Last night, after a stressful week of being sick and all the rest life has to offer, I headed to Stylist Live to meet my friend Abigail. I had no idea what the event would be like – but free is free and I knew, if anything, seeing Abigail would cheer me up. What I didn’t expect was to come away with some really good make-up tips… oh, and seeing Salman Rushdie, Caitlin Moran, and Marlon James… (my literary heart was all aflutter). There was free champagne (bonus), but the plethora of gorgeous stalls with loads of amazing stuff I couldn’t afford was sort of stressing me out even more.
A disclaimer: I know nothing about makeup. I’ve had a couple of free makeovers before – the last one in 2011 at Bloomingdales’ Shisedo counter. I bought concelear and eyeshadow, both of which I still have, and use. When I do experiment with cat-eyeliner or red lipstick, I usually wipe it off mid-evening out of self-consciousness. This insecurity, combined with my through-the-roof level stress, I didn’t think would bode well at Stylist Live — except for the free champagne bit.
Spotting the Benefit counter – my boyfriend told me they were a good brand – I noticed they were doing makeovers and thought, maybe this will cheer me up. I’m not a beauty blogger, so can’t offer much as far as consumer advice, but I do know that, for the first time, I felt like I walked away actually knowing what I was doing.
I went in wearing zero make up. Literally, nothing. Not even tinted chapstick. The woman doing my makeup, whose name I tactlessly have forgotten, was very explanatory and a real laugh. She detailed what she did as she did it, and showed me each product before it went on. She humoured my ridiculous questions, and at the end didn’t pressure me into buying anything.
Even better, this morning I was encouraged to try some of the tips I learned. And, miraculously, I could do it. I didn’t have all the fancy tools she used, but with what I did have (i.e. my 4 year old eyeshadow) I managed to recreate some of the effect that I’d gotten at the Benefit counter. The most important thing, I think, was that I walked away feeling like I didn’t want to either wipe all the makeup off my face, feeling bewildered, or wondering if they’d really done anything at all. So, cheers Benefit for inspiring me and arming me with the tools to make the most of my really, really old makeup. I actually feel like I’m wearing the makeup, not that the makeup is wearing me. In my opinion, a main tenet of feminism should be self love – and in this case, my self-love went up a bit knowing I now have the tools to wear makeup if I so choose.