There are times when I look in the mirror and think I look OK, and other times when I think, "You really need a little something."
Sometimes this comes from looking too closely, say, a fraction of an inch from the mirror. My mother, who didn't have to worry about looking closely because she looked beautiful until the day she died, had an easy solution: Don't look so closely.
I never wore much makeup, but on and off I have fallen prey to that need to do something, which may result from a message the beauty industry has planted in my brain. I bet I am not alone in this. Once I sat at a department store makeup counter and let them "do" my face. Knowing that I was expected to buy something, I purchased an eyeliner, then went home and washed everything off.
After cancer, if I am having a bad day, I sometimes think, "You look like you've been through the wringer."
I was in the "you need something" phase during the recent New York trip I took with Katie, and I asked Serena, who always looks good, to take me to her favorite makeup place in Bloomingdale's. I was mostly interested in an eye shadow of hers that had a natural look. Several saleswomen converged on me. They were very nice, but one especially was so overly made up that she looked a little scary.
After choosing the eye shadow, I found myself being directed to an eyeliner and blush. A saleswoman applied the eyeliner, and I wavered. Katie, the voice of reason, whispered in my ear, "No, no, no." With their pretty packaging, these products draw you to them. But my own voice of reason kicked into gear, telling me I could get a similar, and much cheaper, product at a drug store.
I got out with "just" the eye shadow and some minimalist blush.
Which brings me to the point of my post: How encouraged I was to read the headline of last Thursday's main story in the New York Times' style section: "You Can Fall Out of Bed and Look Good."
The story began on a promising note: "Goodbye, lip liners, brow pencils, spackled-on foundations. The hottest beauty trend of 2012 is imperfection."
Finally, a look that sounds pretty good...and that is actually easy to accomplish.
But alas, the story quickly takes a turn into cosmetics-land, telling us about all the things to buy, and the special way to apply them, to accomplish this imperfect look.
Second paragraph: "The new look for the new year is effortless, minimalist, just-out-of-bed-with-your-lover, according to leading hair and makeup artists...Tousled hair, smudged eyeliner, dewy lips and luminous skin are in."
You are supposed to use your fingertips to "smudge eyeliner, smear bronzer, press bright stains into your cheeks and lips."
It is a little discouraging how much makeup it takes to achieve the non-made up look, but as I read on, I realized that I have actually been ahead of the game.
My eyeliner, on the rare occasions when I try to wear it, is usually smudged.