The 30-year-old* novice

Makeup artists brush kit.

Makeup artists brush kit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No-one likes to admit they have a gaping hole in their cache of basic life skills. But I do. And it’s been weighing on my mind a little heavier these past few years.


The only advice my mother ever gave me on the subject was this – “put some lipstick on or you’ll look half dead”.

She’s really a caring woman, but makeup just doesn’t rate amongst her priorities.

So here I am, wafting through my 30s, quite bereft of the basic skills to make the best of what life has dealt me.

I don’t know the difference between foundation and concealer, though I own tubes of both. I’m told I need powder and liners of all descriptions. I have a tub of brush-on-radiance that never gets the chance to shine and my collection of lipsticks looks nothing like the fashions I see in the magazines and on TV.

I would like to wander into the chemist and ask the beautifully presented makeup artists exactly where to start. But, they seem to assume a certain (basic) level of knowledge before you even walk in the door. It’s embarrassing.

From time to time, I have tried to make an effort. The latest and most crushing incident occurred back in November. Suffice to say – I tried, I failed, there were photographs taken. I don’t want to think about it. And yet, here we are.

I guess there’s only one thing for it. Firstly, admit my age (30* might have been under-cooking it a bit, but we’re all friends, so let’s move on). Secondly, I shall avoid the unkind glare of the shopping centre lights until I can face up to it with some degree of confidence. And thirdly, bite the bullet and ask for help.

I’ve got to make up for lost time.


13 responses »

  1. Haha, Not much needed, get a tinted moisturiser, a very decent bronzer (key to not looking half-dead) and a mascara that makes you look awake. That’s me done!

  2. My mom was the same way; Bare Escentuals is my go-to as it’s easy to apply and looks most natural. I’m interested in the BB creams that seems to be just hitting the US market. It sounds like they’re supposed to make the whole process easier. I wore regular makeup yesterday and hated it so I’m going to be seeking some out myself. I’ll report back if it turns out well!

    • Thanks for your comment (sorry it’s taken me so long to reply). I’ve been trying out a few things and have finally found a moisturiser that works well under other powders and potions. Hopefully it will all fall into place from now on 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. I used to be a makeup artist, and honestly..? I don’t bother with actual makeup unless it’s a special occasion.

    – Get yourself a good mascara that doesn’t clump, if you have blue/green eyes, aim for a brown/black mascara, or if your eyes are brown/darker coloured, get yourself black mascara. If it’s an average day, just put it on your top lashes. It’ll only smudge if you bother with your lower lashes.
    – Face perfector. Think moisturiser for under your makeup. If I am actually bothering to do my makeup for real, this is an absolute Godsend. I can usually get away without concealer if I use this stuff!
    – As far as foundation and concealer, concealer is what you put on first, to cover up any spots/pimples/huge dark under eye circles from the kids’ nightmare the previous night.. Just spot it on and blend it in. (Again, only when I’m going out, so very rarely for me!) Then you’ll want to put foundation on. MAKE SURE YOU BLEND IT WITH A SPONGE.. Or at the very least, your fingertips. Around the jaw line//hairline/down your neck, etc.. We’ve all seen those girls who don’t seem to turn sideways in the mirror. It’s not pretty. Don’t.. Just.. Don’t..
    – Powder (pressed/loose, they’re all the same. Simply personal preference on the delivery method) is used to set the foundation and stop it coming off the second you walk away from the mirror. (My usual party trick, only mostly with my hair) Just pat/brush it on, don’t get carried away.
    – When picking colours for foundation/pressed powder, test them on the back of your hand. Concealer needs to be a shade lighter than your foundation.
    – Lipstick should suit your skin tones, again.. Back of your hand to match colours. If you insist on going a really dark colour (think Gwen Stefani’s red..), then make sure you are 125% confident that you can get it on perfectly straight/even/on your lips. Natural colours are the easiest to deal with, a couple of shades darker than your skin.

    Now, here’s the cheat sheet for Mummies who have no time (is there any other kind of Mummy..? Lol!) …
    – Mascara – upper lashes only. If you wipe under your eyes each morning with a baby wipe, you can get 3 days out of one application!
    – Powder – if you have a particularly shiny face, it’ll get rid of it. If you have any dried skin on your face, ANYwhere, it will find it and highlight it. I don’t bother.
    – Lipstick – screw lipstick. I use paw paw cream, accentuates my natural colour scheme, goes with anything I wear and moisturises my lips. Plus if you have a tube handy and the kids scrape themselves, just smear a bit on. It’s water resistant and helps healing. Saves a FORTUNE on bandaids! 😀

    Hope this helped! 🙂 xx

  4. I really enjoyed your post, I think it can be true of many aspects of femininity. I was never taught or passed down any vital information about fashion, and from being a teenager up until a few years ago, I’m pretty sure I must’ve been the laughing stock of all those with eyes. I think I’ve got it together now, but I definitely think I’ll be sitting my daughter down when she’s old enough and giving her some fashion and make up tips!!!

  5. I’m the same with my hair, never know what to do with it (my mum always cut my hair short, so got no early learning). Luckily my sister had a phase of being all into make up when we were younger, so I feel relatively comfortable there.

    My daily routine (5 mins max) is the following:
    – foundation over the moisturiser (could be tinted moisturiser as suggested above)
    – blush rouge over my cheekbones next (the foundation will be slightly damp still, so the rouge sticks on)
    – optional: put some eyeshadow onto your eyes
    – mascara on both upper and lower lashes (I’m so pale and my lashes so light that I feel I look ill if I don’t – but then, I usually don’t put makeup on when I’m ill, so it’s chicken or egg situation)
    – lastly I use a compact powder all over my face to finish it off (this could be your brush-on radiance)

    I hardly ever use lipstick, unless I go out – but then I often also put eye liner on 😉

    You’ll get there, it’s not rocket science, you just need to find the right level of skill, knowledge and routine for you!

    • I’m working on a routine/regime with occasional input from my daughter who tends to subscribe to the theory that ‘more is more’ rather than ‘less is more’ (my favoured approach). It’s going okay.
      PS: My mum used to cut my hair too until the fateful day when she cut my ear and that was the end of that!

      • I’m sure with a little of your daughter’s ‘more is more’ and your own ‘less is more’ you’ll soon arrive at your ‘this is perfect for me’! 🙂

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