With Lisa Eldridge's Face Paint slowly approaching my doorstep and the many years of me obsessively scoping the beauty pages in Elle I find it hard to believe it took me this long to write about my own little history of make up. My story has its beginnings in the late 80's. I vaguely remember my mum putting heavy eye make up on - lots of black mascara, plenty of eye shadow and a strong kohl liner, top and bottom. Quite bold, right? As for the lips she would only wear all the shades of brown. I vividly remember already being drawn to the reds but she would just glance at me in disbelief, red's not appropriate you know. For someone who would go nuts with an eye shadow, a red lipstick was a little too bold. I remember kids in school telling me 'your mum looks like a doll', I don't think they or anyone else were particularly impressed with her 'excessive' interest in make up. I on the other hand was already fascinated by it. I never asked her why she wore make up, but watching her follow the same pattern every single day, I think she just liked to look good without putting much thought into it.
I didn't get into make up entirely and properly until my mid 20's. You know the 'Things you would tell your Teenage Self' tag flying around the internet? I would have a lot to say, believe me ... My first ever make up product was a clear mint scented lip gloss from Constance Carroll (Does anyone remember the brand?). I clearly wasn't ready for the colour, still it didn't stop me from feeling like a queen as I would sneakily reapply it in between classes. Gradually, I moved on to more exciting textures like a tinted lip balm - I would buy the same Nivea strawberry lip balm for months, and my first ever base product was a translucent pressed powder, but things got a wee bit more serious when I bought my first black mascara. It went on from there.
I would love to be able to say make up gives me confidence, in a way it does, but I don't think it's got enough power, not from my experience. With the amount of stress I go through in my daily life I can't fool myself and say it gets me ready to take on the world whenever I put the red lipstick on. That said I'd lie if I said it doesn't help. While (coffee aside) it makes me feel a bit more ready for the day, it's not the main reason I love it so much. It cheers me up constantly and gives me the best of the happy-highs. I know what suits my face now, I know cool tones, groomed brows, graphic liner, nude blush, glossy cheeks and orange red lipstick look the most flattering on me and I stick to those mainly. But I don't feel like I'm a prisoner to those routines. I would go a full day or two with nothing but a thick shield of Nivea cream but right before bed I would get a sudden urge to try out something new or to just put some brows or lipstick on. There's nothing more exciting to me that trying out a new look. Back in the day I never thought I would be into a mauvey lip or a liner that's not black, didn't stop me now from trying out every single colour of the rainbow (eyes AND lips). It's fun.
Not only do I like to put make up on myself but also I love doing it on others. It's a bit sad so many people still follow the archaic rules. I remember doing make up for one of my friends when she looked at me in horror as I was swirling my brush in a pale pink blusher. She genuinely was shocked because she thought that couldn't possibly go well with her dark hair and eyes while I rushed to convince her that terracotta is not the only way to go. Whoever made those rules, it's time to let it go ladies and gents. Make up can never be too bold or too much. Please next time you're shopping for it pick something you've not tried before. I probably should apply that rule to my wardrobe.