I am a makeup newbie. Well, not in a live-under-a-rock kind of way. I’ve wore makeup since high school. I just wore it badly. I smeared 1 color of eyeshadow over my eyelid with the little sponge applicator, dabbed on mascara, and drew horrible lines with eyeliner. I didn’t use foundation or blush. I had no clue what blending really meant. Don’t even ask past-me about skin care routines, primer, or contour. I would have answered in a “I wash my face every night in the shower with soap, primer is great on acrylic canvas, and what is contour?” fashion. Yeah.
Back in late 2013, I had a medical scare. I didn’t have insurance so I rarely went to the doctor. I was having some girly issues and my grandmother got concerned enough that she offered to pay the office visit fee if I’d go to the doctor and get whatever prescription they recommended to fix it. I ended up being scheduled for surgery instead! Yikes. The biopsy came back benign though so all is well. After that, I started getting serious about my medical care. I sought out insurance and started seeing a regular physician. When I went to him with a list of things that I had been putting off, one of those was what I perceived as high blood pressure. My face and chest are constantly red-tinted and I flush deep red from my hairline to my diaphragm at frequent random. With the flushing comes heat, like I’ve suddenly developed a sunburn. 15-20 minutes later, it goes away. Doc did the tests and would you believe, I do not have high blood pressure? I am a regular smoker, I eat horribly, I don’t exercise, and I am overweight. I’ve got a lot of problems but high blood pressure ain’t one.
In early 2014, Doc sent me to a dermatologist. Derm diagnosed me with rosacea, moderate subtype 1 and mild subtype2. Rosacea, to put it simply, is visible skin irritation. Subtype 1 is chronic flushing and redness of the skin. Subtype 2 is redness of the skin with pimple-like bumps and acne. There are other subtypes concerning swelling and severe acne but I don’t have those. I missed the severe subtype 1 diagnosis only because my flushing is not constant. I don’t break out with pimples often but I do get frequent bumps on my skin that look kind of like a pimple that is starting to come through without any additional pimple redness. Derm diagnosed sensitive skin too (which I already assumed). And, he diagnosed an epidermoid cyst on my left cheek under my eye. He prescribed a lotion for the rosacea and said the cyst wasn’t going to hurt anything. As far as sensitive skin, he said to avoid sun exposure and fragrance/harsh chemicals in my skin care routine and makeup (which I didn’t use at all so nbd). In general, he told me to drink more water, eat healthier, wear sunscreen. Fairly standard stuff. I used the lotion as prescribed for a month but couldn’t take it any longer as it interacted with my sensitive skin and made my already dry skin much MUCH drier. Admittedly, I did not up the water intake as he told me to do. The Derm would not (maybe could not due to my insurance) prescribe anything else so I didn’t go back.
Flash forward to 2016, mid-summer. I was working in the warehouse. It was hot. I was moving 40-pound boxes around. I was sweating and red from the heat. I had a major flush come on just as a co-worker came over to speak to me. She nearly called an ambulance. She thought I was having a heart attack. Admittedly, my face was incredibly red. And hot. And itchy. However, once I explained my medical condition and convinced her that I was not on the brink of death, it got me thinking.
I work with fantastic people. It is a small office. I see the same people every single day. The ladies I work with are beautiful. They all have full-time office jobs so they aren’t digging through dirty boxes or handling chemicals like me. But they always look so freaking good! Dress clothes, perfectly coifed hair, hella cute boots or sandals. And makeup- their makeup is always put together. I was so tired of looking frumpy next to them with my fuzzy hair and red face. I started talking to them about makeup and where they get it and how they learned to apply it. Sadly, it didn’t have the effect I wanted. They are 25+ years older than I am so they learned to apply makeup by watching their mothers. They wear department store makeup that made my living on-a-budget heart skip a beat when we discussed the cost.
I knew I had to start somewhere… but that somewhere wasn’t Macy’s. At that time, I had exactly 3 pieces of makeup: a dark brown eyeshadow trio from an unknown brand, a Maybelline eyeliner in black/brown, and a L’Oreal mascara in black/brown. I had read at some point that brown shades make blue eyes show up better and my eyes are my best feature (in my opinion). I went to WalMart. While browsing their makeup section, I found ELF Cosmetics and an obsession was born. I spent about $30 and had enough product to fill a tiny table in my bedroom. I got home and realized I had no idea how to use half of the stuff I bought. I figured I solve most of my life questions through Google so why not makeup. Google took me to YouTube. Holy crap. I binged videos for 3 days.
I bought about another $40 worth of makeup. Mostly ELF, some Wetnwild. I splurged on a Hard Candy contour stick. With the next paycheck, I bought cheap makeup brushes, beauty sponges, and a makeup case. The following paycheck, I picked up some NYX, L’Oreal, and Maybelline products. I ordered some hit and miss products from Wish. I completed my first full face of makeup on July 31, 2016. I know this because I took a selfie, one of my first ever selfies in fact.
Since then, my makeup collection (and my pay, thankfully) has increased. My makeup case is full of ELF, NYC, Wetnwild, and NYX products that I have picked up at WalMart, Target, and Mejier. I’ve added some higher end stuff with the discovery of my local Ulta (and Ulta.com). I have quite a bit of Ulta brand makeup as a result and they sold me my first high-end product: Too Faced Sketch Marker in black. Colour Pop has yielded some fantastic pieces. Watching for sales netted me 3 Urban Decay palettes in the last couple months: Shadowbox, Alice Through The Looking Glass, and Vice XX Limited plus their Primer Potion. My latest purchase, at full price (the horror!), was Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour foundation and Tarte Aquacealer Concealer from Sephora as well as a makeup brush that cost more than $3.
I watch YouTube videos daily. It is part of my nighttime routine at this point. My favorite beauty bloggers are Tati, Wayne Goss, Alissa Ashley, Laura Lee, Jackie Aina, Myratouchofglam, Milabu, NikkieTutorials, Jacklyn Hill, and Michelle Phan. I follow them all on YouTube. I follow a few of them and a ton more beauty bloggers and brands on Instagram. I have learned so much in the last 6 months. I have a real skin care routine now. I know how to use a beauty blender. I understand contouring, at least theoretically. But I still have so much to learn! I struggle with keeping my eyes from watering and destroying my eye makeup. I have not figured out how to apply foundation with a brush. I have a difficult relationship with lip liner. I hope you will join me as I journey on this learning adventure in Makeup Land!