Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is Beauty?

Anyone who knows the real Laura knows I am a cosmetics whore. I stroll the make-up aisles of drugstores, Macy's and Sephora as if the mother-ship was calling me home. I love trying new formulas, colors and brands.

I wasn't always like this. There was a time in high school when I was scraping the bottom of the tube of Cappuccino Chrome lipstick, trying to get yet one more application out of it. The color was discontinued and I was devastated. HOW COULD THEY? It was the one color that I absolutely adored and then POOF!! it was gone...

Since then, I never got attached to any one lipstick. Matte Fresco, Amande Sucre and I had a 3 year threesome before Lancome shitcanned those shades too.

My beauty routines have waxed and waned over the years.

The summer after I finished junior high school, Mom decreed that I was allowed to wear make-up every day, but never black eyeliner or red lipstick (technically speaking, I still don't have permission to wear black liner or red lipstick, but I always was a rebel!!). My make-up consisted of light blue frosted liner and frosted lavender eye shadow with lipstick that was a shade of pink that I don't think occurs in nature. Thank God I was a little camera shy in those days so there aren't many photographic images of that weird look.

But I was a sleep-away camp girl so I spent 2 solid summer months in t-shirts, ratty cut-offs and sweat socks with holes in the toes. My sneakers were a experiment in mold and mildew (how I never got athlete's foot I'll never know) and I always wore my hair in a pony-tail with a Mack Trucks baseball hat on backwards. If it was cool at night, I threw on a flannel shirt. That was the uniform. The only time it ever wavered was the year I switched from Reeboks to Nikes. Truth be told, I haven't worn a pair of Reeboks since the summer of '85.

Once the school year started, I started primping again. Styling my long feathered hair with a half a can of Aqua Net (that hole in the ozone layer can be attributed to the female residents of Brooklyn in the 1980's) and carefully applying coat after coat of mascara to "Tarantula Eyes" perfection.

When I started college, I was in classes with girls from the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Russia, Brazil and about 50 or 60 other exotic distant lands. My manufactured Brooklyn look seemed Brooklyn. I started wearing clothes that were way out of my comfort long flowing sundresses and short skirts with black tights with cowboy boots.

Once I got my first real office job, my routine changed again. I wore "classic, sheer" make-up and tailored suits. boring. I wore sheer, matte eye shadow with brown eyeliner and sheer nude lipstick. My mascara was always thick, but I gave up the Tarantula Eyes thing. When I got married in 1998, I wore this same make-up palette, but with slightly darker shades. I looked beautiful, classic...that's what I was aiming for so I guess that's not a bad thing.

Then, I had a baby. Talk about having your simple structured life being thrown for a loop. I went weeks without make-up, even mascara...GASP!! My priorities shifted and my morning routine shifted too. No more spending 15 or 20 minutes beautifying one's self. There were diapers to change, formula to mix, walks to take.

When FRU was 13 months old, I returned to work and she went to day care. I vowed to keep things simple: I would pack the diaper bag/lunch without rushing, I'd lay out our clothes the night before and I would find 10 minutes to consume my 1st cup of coffee sitting down like a normal person (by the way, what makes a person normal? I don't know a single normal person, so I'm not sure exactly what I should be striving for).

Anyway, before I knew it, my morning routine got a little complex, mostly as a result of the debut of about 6 new mascaras, all with different brushes for different effects. Again, I was getting signals from the mother ship that this was the only way to beautify. Pile on the mascara coats and hope it doesn't rain or that I don't walk past a television showing the final scene in Beaches. If either one of those things happens, that mascara was going to form 2 black barcode-like images on my cheeks.

Then I discovered cream eye shadow, shadow primer, Bare Escentuals foundation, Mac Viva Glam V lipstick...and my routine got infinitely more complicated. I was spending almost 40 minutes applying make-up. At a certain point, I had to look at myself in the eye and remind my reflection that I'm not a 70's country & western music star and to put down the applicator brushes and step away from the mirror.

I'm pleased to announce that I listened to myself, for the most part.

Now, my usual routine is an extensive cleansing (I still break out in cystic acne, YEAH...I'm 38 years old, when the hell is that shit gonna stop!), mineral foundation, a little blush, liner and mascara...I just can't give the stuff up. I have blond lashes that need all the help they can least that's what I keep telling myself.

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