere but the pigments are usually much better and they last longer.
After I do the eyes and face, I do the toughest part, which is eyeliner and mascara. I generally have to buy mascara based on the shape of the handle because if it’s too round, it’ll flop all over the place like an uncooked hot dog. I discovered that Revlon makes a square shaped mascara that is perfect for stability. Anyone with dexterity issues will probably find the Revlon Photoready 3D Volume Mascara easier to use than other brands that package in odd round shapes. I use three different eyeliners depending on how fast I need to get things done. The pencil eyeliners by Make Up Forever are great but my MAC liner lasted longer (I’m out, otherwise it would have a picture). The third item in the picture is my new gel liner, also by Revlon. I’m hoping it won’t be as messy as the liquid liner, which, as you can see, is an unopened bottle at the moment. I go through this stuff pretty quick. I’m very into eyeliner and mascara and I would choose these things if I had no time for anything else.
The very last thing I do is lips because I touch everything with my mouth, so it would only make sense to do it after I’m done touching everything. My biggest challenge with lipstick is finding something that won’t rub off after five minutes in my life and so far nothing has passed the test. I don’t think anything will ever work except cement since my mouth is my hand. So I just buy colors I like without the pressure of looking (and paying) for long lasting brands. The first picture has my Chanel lipstick and lipgloss. The colors are brighter on camera than in reality. I use my Chanels in daytime either together or separately. The lipstick is easily lightened up by putting the gloss on top of it. The picture below that is my MAC nighttime color. It has a pow to it that I reserve for when I’m out in social settings and I don’t want to blend into the crowd. The last picture is my newest lipstick that I’m dying to try. Dying, I tells ya. Revlon makes excellent red lipsticks that go back to Marilyn Monroe, and since vintage red lips are back in style, I’m jumping on this 1950s train. This color is True Red, although it’s not as orange as the picture shows. With red, you have to really moisturize with lip balm and put on proper lip liner first (completely filled in, not just a line around your mouth), otherwise red lipstick by itself will go everywhere and crack. Don’t do a lot with your eyes if you’re putting attention on your mouth.
And that was a tour of my makeup case!
Here are some of the looks I’ve used in the past, pictures and a video.