“So, um, what do you do?” asks the stranger in front of me as she sips her beer. We’ve been introduced by a friend who knows us both, and as it’s about 8pm on a Wednesday, she’s not really that drunk yet, and our conversation puzzle is not going to fall together easily. Eventually we’ll either (a) have too much to drink and arbitrarily declare ourselves best friends, or (b) will find something in common – maybe she agrees there’s nothing funnier than that one bit in Wanderlust where Paul Rudd talks to himself in the mirror – and it’ll be fine.
But we haven’t worked that out yet. So, for now? It’s awkward.
“Oh, you know, I faff with Word documents, whatever. But more importantly? I have a BLOG,” I say, desperate to talk about it, but not really talk about it, because actually I’m quite shy about these things in real life.
“Oh, what’s it about?” she asks, and I’m immediately stuck.
“I just sort of like, talk. About stuff?” I reply, and she nods her head slowly, desperately searching for another topic.
“So, um, how do you know Christine?”
This isn’t a once-off. This scenario has played out maybe five times. Having a blog where I just write about nothing is fun, but it also makes it hard to define in bars.
I was thinking about this on the way home yesterday, wondering if I should pick a topic to concentrate on.
Then it hit me.
I’ve spent some time in the fascinating world of YouTube makeup tutorials recently, all-the-while feeling that these guides would benefit from a more static medium. And honestly? It can’t be that hard. I wear mascara every day (I know, I know, I shouldn’t brag) and have a webcam.
So without further ado, may I present, Kate’s Guide to Makeup: Part One.
STEP ONE: PREPARE YOUR CANVAS
Ok, so, full disclosure, maybe I have left it a bit long between fringe trims.
I can wear it two ways: Visually Impaired Cousin Itt…
…or I’m Sorry Suzanne, I Promise I Will Book an Appointment Soon.
Regardless of the level of infringement of hair upon one’s forehead (see what I did there?) it’s important to work with a blank canvas when applying makeup.
Pull your hair up into one of those butterfly clips. Hope that even though you have just piles of hair, it will somehow all stay up and will not fall out.
Try not to take it too personally when you are thwarted by your villainous mop.
Add a headband for good measure, then get distracted checking Twitter for a really long time.
All done? Great, now you’re ready to go!
STEP TWO: CONCEALER
From what I gather from the back of the bottle, it is important to cover up any blemishes, pimples, scars, moles, potmarks, pores, hairs … divots … just sort of anything that isn’t a little patch of skin. Though you can feel free to cover that up too, I mean, when in Rome.
Layer it nice and thick, because you wouldn’t want people seeing your blemishes.
I’m sure it was Shakespeare who said something like, “to blemish is to perish”, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
STEP THREE: CONTOURING
Contouring is something that’s a bit new and special, I think. I picked up a book in Whitcoulls with a whole section on it, and it looked very interesting but also very complicated, so I put the book down and went to see if they had the new NW so I could decide Who Wore It Best. Spoiler: it’s usually the one that doesn’t go too crazy with the accessories. Come on, Hollywood. When will you learn?
What I gathered about contouring, from the brief time I spent with the book, was that you can basically redefine the shape of your face with makeup. Got a weak chin? No problem, just draw on a new one. An uneven hairline? No worries, just paint over it.
Start by contouring your nose, because this logically seems like the bit that should be contoured, as it sticks out more than the rest of your face does. Note that in this context, “contouring” means “put some concealer on it because it is the lightest makeup you have”.
Now comes the fun bit, where we add the… anti-contour. Do this with… what’s the opposite of concealer? Not sure.
What else comes in stick form? Lipstick?
Ok, that’ll do.
Colour in the side of your nose to make the top bit stand out more.
Be mildly alarmed at how good this looks already, and we haven’t even gotten to the jawline!
Colour in the jawline in a similar way, scribbling under your chin too, because nothing is worse than makeup that isn’t blended in, and also, this will make your face look slimmer. I’ve read Cosmo‘s advice to put dark colours on wide hips. I know how these things work.
Stare at your new face in quiet amazement. “Have you lost weight?”, “have you had work done?” they’ll ask, and you will just smile to yourself, knowing the secrets of a good contour should not be shared with workmates who constantly steal the last biscuit.
STEP FOUR: FOUNDATION
Now that we have our contouring done, we need to apply foundation. This will give even coverage over the rest of your uncontoured face.
Start by applying some foundation to a sponge. If you don’t have a sponge, feel to improvise with the corner of a kitchen one. A sponge is a sponge, right? I mean, as long as it’s clean. I got this one new, just for the record. Because whatever is going on with the one we have on the bench at the moment, I don’t even want to begin to think about. I think it’s basically a mini petri dish. Soon it may become sentient. I will awake one morning to see its once-blue-now-greyish form flopping over my face, leaving an oily sheen in its wake.
Moving on. It’s important to dab the foundation on instead of wiping it, so you don’t wipe all your contouring work away. When the sponge starts to feel dry, just add some more foundation. There’s no such thing as too much.
I really wanted to quote from the Spice Girls’ hit number Too Much here, but it turns out they make the opposite point.
Keep going until you’re all covered. Get the lips done too for good measure. Really, just do everything. Otherwise you may have to pick a point where eyes or lips begin or end, and who are you to decide that?
All done? Congratulations!
You’ve laid the base now, creating a natural look that can work for all sorts of daytime activities.
Picnic invite? No problem!
Day at the beach? Don’t mind if I do!
Of course, sometimes a lady wants to look extra special… so make sure to come back for the next instalment, where we will cover how to transform your daytime appearance into an evening look that’ll make those fellas clamour for more!