Some women look forward to a new season for the shoes. I look forward to the new lipstick shades. To me, spring is all about bright color, as proven by the shocking pink lip gloss I picked up recently at the cosmetics counter.
When I was quite young my mother was an Avon Lady. She was good at it too because she loved product and knew how to use it. I remember she had this pale blue/green sample case that had all these tiny little lipsticks in it — just the perfect size for 4 year-old hands. My mother couldn’t cut hair to save her life — and I had the bangs to prove it — but boy howdy could she wear/sell skin care. Thus, my own love affair with cosmetics began.
By the time I was 12 I was wearing makeup to school. I believe I was the only girl in grade 7 whose foundation matched her skin tone. I was moisturizing by 15, and very much aware of skin care. Mom had gotten out of the Avon biz, but she wouldn’t go to the end of the drive without lipstick, and she swore by face cream.
I bought Vogue on a regular basis. I’m sure this got me made fun of. Here I was, stocky and weird with dyed orange hair who liked to wear strange clothes and tried styling my hair like the super models of the day. At 14 I hadn’t quite grown into my looks or my sense of self, but I was trying.
By sixteen I was doing makeup for my friends — sometimes to their mothers’ horror! I had a set of brushes I’d saved up to buy. I had gotten my ‘Colors’ done — this was the 80′s after all! — and would often help friends pick out the right shades of makeup for their skin tone. By this time I had ‘blossomed’ a little. I’d lost some weight, grew out my hair and wore it brown. I feathered it and then got a spiral perm (shudder). Lo and behold — I got a boyfriend! Yay me.
I think everyone thought I’d go to Cosmetology school, but as obsessed as I was with makeup, I was more obsessed with writing, so off to journalism school went I. Of course, by the time I entered the real world I realized journalism wasn’t for me. Still, I didn’t go to ‘makeup school.’
So here I am — a little over 2 decades later — and I still haven’t taken that course, even though I’ve thought of it. I have books on makeup, books on skincare. I’ve even made my own! In fact, I recently made an eyeshadow that is a dead ringer for a M.A.C. shade I wanted. Now my excuse isn’t that I don’t have the money or even the time, but that I can’t justify taking a course in makeup artistry when I have no intention of making a career of it.
(The model on the Vogue cover is Renee Simonsen. She was one of the supermodels of the 80′s and girlfriend of John Taylor from Duran Duran. To say I wanted to be her is something of an understatement. )
I get offered jobs at makeup counters all the time — only because I know what the product does, not because I look so fab when I go to Macy’s. Sure, I can contour, highlight and cover my brows with fairly decent ease, but it’s so much work! Still, can I confide that sometimes I’m tempted to take a resume to the M.A.C. or Benefit counter, even though I vowed never to work retail again? (And let me clarify that I spent 10 years in retail. The world and its shoppers are safer with me on the buying side of the counter). I’ve been pricing courses too. Will I take one? I dunno, but oh! The discount product is soooo tempting! Stay tuned — you never know, I might finally cave.
BTW, my oldest sister became an Avon Lady for a while as well. And is it coincidence that I write for AVON? I think not!
There you have it — my not-so-secret addiction. Now I want to know YOURS! Do you love makeup? Jewelry? Shoes? Tell me and I’ll pick one person to win a trio of mineral eye shadows made by yours truly, in colors inspired by WHEN MARRYING A SCOUNDREL, coming out on May 26th!