I had a job then. Bringing in my own money, and being of adult age, I wanted to try and pretty myself up a bit. My previous clear complexion had decided to go stark raving mad with acne. Pastules and pustules and painful cystic type adult acne. I didn’t know it then, but that was only the beginning of a lifelong battle with adult acne. I wanted it cleared up, and I wanted it covered up. It was so bad I didn’t want to go out in public.
I made my first appointment with a dermatologist at age 18. Diagnosed with adult acne and rosacea, I left with a prescription for an antibiotic and cream for my face. I was instructed to wash my face with my hands and a very mild soap in the evening, like Dove, and to use only water of a morning. Apply the MetroGel both morning and evening. And yes, I was allowed to wear makeup, but it had to be water based.
I headed to the drugstore to get some Cover Girl makeup. I was still a teenager who hadn’t used makeup before. I thought everyone used Cover Girl. Who knew there would be so many shades to choose from? And how was I supposed to pick one if I couldn’t try it on? I left empty handed and more than a little disappointed.
After telling my mother-in-law my woeful makeup tale, she suggested I go to one of the nicer department stores to the Estée Lauder counter and let them help me find a shade, so I did. Back then, there weren’t as many makeup brands on the market, but Estée Lauder was, and still is, one of the best. It’s a brand I’m still loyal to.
The Estée representative was very nice, had her own makeup applied flawlessly, and was very helpful. I had the works done. Starting with the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, she then picked out a water based foundation and found my shade. She dotted and blended concealer over all my red spots and finished with a very light dusting of powder. A light pink cream blush was next, then on to my eyes with neutral eyeshadow and mascara. I stopped her at the brows. I thought that was only for old ladies. Then a pinkish nude lipstick finished up.
Looking in the mirror, I wasn’t sure what I thought at first. Was that me? Was it too much? I felt like a little girl playing with a forbidden toy. And yet, I felt pretty. I still knew my acne was there, but the makeup helped so much in smoothing out my complexion. Maybe this would work after all. Maybe I could do this.
The Estée rep was good at her job and I was desperate to feel pretty, so I left her that day with a lovely little shopping bag filled with cleanser, toner, moisturizer, foundation, blush, and lipstick. I decided to wait a while on the eye makeup.
A few months later was Christmas. My mother-in-law gifted me with the beautiful Estée Lauder Christmas makeup set with more eyeshadows and blushes than I knew what to do with. And I made every application mistake I possibly could. Too dark, too bright, too blue. But slowly, I learned through trial and error what I liked best. I was feeling more like a lady.
This was a time before foundation primer, eyelid primer, bronzers, highlighters, and numerous other items invented for women to spend more money on. When I get on YouTube and search for all the makeup gurus on what and how to apply makeup, I am just amazed at how much time and product they get into. And I wonder why we need three different kinds of concealers, three cheek products, and five shades of eyeshadow. Really? And their makeup “collections” of not only drawers upon drawers of makeup, but a room of makeup. Thirty years ago I never would have dreamed that to be possible.
As I’ve aged, my makeup and skincare needs have changed. Having rosacea, I will probably always have flare ups of pimples and redness from time to time. I feel that’s very unfair at my age of 56, but my dermatologist says that’s life and hormones for ya. I kind of hate that he’s not only right, but looks like he’s about 18.
Experimenting with makeup is still fun for me, and sometimes I do go all out by applying foundation primer and eyeshadow primer. No matter how hard I try to achieve that smokey eye look, it always comes off looking like I belong in the Adam’s Family photo album. So I mostly stick with lighter neutral shadows, usually only two at a time. One eyeliner. One mascara. And a brow powder, because my eyebrows have become more sparse than they once were. A little blush and always lipstick. Lipstick does wonders for my pale face.
It’s really rather amazing to me all the different brands and products on the market today compared to thirty years ago. But it tells a story about how women are always searching for products to make them beautiful, and will pay good money to get them.
How has your makeup evolved over the years? More? Less? What was your first makeup brand, and are you brand loyal?