We’ve come to the fourth and last week of the Makeup Monologue, and I think I’ve saved the best for last. Or I should say the worst for last since, if misapplied, this kind of makeup can really make you look like a clown.
I’m talking, of course, of skin makeup, that vast panoply of products meant to make you look like your skin is flawless and, thus, you are too. This can include, but is not exclusive to: foundation, powder, blush, highlight, contour and coverup.
Some of these are meant to make you look dewy. Some rosy. Some sparkly. Some unshiny. But always, always smooth.
In general, most of us women are introduced to skin makeup when we’re in the throes of pubescence and dealing with that monster of monsters: acne. We read the magazines, we hungrily swallow the commercials, we anxiously buy the products, all with the fervent hope that they will make our hopelessly blemished skin appear unblemished.
It’s a fool’s errand, in general, because there is no makeup out there that is able to hide skin burdened by acne topography, with all its hills and valleys, volcanos and craters.
I learned this at age 15 when I was willing to try anything to look less, well, diseased.
Though my mom assured me smearing makeup on my skin would only result in more pimples, I wanted to believe the commercials more than I wanted to believe her. So I bought a tube of peach-beigey stuff and got to work fixing myself.
At first, I felt like things were going rather well. I dolloped the cream on my face in critical areas, starting with my beleaguered T-zone: forehead, nose and chin. But as soon as I started rubbing it in, which I now know is called “blending,” I knew something wasn’t right.
Very quickly, I just started looking pretty orange. Upon entering the kitchen, my mom leaped back and said “Woah!” She then tried to pretend it was because the bran muffin batter had surprised her.
But I persisted, convinced that orange was better than red. I went off to school and, halfway through the day, realized that the skin makeup had melted off the peaks of my pimples and puddled at their base like moats. Upon further examination, I also saw I had a clear, sharp line on my jaw that showed where the skin makeup had stopped and started. Which, let me just be the one to tell you, was not the look I’d been going for.
But that’s the thing with skin makeup. There are the Able-tos and the Not-able-tos when it comes to skin makeup application. I am firmly in the Not-able-to camp no matter how many YouTubes I watch on the subject. It doesn’t matter how much I blend or how much/little goop I apply, I always come out with a complexion not unlike that of our orange president.
But when you watch an Able-to with a skin makeup sponge (which have become teardrop in shape, have you noticed that?), it is mesmerizing.
First off, from a face that’s a little bit yeesh to one that’s Kardashian caliber, you can’t hardly believe the transformation.
Secondly, you can’t believe how much skill it takes. Have you seen the ones where they make their nose smaller? Like, they’re considerably smaller! I imagine the purpose of the vids is to convince the viewer she, too, is capable of this kind of artistry. Fat chance, Mrs. Hannigan. The only thing I’m convinced of is that you have to be both an artiste as well as a moneybags to afford all of that flesh-toned paste.
Hey, speaking of flesh, you know what my favorite skin tone color is? Olive. Boy, they were really in the mood for a stretch when they came up with that one, right?
“It means your skin has a green hue,” my stepdaughter Gabrielle told me. “And you, ma’am, have olive skin.”
Guess what? On behalf of the olive-hued peeps out there, can we get a new skin tone name, please? Because, unless I’m envious of your cheesecake or have the flu, I’m not in the habit of wanting to have a green face.
Also, can we agree that skin makeup is exceptionally uncomfortable? Let’s face it: it feels, well, heavy. Burdensome. Cakey. Sticky, even, sometimes. And it doesn’t matter if the bottle says it’s made with “luminous silk,” or it’s just “tinted sunscreen,” or it’s actually “sculpting concealer,” it’s all just as uncomfortable as a two-sizes-too-small set of pantyhose.
Wait. Pantyhose. Nylons. Did I just find my new column topic?