For someone who drools unbecomingly when she turns to the beauty pages of any fashion magazine, my sense of make up is zilch. Yes, yes, despite the fact that the stash in the three drawers of my dressing table could suffice to do up the entire gaggle of models at a Fashion week, my sense of application is at best, geriatric, my tendency to experiment gone with my youth and wrinkle free skin, and my perfect face post make up is the stuff good memories are made off. Add to this the fact that I am really really blind as a bat without them lenses, and with the lenses in, close range application is at best hit and miss, you get the general drift of why make up is not my best skill. I like to think I make up in other departments, but the spouse might butt in here and disillusion me, so shall keep silent.
Anyway, in college days of fresh glowing skin and the insouciance to apply everything including colours from my water colour set onto my face and carry it off with panache, a lot of experimentation with colours happened. The most daring being painting my nails white and then living through a week of the right hand stained yellow with haldi. Yes, them chapattis need to be eaten by hand, right.
But yes, I was the sort of girl who never embodied fresh and natural. And putting my face on became de rigeur before I stepped out. Even had a friend who bitchily asked me if my then boyfriend and now husband had ever seen me without lipstick. Of course, I replied, the lipstick barely lasts ten minutes into us meeting up. Think that shut her up good.
But I digress, the point of this post being how addicted I am to make up and how absolutely hopeless at application. Inspired by a recent conversation with a peppy 19 year old who reminds me somewhat of how idealistic and happy I used to be before life happened.
I seized any opportunity that came my way to have them experts do the face. I figured I needed tips to get my act right. The first opportunity came during my stint with a news channel. I read the evening news, the 9 pm business slot. And was really bad big time. Give me a break, I was barely 21 at the time. The grizzled bear who applied the make up made me uniformly pink, and then slapped on some pink eyeshadow to match and gave me maroon lips. I should have been the hostess for business on The Sunset Boulevarde show, add some corset and wig, and a mini skirt.
I also remember needing to wash off the make up with a brillo pad before I dared step out of the studio to get home. These were ancient days when no home drops were made, you got home on your own steam, and I didnt want to confuse lustful folks into wondering whether I was open to business.
That channel packed up. And so did my short stint at anchoring. Got back to press. And meandered into soft features. The Saturday Times needed a willing victim for a make over by Mickey Contractor and guess who was selected for the job, yours truly, who landed at the venue shaking better than a St Vitus’s Dance patient. The man was damn good at his work, and he explained patiently what he was doing to my face. And he worked long and hard. And did wonderful things like contouring and shading and such like which I promptly forgot all about once the photographs were clicked and I emerged blinking dazedly in the bright light of day and a husband whose shocked expression was to die for. Yup, I thought I rocked. But he walked into a chemist and got a pack of wet wipes to clean the muck from my face, so much for glamour.
Yes, I forget the wedding. The make up was finally done by the assistants of the beauty expert I’d hired and paid good money for, because she chose to have her baby the day before my wedding. Sort of set the tone for the rest of the marriage too. The bride of Frankenstein. The wedding photographs revealed the true extent of the horror. The child in recent times has been heard to ask of the wedding photograph laminated and kept lovingly on the mantelpiece, “Mamma, why you put white crayon on your face?” I rest my case.
Sometime later, another guinea pig was needed for another makeover to be done by Cory Walia who was then with Lakme, and yours truly was pushed to volunteer. Guess no one else wanted to make a right out fool of themselves and I was already one, and had nothing to lose. To Cory’s credit, he is a wonderful make up person, he finds individual features to compliment and makes you feel truly beautiful, which makes you feel beautiful once the make up is done. I emerged so swollen headed from that session that I needed my mother and her trite comments to bring me down to earth, which she did successfully the next she saw me. On an aside, why is a daughter never ever looking good enough for a mother to appreciate her? I guess, had I been a beauty queen, the mother would have told me I had my tiara on crooked, and why was I sitting with my back rounded, and didnt I brush my teeth before coming to the stage. Coming back to Cory, he gave me a look that withstood harsh daylight, was light and fresh and worked. I didnt look made up, I just looked fresher and different. The trick, he said, was concealer and the right shade of powder compact. Tips from the man, dont use a colour lighter than your skin tone, you’ll look like Krishna of the mythological serials. Since had been that route for the wedding, was in no hurry to go there again. And use sunblock. Carry an umbrella or wear a hat. Stay out of the sun. I follow that religiously, even to the point of paranoia. I slather on sunblock on a cloudy day.
The last time I ever got done up professionally was when Lippi Lal, then of Chambor, did me up for a demo. She gave me a party look, which looked glamourous and slinky feline and was all purples and lilacs, a colour route I had never been down before. It looked good, but the husband was all sceptical. Its too much and too in your face, he says. You look better a little toned down. Hmmppph. Me thinks it was just insecurity given that strange men were staring at me wonderingly.
The most recent episode at professional make up was during a recent television appearance. Barely there eyeliner, with slight highlighter on the eyes, natural blush on the apples of the cheeks and a hint of pinkish gloss. And I was done. And it actually worked. Have never dared try it again, makes me insecure to be so bare…
My everyday routine is Lacto Calamine (yes, yes, I am that ancient, but it is a habit I cant get rid of), a powder compact on top of said Calamine to blot the oil oozing out of every pore, a liquid liner on the upper eyelid, and if I am in party mode, some gold liner or shadow too, an indeterminate pink or nude lipstick or lipgloss and I am done. On a rushed day, no eyeliner, but deep lipstick to make up for the lack of drama on the eyes. Standard look. No surprises. No mascara. No blush. No bronzer. No highlighter. I have them all, piled in my dressing table, acting as breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus. I think I have found my look and am sticking to it. Unless someone shows me a better look or some miracle product that works for me. Any recommendations? Any miracle product you girls swear by? Any colour you think I must buy now or live to regret for the rest of my life? Any application tricks that an old horse could try to hold the years off?
Whats your make up routine like?