I’ve never been one for a beauty regime but turning 31 last year brought with it a deep sense of foreboding, new wrinkles, and an insatiable need to moisturise.
I’ve also woken up to the idea that my eyelids – such as they are – won’t stay in this condition forever, so it’s time I made the most of the skin I’ve got and had some fun with my face (in a non-sexual way).
As I think I mentioned on a previous post, my renewed interest in makeup was sparked in part by my sister Lora, who turned me on to the incomparable Jeffree Star; make-up guru, and gender-fluid YouTube sensation whose independent cosmetics line has become a force to be reckoned with.
Having recently spent more money than is acceptable on Jeffree’s Blue Blood and Blood Sugar eyeshadow palettes and having also spent the past three weeks binge-watching his back catalogue of YouTube tutorials, I was inspired to delve into the dark recesses of my make-up collection and have a good ol’ fashioned clear out; because we all remember how well that turned out with my wardrobe.
It’s been a love-hate relationship between makeup and I since I discovered it in my mid-teens.
I say love-hate because while I’ve always admired people who can pull off a stunning face time and time again, I’ve always been of the mind that less is more, and I’ll admit that for some time I struggled with the idea that women felt they needed a painted face to attract a partner or feel better about themselves.
Never mind the fact that my lasting memories of ‘heavily painted’ girls at school were that of being ridiculed or looked down upon for being more concerned with academia than the visibility of my pores.
My first brush with anything resembling colour was when I began to amass a hefty collection of Barry M eyeshadows in my early twenties. I was working for Boots at the time before beginning my second stint at uni (a story for another day) and used to play around with mixing and matching colours on my eyelids, with customers commenting on how much they liked the blends. I guess you could say it was also my first foray into PR, as I’d direct customers to the Barry M counter to pick out their own unique colour combos.
That all ended one day when I was called into the managers office.
“One of the area managers visited the store and he noticed your eyeshadow.”
“While it’s nice, it’s just not fitting with company policy, so they’d prefer if you didn’t wear it as bright to work anymore.”
Me: “OK. Well to be honest, I saw it more as promoting our products as customers have commented on how much they like it, which means I’m able to direct them to the Barry M counter. I thought it was a positive thing in helping us sell more product.”
“Well, the area manager would prefer if makeup was neutral.”
There ended any enthusiasm I might’ve had for a career in retail.
Tipping out my collection onto the spare room bed, I found myself rifling through an array of products I hadn’t seen for years.
Several brands’ worth of red lipsticks (from my Dita Von Teese phase), countless Barry M eyeshadows in various shades of purples, greens and pinks, and a Nars ‘Super Orgasm’ Illuminator, among other things, littered the bedsheets.
My first thought was that anyone who turns that shade of tangerine upon reaching peak sexual enjoyment needs to visit A&E.
In the spirit of this particular Jeffree outing, I decided to test out various products to see whether they’d stood the test of time or whether they were ready for the bin.
First up were the Barry M shadows which I swatched onto my arm, and which proceeded to fade from their original colour, to a silvery, glittery undertone in seconds. Fair enough considering they’ve been sat in my makeup bag for a good 10 years.
Next up was a delightful Benefit lipstick, in a red reminiscent of a Christian Louboutin sole. I gave it a swipe across my lips and was surprised by the creamy texture. It was still as vibrant as it had ever been, with the bonus of having been kept out of direct sunlight for over a decade.
I wore it as I continued sorting. Swatch, bin. Swatch, bin…
Why does it taste like I’ve been guzzling melted plasticine?
Yep. This lippy is definitely past its sell by date.
I quickly grabbed some toilet roll and rubbed that crap off my mouth, before it could do any more damage.
Other items that found their way from my makeup bag to the bin, included:
- A Dita Von Teese lip liner that by this point could be used by Andy Dufresne to dig a fresh tunnel out of Shawshank
- A black and red Mac eyeshadow perfect for anyone looking for a background role in a modern-day remake of The Crow
- Two Carmex lip balms that I’d hastily purchased after clearing airport security on a return trip from Orlando
- An eyelash curler reminiscent of medieval torture gear
- A L’Oreal BB cream blush that’d been used once before I realised it made me look like Krusty the Clown, with shittier makeup
Now that I’ve cleared the way for more space in my makeup bag, it’s safe to say I’ll be sinking a few more quid into Jeffree’s collection in no time at all.
Must try to remember that I’m not made of money next time I find myself delving down the rabbit hole that is Beauty Bay armed with nothing but a G&T and a credit card with far too large a limit to keep me restrained.