A Primer on My History with Makeup

My relationship with beauty products has been dubious since I first began to wear makeup in the 8th grade.

It was 1996, and after receiving a massive sunburn at a marching band competition (yes, I was very popular and cool), I needed something to cover up the blazing redness of my facial features. And where should I turn but my mother’s medicine cabinet, of course, for some of her Clinique porcelain beige.

Now, let me pause for a moment to give you some specifics about my mom: she was 50 years old when I was born. Also, I’m adopted. So her skin and my skin aren’t even close to the same color. My mom taught tennis lessons all summer and was tan. And because my biological people were vampire-pale, I have never been tan a day in my life (unless it was a spray job). Hence, my mother’s foundation looked way too dark.

I continued to use my mother’s makeup long after the sunburn incident because, heck, I was in the 8th grade. I thought I was old enough to be wearing makeup, since every other girl in my grade had been wearing it for a couple of years already. My mom rarely saw the need for makeup at all, but she agreed to let me grow up a little, after years of telling me that I needed to slow my roll and just be a kid. (Smart woman.)

Finally, my older sister felt sorry for me and took me to the Dillard’s beauty counter so that someone other than her would get to bring me the bad news: I may have been really good at spelling  and band, but my foundation was four shades darker than my face.

One powder, blush, and 3-step skin care set later, I was in a better place, appearance-wise. And so, I continued on this simple, easygoing beauty routine unto around the age of 25, when I realized that, once again, I was falling behind most of my peers when it came to my looks. Truthfully, I’d been avoiding most of the products I didn’t understand, because there were too many to afford or remember to purchase. So instead of worrying about it, I’d spent 11 years happily unaware that there was more to the skin care and beauty industry than the basics my sister bought me in the 90s.

All this time, I didn’t actually know if I was pretty in the eyes of others or not. I mean, my dad always said that I was beautiful, and for awhile, that was enough. Since my skin was generally healthy and that strangers didn’t point and laugh (or run away in fear), I assumed that I was doing a bang-up job of personal hygiene.

If you’ve done your maths, you’ll remember I said I was in 8th grade in 1996, and that makes me 35 years old right now, in 2017. So that means that at 25, my big beauty/fashion turning point, was ten years ago.

Ten years ago,  I began to doubt that my clothes, hair, and skin were good enough just the way they were.

Because ten years ago, I officially became the last one of my friends not to be married or engaged. And, as much as I hate to admit this, I became intensely insecure just because I was still single.

Twenty five isn’t even that old, but I wondered, what was I doing wrong? And because it’s easier to buy new clothes and change your beauty routine than it is to either (A.) Wait to meet the right person, or (B.) Work on my inner issues, I began to shift my focus to externals.

And maybe I didn’t need to change at all in order to attract someone, but to admit I was fine just as I was…well, that was never going to happen.

While the whole world is telling you to be yourself, they’re also screaming at you to use a primer for each individual part of your face. Heaven forbid your eyebrows aren’t on fleek.

At 25, I wanted to take control to the things that were happening to me. I didn’t just want to wait for the exciting parts of life while collecting kitty cats in a 3rd floor apartment.

So I did the only thing I could do to get help in a beauty crisis: I went to Sephora.



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