Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, Not Cover Girl

I am a makeup whore.

I LOVE makeup!  It is not uncommon for me to visit an Ulta brick and mortar store and spend an hour and over $100 per trip.  I’ll walk out of there with things I need and things I don’t need– like another tube of lipstick to add to my growing collection of 20-25 sticks.

And I enjoy playing with makeup, too.  Ever since my first bottle of foundation, I have liked to play “makeup artist” and I’ll try new techniques and color combinations with my countless booty of beauty products.  Sometimes, I’ll even narrate a makeup tutorial to myself in the mirror while applying my war paint.  I should’ve been on the YouTubes.

It is not often that you’ll find me without makeup.  In fact, the only time I’m sans makeup is when I wash my face before going to bed and then also in the morning before I’ve gotten my shower and have gotten ready for the day.  With makeup.

I even wear makeup to the gym.  This is considered heresy by some women who suggest that going to the gym is not a beauty contest.  And they are right, it is NOT a beauty contest.  But I prefer having “my face on” because it makes me feel better about myself.  When I like the face that I see looking back at me in the gym mirror, I usually have a better workout.  When I hate how I look, my workout suffers.  And don’t get me started on my hair…if I’m having a bad hair day, my whole day seems to fall apart.  I do not know– or care about–  the psychology of why this is; it just is.

But something strange happened the other day…

I was going through my regular routine of makeup application…first, Hard Candy primer to get this typically oily skin a little more matted up so the rest of my face doesn’t fall off.  Then I sponge on some Dermablend Powder Camo.  This is the best foundation known to woman, as it covers every single blotchy mark on my face and it actually lasts for the majority of the day.  Maybe it’s the primer, maybe it’s the foundation, or maybe it’s the combination…whatever…it lasts.

I stopped and looked in the mirror.  “Huh!  Not bad!” This girl, the one who has, for much of her life, been very self-conscious about her face and her “look”  did not hate the reflection that she saw in the mirror.  But I wasn’t sure I could handle all this bareness, so I kept going a little further….

I did the contour thing with my Ulta bronzer palette thingee.   “Hey, that’s not so bad either!”

Still scared, I applied a little Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara….

And then stopped.

Usually the routine includes eye shadow, liner, and lipstick.

But I stopped at a very bare face, at least by my own standards.

And then I did the unthinkable.  Two unthinkables, actually.

I went out of the house and went shopping.  Granted, it was only to Lowe’s, but still…I rarely go anywhere without my face in armor.

Second: I took a selfie and posted it to my Facebook.

When I did these things, I was not thinking about my bare face.  In fact, I wasn’t thinking about my bare face much at all until after the responses I’d gotten on Facebook.

Here’s what I’d posted…

Wore this shirt to Lowe’s today. Dude cashier says my shirt’s cool. Asks if it’s Nike. No, no, I tell him. It’s Flag Nor Fail. And I go on to tell him allll about the Baileys and their brand and their worth as just good people. He liked the story. Said he’d check it out.

Coz that’s what you do when you believe in someone and what they do and what their brand stands for– you pass that shit along.

Not sure the people in line behind me were as excited about the story, or the length of it, but too bad. I’m spreading good news here, people!!!

— with Rob Bailey.

Liz Holtzinger's photo.
Bare faced selfie, posted to Facebook.
You’ll notice that my post was not about my bare face.  It was about something totally different.  And just as I was about to post it to my FB, I hesitated because I’d realized that my face wasn’t my face as people normally see it.  It wasn’t in armor. I was afraid of exposing the face that I really have.  What would people say?!?!  Would they think I’m ugly?  Sick?
     I decided to throw caution to the wind, and I hit “post.”
     And I know I am not to measure my worth on likes (there were 45, btw lol) and all that crap…and I don’t…so that’s not part of my point here…But what I’d noticed is that NO ONE NOTICED that I wasn’t wearing makeup– or at least not as much as I usually pile on.  Instead, comments were either about the shirt I was talking about (which makes sense) or they were about my hair.  I got lots of compliments on my hair.
     “Cool!” I thought.  So I took it a step further. That night, I went to a Father’s Day picnic sans makeup.  No one noticed.  Or at least they didn’t say anything.
     So I took it another step.  Went to visit my manfriend that night, sans makeup.
     He noticed, but only to say that I looked great that night.  I’m not sure if he noticed that I wasn’t wearing makeup or not.  But he said I looked great.
     Took it another step…went to work like that (bartending).  You know what several of my bar guests said? “Did you get your hair cut?  It looks really nice.”
     Manfriend also came in for something to eat and drink that night.  And try to guess what he’d said.
     I spend a shit-ton of money on products to enhance my facial features.  I spend a lot of time fretting over whether or not I look “good enough” by some anonymous standard, by what our cultural and societal standards have come to “accept”.  And maybe I’m just vain or something.
     But here’s some things I’ve learned about this little experiment of mine…
     I still love makeup.  I still love getting all dolled up and being so much a girl.  It’s FUN!

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Here I am, in full-makeup, for a recent dinner date. Makeup IS fun!!! But I don’t know that there is much difference between what I look like with it to without it. My smile is still gummy and crooked, and my eyes still shine bright.
     But I discovered that I’m not as bad as I’ve always imagined myself to be.  I’m not the ugly duckling that I’ve always assumed others thought I was.  I’ve got a quirky, crooked, and gummy smile.   My eyes squint up and nearly close when I laugh.  My face is not perfect.  I’m not a model, and I’ve never fancied myself to be one either.
     But there is a glow in my face and a brightness in my eyes and love in my heart that I think probably outshines all that goop I put on my face.  I think THAT’S what others are seeing. And yeah, maybe my cool hair.  LOL
     It is not easy for me to walk out of my house without makeup.  It has long been just the way I do things.  It has been a part of my fabric.  But this has been a fun– and uplifting experiment.  I’m not giving up on all my products.  In fact, there’s a trip planned for Ulta in just the next couple of days…
     But it is nice to begin to feel comfortable in my own, only slightly-enhanced, skin.
      But I swear to God, if you show up at my door, unexpected, and I’ve not “done my face” for the day, I will die!
      Hey– Rome wasn’t built in a day.  And I am, MOST DEFINITELY, a work-in-progress.
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