All dolled up with no place to go

Thanks to L’Oreal for sponsoring my post about my favorite beauty looks, tips and tricks! Check out Makeup.com for beauty advice from the experts.

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I haven’t worn makeup — like REALLY worn makeup — since my wedding, six and a half years ago. For that occasion, I enlisted the help of a professional, who transformed me into someone one hundred times more glamorous than my usual self, that when coupled with a fancy blonde up-’do, it caused my mother-in-law to audibly gasp from the audience when she first saw me come down the aisle.

I guess I’d already started turning into the “plain Jane” I am today back in my mid-twenties. It wasn’t always that way, though. My former college roommate said I used to take two hours to get ready every day. I have no idea what took two hours because I had super short hair then, so it must’ve been my makeup routine. (And my tweezing regimen, I’m sure, as evidenced by the misshapen, too-thin brows I was rocking at age 20. Yikes.)

I definitely went through a period of time in high school when I wore a lot of makeup, specifically terribly unflattering burgundy liner and lipstick. All my friends wore the same stuff — wet N wild lip liner in “Brandy Wine” #666, topped with shiny gloss. The liner was a steal at just 99 cents! I stopped wearing a lot of makeup toward the end of high school as I went through my thrift store clothing phase, the goal being, apparently, to look as frumpy as possible in men’s plaid golf pants and ‘70s ski sweaters. Yeah, I don’t know, either.

Basically, there have been times in my life when I cared about my appearance, and times when I didn’t. I wouldn’t say that I don’t care how I look now, but as a full-time working mom, I simply don’t have the time to keep up with fashion or makeup trends. My getting-ready routine in the morning is pretty simple. I do apply makeup every day — a little foundation and loose powder, always mascara, a bit of blush, and lip balm — but I never touch it up at work, and by the time I get home, it’s all but worn off so that on the rare occasions Roth sees me getting ready in the morning, he bemoans the fact he never gets to see me “all dolled up.”

Ha. I’m hardly ever “dolled up.” Here I am in the morning — before makeup on the left, after makeup on the right.

See? You can hardly tell I’m even wearing makeup, but I swear I am! This is how I look, pretty much all the time.

Plain. Jane.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

But, I had to laugh when I was selected to write a sponsored post about makeup. I’m probably the last person who should be writing about or giving any sort of advice about makeup. I was intrigued, though, by the challenge it posed. “Dare To Try” a new look for the holiday season, it suggested. Hmm. I *have* been wanting to try a bold red lip, or a smoky smoldering eye. Yes, yes. I shall try both, I giddily exclaimed to myself.

Last week when I was in New York for work, I stopped in at a Sephora, thinking I’d pick up some red lipstick, no big deal. Except I nearly had a panic attack as I perused the store, avoiding eye contact with anyone who might be able to help me. I just … wow. I don’t know how people shop there. There are far too many options, everything was so shiny, and I left without buying anything. Instead I opted to buy a red lipstick at a drugstore where the “scene” was far more sedated than my prior experience. I chose Maybelline’s ColorSensational in “Are You Ready.” I also picked up a lip liner in nude. The result is on the left, below.

Not too bad, though definitely not appropriate for my office setting, which is ultra casual. I could see wearing this sort of color to a holiday party. (Too bad my company’s party has already passed!) For kicks, I also grabbed my fave lip liner of yore, wet N wild #666, which is still just 99 cents! Inflation, be damned! I paired it with a cheap-o burgundy lipstick. The result is on the right, above.

Also not awful, though definitely way too dark for my coloring, I think. After experimenting with red and burgundy, I scrubbed my lips clean and used a tried-and-true tinted gloss, CoverGirl Lipslicks in “Demure.” Ah, that’s better, yes?

So, even when I used to wear a lot more makeup, I never-ever wore dark eyeliner with any sort of precision. I watched in awe as friends expertly swept the paintbrush of a liquid liner across the tops of their lids, achieving that sexy cat-eye look. It wasn’t until very recently that I figured out why most eye techniques don’t really work on me. I inherited from my mother a droopy upper eyelid that hangs over my lower lid. (For medical reasons, she has had her eyes … fixed.) When I do wear eyeshadow, I get that oily crease within minutes. Liner just sort of smears.

Still, I wanted to again try a smoky eye. I used a smudger and granite shadow along my lash line and in the outer corners. Then, I brushed a lighter shimmery grey shadow over the rest of my lids. Topped with mascara, of course. The result is below.

See? With my eyes open, on the right, you can barely tell I’m wearing darker eye makeup, thanks to that low-hanging upper lid. My lower lids sort of disappear, which is frustrating. Upon closer inspection, however, you can see my … handiwork. (Just don’t look too close.)

Of the two new looks — a bold red lip and a smoky smoldering eye — which one should I attempt on a regular basis? Both? Neither? Have I inspired you to try a new look, too?

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I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Click here to learn more about Makeup.com or become a Facebook fan by clicking here.

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10 Comments

  1. I’m lazy and have embraced the red lip craze b/c it means the rest of my face simply sports some concealer, neutral shadow base and mascara which takes me a total of two minutes. You look great with both new looks, but you also look good with your normal minimal routine as well!

  2. Steph

    What you have is called hooded eyelids. I have the same problem, also inherited from my mom. I figure in 15 years I’m gonna need to roll my eyelids up like window blinds. I use an eyeshadow primer when I put ANY eye makeup on, or it’ll be an oil slick in no time. When I discovered Urban Decay primer potion, I flipped out. Truly a godsend. Love the looks, by the way! You look great!

  3. Your mom

    So.. now the world knows I had my eyes “fixed”. I am glad I did have it done while I still had insurance. Ha! Sorry that in the future it might be something you’ll have to have done as well. But it’s not a big deal I promise. You look great with or without makeup but I am biased.

  4. I like the smokey style eye and it looks good on you. I love playing with make up and wear it every day. I’ve mastered the 5 minute face. I don’t think I’ve worn lip stick in a long time though. I tend to stick to lip glosses.

    Eyeshadow primer really works (I got mine at MAC) when putting on a smokey eye or more than one color. I swear by it.

  5. 1. How do you get selected to do all these fun reviews!? From makeup to online photos – I want some of this action!!!

    2. As a fellow smoky eye lover, I think you ROCK the smoky eye look, droopy eye be damned! I think you look HOT. I’m not a lipstick fan, so that doesn’t do much for me, but the grey eyeshadows?? You GO girl!!! (Just extend the smoky tones a bit higher – then you can see if from afar.)

    xoxoxo

    VW

  6. I inherited the same thing from my mother! And it gets worse with age. Paired with my small eyes, I rely on eyeliner (and sometimes mascara) to make my eyes noticeable at all. I rarely ever wear any lip color, but I like how it looks on you.

  7. Gabby

    Definitely the smokey eye look has my vote. You look great with eye makeup on.

    I think you look prettiest with a simple lip gloss. That being said, I think that about most people (including myself). Unless you’re Nicole Kidman, I just think most people look better in lighter (or no) lip shades. But yes, smokey eye is a winner!

  8. I actually think the smoky eye looks great and is noticeable even with hooded lids frustration you mentioned.

    The great thing about the red lips is that all you really need is mascara to go with them and you have a complete look. :)

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