The other weekend I had lunch with some awesome bloggy-instagram types. These get togethers are always a blast. Nothing is taboo. The conversation is by turns hilarious, revealing and educational. There were a few beauty experts amongst us, which is something I find fascinating. Like peering into a foreign world I know nothing about. Hearing about feather touch eyebrow tattooing, contouring and eyelash extensions was all quite foreign and exciting. You see, on the totem pole of personal grooming I sit very low.
My fingernails seem to constantly sport a thin layer of dirt. Shaving is never high on my shower radar. I still can’t keep my makeup from sliding onto everything around me, no matter how much primer and powder I use. Very recently, I have started microdermabrasion because I finally decided to do something about my acne. One of the main reasons I keep my hair short is so that I don’t have to do anything with it.
Maybe this is strange for a person so interested in fashion. But when they were giving out the beauty maintenance genes, I was looking at pretty dresses.
I wish I could hold my disengagement with the whole process as a feminist ideal. To be honest, it’s more to do with being lazy. I just can’t be bothered with it. It’s like I wish I could hold my Pescatarian diet out to be an ethical choice. But in reality it’s just what I was brought up with. My vegetarian mother never spent a great deal of time on makeup, facial creams, hair removal or hair in general. It just wasn’t a thing in our house.
My first window into that glamorous and feminine world was through my friends. We were all pretty clueless. There was a lengthy debate about whether it was wise to start shaving because the hairs would all grow back thicker and darker. This makes absolutely no sense when you think on it but we accepted it as a sad fact of womanhood. And we all really wanted in on this grown-up shaving caper.
When we were older, our makeup was all about a dark lip liner contrasting a lighter shade on our actual lips. Poppy was the aspiration and Red Earth tended to be what we used. (By the way, both brands are back but it doesn’t look like those little pots of colour returned.) My friends and I sported pencil thin brows and light foundations that left tide marks on our jawlines. To do this day, I challenge you to find a photo of a group of made-up girls in the nineties who don’t dazzle you with their pasty complexions. I think this may have had something to do with the way that light was reflected by those foundations. But clearly don’t listen to me, I have not a clue.
These days, it seems like young girls are all budding makeup artists. With YouTube tutorials and the Kardashians lighting (or high-lighting) the way. They don’t look awkward in photos. Their selfie-game has been strong for years. I’m sure there are still beauty ambivalent tom-boys out there, but I don’t see them.
Back to the lunch. One of the knowledgable and beautiful bloggers pointed out that the current obsession with contouring actually started with Drag Queens (not KK). As they reshape their masculine jaws into a feminine version, they rely on all sorts of makeup tricks to get them there. Contouring being a major one. As my ridiculously gorgeous friend pointed out, women already have feminine faces. There is no real need to chisel them into a caricature of femininity. It’s all a bit much.
Late last year I bought a contouring kit – the artistic nature of it all appealing to me. I never really figured it out though. The dark colours seemed way too dark, the light colours too light and the blending and brushing off techniques way beyond my skills.
So, I’m going to heed the words of my knowledgable friend and stick to the mascara and lipgloss school of beauty. I’m remaining a beauty minimalist.